Top 5 Survival Anime – Murder Games, Zombies and More

Top 5 Survival Anime

There’s been a seeming resurgence of the survival anime throughout 2021 as we had High Rise Invasion, the recently completed Battle Game in 5 Seconds, and the Fall Season is bringing us Platinum End. There’s been plenty of others as well and for live action you can always jump on the Squid Game bandwagon.

As such, it seemed kind of appropriate timing for me to look at my favourite survival anime and count down my top 5. I will admit, I didn’t stick to just death match games but looked at anime where there was a focus on the character surviving a situation. That said I did consider and leave a few prominent titles off of my list.

What are your top 5 survival anime? Leave a comment below.

For instance Btoom and Deadman Wonderland both didn’t make my top 5 in the end largely because without any kind of resolution in the anime (or even really feeling like we’d gotten to something resembling a reasonable stopping point) they have limited rewatch value unless you really do just like watching anime characters die in painful ways. However, both are actually probably better quality and potentially better stories than some of the titles I did include on my list and fans of the survival genre should probably check them out anyway.

No. 5 Bokurano

Bokurano is a survival anime though your chances of surviving are pretty random.

Bokurano is an anime I have talked about before and it definitely falls into the category of survival anime given the kids who are tricked into piloting the robot know they will die if they are the selected pilot.

However it isn’t just the kids who find themselves needing to find a way to survive as Bokurano puts entire realities on the line and the lives of everyone and everything is at stake in what is seemingly a fairly pointless excuse for a giant robot battle and the worst game of musical chairs ever.

Here murdering your companions won’t do you much good so at the very least we are spared a massacre of 12 year olds (actually I can’t remember how old the kids are but either way that would be tragic).

No. 4 King’s Game

King's Game - Survival Anime

Well, those who have followed my blog for any length of time had to know I was going to include King’s Game on a list of survival anime. It is so bad it is almost hilarious as a group of teens get roped into a game where they receive instructions on their phone that they must complete or suffer horrible punishment (usually horrific death).

I can’t even remember if the worst moment was when they tried to suggest a real world virus somehow became a computer virus infecting mobile phones or whether it was the character who was on fire calmly delivering exposition to the characters who were going to survive after her. There were a number of other equally ridiculous moments along the way.

What I do appreciate about King’s Game is that despite the standard horror trope of knowing that the game will start up again (because there always has to be an opening for a sequel), King’s Game as a series does conclude well enough. This group of characters are mostly dead and there’s been a final confrontation between the two main rivals in the plot. It ends up being pretty satisfying if you can handle how decided b grade (okay maybe c or d grade) the overall anime is.

No. 3 Eden of The East

Eden of the East - Survival Anime

The last thing you expect when you meet a naked man holding a gun while on vacation is that said naked man is actually an amnesiac who is part of the weirdest game ever. Eden of the East has our main character carrying a phone which allows him to access a lot of money and seemingly unlimited ability to spend it to make things happen. Only thing is he is tasked with saving Japan and failure does mean death.

Not to mention there’s a whole bunch of other phone wielding characters, some of which seem very unbalanced, and ultimately surviving is going to depend on out-thinking them in how you creatively use that money and power at your disposal.

Again, this one isn’t just a blood bath or battle royale, but more a situation where really only one character can save Japan. There’s always the question of who is pulling the strings to make his requests happen and how do you place value on something like making a politician say uncle while in parliament?

Anyway, Eden of the East is an intriguing watch and what could have turned into a simple fight for the phones actually ends up being a much more complex and interesting story.

No. 2 Future Diary

Future Diary - Survival Anime

I just realised that 3 of my top 5 survival anime revolve around the use of phones. Anyway, Future Diary or Mirai Nikki is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a survival anime. Here are twelve characters given special powers through their phone diaries (are phone diaries even a real thing?) and now they are going to kill each other in order to become God.

I still wonder about this system because being ruled over by someone ruthless enough to slaughter 11 others on their way to victory doesn’t sound like a positive outcome.

