(This will be a short one, up to my eyeballs studying right now and I’ve wanted to do a piece on Gakkou Gurashi’s premise but I could never find enough in it for 2000 odd word piece. Enjoy!)
Gakkou Gurashi is one of those shows that is very intrinsically tied to it’s premise. It’s setting is interesting enough that it’s floor as a show is quite low but it’s also narrow enough that it would be quite hard to make it a masterpiece.
So if you have managed to go until now without hearing Gakkou Gurashi’s twist then just go and watch episode 1 right now, it won’t take long.
So marching forward, the premise of the show is that 4 high school girls have holed up in their school during the zombie apocalypse but it’s also a slice of life show.
What’s most interesting about this is how the series goes about showing this. One of the 4 girls has convinced herself that everything is normal and continues to attend classes by herself in an effort to cope. Sometimes we see the show from this characters perspective and the rest of the time we see it as the rest of the cast does.
This is the first step in reaching the shows ceiling, presenting it in an interesting way. For instance let’s look at Sword Art Online, a series that had a much higher potential ceiling but was handled quite poorly. You give one the premise of a high stakes death game and then spend all your time dicking around just showing characters doing what they’d do anyway. Now this could be tied into the idea of the blurry line between reality and video games but that’s rarely explored in depth. So this leaves you with just an interesting premise and not much else.
When Gakkou Gurashi brings up it’s central question, should the other girls let Yuki live in the ignorant bliss she enjoys or try and make her face the grim reality around her, it really hits home because of how the series has been presented. If the entire show didn’t change to a slice of life show when we see it from her perspective we wouldn’t be able to appreciate what a difficult decision this is for the girls. Life is so great in Yuki’s mind, we get to see that. If we had just seen her running around really happy juxtaposed against the apocalyptic backgrounds I think we would be inclined to just think snapping her out of it would be in her own best interests.
Do you endanger yourself to protect a friend or shatter their world to protect yourself? It’s a decent question and one that works very well in this show given it’s execution.
And then after that the show is just produced well. The directing is pretty good, I’ll notice that even when we are in Yuki’s world and the school looks fine, the sound of the wind passing through the broken windows will still be present for example. It looks nice and there is some real tension too.
Combining a well produced show and an interesting premise with interesting presentation like this and you’ll squeeze out every last bit of potential from the story concept. Gakkou Gurashi was never going to be a 10/10 but it did everything it could to be the 9 it was able to be.
Hope you enjoyed this short piece on Gakkou Gurashi, if you did please let me know in the comments what you thought of the show.
Thanks for reading,