Gakkou Gurashi ~ Episode 12 [Happy Graduation!] [Final Impressions]
Boy, Gakkou Gurashi has been a trip since the moment I read about it on the season preview, up to the final moments of animation after the ending credits on the final episode. With that being said, let’s talk about this episode before I get into my final impressions of this show.
So we open up the episode where we left off, in a pretty hopeless situation as the school is overrun by zombies. Kurumi is turning, the only person who could go get the cure trapped in a room about to be bitten by zombies. Leaving Yuki as pretty much the only one that can save them all, she was on her way to the broadcast room. She heads there, but gets cornered by zombies. She swings with her bat and, well, she’s no Kurumi.
It goes nothing, and just as our cute pink haired protag almost gets bitten, dooming herself and her friends. Who else should save her but her zombie dog pal Taroumaru.
It’s made clear here that despite being turned, they all retain some part of their memories from when they were human or in this case, dog. Yuki traps him with her hat and then proceeds to make an announcement declaring that School is over and for all students on campus to return home. It’s accompanied by a grand speech about how much she loves the school.
Too say that it didn’t make me tear up as she remembered becoming friends with those girls from her delusions in episode one. How she talked about how much she loved the school, but all good things must come to an end. Would be a lie, but It was nowhere near the emotional impact of the next scene.
This was cruel, shame on you anime!
As the zombies clear out, Miki gets the antidote to Kurumi. As per the manga’s ending to this arc, what’s different though is Taroumaru. They gave him the antidote as well and…OKAY, SERIOUSLY ANIME. NOT COOL, you legitimately gave these girls hope. Making their dog NOT a zombie again, only to have him die because the cure came too late!
Seeing him feebly try to eat and then bark softly at Miki right before he died, seemingly saying ‘Thank you’ as Yuki says his last words were later in the episode. What kind of horrible heartless animation team comes up with that kinda thing!?
It was bad enough that you made us come to love the dog we all knew was going to die, well anyone who had read the manga knew was doing to die anyway. Then to do this to us…
So they bury Taroumaru next to Megu-nee, they bury him with Yuki’s hat which he was so fond of in life. Then they proceed to plan what to do next, which they basically come up with they have a few options. Staying at the school not being one of them. They find a map with locations of shelters that was left by Megu-nee, who was planning where they would go next.
They proceed, on Yuki’s suggestion to have a graduation ceremony. It’s a sweet little event, they decorate and use the teddy bear as a stand in for a teacher. Miki and Yuki give speeches representing their classes and they give out diploma’s.
They hop into the car and start off towards the college, which is the next shelter. As they drive out, they see a lone zombie student walking in the school yard, it’s Kei. Miki’s friend that had run off, now I’m not going to say that she was dumb in running off and that Miki’s alive now and she’s not…BUT, I’m gonna say that Miki’s alive now and she’s not.
Also, we see Yuki’s hat dug up and a dog next too it, did Taroumaru rise back up from the grave? Was it the other dog they discussed maybe being at the school? Who knows.
As the credits end, we see a girl walking up a hill and picking up a picture in some plastic wrap. The message they’d sent before, with Yuki’s drawing of them all saying they’re doing well. Season 2? Maybe, we’ll have to see. That was episode 12, was it a good ending? Yes! Absolutely. It did what the anime had been doing from the very beginning, which was taking the existing manga content and improving on it.
It’s as if the author was using the anime to refine her work. Which is perfect, which is why I am so eager to see a second season. The content once they leave the school is as good, if not better then the stuff at the school.
As I said at the beginning of the review, Gakkou Gurashi has been a trip from seeing the preview too the final scene of animation after the credits. When the season preview came up, I looked at this show and went, like most people “Moe zombies? What? Seriously?” but I was willing to give it a shot, If nothing else, the moe would keep me from being too afraid of the zombies and the zombies would keep me from cute overdosing off the moe.
I kept looking at the series as the anime premiere came closer and closer, I was less and less sure about covering it. So I did the only logical thing I could think of at the time and went to read the manga. I think I finished it in two nights. Dumping it on Oki and various other people while I read it, I think it WAS the original Taroumaru chapter that I freaked out and sent it to Oki.
I’d seen the dog on the promotional material for the anime! We’re they trying to psyche us out!? Why would they do that? Oh god, this series, what is it doing to my heart? These poor girls, no Megu-nee don’t bite Kurumi!
Er, anyway. So after reading the entire manga in two nights. I couldn’t of been more hyped for the anime if I tried. It shot from, ‘Show I picked up for laughs’ into, ‘Show I am most looking forward too this season.’ So did it live up to all of my hype? Well….Yes and no, let me explain. There were a LOT of things about the anime that I liked, in a certain way. It really was the author refining their work.
On that note, there were some things cut out that I would of really like seeing. Such as Kurumi going to visit her home, or the original story of Kei and Miki’s stay in the mall. In which they lived together with others, and would of been fine if not for the guy who failed to mention that he’d been bitten. Thus compromising a ton of people. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.
Instead of lamenting on what the anime didn’t do, we should thank it for what it DID do. Which is improve on Yuki’s character, it showed a real struggle for her to come to terms with Megu-nee’s death and the reality of the situation around her. It was amazing character growth for her. It was something I sincerely believe her character needed.
The animation for this show was almost always amazing. It was some very interesting artistic choices it made it how to handle the zombies, occasionally blacking them out or only showing part of them. I like the darkening in particular because it could be considered ‘othering’ as these girls deal with the fact they have to kill their previous friends and classmates. A lot of the charm of this show comes from the physiological aspects of it. From Yuki’s early series delusions, to having to come to terms with them and the death of their beloved teacher.
From Kurumi having to deal with the fact she killed the boy she had a crush on, too Kei and Miki’s issue on what actually is the definition of ‘living’. This is a lot more then your typical ‘cute girls doing cute things’ anime, it’s even more then your typical zombie anime. It’s a psychological and emotional trip from the moment you realize Yuki’s delusions in the first episode.
From a show that most people passed off as a joke, too probably one of the best shows this season. That’s the journey that Gakkou Gurashi made. Did it get popular enough for the animation team to consider a second season? With that cliff hanger at the end of season 1? We best hope so. Until then, the manga begins porting to the US in November and we can only hope there is a company looking to localize it….
Even if the Biscuit/respect joke would be lost in translation…
Sacrifices must be made! Anyway, I give Gakkou Gurashi, a SOLID 9/10, why not 10/10? I’m still a little bitter about the mall arc, I thought that would of been REALLY cool to see animated. Otherwise, a 10/10 is what this show deserves!