School-Live! – Ep. 11

Note: I’m watching School-Live! blind. Please do not post spoilers in the comments.

I can’t say I’m enjoying this final stretch of episodes from School-Live! but my statement is by no means indicative of the show’s quality. Really, I’m not enjoying it because it really is putting the “live” in School-Live!. This is easily the most the show has leaned towards survival horror, to the point that the moe is sorely missed.

Whatever each character’s fate is, I’m doubtful that the School Living Club will remain operational. Their respective school is kind of wrecked right now. As mentioned before, some of the barriers are torn down. A couple of zombies make their way to the rooftop, sabotaging the building’s lightning rod which then destroys the generators and burns Yuuri’s garden down. Emergency power does kick in (thank you, mysteriously high tech voice for telling me that?) but for all intents and purpose, I don’t think this school is terribly viable right now. The club might want to enlist Kurumi’s driving skills again, provided that she gets better of course.

My gut tells me Kurumi is going to live but this show sure is doing a good job making me feel unsure. There’s now a blanket put over her body and while that looks a little silly, obscuring what’s happening to her does heighten the tension. You’re forced to imagine the infection spreading more across her body and you can’t tell if there’s still hope for her yet or if it’s too late. In addition to that, you have Yuuri contemplating if she should put her friend out of her misery. She does muster the resolve and readies her knife but later in the episode, you see her trembling and stopping at the very last second. If not the anime, I hope the manga explores this scene further. Kurumi entrusted Yuuri to kill her should she get infected and her friend ultimately fails in this task. Assuming these two both survive, I can see Kurumi being a little upset about this and Yuuri realizing that she’s not as iron willed as she maybe liked to believe.

True to her word, Miki heads off to retrieve the medicine. Whacking zombies with a shovel will forever belong to Kurumi but Miki doesn’t seem to be half-bad at it. At first, she can’t hit nearly as hard but by the time she meets Megu-nee, she gets the hang of it. She also has the usual tricks to exploit the zombies’ attraction to sound to compensate. Most surprisingly, she uses Kei’s CD player as part of her distractions. I mean, that would be effective but given its sentimentality, I’m stunned Miki was willing to risk sacrificing it (and the CD player does end up destroyed by this episode’s midpoint). You also hear “We took each other’s hand” again during this scene and that seems to bring a different meaning here. Instead of conveying Kei’s departure, it now affirms Miki’s resolve to keep the club together.

I’m a little surprised that Miki is the one who ends up putting Megu-nee to rest. As ballsy as it would’ve been, I still would’ve like to see Yuki confront her teacher. Having the one who knows Megu-nee the least be the one to kill her makes sense but it’s obviously the least impactful. To be fair however, the scene does try to make it a little moving. Miki “converses” with Megu-nee, acknowledging her advisor’s influence through the club and assuring her that the original three are doing fine. Communicating with the zombie is of course in vain but I think Miki does it because she truly wishes to have met the real Megu-nee.

We’re now left with Taromaru to worry about. You do see him run off (I guess even as a zombie, he runs away from Miki) but the cameo is curiously all the screen time he gets in this episode. That can only mean he’ll show up again for the finale. I’m actually expecting Yuki being the one to kill Taromaru. It’d be a reversal of Miki killing Megu-nee, each friend ending up putting the one that means most to the other out of their misery. That said, Yuuri or even Kurumi doing the dirty deed is entirely possible.

For now, Miki has to contend with regular zombies and she ends up in the same exact situation as that time in the mall. She hides in a storage closest and tries to hold the fort (it doesn’t work nearly as well this time). Amusingly, she acknowledges to herself the mirroring of the situation. Obviously, this scene is setting up for another moment where Miki’s friends free her. Yuki is just about ready to do so as she ventures into the broadcast room. My guess is that she’ll use the loudspeakers to overwhelm the zombies, much like how Yuuri used the alarms in Episode 5.

The penultimate episode marks a turning point for Yuki as she recovers her memories and sees things for what they actually are. What I love most about this development is that it’s not an instantaneous 180. She recognizes the zombies (how dare you not show her fair share of shovel wielding) but the midpoint strongly suggests that she still wants to hold onto her vision of the world and, more importantly, Meg-nee. The world she manages to let go of first, realizing in a daydream that staying in there may cause her to lose the friends that are still alive and she needs to act. But even with that veil lifting, she still envisions that Megu-nee is alive. That is, until she reaches the door she needs to open, the same door Megu-nee locked herself in.

As it turns out, the door Yuki needs to open to get to the broadcast room is the same one Megu-nee locked when she sacrificed herself. That may initially seem odd as Episode 1 did have Yuki and Miki in the broadcast room for one scene, thereby implying they’ve already went through this door. I guess the difference is that at the time, Yuki doesn’t remember its significance. After all, it’s at Episode 7 where Yuki starts stopping by the door to talk to Megu-nee and that was because her friends finally let it slipped that their advisor may not actually be present, necessitating one final defense. It’s definitely a technicality and I’m curious if the manga approaches it differently. Regardless of that, I do love that the door is an obstacle. Yuki wants to save her friends but in order to do so, she has to confront and finally accept the fact that someone dear to her is no longer here.

If you want to argue technicality, I suppose that yes, it is Yuki who convinces herself to come to terms with what happened in the past. But honestly, I do think that it is actually Megu-nee who helps Yuki in the end. If not the real person, certainly the concept of her. I don’t think there’s any denying that what the fake Megu-nee does here is what the real one would’ve done anyway. And as for the final, inaudible words Megu-nee says to Yuki, I don’t think it really matters what exactly they are. The point is that Yuki heard right words to spur her into opening the door and finally reconcile with the past. Maybe School-Live! will somehow give Megu-nee one last appearance but I would be more than content if this ending is the last we truly see of her. She walks away from the door. Yuki stands on the bloodstain left by her sacrifice, crying but also finally parting ways with her teacher. It feels like the perfect exit for this character.

Thanks for reading!

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