That said, Future Diary is unapologetically violent and boasts some of the most ridiculously over-the-top moments in anime ever. Expect bomb blasts in a school, blood splatter of all descriptions, and one yandere character who still kind of tops the list in Yuno Gasai.

Do not expect anything resembling nuance or subtlety and don’t expect the characters to really get much in the way of growth or development. While they are interesting, the vast majority of the cast are one-note and it works for this survival anime as it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than an excuse for a slaughter.

No. 1 School Live

School Live - Survival Anime

If you haven’t watched School Live I’m about to spoil a reveal that comes at the end of episode 1 and explain why this is my very favourite survival anime.

Still with me?

Okay, School Live is a survival anime in the very strictest sense of the word. Our cute female students are actually the only known survivors of the zombie outbreak and they are sheltering in their school.

The cute contrast between the character designs and the bright fluffy moments where we see their everyday friendship versus the real risk of being attacked by zombies as well as the way this story deals with the mental impact of the horrific situation really does make it something special to watch. While it doesn’t bring the mindless death and carnage of so many other horror or survival anime, it gives us a very human story set in a horrific environment.

Top 5 Survival Anime
These were my favourite survival anime but I’d love to know yours so be sure to leave a comment below.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Tuesday’s Top 5: Horror Anime Released in the Last 5 Years

Tuesday's Top 5

It is seriously hard to find a good horror anime and that isn’t surprising given how few are released in general (when compared with the plethora of isekai stories or cute girls doing whatever anime). But it does make it hard to do a Halloween anime list each year when very little has changed. So to shake things up, this year I’m just looking at my favourite horror anime released in the last 5 years (so since the beginning of 2014). My only requirement for this list is that I enjoyed the anime and it is tagged as a horror anime. That said, I’d love to know your favourites so please leave me a comment below with some of your recent favourite horror anime.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Devilman Crybaby and The Lost Village. Both had potentially good ideas but neither really worked for me in the end. Still, they are both better than the Ito Junji Collection anime.

Number 5: King’s Game


It would be so wrong for me to not include King’s Game on this list. As terrible as it was, it was the kind of terrible that ended up just being a joy to watch. With a number of other bloggers on board watching this weekly ended up being pure fun even as the show descended into every sillier lows (I’m still stuck on the girl who was on fire calmly spouting exposition before jumping). It is ridiculous, over the top, violent, and mostly senseless, but it is still one of the most entertaining horror anime I’ve watched in a while.

Number 4: Ajin


Okay, creepy animation style aside, Ajin delivered a fairly compelling plot and an interesting cast of characters. Did it always use them to their best advantage? Not so much, but Ajin did manage to keep me entertained. Whether it was the tense feeling of needing to escape, the horror of confinement and human experimentation, or the outright shock and gore of some fairly bloody fight sequences, Ajin delivered and it did it with style and consistency for the most part.

Number 3: Parasyte


There’s something genuinely unsettling about the idea of having your hand eaten and replaced by a parasitic being that awakens you by lamenting that it didn’t manage to eat your head. Throw in the cold and alien intelligence with no regard for life outside of its own survival and you have the makings of a really interesting story. Now, Parasyte may not have lived up to the expectations set by its premise and it did have a lot of wasted side quest moments, but the core story is one that provides plenty of unsettling moments and if you want blood you will certainly find that here.

Number 2: Tokyo Ghoul


Speaking of blood, Tokyo Ghoul managed to slip in to the time frame and so I had to include it. Season one begins with a lot of gross out body horror with slicing and dicing and vomiting. It’s a generally visually disturbing opening to a show that continues to bring shocks and grossness with over the top violence, cannibalism, and finally descending into a slow torture sequence before ending its first season with a bang. While the narrative has its issues and the pacing is all over the shop, if you want something that knows how to get a visceral reaction out of an audience, Tokyo Ghoul is going to do the trick (at least the first season did).

Number 1: School-Live!


There’s not a lot I can say about this one without getting straight into spoiler territory but if you’ve never given this anime a go and you like horror at all, I’m just going to tell you to go watch the first episode and watch the whole episode. What you do after that is up to you but if you are anything like me you’ll be hooked. Again, the mid-season of this anime flounders a bit but with a solid opening act and some genuinely horrific sequences for the cast coming your way, this one is well worth watching and attempting to watch cold. The less you know the more impact it is going to have.

