「そつぎょう」 (Sotsugyou)

With the finale upon us, there were some good moments and some great moments.

Taroumaru’s Impact

While I would normally jump straight into the final impressions, I just had to take a moment to highlight the anime’s use of Taroumaru. Originally a one panel character whose only purpose was to show us that cute furry animals can become terrifying monsters, his inclusion as a main character in the anime has been met with mixed responses. Die-hard manga fans not happy with the addition of another character and anime-only fans loving the crap out of him, I don’t think we’ve had an episode with him in it where doesn’t want some sort of discussion around him.

But looking past that, I think we can all agree that Taroumaru was a true hero this week. I was really hoping that he’d pull through since they’d manage to give him the vaccine, but if there’s one thing this show doesn’t have trouble doing, it’s taking some of our most beloved characters from us. After a whole season of watching that adorable furball, I just couldn’t stop the tears from flowing when he gave us his final smile. What’s crazy is that even though I know he’s just an anime-only character, his death hurt just as bad if not more than when we figured out what was going on with Megu-nee. And as much as I wanted him to survive, I think his death serves as a important reminder that miracles are tough to come by and you should cherish what you have while you have it. That and at least we get to see Kurumi live on, right?

With that said, let’s jump into the final impressions as our girls graduate onto bigger and better things!


Final Impressions

Looking at the show in its entirety, I think there was so much good there that it balances it out with any of the stylistic or pacing changes that you wouldn’t even know about unless you read the source material. Without diving too much into that though, I personally loved how the show managed to control and transition the tone from happy-go-lucky to downright despair as the episodes came by. Between changing the opening sequence to match the moment to utilizing different color palettes and lighting to change the episode’s atmosphere, I have to hand it to Lerche for giving the tone such a grand personality.

Then you have the big secret behind Megu-nee and why Yuki was the only one who was really holding a conversation with her. Having passed away before the first episode even started, who would have thought something in Yuki’s mind would have played such an important role? While I would have loved for Megu-nee to get a full episode dedicated to what happened right before she sacrificed herself for her beloved students, I think the overall message came across that she was always putting Yuki and the others before herself. That and her surprise appearances throughout the latter part of the series always had me tearing up.

After previewing the show for the Summer Preview, I was ready to stab anyone trying to get close to this show. Luckily there were no casualties! Random points aside, I think this adaptation of a really enthralling manga was done pretty well by the hard working people at Lerche. Retaining a majority of the original feel while retrofitting most of the relevant content into one-cour, most of the material followed the manga quite closely without changing up too much of the original material. Sure, there will always be die-hard fans who will never be happy when their source material gets touched, but I won’t complain too much when what we get is actually really enjoyable to watch. That and based off of what the epilogue showed us, maybe there’ll be a second season somewhere down the line?

Thank you to everyone who’s been following these posts! I appreciate it and love reading all the comments as they flow in! And before I go, let me end with this note — make sure to always treasure your loved ones since who knows when our own zombie apocalypse might roll around. See you later!

P.S. Random thought, but did anyone notice how Rii-san was holding her hands when they were all praying together for Taroumaru and Megu-nee? I thought it was interesting how she had her hands folded over instead of just straight against each other like everyone else’s. :3



  1. Now that it’s over …. T-T

    Yeah can anyone clear up Taroumaru friend? It it an anime original animal or something more.

    Also this series had me with the episode 2. I was flailing about watching Megu-nee at the end of it, yelling “Is she real!!!!!” There was a good number of subtle hints after the second episode that she wasn’t there for me but it didn’t make it less of a sad story for me as well watching it unfold.

    1. Also speaking of Megu-nee there was at the time thinking that her hair missing the ponytail in the back was a continuity issue, but yeah she chopped it off and Yuki remembers her with it. O_o

    2. Oh. With Yuuki’s hat above ground I had interpreted that as zombie Taromaru out of his grave. But yeah, that slightly different fur color could be the other animal Taroumaru went to the basement for.

      Let’s hope the discs sell like hotcakes and we get a S2 to explain this little mystery. 😀

      Hanover Fist
  2. I read the manga and think they did an excellent job of the rewrite. The original author was hands on for the anime !

    The last EP changed up events quite a bit ! I kinda wonder why !

    Show Spoiler ▼

    I couldnt agree with your take on this EP

    It’s kinda obvious where they will end up at least withe lastest CHP !

    Oh a big thanks for covering this all season it was a sleeper hit when people thought it was just another moe school club It kept you on edge all the time from happy to oh np !

  3. As an unbroken rule, just how memorable an anime rests with me depends almost entirely on its ending. For better or worse, as you might guess, those that fall into this category are far and few between.

    Gakkou Gurashi! however, I’m very pleased to say, falls solidly into said category. Leave it to the good people at Lerche to hit me right in my soft, mushy center and make a dog a hero right at the very end. I can’t remember crying so much since I saw the end of Little Busters! (the visual novel, not the anime).


    Good boy, Taroumaru. Be at peace, little one.

