12 Days of Anime #11: The Day Everything Changed

If you look closely you can see the exact moment when her heart breaks.

[HorribleSubs] Gakkou Gurashi! - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.49_[2015.12.15_00.47.47] crying kurumi

Gakkougurashi started life as one of those shows I just didn’t know what to make of. Its unique premise, which I was unfortunately spoiled on before watching the first episode, (Okay, what if I told you we had cute girls like K-ON but with Zombies?) seemed intriguing but I wasn’t really sure whether the actual show could follow through on that. The first episode was interesting enough, as it took its time before finally revealing the zombie apocalypse most of the audience already knew was coming. Even after a relatively decent second episode, the show remained more of a speculative pick for me than anything.

Then the third episode took us back to the beginning of the zombie crisis and changed my perspective on the show completely. The episode, like the show itself, started innocently enough with Megu-nee getting ready for one of her first days of work as a teacher. The episode was really good at showing Megumi’s insecurities as a teacher while also dropping hints of the tragedy to come later. For a time, it seemed like just another day at school for Megumi, but then all hell broke loose.

[HorribleSubs] Gakkou Gurashi! - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.03_[2015.12.15_00.46.41] shovel slash

The final scene of this episode on the rooftop stands out as one of the best scenes of anime all year. The direction in this series overall was outstanding but this scene in particular was superb. Rather than take the route of over the top violence to make its point, Gakkougurashi managed to make this scene extremely intense through the absence of violence and gore. Just as you’re bracing yourself for the sound and visuals of the shovel impacting a zombie’s head the visuals cut out and you’re left to imagine the horrors that are being hidden from you. It was in this moment that I knew we had something special on our hands. Rather than just an intriguing combination of genres, Gakkougurashi was actually a genuinely good show in its own right. While the rest of its run was a bit up and down, Gakkougurashi had plenty of high points and greatly exceeded the expectations I had going in. When you’re paying close attention to upcoming shows and season previews all the time it’s hard to be surprised by something but I’m glad to say that Gakkougurashi surprised me.

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