Note: I’m watching School-Live! blind. Please do not post spoilers in the comments.
Finally in “new” material of School-Live! so I’m back to experiencing this show blind. As it turns out, I only needed to watch one more episode to find out the truth about Megu-nee. I can’t say I was hoping to learn that she’s still alive. There’s been so many hints the past five episodes that her fate was all but confirmed by this point. To hope would be in vain. I saw it coming but dang it.
So yes, Megu-nee has been dead all along and the one we’ve following for most of the show is one of Yuki’s hallucinations (the most prevalent one too). The episode provides a flashback on what happened. The School Living Club found themselves in a perilous situation and Megu-nee deliberately locked a door to save her students, sacrificing herself to the horde. As for her injury, I’m assuming that was by a zombie which would imply that Megu-nee also locked herself out so she wouldn’t risk becoming one and attack her students. There’s no explicit confirmation that this is what made Yuki snap but it’s likely to the case. If true, that’s insanely twisted. The person whom Yuki looks towards for guidance and support is also the catalyst for Yuki’s coping mechanism.
As expected, it’s Miki whom School-Live! uses to finally reveal the truth. That makes sense since, chronologically speaking, she knows nothing about the School Living Club, let alone Yuki and her condition. You have Yuki giving Miki a tour of their school, the latter clearly looking confused at the former’s behavior and conversations with Megu-nee. For a while, Miki puts up with it but eventually, her patience wears thin and she finally asks the question.
Despite all the telegraphing in the past five episodes, the show still manages to make the big reveal feel so chilling. Earlier in the scene, Yuki plays some music via a radio and as the scene builds up to the reveal, the radio begins to malfunction. The music gets distorted before finally dying right when the question is asked. The “camera” briefly focuses on Yuki’s eyes, her pupils shrinking in response to the question. Finally, we cut to a shot of the room revealing that Yuki and Miki are the only ones there and that Megu-nee isn’t actually there. In that same shot, you hear a heart beating. Maybe the twist was getting obvious by this point but that doesn’t stop the actual scene from sticking its uncomfortable landing.
I expected to see Yuki panicking and screaming as she’s confronted with reality but instead, the show goes the exact opposite route. She looks at Miki unperturbed and assumes her underclassman has the same bad habit of ignoring Megu-nee Perhaps she would’ve eventually snapped back when she asks Miki to talk to Megu-nee directly but we’ll never know since Yuuri and Kurumi arrive in the nick of time. I think this outcome stings more than what I had come up with. It’s so much crueler.
Eventually, Yuuri and Kurumi fill Miki in on Yuki’s condition. Yuuri also asks Miki to play along with it which the latter initially objects to. Yuuri’s response back is fascinating. School-Live! has had the girl act scary for laughs but this is the first time where her intimidation feels 100% genuine. Miki argues Yuki won’t get better and Yuuri responds with “‘Better, huh? What would get better, really?'”, smiling in the process while her eyes open up halfway. As the conversation escalates, her fists clenches and her body shakes. She looks about ready to punch Miki and she probably would’ve had Kurumi not intervene. When Yuuri tells Miki that she doesn’t understand the situation, I get the impression that she’s asking her if she thinks club hasn’t tried to help Yuki already. They’ve must have at this point and chances are they failed and almost made things worse. I’m assuming that Yuuri looks and acts the way she does in this scene because she feels defeated about the situation. She wants to help Yuki but can’t and she’s forced to accept things the way they are.
There’s an irony to Yuki’s condition. She may not see things 1 to 1 but because of that, she’s probably handling the zombie apocalypse better than anyone else. Kurumi even brings up an excellent point about the wacky ideas Yuki concocts. Like, does the club really need to do a sports festival like they do in this episode? Not necessarily but they do it anyway because it’s exciting, it’s eventful, and that’s something everyone needs in such a desperate time. And no one besides Yuki would’ve come up with it because everyone is hung up on surviving. In a weird way, Yuki is able to think outside the box. Miki ultimately agrees there, recognizing that being around Yuki and everyone else has made her feel more alive, more so than when she stayed cooped up in the mall.
That notion does make everyone look rather selfish. They don’t try to help Yuki because of the potential damage they could cause but they’re also letting it be so that they can use Yuki’s attitude to better deal with their predicament. I doubt that’s done on purpose, everyone clearly and genuinely care about Yuki, but it does seem like something they’re doing subconsciously and I wonder if it’ll be acknowledged. Hell, maybe that’s actually why Yuuri acts the way she does during her confrontation with Miki. She smiles to hide her awareness and shame and she asks what could get better because she concedes that Yuki livening things up with her hijinks is the best life is going to get.
There’s some imagery that I want to bring up. First, there’s a group shots of Yuki and Miki’s eyes where the image of the other person is transposed over their pupil. That partially hints towards Megu-nee being a hallucination, as in Miki’s eyes only see Yuki. I think it also serves to show their budding friendship; they each recognize that they have a new friend in their life. Another image comes when Miki asks Yuuri to become a permanent member of the club (which is frankly a little silly; I doubt there’s trial periods going on). Yuuri offers a handshake which not only represents the end of hostilities between her and Miki but also parallel when Kei lets go of Miki’s hand as they part ways. That gesture seems to mean a lot for Miki as one of her drawings for the graduation album ends up being one of her and Kei holding hands. Having effectively lost a friend, Miki must take getting a new one very seriously.
I’m not sure if this episode is the last of the extended flashbacks. There’s plenty of the past that could still be further elaborated. If the direction is just going to be forward however, I wonder what’s in store. The show has spent so much on backstory that the present now feels like the real mystery.
ED: “Afterglow” by Maon Kurosaki
Thanks for reading!