    That aside, what’s perhaps even more notable is that, having read through the original manga, I actually come out liking the anime more. If there’s one thing that’s annoyingly consistent with zombie apocalypse-esque shows, it’s that, routinely, they never go anywhere, by which I mean they never end.

    But wait, Highschool of the Dead had an ending, right? Let’s be real, no anime fan would call what they did with the anime an appropriate ending and the manga has even less hope of restarting than Hunter x Hunter.

    Sankarea? It has zombies, surely enough, but not a zombie apocalypse show. Doesn’t count.

    Shiki!? They’re vampires, not zombies. Still, and to be fair, while not a worldwide apocalypse, it comes about as close as any show’s ever gotten and have an actual ending to go with it. Still, no go.

    Indeed, Gakkou Gurashi!, has the singular honor of being perhaps the only anime of this distinct genre to have an honest-to-goodness ending. I wasn’t left with any outstanding questions (except for, of course, WHY DID THEY NOT GO BACK AND SAVE THE PUPPY!?) come the end. Minute details aside, I know what happened, how to fix it and where to go from here.

    Once you get past all the extravagances of plot, you’re left with the real heart of a show, which is its characters, and that is something Gakkou Gurashi! knows backwards and forwards.

    Truly, one of the unsuspecting gems of this season. Highly recommended.

    1. Well, i hope IF the Zombie Apocalypse run out of Control, then the Sea is the Natural Barrier. Just remember in how Japan is a big Island. And let us hope that this Virus do not spread over the Sea

      So, i hope it is not Worldwide

      1. Speaking purely in real world terms, if the virus didn’t spread beyond Japan, there’s a fairly good chance the rest of the world would just bomb the shit out of Japan. Can’t take the chance that thing could hop to the nearest country.

        Frog? No. Hippo!
      2. The usual method of such things reaching globally is because of infected people ending up on trains and, as would be needed here, planes and boats. Given how much Kurumi was suffering, chances are that, early on, such infected people were sent to hospitals and then possibly even transported to other hospitals in other countries when ones in Japan weren’t able to figure out anything, thinking it might be some new disease or something.

      3. @HalfDemonInuyasha

        It all depends on the Incubation time, like we saw here with this Girl. On an Plane, it would infect the Entire Plane Crew, and let them fall out of the Sky. If they can not go into the Cockpit, because of the Iron Door, then they begin to wreck havoc inside the Plane. They are doomed..

        As i said, it all depends on the Incubation time. And Planes are the fasted to spread a Virus worldwide

    2. Personally, I consider Shiki’s finale to be one of the very best I’ve ever seen in anime. There was so much intensity in it. A series that started very slowly, kept a slow pace throughout, but gradually accelerating it and where everything they built during the show exploded into the final episodes, creating the most memorable ending I’ve seen in a vampire show. It had me glued to my screen, something few shows can do to me nowadays.

  4. >both Miki and Yuki fail horribly and need to be saved by a fucking zombified Taroumarou to accomplish anything
    >this inspires Yuki to tell the zombies that school is over to make them go home
    >the cure somehow works on zombie Taroumarou and makes him look cute again
    >absolutely butchered Rii-san’s breakdown and the emotional moment of Kurumi’s surival to fit in a total of almost 10 minutes of dialog about how awesome Taroumarou is

    This was absolutely not worth it.

    1. I would say the first 10 episodes excluding Taroumaru’s extremely sudden basement dive were worth it. Different, but the only thing that was truly cut out was the sportsfest treated as a montage instead of exploring the relative physical abilities of each character.

      The rest….well. I’ll take Yuki’s shorter, more nuanced resolution in the manga and much fewer contrived coincidences over this. That, and they kinda left a certain important teddy.

      I wonder why they didn’t add a stinger to foreshadow
      Show Spoiler ▼

    2. While I liked Taroumaru saving the day, I was disappointed Yuki didn’t do it on her own. I was rooting for her at every turn this episode to get downstairs and save Miki. She sort of did, though that felt kinda cheap, and then they skipped right to them being safe, which was sort of disappointing as well, just in the sense that I wanted to see some if it being done.

      This def really shows that this was an anime that was less about the zombie apocalypse and more about these girls struggling and living in that setting, since half of the episode was about them leaving and graduating. It can work like that, but there needs to be a better balance, imo.

      Frog? No. Hippo!
  5. Dog lovers like me would surely cry on this episode. Seeing a dog tried to get up to eat and drink for the last time? That pierced my heart really quick. Taromaru, you’re maybe fictional, but you are one heck of a great dog… May you find peace.

    Damn I get teary eyed as I type my comment

  6. Yeah, I don’t hate this show, far from it, but knowing how awesome the manga is I am a little disappointed they wasted so much of this season on a dog that was only a flashback character. As Amado stated, half the final episode was about the dog. There is so much I honestly would have rather seen. Still a 7/10 but this could have been a 10.

