Note: I’m watching School-Live! blind. Please do not post spoilers in the comments.
We begin the episode with Miki, Kurumi and Yuuri still trying to wrap their heads around what they’ve learned last episode. Miki deduces that Megu-nee must’ve read the manual after the outbreak began though the question still remains how she knew of its existence and why she kept her discovery a secret from her students. There are also the contents of the manual themselves to consider. One page in particular reveals that there is an underground shelter beneath the school’s basement. Might there be some supplies down there? There could also be other survivors residing there. Well, maybe not considering the final scene of this episode…
But enough about that. It’s time for the real reason you’d watch this episode.
Yes, there is actually a swimsuit episode in School Live! (and unsurprisingly, this is Yuki’s idea). After the girls got some to wear in Episode 5, there was always the possibility that we’d see them again. And given the surprising amount of fan service we’ve been treated to, there was no way the show wouldn’t embrace this hallmark of cute girls doing cute things anime (or maybe just anime in general). I will say that the predictability of the scenario does feel less pronounced than normal, possibly due to more dramatic aspects of the story, and the timing couldn’t be any more perfect. With so much looming in the air, the girls could really use this kind of break.
Given the show’s setting, the girls don’t go to the beach as per tradition with CGDCT anime. It would’ve been amazing if they did (imagine Kurumi driving them there) but I doubt anyone would indulge in such a trip as there’s no practical benefit and there could very well be zombies there. Oddly enough though, the gang technically doesn’t go to the pool either. Instead, they head to the rooftop and clean out a fish tank that was originally managed by the biology club. Before putting the fish back in (oh good, they found more dinner), they use it as a makeshift pool for the day. I only find this odd as the overhead shot of the school clearly shows a swimming pool so I have to wonder why the gang doesn’t go there. Maybe it’s blocked off by the walls of desks and those darn zombies are occupying it. Either that or the fish tank is closer and they’re all just lazy…whatever works I guess.
Sillier than that is the stuff the club brings to make the pool feel more legit. They find a couch, a beach umbrella, and a couple of water guns. Who on Earth brought those to the school? There’s no implication regarding the couch and umbrella though at one point, Kurumi suggests that Yuuri is the one who brought the water guns and her friend does agree with the statement. I see no reason to doubt Yuuri here and besides, I love the idea that her and possibly everyone in the Gardening and Biology clubs were secretly plotting to use the fish tank on a hot summer day. And here I thought she was a model student.
The pool antics are a lot of fun to watch and quite versatile to boot. Since tank is shallow and has a concrete floor, Yuuri warns about diving but Kurumi and Yuki ignore her and jump in anyway (the best part is that she ends up forgetting her own warning later). Everyone plays volleyball and Frisbee (it would’ve been really awkward if the ball or disc fell off the rooftop). The highlight however is definitely the water gun fight between Kurumi and Yuuri. The two play it off like they’re in a Western and they pull off some surprising stunts in the process. Kurumi also equips herself with her knee pads and her trusty shovel. The latter actually comes into play which is just great.
Throughout the episode, the drama does slip through the cracks. The girls manage to enjoy the day at is but every once in a while, they still can’t help but ponder about what the mystery surrounding the school. At one point, Yuuri tries to use the radio function of Kei’s CD player in the hopes that of getting a signal (sadly, no dice there). It’s little moments like these that actually strengthen lighthearted tone of the pool scenario, making it come across less as the usual anime fluff and more as a legitimate reprieve in the narrative.
As things come to a close, we get treated with a nice little moment between Miki and Taromaru. Taromaru notices that Miki has held onto Kei’s CD player through their shared reminiscing of Kei, Taromaru finally allows Miki to pet her again. I guess the implication is that Taromaru held a grudge against Miki for causing Kei to leave and has now forgiven her after seeing the CD player? I’ll admit this is news to me since Episode 4 simply had him run off because Miki shouted at her. Whatever the case may be, I’m glad that the two are finally able to reconcile with Miki before…you know.
Now about the ending. Taromaru senses a disturbance (no really, he does) and he manages to break free of his leash to investigate. This leads him to venture down to the underground floors (uh, who left that desk to keep the entrance open?!) and there, he encounters a face we all know too well. Adding to the anxiety is the music, a distorted and disjointed remix of the music box track from Episode 1. What once serve to reflect the bittersweet gravity of the situation now conveys something I feared in vain to see confirmed.
If there’s a death flag in this scene, it is definitely being waved wildly. I’d like to think that Taromaru knows better than to fight a zombie head on but all the signs are pointing towards him making sure Megu-nee doesn’t get anywhere near his owners. It just doesn’t bode well for him. And to be honest, I’m expecting something bad to happen. When I watched the OP, I started to notice that the montage of supporting characters has been gradually updated to show their respective fates. The only shot that hasn’t been updated is Taromaru’s…
Meanwhile, Megu-nee’s presence in the ending is a can of worms. She was underground this entire time? I guess the door she locked somehow leads to them. Maybe her plan was to take everyone there but then they found zombies along the way, thus forcing Megu-nee to stay behind. Regardless of what her real intent was, I find it very concerning to see her roaming around those halls. All the previous glimpses gave the impression she was trapped in some room. Did her zombie somehow got out or was she never locked out to begin with? I don’t doubt for a second that School-Live! is leading up to a “reunion” between the School Living Club and their advisor. That said, something is nagging at me. Based on the theory that zombies retain some memories and the fact that Megu-nee still remembers to write about her students, could it be that her zombie is actually looking for them?
One last thing: goodness, that face. It’s still obscured by the effects but if you pause at just the right frame, you can make out what zombie Megu-nee looks like. I did ponder about seeing it more clearly in the last review but darn it, I was hoping I wasn’t jinxing myself. Why you got do this to me, School-Live? I miss the days of when the most mistreatment she got was her students ignoring her.
ED: “Harmonize Clover” by Maon Kurosaki
A bit odd to see the first ED again though I admit it depresses me less than the second one. Also, I know it’s been adjusted to wave Taromaru’s death flag but WHY YOU GOT TO REMOVE KURUMI AT THE END AS WELL? Nothing better happen to Best Girl.
Thanks for reading!