Have I missed your favourite horror anime released since 2014? Let me know your picks in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Female Anime Characters With Pink Hair

Tuesday's Top 5

Last week I looked at my favourite male characters with pink hair and realised, tragically, there just aren’t that many that I’ve remembered. Totally opposite problem this week when I tried to narrow down my list of lovely anime ladies with pink hair. Ultimately I went with characters who I felt were striking in appearance (pink hair does tend to stand out) as well as characters who added something to the plot of their story. The list ended up being a bit interesting.

I’d love to know who you are including on your list so please share your choices in the comments below.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Emi Yusa (The Devil is a Part-timer) and Yuno Gasai (Future Diary).

Number 5: Kofuku Ebisu (Noragami)


Kofuku may be a god of poverty and have a tendency to bankrupt men and tear rifts into the underworld leading to more phantoms being released, but you have to admit, as one of Yato’s few divine friends she’s certainly a lot of fun. She gets that sometimes you just have to go with things yet ultimately she’s ready to do what needs to be done. As a character who has offered advice, shelter, power, predictions, and full on muscle to the team when needed, Kofuku definitely earns a spot on this list.

Number 4: Amu Himamori (Shugo Chara)


Amu is definitely one of my favourite pink haired characters of all time. The contradiction between her outer appearance and personality is one that causes her no end of confusion in this magical story that very much focuses on her finding out what she actually wants to be and who she is. With three different guardian characters all pulling her in different directions as well as her own heart, Amu is a very fun character to get to know and to watch grow up and learn to really harness all of her potential.

Number 3: Yuki Takeya (School-Live)


And here is another spoiler warning just in case you missed the one earlier in the post.

Yuki is a fantastic character. When we are first introduced to her, she’s your basic school-girl air-head all happy to be with her friends and join in club activities. As you follow Yuki around in a typical day during the first episode, you note that not everything seems quite right, but it isn’t until the end of the episode you realise that Yuki is living in a zombie apocalypse and just hasn’t admitted it to herself yet. Yes, this adorable pink haired protagonist is firmly convinced everything in the world is fine and it is up to the rest of the club members to keep her from wandering outside of the barriers or getting herself killed. That would be interesting enough, but Yuki’s character has a beautiful arc as she comes to terms with what has happened and she is fantastic to watch. Definitely an anime to check out and Yuki’s character will leave a lasting impression.

Number 2: Megum Shimizu (Shiki)


Megumi may not be the main character of her series, but she is the first victim we see on screen in this vampire horror story. Megumi, so desperate to escape village life, ultimately dies and comes back as a vampire and is pretty much asked to continue living a village life. While she at first has a great deal of fun tormenting those who used to be friends, as life sours for the vampires, Megumi starts looking seriously at escape. While she is never a fantastic character, Megumi gives us some excellent creepy moments and she is a character who is very true to what she wants at all times.

Number 1: Masami Iwasawa (Angel Beats)


It is no secret that I have a deep love of Angel Beats, and a lot of that came about because of Iwasawa’s character. Prior to the episode that focused on Iwasawa I’d been enjoying Angel Beats and I’d loved the music and craziness of it, but when I first heard “My Song” and watched Iwasawa ‘accept’ things, I think that was the first time Angel Beats broke my heart and it was the moment I realised that this anime was something a bit special. While its blend of over the top action and comedy as well as melodrama may not sit well with most people, for me it was an emotional roller coaster that I never could get enough of. Iwasawa’s song and character moment remain one of my favourite anime moments ever.

That’s a wrap on pink hair. Leave me a comment telling me who is on your list, and next week we’ll count down anime with dark endings.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Friday’s Feature: From Horror Creature to Character – The Question of Zombies


There will be some spoilers for School-Live and Shaun of the Dead in this post.

While my initial thoughts on this post were sparked by watching School-Live, I will admit, the question of zombies has been one that has been rattling around my brain for awhile. Not that that’s surprising given the prolific nature of zombie movies, TV shows, video games, and books and my love of terrible horror (and the occasional good horror story).