    Gouka Ryuu
  7. I just broke down with the rest of the girls with Taroumaru. I actually had to get off my computer to take some time after the episode was over. I was hoping Taroumaru would pull through and be able to cheer things up with more antics as the story continued, but seeing how he was and having experienced it myself with a few of my own dogs, deep down, I knew it wasn’t to be, and just like with them, watching Taroumaru slowly wither away was absolutely heartbreaking, and that smile (especially in the flashback with Yuki’s “Thank you!”) along with the simple lullabye style background music (an eternal sleep) just shoved it over the edge hard…

    And it’s not just because of emotional attachment to animals, but also because Taroumaru was made into a character who was essentially a dog version of Yuki – one who, in his own way, was able to keep the girls’ spirits up and remind them of how things used to be, and the girls also treated him as a member of the group, so he became just as much a main character as any of the girls, so to see him die was just as bad as if any of them were to die.

    RIP Taroumaru… *cries more*

  8. This is probably one of the few zombie apocalypse stories that somehow end on a relatively positive note for most of the main characters (the only other zombie apocalypse movies I could think of that end similarly are Shaun of The Dead, Zombieland, and that one episode of Space Dandy) as opposed to the usual “remaining survivors facing a bleak, uncertain future” ending in other zombie apocalypse movies/series (e.g.: Romero’s Living Dead movie franchise and Highschool of The Dead).

    Sure, Taroumarou’s death and the four survivors “graduating” are as tearjerk-y as it gets, and the survivors do face an uncertain future as they drive off towards the university (which may or may not be a viable safe zone in the long run). But Kurumi getting cured by the medicine Miki recovered from the basement shelter, Yuki finally accepting Megumi-sensei’s death (and becoming a proactive zombie apocalypse survivor), and that unknown survivor picking up that drawing of Yuki and company (sequel hook!) make for a relatively cheerful ending…at least until season 2 arrives and does the inevitable happy ending override.

    As for that wild guess about the school basement containing a laboratory…
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Overall, despite Gakkou Gurashi not being in my initial “to-watch list” for this season and not reading the manga (although I did read some manga spoilers on TVTropes) I’m glad to have picked up and watched it.

  9. That was so cruel. They give us back Taroumaru, then the pull the rug out from under us when we see Miki’s eyes. What a damn hero he was was.

    Damnit, I’ve got something in my eye…RIP Taroumaru.

    Frog? No. Hippo!
  10. I can’t help but feel that if they’d skipped the mandatory swimsuit episode they could have ended this series on a much stronger note.

    Skipping the helicopter/fire and cramming the scenario together with Kurumi getting bitten really did a disservice for the story. When the generators caught fire last episode I had a faint glimmer of hope that we might end up seeing Rii-san snap during the fire and Yuki break down in the clean up afterwards, but instead we got a resolution which even featuring Torumaru’s final death and a zombie-Kei was still just too sweet and missing that truly depressing edge that makes this series what it is.

    It was a decent last episode, but not really the last episode the show really deserved.

    1. The strength of the ending requires you to see the swimsuit episode as more than skippable.

      I remember writing up my episode review for it (https://unnecessaryexclamationmark.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/gakkou-gurashi-09/) and being surprised at just how integral everything in that episode was to understanding these girls and their struggle. Discard it and you’re taking an important cog out of the machine, letting prejudices against such episodes cloud your vision of what Lerche have actually done with the tradition.

      The manga may be all about a ‘depressing edge’, but Lerche have clearly taken a different approach. It’s rather sad to see so many manga readers cling so much to what they liked in the source material – they’ve made it harder for themselves to enjoy the adaptation as a stand-alone work, ignoring, as you have, vital elements of the series – the emphasis on Taroumaru, the swimsuit episode, and thinking it’s ‘too sweet’. Sweetness was the aim all along – not Yuki’s delusional sweetness, but a final sweetness that would fully embrace reality in order to exhibit real happiness. The manga may be ongoing, but an anime adaptation has to ‘end’ somewhere, and the direction towards this alternative emphasis made for a fully succinct finale.

      If it’s ‘weaker’, great. Now we can enjoy the manga even more, which is what an adaptation ought to encourage.

  11. The best thing about this ending was that I’ve both said goodbye to the girls and haven’t been able to. I know their school days are over, and they’ve all gained such incredible qualifications for surviving in the outside world (seeing how Yuki rose on top of her love of school, rather than remain buried underneath it, was tremendous). But their lives are really just beginning, and all the questions I had during the credits and post-credits scenes made my excitement and fear of a second season line up perfectly with the Club’s excitement and fear of where they’re heading next.

    More of my final thoughts here: https://unnecessaryexclamationmark.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/gakkou-gurashi-12-super-sized-final-review/

    Hearing how the finale was ‘different’ to the manga’s way of ending the girls life at school (a helicopter? a fire?), I can’t help but wonder why manga readers couldn’t see how Taroumaru was simply Lerche’s way of capturing what the manga captured differently. Who cares what you’d have ‘rather seen’? What matters most is what matters most to these girls – ignoring the importance of the dog, which has been emphasised week to week, would be a disservice to the characters and how they value both their pet and what he stands for.

