"Moe and Dark cannot mix" -- This is pretty much the same old line I see every time in anime series like these.
The shows that have a cutesy looking artstyle yet it turns into a dark tone series where you have never expected to become, is a common excuse for the community at times where at times it seems people don't get how these can be used in anime format. For this case, the zombie apocalypse setting is rarely used in the anime format, and the only anime I can remember using this aspect is Highschool of the Dead. This year we got Gakkou Gurashi!, a new summer anime series that came out unexpected to the audience, and yet many known talks about it recently. Well since the series just ended what are my thoughts about the show overall? Is it good? or did it ended up like the previous show with the same aspect? Well let's go and find out together.
Note that this is going to be a very personal perspective thought about the series as a standalone product. I will go and directly go to the perspective thought as an anime only watcher (for the most part) and do not compare with the manga. So keep in mind about the anime review.
Story: To start off, the story itself would be at first simple. Our female protagonist Yuki lives in a normal life at "school?" and then we find our other cast of characters in the "school-living club", where she loves to live in the daily life in the place. By the "" I just noted, do you think its normal to live at school? I sure do not think thats normal, because nobody would like to live at school. When you think about it at first glance, the series lets you know in suspicion and of course this works as well with the execution of its actual plot. Or the premise of the show. At the first episode of the series it executes everything perfectly matched that you don't actually notice the foreshadowing happening into your eyes or in front of you, and as the episodes passed by it does foreshadow a lot of things as well with the events thats happening around. The series is all about the aspect of knowing reality and imaginary for the first part of my reason why I like the show. It leads the viewer into suspicion of the weird events happening in the episodes, try to piece things together in other to get the answers. Its like a puzzle piece if you imagine it. The second thing I like about the show is how they mesh the moments well, at least for the entirety of the anime. It leads to development and bonding towards the cast, and of course the flashbacks also works well with the series to know about them. Another thing that I like about the anime is more so of the psychological aspect. By psychological aspect, its by the mentality of the characters and how they're dealing with things throughout the entirety of the series. If you do not know what I mean, in short I mean their sanity. I think its more so of the psychological and also the survival aspect that goes for the cast of characters. That makes the show special in its own way, rather than going all action packed for the most part and its every time mashing and smashing. Of course the anime does has its moments of action and entertainment. The Slice of Life moments also helps out to build up a bond and relationship with the cast even on an anime original standpoint. Of course some of the slice of life moments in the anime (bits of it) were very unnecesary and it could have been better to add more content into the show. Overall the show does handle its execution properly at most cases.
Characters: The characters of the show could be described as simple, but yet memorable. The cast of characters (mainly) consist on 5 characters. Which are Yuki, Miki, Kurumi, Rii, and Megumi. If I can include one more, that would be Taroumaru the dog.
The five girls are together in the school, we know that, but what do they consist off?
Let's start with Yuki. She's a jolly, happy, friendly and caring character. Of course a lot of people would say "But she's crai crai (crazy)", thats something that for me understandable. But to me Yuki is the only character around that helps the others to move on. Shes considered as the light for everyone in the group, the spark that makes them continue to move on. Even if people think she's crazy, I personally think she's not to my suspicion. She is also a very good person giving advice to the members of the club, which helps a lot for her. Overall for me she's well enough for me to like her.
Kurumi (my favorite girl) can be considered as the strong character of the anime series. She's brave, courageous, and also caring for her members. She had also a backstory which for me was very well done to know very well her suffering after the whole incident. Of course at times she acts very cute and nicely, but when it comes to the fight scenes, she knows how to get shit done right (at most). Shes also determined to go to bigger things during the anime, which makes me applaud her a lot.
Rii-san can be considered as the bigger sister pretty much in the group. Of course at first she's just your average and typical "big boobs" character, but she does contribute at least a bit of a role in the anime. She's observant, very strict, and as well with taking care of everyone. She's pretty much the mother of the whole group, as well with her words and speeches along in the anime she does as well give some push onto the little members. Of course as well, she's considered fun at times.
Mii-kun is pretty much the newer member to the group, at first she was just your stereotypical "Senpai Senpai" girl, but there was a reason behind that. And that was because of her backstory which she had more screentime to get fleshed out enough. She used to have a friend, and her perspective way in her backstory caused a lot of impact towards what happened. It made impact as well during after a bit of the anime series, and as well with her trying to get attached to Taroumaru, their bonds built on well enough at least. She's considered someone that wants to know more about Yuki, but as well with that, she's also intelligent and smart at times when its needed.
Megumi (also known as Megu-nee) was the center of the whole group, also known as the teacher in the anime series. She's well known as the caring and friendly teacher, and she wants everyone to survive. She's also someone that doesn't want to be strict by her positions due to her being the teacher and the members being the students, as she also wants to have an equal relationship with them and protect them in any way possible (thats how I look at it). She was the center and involved for most characters of the anime, and getting a fleshed out backstory of the whole incident was simply well done.
For the supporting cast, to not go into the full edge detail. The whole supporting cast can be described as the center of each one of the characters of the anime pretty much. As for Taroumaru as an extra member as he is of course the mascot of the anime series, he was well put enough in the anime and make some sort of relevance, and of course he's the best puppy ever if I can say. The puppy and Mii-kun moments were the best moments in the anime. Thats what I can say.
Art/Animation: To start off, lets say that the artstyle for the series, is pretty much simple. Moe. Nah I'm joking with that simple statement. The art can be considered as high quality and yet decent artstyle fitting for the cast of colors. The series actually looks at times colorful and bright coloring at times, and sometimes in the anime when it comes to the tension moments it give a darker shade tone where it looks at the atmosphere. As for the animation I would say it was done well for the most part, especially at the fight scenes when it came for Kurumi. It just looked fantastic and fluid, it doesn't look that choppy or cracky. Or Jarring.
However my only issue with the anime series would be once again, the CGI Zombies used at times during the anime. Its not a big issue because its not used that much, but at some places it just looks out of place and it doesn't look right for certain occassions of the anime. It just looks like also budget copy and paste at the same zombies, which makes it jarring. Overall the Art/Animation department is good despite that issue I found.
Music/Sound: To describe the manner of the music and sound department, the components are by far the strongest one out of all of them. The music for the first part of it, can be described as calming, and darkening tone. It uses different types of compositions in order to flow with the scenarios of the series. For example for the psychological aspect it uses a more so distorted OST, and for the emotional moments it uses a more instrumental and yet emotional OST. It fits with the scenarios very well and for me they become memorable.
For the sound department it can be also described as amazing. You don't realize it at times, but when it comes to the moments when they're in danger, it gives a goosebumps and a very scared feeling, that cannot be explained. It just looks like an actual movie, where you get these moments of tension and you get a lot of the slaps and screams.
Btw, here's a personal note. I actually screamed and fell down on my back one time during this anime.
As well with the voice acting it fits with its cast very well, especially Kurumi and Miki. I love those voice actresses.
Enjoyment: Even with a tiny bit of issues I tell you in the anime, its quite shocking I get to enjoy the show and feel so vastly invested in it. Of course if it wasn't for someone in particular to not skip it, I would have missed it.
Its a very good anime worth watching, expected from Lerche delivering this was not even surprising how much I love the series to death.