So what is the question?

What makes something a zombie or a zombie horror?

That seems like a really silly question given, as I already mentioned, the vast number of stories that feature zombies. In the last ten years you’ve barely been able to blink without a new zombie story being thrown in front of your face.

While some people will argue that this is an over-saturation of the market and that zombies are now pretty boring (and they aren’t entirely wrong), what they miss is that a zombie is not always a zombie and with a vastly over saturated market writers are becoming more and more innovative in how they present their version of a zombie filled future. Of course, this phenomenon isn’t entirely limited to zombies. We’ve seen the same thing occur in super hero movies. So many super heroes and the movies are all the same? Time for a gritty reimagination. Then again, zombie movies were always pretty gritty and depressing so I guess we’re doing the opposite in that some of these shows and movies are having a bit more fun with their zombies.

I do find it interesting that both werewolves and vampires had their make-overs done nearly two decades before zombies though I’ve noticed some modern vampire shows are starting to dump the romance angle and are heading back into actual horrific territory. It would be interesting to see the lore come full circle and more of the ravenous beasts and less of the cool beauty for awhile.

However, let’s focus on zombies. Specifically zombies in anime.


If you want classic zombie silliness with some fan-service and not a lot of plot (unless bouncing breasts count as plot) you can’t go past High School of the Dead. It will give you exactly what you expect as the teenagers go from frightened students to armed and dangerous literally hacking their way through anything without a pulse that moves. The zombies in this story are as stock standard as they come. They shuffle and walk in mobs with limited to no intelligence demonstrated and are only to be feared because of sheer numbers and the fact that normal injuries don’t dissuade them. Go for the kill shot or run.

28 Days Later

There is nothing noteworthy about the portrayal of zombies here except that it seems decidedly old-school considering the zombie movies of the time were adding in zombies that could sprint, jump, and generally seemed to work together in a terrifying manner. Seriously, zombies that can move quick are unfair and 28 Days Later or 28 Weeks Later (not to be mistaken with 28 Days that deals with drug addicts and not zombies – though you’d be forgiven for that mix-up) took the fast violent zombie angle to new levels of terror. It was probably the first time I genuinely jumped watching a zombie movie.

Of course, the standard commentary that both High School of the Dead and 28 Days Later incorporated was the question of ‘who is the real monster?’ Both show that the human survivors are frequently more terrifying than any virus running rampant. I will note here that zombie stories have kind of moved beyond using zombie culture as a metaphor for consumption and consumerism which is kind of nice even if that particular metaphor is still pretty apt at times. Instead questions of identity and what makes a person a human float to the surface but never for too long because there are zombies to kill.


Then we have the story that decided to play zombies for laughs: Is This A Zombie? And the question had to be asked and I had to rewrite my title for this post because originally that was my question about zombies in general but given it is also the title of one of the examples I was discussing that just seemed confusing. Despite the comedic nature of the show, you are left wondering what actually does it mean to be a zombie in this story?

Ayumu is definitely dead. He died and was brought to life. He is pretty indestructible (a fact which is played for laughs many, many times) though is weak to sunlight.  Otherwise though, he has his memories, his personality, everything about him is pretty much unchanged. There’s no shuffling mindlessness and apparently no concern about him infecting others (mostly because he didn’t become a zombie via a virus or contamination but rather due to a necromancers magic).

What this does is makes us re-evaluate the term zombie. Because prior to the movies, older zombie lore was more about a zombie being made. The idea of rapidly spreading infection and bio-hazards is a far more recent entry into the genre even though it is now the standard.

Still, a comedy play on a zombie doesn’t really allow for much discussion of the genre because any idiosyncrasy can be laughed off as part of the humour of the story so we’ll move on to School-Live which is mostly what brought me to this topic.


School-Live has your slow moving and shuffling zombies that seem to swarm at times and infect others through a bite. The spread of the virus seems pretty rapid considering how slow the zombies seem to move but I guess once they had numbers on their side there was little normal civilians could do if they got themselves surrounded. What School-Live does that is different from High School of the Dead, other than far less fan-service (though they didn’t remove that aspect entirely) is that the survivors don’t become fearless zombie killers and the zombies themselves seem to retain some memory of their former life.