    There’s so much of Yuki and Miki that’s evoked by that adorable pooch, and yet people complain that both those characters have less depth because of the dog, ignoring the depth that’s added in the place of however the manga handled these girls. Guys, please, think more about what you’re watching. If it’s a change from the original, think why it’s been changed, what Lerche might be aiming for. Bringing a 4-coma character to life in the main story is a massive step of adaptation, and, as Takaii stresses, it’s far more than just pandering for moe pleasures; I’d say the dog’s not just the hero this week, but the spirit of the school embodied.

    I’m so happy that Lerche used this episode to evoke his importance – saving Yuki even as a zombie, dying to the tears of every Club member as a part of the school Yuki and the medicine couldn’t save, thanking Miki and potentially starting a whole new delusion in her eyes – and it would be so silly if anyone thinks they could maintain the argument that he’s only here for filler after what we’ve witnessed. If you had to rethink the first episode after its dark conclusion, you’ll surely be able to appreciate how Lerche are opening windows for people to rethink the importance of that poor pooch and see the entire series as a more fantastic, scholastic whole.

    Thanks for your coverage, Takaii. Comparing thoughts with you has been a pleasure every week.

      1. That would make the show a huge success. An anime adaptation is not made for manga readers, nor to capture the ‘truest form’ that the manga can take on screen. It’s written so that people will pick up the manga and boost the sales of the entire project (which happened immensely after just the first episode – a tenfold increase in sales). If more of the story’s impact can be found in the source material, Lerche are enabling viewers to enjoy Gakkou Gurashi across its forms to a fantastic extent.

        An adaptation that only captures exactly what the manga already did is, on the other hand, more limiting. Nothing outside of what’s already been expressed is explored, and so the original suffers when it could otherwise be blessed by a meaningful alternative take on its themes, encouraging a deeper look into what gives the original its meanings in the first place. Haven’t manga readers complaining about a lack of this or that always had to do that? If you’re saying you prefer one form over another, you have to look further into the form you prefer to ‘prove’ that it’s better. The promotion of this is one of the greatest tenets of adaptation – not capturing the original’s ‘meaning’, but helping people to capture more of it themselves, be it through faithfulness or alteration in the adaptation they see.

        The impact of the anime adaptation will of course feel weaker to someone who was impacted by the manga in a certain way and has been searching for that same impact in Lerche’s work. Naturally doing so is basic psychology – the mind goes towards what’s most familiar and easiest to consider (that’s why we have stereotypes, in art and IRL). This would – and clearly has, particularly from how the swimsuit episode was received – blindside many manga viewers from appreciating the anime-original impact. I don’t think the elements Lerche added are less intense at all – less visceral, perhaps, but with a remaining level of subtlety that left nothing to be desired.

        There’s no way we can say one is definitely ‘less meaningful’ than the other, because our access to meaning is incredibly influenced by our experience of one medium or the other. Why can’t we just acknowledge that Lerche are simply adding to the whole meaning of the project by taking a different approach? Indeed, when one thinks about one of the shows closing themes – accepting what’s sad – you could say that the design of the show in, for the most part, shying away from some of the source materials darker aspects was always linked to this. That would mean that viewers are encouraged to go over the show again in manga form and appreciate its darker and more depressing aspects more. It would also imply that a second season could embrace the source material’s darkness more, which is something I’m immensely looking forward to.

        It looks like manga readers have picked up on less meaning in the adaptation. However, anime-only viewers should now be able to pick up more meaning in the manga, which is the encouragement of embracing darker things that the adaptation ended on. I think this approach to adaptation is masterful. With the anime industry ‘dying’, promoting an anime adaptation as the first version of a work to see is a very clever step of both artistry and marketing. Lerche are doing the original creator no disservice – in fact, since all this stuff that was left out seems to matter so much to manga readers, they’ve helped leave the mangaka’s gems of intensity to stand and sparkle on their own.

        Both satisfaction and dissatisfaction from Lerche’s changes are an impetus to enjoy the original more. How can we criticise that?

      2. I’m reading your other comments, so I’ll say this: I thought the swimsuit episode was okay. The SOL and general enjoyment of life is an important aspect of the show, and they actually added in a new dimension for Rii, and unexpected but welcome addition.

        I also agree that if the theme they were going for as an anime was about each member growing up and growing stronger, then it was indeed important to end on graduation. I can even accept that they made Mii weaker-willed and Rii much stronger for that purpose.

        But I can’t agree with the idea that it’s a GOOD thing that the anime did certain things badly just so others can recognize that the manga did them well. That sets a rather negative view on the purpose of anime, even if it is in some ways true economically speaking. You don’t need to provoke people to whine to discuss the finer points of a medium.

        Deviations are not bad things. Certain characters dying when they previously survived or vice-versa can create new territory to explore the same material. Focusing on the zombies remembering who they are more than the source? Sure. Using Taroumaru as the main vehicle to showcase that? Maybe they should have had him turn a few episodes earlier, give more time to think about it rather than dumping it all on the last episode. I just feel that even if they wanted to focus on the brighter aspects, they failed to even do just as well as the manga for those same brighter aspects. Light shines all the brighter in darkness and all that.

