Note: I’m watching School-Live! blind. Please do not post spoilers in the comments.
It’s not explicitly confirmed but I’m guessing School-Live! is back to the present and the extended flashbacks are over, at least for now. Honestly, I hope that’s the case. I enjoyed learning what happened prior but that was almost the entire first half of this show. Now that we’re in the second half, it’s time to shift gears.
One change that’s immediately apparent involves Megu-nee. With the viewer now fully aware that she’s dead, the show doesn’t pull any more visual trickery. You flat out see Yuki talking to nothing and when Megu-nee does appear, there’s now a glow to her to denote that she’s not the real one. It’s actually very unnerving. Even knowing that Megu-nee was technically not there, I’m still so used to seeing her around. Now, I can’t shake off the feeling that someone’s missing. It’s not the same anymore.
Yuki’s friends are still pretending that Megu-nee is there but there is one serious slip up in this episode. Kurumi recounts driving back from the mall after the field trip and accidentally hints to Yuki that Megu-nee wasn’t in the car with them. Yuki attempts to place Megu-nee in her memory (a very creative shot by the way) and everyone tries to cover the mistake up but ultimately, Yuki runs off to the faculty office to ask Megu-nee herself about what happened. Curiously, Yuki doesn’t actually open the door, instead standing in front of it while she “talks” to her teacher. There’s also a shot showing the other side, revealing there’s dried blood and one of Megu-nee’s ribbons on the floor. All signs are pointing to the faculty office being where Megu-nee locked herself to save the club. As if the show couldn’t get any darker.
There’s two ways to look at the scene where Megu-nee appears and consoles Yuki about her fears. The first and admittedly most negative way to look at it is that it’s Yuki making herself return to “normal”. Megu-nee is obviously not there, the words she says are what Yuki wants to hear, and Yuki is consciously choosing to let go of Kurumi’s slip up so that she’s untroubled. The second way is that in spite of the baggage behind Yuki’s decision, there is a surprisingly sentimental motivation behind it. Megu-nee consoles her by stressing the importance of keeping a record of the past and talking to others so that the memories remain vivid. The implication is Yuki views the world as it used to be because she’s afraid her recollection of the school and her teacher will fade and this is her way of ensuring they won’t. It’s weird. I can’t deny that there is a twisted quality to the scene but at the same time, the emotional weight it wants to convey does work for me.
Again, we have the gang unsure what to do. While Miki now understands the value behind Yuki’s outlook, she once again argues this can’t go on for much longer. Kurumi is also starting to have second thoughts, even saying that Megu-nee wouldn’t want Yuki to suffer. Meanwhile, Yuuri stays quiet about the matter despite her visible concern.
I really hope there’s a Yuuri-centric episode later in the series. This girl and where she stands in the main conflict gets more and more interesting as time goes on. This episode even drops one hell of a tidbit: that the School Living Club was both hers and Megu-nee’s idea and it was presumably done for Yuki’s sake. I don’t doubt that Yuuri does care deeply about Yuki. In fact, she’s probably the best out of the three other characters when it comes to working and playing along with Yuki’s personality and outlook. But at the same time, it’s becoming apparent that Yuuri is the most reserved when it comes to the idea of an intervention. She has brought up the fact that none of them are professional psychologists and that remains an extremely sound point but after this episode and the one before it, I’m starting to think there’s more than she lets on.
For the B part, Yuki finds some of Megu-nee’s writing materials and pitches to the club that they should write letters and send them out to the world. Everyone agrees to the idea since it’d be fun and also be chance for them to call for help. The balloons Yuki grabbed back in Episode 2 actually comes to play as the club’s main means of sending the letters. Yuuri even reveals there’s helium tanks they could use (seriously, is there anything this school doesn’t have?). Kurumi however has an alternative in mind: attaching a letter to a pigeon. Thus, we have a bit where Kurumi tries to catch one and it is as hilarious as you’d imagine it to be. She tries putting a basket over them and even tries to whack them with her stinking shovel before finally devising a trap that works. Between this and that time she drove the car, I don’t know if Kurumi is the best written character in School-Live! but she has certainly been the most entertaining one so far.
Despite the levity leading up to it, the actual sending of the letters makes for an emotionally powerful scene. There’s a strong sense of optimism here, the characters unsure of where the letters will end up, let alone result in them getting rescued. Still, they look on in the hope that someone will find one and read it. Miki notably writes one letter addressed to Kei which, at least for the time being, gives closure to her biggest regret in life. Playing an orchestral version of “Friend Shitai” was also a nice touch.
There’s a couple of signs of where the story will go from here. First, Kurumi and Yuuri mention that winter is coming, something which never crossed my mind as I was watching the show. I can only assume that the gang is completely screwed once it gets cold and it starts to snow, not to mention the possibility of the weather forcing power to shut down. Second, I’m more and more noticing the emphasis on the school graduation. You’ve had Yuki and Miki making an album for the ceremony and in this episode, Yuki writes one of her letters about what she wants to do after she graduates. The new ED’s final shot also shows “graduation” written on a chalkboard. Is the club actually going to hold a ceremony? I’m really curious about that. Finally, you have Miki finding a spare faculty key that belongs to Megu-nee. She later hands it over to Yuuri for safekeeping. That’s surely to come into play later but considering that the office is where Megu-nee presumably die, I have a bad feeling about what the key entails.
ED: “Afterglow” by Maon Kurosaki
Honestly, this ED makes me teary eyed. It really makes me think that things are coming to an end here. The school looks even more deteriorated than it already is (possibly stylistic or maybe even foreshadowing). You have the club resting in a classroom before disappearing from it entirely. That doesn’t bode well. Something that stands out to me are the items they leave behind: Yuki’s hat, Kurumi’s shovel, Miki’s CD player, Taromaru’s leash, Yuuri’s…knife…wait…what?
Thanks for reading!