I was kind of reminded of the joke in Shaun of the Dead when the son is trying to convince his mother to abandon the step-father because nothing of the man he was remained and then the step-father in question leaned forward in the car and switched off the annoying music. It was played as a joke but it raised a significant question about the moral implications of bashing the brains in of a zombie if it still had a personality and an ability to think. And Shaun of the Dead took this further where at the end of the movie we see the two main characters (one human and one zombie) playing video games together in the shed. It really makes you wonder about all those zombies that were ruthlessly mowed down and how many of them could have learned or been saved and whether or not living chained in a shed is actually considered to be living.

School-Live raises this question early on when the zombies are noted to follow the pattern of their previous daily routine. They rock up to school during the day and seem to ‘go home’ at night. Sometimes the boy zombies seem to be ‘playing’ soccer. Basically the zombies seem attracted to places and things of significance during their life.


However, it is with Megu-nee (the teacher) where this question really becomes important. We have the obvious encounter between one of the students and the zombified teacher where the teacher does end up biting and infecting the student. So we know that the zombification does in fact over-ride some of the basic instincts of the human they were. And we have the student unable to defend herself because she likes that teacher and can’t bring herself to kill her (kill her again?). That’s pretty standard. However, the presence of the teacher in the sub-basement, the note book that was clearly written in after the teacher had ‘died’, all of this hints at a life after death that is more than just being a mindless monster.

The dog also demonstrates this point where even after becoming a zombie (and zombie dog is really cute even though he is terrifying) he ends up protecting one of the girls from a zombie attack.

If further evidence of this theme of zombies that think needed to be given in the show, they then get the zombie students back out of the school by telling them that school is now closed and it is time to go home. Seriously. They make this announcement over the school speakers and the zombies all just kind of leave and go home.


In a genre full of spectacular and bloody murder, such a clean solution to a zombie crisis seems crazy and yet it kind of changes how you look at every other show about zombies and what is driving the zombies. In many films and shows it is clear you couldn’t interact with a zombie in this way. You would be dead. They don’t respond at all. But others? Even Resident Evil attempted to domesticate the zombies throughout the films despite miserable failure at doing so.

So my next questions are for you:

What are your favourite zombie shows/movies/books?

And which classic monster needs to have the next make-over? (My vote is for mummies.)

Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.



Karandi James.


School-Live Series Review: Does a Zombie/Cute-Girl Mash Up Actually Work?


Overview – Spoilers if you haven’t seen the show:

The School Live club are a club that live at school. They sleep there, they eat there, they attend classes there, and they check the barricades to make sure they are alone there. Yes, this is another zombie story however School-Live decides to combine the cute girl genre in anime with zombie horror and the results are kind of interesting.

I started watching this after reading D’s initial impressions when they watched the show about two months ago. I’ve also posted my episodic thoughts previously so if you are interested check them out, but be aware of spoilers if you read beyond the first post.


As I said above, I initially started this anime after reading about it on D’s blog. I’d heard about it before but never paid a lot of attention. The art for it with the cute girls in school uniforms (even if they were hanging around a decrepit school room) just didn’t really leap out and say it was a must watch.


I mean, you’ve got all your cliché’s in one. The pink haired and bubbly girl. The tough girl who is actually really sweet and loyal. The conservative girl that ends up being used for fan-service way too often. And then the serious leader type girl who acts like everyone’s big sister. Throw in a cute puppy and there you go.

Then again, it is also a zombie anime. I don’t know about you, but if I were taking bets on who would survive a zombie apocalypse, group of cute girls in a high school with a puppy wouldn’t be my first pick. Even after watching the anime I’m still not convinced on this point. Given only one of them actually ever even carries any kind of weapon for defense (until the very end), and one of the characters seem perpetually stuck in her own fantasy land where normal classes are continuing and all her friends are still alive, you kind of  have to just accept the basic premise that these girls through a series of coincidences did survive and for some sort of reason the school seemed prepared to house survivors in the case of a zombie outbreak. They never really get back to that point though so if you are after a full explanation of the reason why you will walk away disappointed.