        And even supposing they got a 2nd season, they’ve shot themselves in the foot: many of the seeds to the darker events later on weren’t planted or in some cases deliberately removed. The lack of focus on Kurumi’s own state of health, even as a stinger, weakens any further exploration of it later on because literally noone cared. The bear, THE HAT!
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Going by the first episode, it was entirely in their ability to take just enough time for impact. But they bit off more than they could chew towards the end, and here we are.

      3. Why is holding back in one department automatically considered performing ‘badly’ in it? And it’s not a provocation to whine, since a lot of anime-only viewers were satisfied, particularly with the first episode. It’s an encouragement to seek out something more – like a demo of an app or a game for your phone that makes you want to buy the whole thing.

        Gakkou Gurashi’s adaptation has clearly only given viewers a demo of the darkness capable within the author’s imagination – and it’s an awesome demo. I’d be less inclined to check out the manga if I felt or was told that the anime captured the whole sense of the thing. And if that increased darkness makes the brightness even better, even more awesome.

        The fact remains that the anime handled its adapted themes very well – it could be inferior in relation to the manga, and arguably should be, but that doesn’t make it inferior in relation to itself. It stands as successful in what it does and without what it doesn’t do, in the confines of its aims, and it leaves the manga room to do even more. The target market isn’t whining about the anime holding back in relation to material they haven’t experienced yet, because they can’t.

        As for the possible 2nd season, as the artistic license in this cour showed, I’m confident that Lerche can still do wonders with the future of the story even if they have left out a lot of the material in the manga that ‘sowed seeds’ for drama later on. It’s not hard to sow different seeds to accomplish similar feats of gardening.

      4. Pretty much everyone was satisfied with the first episode, it’s the last few that’s got everybody in a twist.

        A demo is something that’s supposed to represent or approximate the full product. The anime didn’t approximate the darkness of the source, they went counter to it. It is a misrepresentation that is only known because there are tons of people screaming that it is, just like how comic book movies can be nothing like the source, so bad that it has to be retconned.

        >The fact remains that the anime handled its adapted themes very well
        That’s no fact at all. I compared it to the manga because the manga didn’t even focus as much on these brighter themes and STILL did them better. In the confines of what it set out to do, it aspired to do less and failed to even accomplish that much to a standard that rivals the first episode.

        As for “sowing seeds”? Sure, the second dog might make an appearance. There are a few people who wouldn’t like more focus on pets AGAIN, but whatever. I don’t see any more seeds, and it’s looking like they removed more than they added, but that might just be a failure on my part.

        But the removal of the original seeds necessitates that whatever darker themes they explore have to be fresh. They can’t go back to the source anymore, they’ve burned that bridge by weakening the narrative impact if they ever went back on the decision. Different characterization, different themes, anime-original plot? Sure, but make sure to say so beforehand. They get a pass in the first season because GG is all about “will it or won’t it?”, but from here on out it’s a different show altogether.

      5. @JekoJeko:

        “Lerche are doing the original creator no disservice – in fact, since all this stuff that was left out seems to matter so much to manga readers, they’ve helped leave the mangaka’s gems of intensity to stand and sparkle on their own.”

        One thing to note about the anime: the mangaka himself (Norimitsu Kaihō) is actually the one handling the anime’s writing, as in he has a very direct part of the anime’s story. So if the anime deviated from the manga, it’s because the mangaka himself wished for it to be so.

    1. It’s much like how supposed history buffs complain when a movie talking about an (historical) event(s) and/or people isn’t historically accurate in X amount of ways – they seem to miss the words “BASED ON a true story” that are usually used for such movies. The movie itself is a mere adaptation that is going to take some liberties at points to make the movie more dramatic, intense, emotional, etc. in order to make it more entertaining (it’s a “movie”, not a “documentary”, after all) while also, hopefully, making people more interested in the actual event(s) and/or people that were involved, of which at least a majority did happen/exist.

  12. Best series ever!! 10/10!! Thank u takaii!! I would be somewhat confused without u!! I’m going to miss Taromaru!! The dog was so adorable!! Why did i get so attached to him?? This season was very wonderfully adapted in my opinion!! It was so good!! I’m going to miss these posts!!

  13. So They Fend off the “Zombies”…for now! Hmph… I guess these zombies aren’t completely rabid at all, They may had a little weakness…

    and Hmm… I think we don’t see that chopper, but instead they will discovered it somewhere else…but i guess it’s too late! (or maybe is just me!)

    Overall, It do enjoy it ever this SoL (?)type show, even it had some horror mixture Like re-kan!, but even more of a tragic one!

    Well, That Dog finally Died at least not in a brutal way…;BUT STILL…!

  14. It was…anti-climatic. The ‘third act’ was an episode too long, and driving away zombies with a speech drained whatever excitement was left.

