Episode 8

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 8 of
School-Live! ?

When you're talking about a zombie apocalypse show, an episode title like “Future” can carry certain ominous connotations. Though the future is a topic for discussions amongst the girls at one point, and the discovery the girls make at the end of the episode does, in a way, also allude to that, the ominous content in the episode mostly comes from other sources.

One of those is the opening scene, which suggests that Megumi is also trudging around as a zombie; apparently the cross in the rooftop garden is a memorial and not an indicator that the girls actually buried her there. This was always a possibility given the way that she died, but one that the series has, prior to this, carefully avoided suggesting, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who didn't want to think about that possibility. The most disturbing part, though, is that the journal Megumi was previously shown writing in has scribbles suggesting that zombie-Megumi was continuing to try to write in it, and at some point she managed to scrawl Yuki, Yuri, and Kurumi's names. The series has vaguely implied before that maybe these zombies aren't actually dead but persisting in some mind-ravaged semi-alive state, and this seems to be further proof of it.

The opener is then used to transition into some lighter fare, such as hijinks involved with trying to give Taromaru a proper bath. This give the series an opportunity to not-so-subtly work in a rare dose of fan service, as both Yuki and Kurumi eventually strip down to their underwear for the bath effort. (The camera also seems to linger on Yuri's chest a little more than normal throughout the episode, and what, exactly, was Miki looking at in that one scene?) That does at least allow the episode to remain light-hearted for a while, including the girls discussing their future plans mostly as if calamity had not happened around them and most of a flashback to when Megumi and Yuri were working out the formation of the School Living Club and taking Polaroids afterwards, scenes which have a more wistful feel. It shifts back to serious mode with the mid-episode break, where a nighttime conversation between Miki and Yuri raises a question that some viewers have been asking for a while now: doesn't it seem awfully convenient that their school was so ideally well-equipped to house survivors of just such a calamity? Sure, the rationale for each item individually being there – the solar panels, the rooftop garden, a rain collection tank with a water purifier, the non-perishable food supplies – is innocuous individually, but them all together in one place should be suspicious. That leads Yuri and Miki to search the teacher's office thoroughly for something that Megumi's key might unlock, and although Yuki arrives for the “treasure hunt” and is mostly a distraction at first, she is ultimately the one to find it: a locked case which contains a CD, a class roster, and a Staff Emergency Evacuation Manual. A read through it indicates some troubling things indeed.

Emergency manuals of the type shown in the late scene are actually not unusual; for instance, schools in the U.S. are required to have manuals of this nature on hand for many kinds of potential disasters, including (depending on region) tornados, earthquakes, and school invasions. Ones involving instructions for ruthless containment of a biological weapon which has blossomed out of control are very definitely not normal at this time, however. That gives us our first big clue about what probably happened to bring about this catastrophe, but combined with the earlier Yuri-Miki discussion it raises big questions about what was going on in the Big Picture that such things were deemed necessary. It also raises the question of whether or not someone on the outside would come to the girls' rescue even if they did know that the girls were there. Does this have anything to do with the comments the last couple of episodes about how more zombies seem to be gathering in the vicinity? And how much did Megumi know about this in advance? If she were prepped for something like this, how capable she ended up being in bringing the girls together would make a lot more sense.

Lots of interesting questions, but no answers yet. But that's okay; there are still a few episodes left, and seeing the complete Big Picture is not fully necessary anyway. The girls' situation and lives are ultimately what matter most, and on that front the series is still doing just fine. Also watch for a few nice visual touches, such as Megumi reflected in a broken vase in one scene in a way that is probably not coincidental, and spot-on use of music to reinforce the varied tones.

Rating: A-

School-Live! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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