SCHOOL-LIVE Episode One Review

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So, at first glance, SCHOOL-LIVE! seemed like just another manga-style anime that followed the most generic set of guidelines there is. A show about a group of uniformed high school girls. The only reason I added it to my queue on crunchyroll (my primary medium for streaming anime) was because of the final word appearing on its description before it was cut off: 'survive.' For a while, up until around the final leg of the episode, it embodied my original impression perfectly. Honestly, I don't know why I stuck around until the end, but I am glad I did.

I'll go ahead and warn you that there are spoilers ahead. This is a review and the show already has a season's worth of content available by now anyways. If you don't want it to be ruined for you, please exit out of this page now and know that my final review is good - very good. Why? Because when it got to around the end of the episode, a transition occurs. A moment of complete shock in which you learn that the main character, Yuki Takeya, has formed an imaginary world around her to shield herself from the horrible reality of things. In this instant, my mind went from thinking that the show was tedious and slightly annoying to thinking it was brilliant. The truth is that the primary group of characters, rather than inhabiting the joyous and normal universe that Yuki's psyche has formed-and the episode follows for the vast majority-lives in an apocalyptic nightmare in which the dead walk and eat the living.

Yes, zombies.

This was actually a relief to stumble across. I had yet to find a zombie anime series worth watching until this and it blew it out of the water. A few of my favorite features of the episode came from its attention to detail. Simply by looking at the background, you see that it isn't a completely uniform and unoriginal world, but a very thought-out setting. When the formerly mentioned change transpires, effectively flipping the tables, the viewer will be agape at the change of scenery. When it leaves Yuki's mind and reveals the dreadful sight of their actuality, you go from seeing the normal everyday life that they previously knew, to the blood-drenched and time-worn horror of what they deal with now.

I am writing my review on the first episode alone, so I won't divulge anything about the subsequent ones, other than that they carry on with its depressing and heart-stopping mood. If you like story-telling and good directing in an anime, look no further than SCHOOL-LIVE!. It may not be as lauded as more popular shows, but easily earned its place on my top ten list. Anyways, thanks for reading. Feel free to offer your opinions in the comments below. *tips fedora*

ANIMATIONS: 10/10 - Lively and detailed, it has a neat manga-esque style that combines remarkably well with its horror-based setting.

CHARACTERS: 10/10 - Each character has their own unique appearance and identity. I may not be able to remember all of their Japanese names all of the time, but their personalities stick with me.

STORY: 10/10 - It has a usually unseen-in-anime form of foreshadowing and offering backstory. Following episodes prove this and effortlessly switch between the before and after of the apocalypse.

FINAL RATING: 10/10 - I needed this. Rather than relying on unrealistic battles, unnerving sexual innuendo, and trite humor, it bases its excellence off of its art-form and directing, which blend marvelously.

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