    +1 for how Taromaru was handled (even if hugging a zombie dog trying to bite you was a bit much)
    -1 for how Kei was tacked on despite it conflicting with how the climax was resolved
    -1 for ignoring Kurumi, writhing turning into a zombie, for an entire episode

    1. > driving away zombies with a speech drained whatever excitement was left

      Alas, an idealogical victory that doesn’t have explosions or fast-paced music will always fall flat in some minds. But the intensity of meaning in how Yuki could now reach the zombies and understand them because she finally understood herself was breathtaking on my end.

      And, furthermore, giving her one last big obstacle would have undermined the significance of last week’s embrace of reality – that was the real climax of her struggle. Taroumaru saving her, and her speech, are just the beautiful after-effects of the pinnacle of her development.

      > how Kei was tacked on despite it conflicting with how the climax was resolved

      It was a touch that worked well together with all the themes and prior actions of the Club and their graduation. Miki has left behind everything that she clung to in the Mall, sequentially lost and gradually regained over the series. Taroumaru represents one side of this, Kei another. You can’t ‘tack on’ a character who’s integrally part of one of the main cast.

      I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      > ignoring Kurumi, writhing turning into a zombie, for an entire episode

      Isn’t it obvious that by saving her in all their different ways – Yuki’s breaking of her delusion, Miki’s bravery in delving into the basement, Rii-san’s natural compassion and hope overcoming her promise – the Club have proven themselves to have the kind of strength that Kurumi has always used herself to help them survive? The whole Club – Taroumaru included, we should add – are now driving off into the future with her strength.

      The lack of focus on Kurumi is just a way of helping us see how the Club is now embodying her as a whole, which is a qualification they’d certainly have needed to ‘graduate’ from their shelter. This works in tandem with other characters spilling into each other – Yuki into Miki, for instance, and Rii-san into Yuki in particular scenes. The Club are more united than ever, gaining strengths from each other. It’s a note of true community and I adore it.

      1. Alas, an idealogical victory that doesn’t have explosions or fast-paced music will always fall flat in some minds.

        Oh puh-lease, an asspull by any other name is still an asspull.

        It was a touch that worked well together with all the themes and prior actions of the Club and their graduation.

        Having Kei appear contradicts the “ideological victory” that sent all the zombies home. It was a ‘this was in the manga so we need to include it despite it not fitting the changes we made’.

        The lack of focus on Kurumi is just a way of helping us see how the Club is now embodying her as a whole, which is a qualification they’d certainly have needed to ‘graduate’ from their shelter.

        Showing what other characters were doing is not the issue, my problem is the format it was presented in. Like when a character has a long internal monologue in the middle of throwing a punch.

      2. > an asspull by any other name is still an asspull.

        It’s nowhere near an ‘asspull’. It’s Yuki understanding what drives these zombies, because she finally understands herself and her own similar motivation for her delusion, and using that to get them (and, fittingly, herself) away from the school. The show had stressed constantly that these zombies still have a sense of human instinct in their actions – they come to school, play football, etc.- but, of course, Yuki is the only one who hasn’t been musing on that until now. This is the hero finally finding and using the great monster’s weakness, a stable of most cinematic climaxes. There’s no justification for calling it an ‘asspull’.

        Take your shitty Shakespeare-inspired buzzwords elsewhere.

        > Having Kei appear contradicts the “ideological victory” that sent all the zombies home.

        No, no it doesn’t. The zombies in the school were told that school is done for the day through the PA system familiar to them as a means of direction. Kei wasn’t necessarily at the school – she may have been making her way back there all this time – and so she didn’t get that directive.

        The fact that living Kei was all ‘I want to LIVE’ and zombie Kei – acting on instinct – chooses to live at school is fantastic support for how Yuki won the day by acknowledging and embracing this vital trait to their behaviour.

        Maybe there’s a correlation between people who don’t understand endings and people who think using the word ‘asspull’ allows anyone to take them seriously.

  15. Was that Kei walking past them as they were driving off from school? As a zombie? Or was it just some random girl?

    I can’t imagine Miki seeing her best friend as a zombie when she was holding on hope that she still might be alive, and just smiling & shedding a tear only to change the subject.

      1. Dang. So much hopelessness in this show, yet they still make it out as hopeful as ever. Then again, I suppose that’s the theme of this show. Thanks for confirming it was zombie-Kei, but I still find it strange how Miki barely reacts to seeing her..

      2. It’s vital that she barely reacts to Kei. The message she left for her, which she’s now arguably heading towards, was a sign that she’s not just accepted Kei’s loss – she’s answered the challenge she gave her in the Mall as she left. She could ‘reach out’ to Kei, but then she wouldn’t be living the life that Kei wanted her to. And having that answer on the blackboard really does resonate the sense that this is what Miki’s learnt through the club, an education that’s enabled her to graduate in more than one way.

        Kei was willing to abandon Miki; now Miki is able to leave Kei behind too. The role reversal is beautifully done. If you can’t imagine her ‘moving on’ from that part of her past – that way of clinging onto things as she did in the Mall – you haven’t been following her development. The best part of it was in the swimsuit episode, though, so maybe people missed it by turning their minds off at that time.

