Believe it or not, Gakkou Gurashi was popular enough to receive a live action movie. You might be wondering, aren’t anime live actions usually bad? When the west tries to adapt Japanese manga/anime into a live action, the result ends up disastrous. Still, I didn’t expect too much from this since the live action movie of Gakkou Gurashi is an abridged version of the anime. What I saw was surprising.
Note: This review contains anime/manga spoilers for the school arc. I highly suggest watching the anime or read the school arc first before reading this review.
The live action follows somewhat to the anime as Takiya Yuki is an ordinary and cheerful girl who loves her school. While she thinks everything is normal, everything is just. Yuki, Kurumi, Yuuri, and Megumi after school find themselves the start of a zombie apocalypse after the student body started getting infected.
Eventually, Kurumi, Yuuri, and Yuki decide to form the School Living club after Megumi suggested it. They worked hard to barricade the school to make areas safe. As expected, the club room has everything that allows them to survive for a while they create a safe zone in the school. Eventually, Yuuri and Kurumi went to the kitchen for supplies while facing hordes of zombies. When they looked in a storage room, they find a survivor, Miki a second year.
However, Miki seems anxious and feels very skeptical over the notion that they can survive in the school that long. Not to mention, she thinks that Yuki is delusional. After having disagreements with Kurumi and Yuuri, she decides to plan her escape. She had music playing the next day to distract the zombies as she grabs Megumi’s car keys.
However, she couldn’t find the car and the zombies start chasing her as Yuki finds her and tries to bring her back. As they eventually went up on top of a car as they are surrounded by zombies. It’s not until Yuuri decides to play another song to distract the zombies so that Yuki and Miki can get back into the school, safe from the zombies. Eventually, Miki joins the School Life club as they live a close to normal life in a zombie hellscape.
First, let’s focus on the positives. Sure, reviewers who haven’t watched the anime first criticized the movie for being boring. It’s not too surprising since the main premise of schoolgirls living a normal life with the threat of zombies looming outside. Since the reviewers only watched the movie, they don’t get the full context of everything from the anime and source material.
As expected, there are lighthearted moments such as the school festival, Kurumi failing at running, and Yuki in general. For the most part, the character’s personalities are close to what they are in the anime, with a few exceptions. Some of which bothered me, more on that later.
Also, some important plot points follow the anime like the graduation scene, Megu-nee being a zombie all along, and the start of the zombie apocalypse are close in the live action. Not to mention, they managed to get the same exact car that Megumi drives in the anime/manga and Kurumi drives it. Also, the girls fighting against zombies was interesting to look at the very least.
Also, the three-legged race delusion with Miki and Yuki running back to the school together is clever. In a way, they are incorporating the sports meet from the 6th episode of the anime. Also, cue the Can-Can song that Yuuri puts on to add to that moment.
Lastly, it seems that the four girls can interact with Megumi. In the anime, only Yuki can interact with her. Of course, Megumi became a zombie shortly after they barricaded some of the school and formed the club. However, she doesn’t bite Kurumi like in the anime.
Of course, while the live action has the feeling of the original works, this is where the good aspects stop. There are some cringe moments, especially with Kurumi and her crush on her “senpai.” Yes, her crush plays an important role as Kurumi is forced to kill him.
This is apparent towards the end when one of the zombies started a fire, causing them to evade the school. Kurumi eventually ends up on the roof of the school and surrounded by zombies. I find the encouragement from Senpai scene telling Kurumi not to give up as she shares her feelings is a bit unnecessary.
I guess the directors think that we need to have a boy and girl romance in the movie. However, in the original works and the anime, Kurumi’s crush never received that much development since he was a minor character that got killed off early in the story. Moreover, I feel that how Yuuri and Yuki managed to survive as zombies try to enter the club room is not believable. I don’t think in the anime that a zombie managed to get in.
Now, here comes the bad aspects of the live action. I feel that the movie left important aspects of the school arc. This includes the box, which includes plans when a zombie apocalypse happens along with the location to the shelter and supplies. This is a very important aspect left out the movie since it shows the harsh reality the girls must confront eventually.
Another point missing that is strange is that a zombie such as Megu-nee never infects Kurumi is strange. Not to mention, this aspect is an important part that comes up later in the story after Kurumi runs out of serum to prevent the progression of the infection. It’s not too surprising since Megumi never got the chance to do so as she chained herself in the nurse’s office before becoming a zombie. Therefore, she couldn’t infect any of the girls. This makes it feel that Yuki, Kurumi, Yuuri and Miki have plot armor, when the anime and manga, they don’t have it.
Lastly, the initial portrayal of Miki kind of bothered me. I know that they don’t have the time to develop Kei, whom is Miki’s best friend. Incorporating her cabin fever from the anime makes live action Miki feel out of character. When she attempted to escape the school, I feel that she had an idiot ball. Who would risk their life recklessly without a concrete plan to escape the zombies? Not to mention, she would have left that room in the mall if she was like this in the live action.
Overall, is the live action of Gakkou Gurashi is any good? To me, it’s enjoyable and the acting was good, but overall, it was average at best. I feel that the movie format doesn’t really do the story that much justice as it leaves out important aspects to the story. Despite this, I don’t think the movie is terrible by any means. The format doesn’t do the story any justice. Maybe the live action would be a bit better if it was a live-action-drama series.
Regardless, I would advise viewers to watch the anime first before watching the live action movie. That way, one can get the full context of everything in the movie or the abridged version of the story. With that, this leave the short prequel drama series, which I will cover next, eventually. Both the live action movie and the mini-drama series are viewable for streaming on Hidive.
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