My overall thoughts after watching this anime are that I absolutely loved it until the half-way point. The first six episodes were brilliant. The direction, the way the reveals were handled, the characterisation, everything just worked. There were some really clever choices made and there was suspense, laughter, and enough creepy horror to keep you completely engaged even during the more mundane meal sequences and playing around the girls got up to.

Then we went into the second half. Three of these episodes kind of just focussed on the cute girl aspects and they kind of lost the suspense and mystery. The show that had balanced its elements nicely (or at least in a way that was highly entertaining) suddenly seemed to throw itself far too far toward the cute girls hanging around a school mode. These episodes dragged and just didn’t hold my interest. Even the direction, which had been exceptional earlier on, kind of became fairly ordinary during this sequence of episodes.


Then the final three episodes switched again and went into full blown zombie horror. Admittedly, as a bigger fan of horror than slice of life and cute girls, I liked these episodes much more but that unique feeling where these two aspects were working together that had been so prominent during the first half of the series was gone.

I mentioned earlier that there are plenty of mysteries about the school and about the zombie outbreak that will never be solved. That isn’t a deal breaker for this show. This show isn’t looking at a government response to the outbreak or following a group of scientists or someone involved in the release of the virus. This show follows four high school girls just trying to live (not just survive). The distinction between living and survival comes up a number of times throughout the series. Sometimes it is addressed carefully and subtly and other times it just kind of smacks you in the face (Kei leaving Miki behind in the mall being one of them).

Because of the characters we are watching and their limited knowledge and limited access to knowledge there’s a lot we’ll never know about this world, and that’s okay. This story is built on tropes. Audiences know what cute girls in high school should get up to. These girls take a field trip, visit the library, do some gardening, have a sports festival, and camp out, a pool party, and more or less anything else you would expect from that sort of story. Audiences know what to expect from zombie horror. There’s been an outbreak. Does it actually matter why? Unless the story is focussed on finding a cure, I’d say probably not.

Yet, that reliance on the audience knowing the genres is also a weakness in the story.

And we’re plunging headlong into final episode spoilers so please bail out now if that’s an issue.


Toward the end the girls learn that the highschool was prepared for a zombie outbreak, including the possibility of a cure for the recently infected being hidden in a sub-basement. This essentially tips the hand of the remaining plot (what little there is) as one of the four receives a bite  from a zombie. Not because she was overwhelmed but because of who the zombie had previously been and her inability to bash the brains out of a former friend (another issue the story touches on that I’ll get back to). Admittedly, this character getting bitten had been foreshadowed far earlier when she’d made the leader of the group promise to kill her in an instant if she got infected. Seriously, raise a death flag much.

Rather than actually follow through on the promise, the girls work together to get the antidote that essentially serves as the most convenient deus ex machina ever given why does this exist? Why is it in the school? Why isn’t there more of it already made if people were expecting and preparing for a zombie outbreak? It kind of kills any tension or suspense for this final sequence of events.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t something there though.

Delusional girl has finally snapped to reality and realises her friends are in big trouble because there are zombies. Turns out though that even when she’s in the real world, she has some interesting ways of viewing things. Instead of going gung-ho zombie killer, she makes her way to the school announcement room (or whatever it was called) and essentially tells the zombies she knows they love school but it is time to go home. And they leave.

This is probably the best thing School-Live does in the second half of the series. Even in the first half the girls had observed that the zombies seemed to be repeating events from their life, drawn to things they liked or did, and certain zombies in particular seem to act to protect things. This idea of zombies not being entirely brain-dead and having some part of their original personality isn’t new, but it is kind of interesting and throws a whole moral spanner in the works of shows where zombies exist only to be mowed down in interesting and violent ways. I’m going to touch on this later in an actual feature post rather than getting into that discussion now.

Alright, I’m done with spoilers.