  16. I’ll be very honest and say that I watched the first episode of this show and after about 2 minutes in stopped it. Then I just happened on the review and decided to give it another go. Thanks Takaii for covering this. I enjoyed the ride (being purely an anime only viewer) and would definitely have missed this series had I not read your review of the first ep.

  17. It was an interesting anime to be sure. I didn’t like some of the tonal shifts between feel-good moments and darker moments because it often didn’t transition well. But it did, however, prove to be quite entertaining and have some fun hijinks happening constantly.

    I do not know what happens in the manga so take this as merely my opinion but I believe to decision to let Kurumi survive by this show’s writers is a mistake. The fact a cure existed is not a mistake in itself. But that everything worked out and no one except Taroumaru had to die is just bad from a drama-standpoint. It removes future tension because now it strongly suggests the 4 main characters have a plot shield and anytime you get a situation where one of them might die in the future, they’ll survive no matter what. I believe it would have been so much better to have Yuuri painfully decide to end her friend’s suffering, unaware that a vaccine existed and then having Miki showing up soon after with it. It would have torn these characters apart with guilt. “Why couldn’t I wait?” “Why couldn’t I have been faster to get the vaccine?” “Why couldn’t I protect my friend from being bitten?”. It would have turned this show into something special.

    But alas, the show seems to put more focus on feel-good scenes than creating serious drama. It’s still entertaining but what that means it the show is like a 7/10 instead of being something superior. It creates darker moments but doesn’t fully commit to them. That being said, it certainly established a precedent, I have never seen a show about zombies with these kinds of dynamics happening. Flawed but fascinating.

  18. I’m a bit dissapointed that Rii’s mental breakdown wasn’t shown in it’s full glory. That was my favorite part of the “arc”. But otherwise a really good adaptation. Though one thing is ironic. In the manga, Yuki’s speech was filled with dispair, here it is rather hopefull.

  19. The psychological aspect of the girls barely surviving was handled well.. even so, it’s not my cup of tea but I cannot deny its merits. It’s kinda decent if you happen to survive the totally off first episode.

    1. How was the first episode ‘totally off’? It captured the nature of Yuki’s delusion to the greatest extreme – it that feels off, then that’s probably because her own delusion is ‘off’ in a number of ways. It’s cliché and boring. But that’s exactly the kind of quick judgement about her and the show that you’re supposed to play around with throughout Miki’s development. Compare that initial warped, delusional happiness it to the kind of happiness the show ends with, and the whole package comes together spectacularly.

      The only other time I’ve been bored by a show for vital effect is Hyouka. And it really helps if we are bored by her imaginary high school world – we’re even more dying to see her break out of it, while also using our understanding of why it bores us to further understand how the girls, especially Miki, must see her. We’re also attracted to the number of cracks that already show in this fantasy world of hers.

      Few anime set up the psychology of a character and how people view her so well in the space of just one episode.

    2. I am not going to explain this one in full detail since I remember that you’re the guy I had to answer too many times in episodic Charlotte reviews here in RC.

      Not all will be able to tolerate the cute girl doing cute things antics of the leads for most of the first episode (it ran for 15 minutes, I guess) if we are given the zombie apocalypse premise. Sure, it was a cool twist at the end but it went a bit too late for my taste. In my case, I was able to finish the anime (and I was glad because it is really smarter than it looks) because a certain reviewer that I really admire kept on saying that it’s good so I continued watching. I skipped the ninth episode by the way.

      I love Hyouka to death and I didn’t find it boring YET THAT’s another story. I guess it’s due to our differences in our opinions and I respect that.

      1. > I skipped the ninth episode by the way.

        Well done for missing an important plot point, I guess.

        The ‘cool twist’ at the end of all the moe stuff in the first episode is as strong an impetus as you can get to look back over the episode and notice how there’s something amiss in every single scene. The layers of detail are just wonderful, as are the layers of meaning woven into what at first seems to be a bolt-on swimsuit episode. The show directs the viewer to the significance of things that could otherwise be brushed off as inconsequential.

        It’s also structurally essential that the whole of the first episode, except the end, takes place in Yuki’s delusional world. It may turn some people off, but for those who become invested in her character, it gives the sense that we’ve been given the fullness of her imagination and that it’s now time to move on to the reality behind this fake paradise.

        As for our past discussion on Charlotte, it’s a shame that Yusarin and Takajou indeed became ‘unnecessary’ characters for the major plot. Though the show felt like it was directing me to invest interest in them, it progressed into places that didn’t matter to them at all, and only brought them back to tie up the loose and boring ends that they evolved into. So I’ll concede the point to you that even though they didn’t feel unnecessary to me at the beginning, they became useless to the overall themes of the show – even contradicting them in some ways. If Yuu is supposed to be a Christ figure having his ‘last supper’, why is everyone feeding him, and not the other way round? I’m about to watch the last episode, so I’m more expecting him to become some kind of antichrist, which isn’t exactly the note I wanted his character to end on.

      2. Uhm.. For the sake of your very lenghty reply I skimmed through episode 9. Honestly, the show’s still as solid as it is (IMO) even if I was not able to watch that early on well, if we don’t count the last scene which was positively disturbing. Maybe that’s me taking a linear approach as regards to the storytelling of this show.

