After barreling through a dozen anime on my list, I decided to try and watch the first episode of Gakkou Gurashi!, which at first didn’t really appeal to me, apart from seeing the amiable relationships between the four main characters. Funny enough, the only design I don’t particularly care for regarding the characters is the pink-haired girl, Yuki’s look.
My initial impression of the episode involved comparing it to better cute girl shows, and I almost lost interest in it entirely, to the point of dropping the show before I finished the first episode. How foolish that would have been of me.
For the most part, the first episode is pretty and clean in its design and even has those scenes where the characters feel like there in heaven after eating to the point of sparkling with light beaming down on them like they’ve been blessed by the Gods of food or something. Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff when it comes to cute girl shows, right?
Well, that’s what I thought too, and after enduring the frustrating “conflict” in the episode, whereby the characters must chase and catch their dog, but he keeps eluding them at every turn… I was very tempted to abandon the show then and there, or at the very least had decided that if nothing interesting happens soon I would finish the episode and never look back.
*(SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 1)*
That is until the I witnessed the twist at the end where it’s revealed everything we’ve been seeing up until now has all been a farce to uphold the delusions of the main character. When in reality, the reason they’re all living in the school is because there’s a zombie apocalypse the school is being used as a hideout.
Well, shit. Now, I have to keep watching. Here I was, all ready to up and leave from the show, and then at the last second it suddenly decides to drop this bombshell of a twist on me? I feel like I’ve been issued a challenge in a way. Or perhaps I’m being rewarded for my patience, with an intriguing premise and hopefully well-executed plot. Let me remind you, I have only seen the first episode as of this post, so if it turns out to be a disappointment or an utter mess, I’ll feel awfully deceived.
So, I’ll be sure to temper my expectations in order to minimize any collateral damage that may ensue from my otherwise new optimistic outlook on the rest of the series. After all, it’s only managed to capture my interest so far, with its compelling idea and the implications surrounding that idea. What I want to see them explore psychological side of things, as well as the continual struggle to keep up the facade for Yuki. It’d be especially engaging if they delved into the repercussions of Yuki’s inevitable pull back to reality and really twisted the knife on the melancholy of the whole scenario.
So long as they move away from the delusions and focus more on the horror of the situation they’re in, or at least inch away from Yuki’s perspective between scenes, then consider me on-board the psychological thriller train.