Basically, this anime works incredibly well. The first half is superior to the second in terms of cohesion, tone and suspense, but the second half isn’t exactly a train wreck. In fact, it manages to pull out some great character moments, asks some interesting questions, and while the ultimate resolution isn’t perfect there really wasn’t any other way for the show to end given the initial premise.

I’m glad I spent some time at school with these girls. I’m glad I watched it all the way through. I’ll probably do a rewatch someday and I think that despite my issues with the second half that this is an anime worth checking out.

Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.



Karandi James.


School-Live Episodes 10 – 12


Review – Some spoilers:

There’s a lot I want to say but most of it relates to the overall series and I’ll save that for my series review of this. On these three episodes I did have some disappointments, but episode 10 did have a massive shift from the slice-of-life cuteness of episode 9 and we went into fairly full on zombie horror. However, it is in these three episodes where the delicate balancing act between cute girls/slice of life/zombie horror derails because amazingly enough you can’t satisfy everyone with your ending and this show already made it clear it was landing firmly on the side of cute girls dealing with zombies rather than a zombie story with cute girls in it.


So the end is serviceable enough, doesn’t resolve the mystery they started unearthing in the second half and doesn’t give us any real narrative resolution even for the girls. They graduate (or rather hold a fake graduation ceremony) and head off for hopefully another shelter (given the state there’s is in after these episodes). And that’s it.

Certainly there’s been character development and Yuki has finally faced her reality. All of the girls have grown a bit though most intriguing are the questions raised about whether the zombies are conscious or not and of course that line of thought doesn’t get any kind of answer. Nor does the emergency vaccine in the basement seem to have any purpose or explanation. Nor does the sudden hostility of the zombies other than they don’t like being out in the rain. You know, it works well enough but after the first half of this series I really wanted more.

Anyway, as I said, I’ll save a lot of that for the series review. I’m still glad I watched this series and even these episodes have their moments.

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Karandi James.


School-Live Episodes 7 – 9



After such an incredibly strong and interesting first half, I guess it was inevitable that something would falter and these three episodes kind of bring a lull. It isn’t that things aren’t happening here but the focus after the reveal has definitely been on the cute girl aspect of this show. Cute girls writing letters and thinking of their future and cute girls messing around in a water tank (swim suits part two for the season).

School7In honesty there is nothing wrong with this. The characters are in a horrible position and they are making the most of it. There have always been these cutesy moments and they add to the enjoyment of the horror because you actually see what these characters would have been like if, you know, zombies hadn’t taken over.

However, I’ll swing my focus to the new mystery brewing and I’m less enthralled by it than I was over the question of whether the teacher were alive or dead. That mystery was clever and felt really genuine whereas this current one feels like they are over-complicating their plot and that its going to make it very hard to stick the landing in a satisfying manner. Essentially, the non-delusional girls in the club have been wondering about all the conveniences of this school that make survival even possible and with the discovery of a key they unearth an emergency evacuation plan for staff that kind of indicates that whoever was running the school knew a zombie plague was coming.


Just why?

If you don’t tell me how the zombie outbreak started, I genuinely won’t care. Somehow, somewhere, an infection started and now we have zombies. These girls are just kids trying to survive. It makes sense that they don’t know why that happened or who started it so an audience member I don’t need to know either. However, if you try to tell me a high school was involved in some sort of national or global conspiracy involving biological agents and you are pushing my ability to suspend disbelief. They might still do something with this that I can go along with but I am now kind of worried for where the last three episodes are going to go.

I’ve really enjoyed watching this but I am hoping that it manages to end well. And by well I mean horrifically but that’s just me.

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Karandi James.


School-Live Epiosdes 5 + 6



Okay, I didn’t actually stop between these episodes and I think it is going to get harder for me to stop because I’m really enjoying this story, hence the lack of images to populate the post. These two episodes conclude the story of how Miki joined the School Living club and how they revealed what I’d kind of guessed about the teacher.


Despite more or less knowing the reveal because I’d convinced myself that it had to be the case, this was still pretty dramatic because of the way the characters react to sharing that information. Not Yuki of course. She’s in her own delusional little world and while that might be fun for her I still am not convinced of the other club members motives in letting her just continue on her merry way. I guess its more fun than admitted you actually are in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and help may not be coming.