        I am really amazed on how you pull those words. No sarcasm here.

  20. Damn… I wasn’t expecting to tear up ;_; I dealt fine with Megu-nee but this poor doggie had the best of me.
    If I were them I’d made a tombstone and write on it “Here lies a trusty companion. Sweet dreams, canine friend.”
    The graduation ceremony was a perfect closure for the high school days. I also loved this sense of a new adventure starting.
    I enjoyed this series a lot and I hope a second season gets greenlighted in the future! Gonna miss the lovely opening (Okaeriii~).

  21. i was actually expecting? hoping? for a bad ending.

    am i a bad person if i hoped to see the girls start killing each other and turning into zombies, and the saving grace at the end is “even when we turn into zombies, we will stay together, at this school. our club will continue.”

  22. Just finished this…finally. I am unbelievably depressed.
    They made us feel bad about Taroumaru not once, but twice. This episode had a much bigger impact, given that he went back to normal for a little bit. Not only that, but the effect his death has on the girls, especially Miki and Yuki. So depressing…

    At the same time, the very end of the episode was slightly uplifting with them all alive escaping the school and moving on. It was a very sad ending, but also a hopeful one.

    Before this season began, looking at the art, I expected it to just be a cute girls doing cute things series. Glad I was wrong. Really one of my favorite anime of the season.

    R.I.P Taroumaru.
    R.I.P Megu-nee.
    R.I.P Kei.

  23. Man, I’m still dealing with the feels of yesterday’s episode. It doesn’t help that I’ve got a dog that’s similar to Taroumaru myself. At least the brave little guy got to die as himself…I’m going to miss his presence when I start with the manga. Least Shovel Knight pulled through though, so there’s that.

    The ending was both satisfying and fitting, continuing the course the show has so far in terms of its writing quality. I find it hard to really find flaws in it (besides that weaker pool episode), because in terms of its character-driven story, the direction of the scenes, its subtlety in terms of its worldbuilding and the very fitting music, this show is pretty much the best zombie story to be found in anime. I wholeheartedly enjoyed it from begin to end, engraved its characters deep inside me and it gave me emotional highs that few series have managed to accomplish this year so far. It’ll leave a void in my weekly schedule, seriously.

    Easily the sleeper hit of the season and a show that’s going to end up pretty much at the top of all the shows I’ve watched this year. And thank you, Takaii, for covering it, your posts were always an interesting companion to every episode.

  24. The show was good but damn…that whole thing with the zombies retaining some of their memories feel so effing cheap. It’s basically a free ticket for plot convenience!

    Zombies retaining some of their memories?
    Director: Let’s make all the zombie students go back to school because it’s a good final episode conflict! GENIUS!!!

    Oh the girl is stuck in the basement with zombie students?
    Director: Let’s have our protag save her by calling out all the zombie students and persuade them! GENIUS!!!

    Oh our protag is struggling with a zombie?
    Director: Let’s have our cute zombie dog and save her because it still has some of its memories! GENIUS!!!

    Man, this show could’ve been great if they just took the time to write well thought out plot. Good but forgettable series. 7/10.

    1. Yay, another person who thinks deep idealogical victories are ‘cheap’. Because there was nothing ridiculously significant about Yuki only being able to understand the zombies because she finally understood herself, right?

      Monsters having shreds of humanity is a classic tradition that goes right back to the original Gothic writers. Would you rather they were just completely non-dimensional flesh that bit people? There’s a massive theme of characters – Megu-nee, Taroumaru, even Kei – overcoming the bioweapon, and whatever it represents (toying with a few things in my mind), and clinging on to the most vital parts of their life, ‘living’ even though they’re dead in whatever way they can. But I guess that’s ‘cheap’ writing too. Those poor writers playing around with complex ideas of identity and psychology, when all viewers want is to turn their brains off like the completely mindless zombies they’d rather be watching.

      You’d find this show great if you took time to think about its plot. That’s all.

  25. Generally, it’s a good adaption but not without some flaws. I feels they are squeezing a lot of contents in a single finale episode which they could have do much more better if they expends this for another episode or so by skipping some anime original episode. There are a lot of light heart and character building moment in the manga are simply skimmed over and some are not even animated. (ex. the part where Miki reject Yuuki delusion) Show Spoiler ▼

    Tanoumaru is a welcome addition to the club, and the ending is very touching (but still feel kinda a bit rushed).

    On the other hand, I was kinda disappointed how they simply rush over Kurumi recovering part to simply aftermath. The moment Yuki woke up from reality shocks at night and went over to release Kurumi from shackle and stay beside her when we don’t even knows if the vaccine really works shine as one of the most touching moment in manga Show Spoiler ▼

    Nevertheless, it is still a good series if you watch as it is. But, I will still recommends those who haven’t read the manga yet, please do so just to learn more about character development (except for Megunee, Miki, and of course Tanoumaru which have more character development in anime) and continuation of the series.

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