The blend of horror and slice of life in this story continues to be very effective as we go from a standard mall run where the characters are having to constantly be on alert and ultimately face a horde (one of the first real confrontations we’ve seen of any scale) to the girls having a sports competition in the school. The contrast is jarring but in the surreal and fascinating way that keeps you glued to the screen.

I’ll also continue to give this show props for its direction because so far that has been pretty amazing. The only scene I didn’t really like was the one with Miki and Yuki in the music room. For the first time the shift between Yuki vision and reality was a little heavily done and just felt gimmicky rather than sincere. Though, given what that scene was trying to emphasise (and it was ensuring that no further doubt remained about it) the heavy handed nature was probably deliberate.

Overall, I’m really hooked on this and I’m looking forward to the next run of episodes.

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Karandi James.


School-Live Episode 4



Any doubt I had about the teacher is gone as this episode makes it clear she is entirely in Yuki’s head. Otherwise there’s no way she would have given permission for an outing and certainly no way she’d hand her car keys to a student. The fact that Yuki is the one handing over the keys while the teacher stands there flustered is the first give away and then the second, if you needed it, is when the teacher is somehow in the car as they speed away from the school. She wasn’t with Kurumi getting the car and she wasn’t with Yuki and Yuri so had no means to get in the car.

Though the teacher is hardly the big point here, I’m just happy to have finally resolved my doubts about her. What is really impressive is how Yuki manages to deny everything that has happened. I knew she was seeing a different world then the reality but she even explains the barricades away as being repair closures.


That’s some fierce denial she’s got going on here.

I guess eventually they will tell us what happened to Megu-nee and why she isn’t with them anymore but this week’s episode is all about Miki and how she was at the mall when the zombie outbreak started. Interestingly she wasn’t alone however her friend also had a clear case of denial and decided to ‘go for help’. I’m not certain whether we’re going to run into zombie friend next episode or if she’s just gone from the series so that we never know what happened to her but Miki has been left with the dog (so at least we know how the club got a dog).


I’m really loving this series. We’re learning things out of sequence but everything slots together so beautifully and there’s some real logic behind it. Not to mention, there’s some really great nods to classic horror scenes even as we bounce through this world of cute anime girls.

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Karandi James.


School-Live Episode 3



After my question last episode of whether Megu-nee was actually real of just another of Yuki’s delusions, this episode begins from the overly friendly, super pink haired teacher’s perspective but we’ve gone to the beginning of the zombie outbreak.


If anything, this episode is designed to bring about ambiguity as to Megu-nee’s existence. She clearly was a real teacher and known to three of the students prior to the zombie outbreak and she didn’t die in the initial onslaught of the school, but whether she is still alive is most definitely brought into question by the way this episode is delivered.


I’d more or less decided she must be really involved in the actual discussion when Kurumi delivered the line that a tent for four was big enough for all of them. And then a few things clicked in my head. At no point during the ‘meal’ does Megu-nee eat or drink anything from the plate set in front of her. At no point does anyone other than Yuki initiate a conversation or respond to a comment from Megu-nee until Yuki has. The other girls thank her and address comments to her, but only after a cue from Yuki as to what she may have said. This actually means they could still reveal that she is actually alive and you couldn’t say she wasn’t (though that would make a lot of these interactions really strange) or they could reveal she’s no longer with the girls and that would also make perfect sense.


Given we see her writing her ‘will’ and then she the screen rolls and fades to black and given the very strange interactions, including Yuki telling the other girls that she was back from patrol and being the first to move after Megu-nee apparently left the tent again, I’m still voting for her not being alive but that is just my guess at this point.

As to an actual review of the episode, this is pretty standard beginning of zombie plague narration as normal teacher goes about normal day with increasing awareness of weirdness (sirens, persistent messages from mother, some increasingly alarming news reports, finally slaughter and death), followed by girls playing make believe camp out in tent. That weird mix of horror and slice of life continues to work really well in this series and it all continues to be very intriguing if only because of some of the clever choices being made in how they reveal or conceal certain points of information.

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Karandi James.