Hello. I like reading as well, though unlike Emily, I don’t readÂ everything. I do read a lot of one thing, though and that is manga, aka Japanese comic books. On Manga Monday, I’llÂ detail some manga for you in a hopefully informative manner.
Gakkou Gurashi! (literallyÂ Living at School!) is a slice of life manga serialized in Manga Time Kirara Forward,Â written by Norimitsu Kaihou and and illustrated by Sadoru Chiba.Â It stars Yuki Takeya and her friends in the School Life Club as they try to perform various helpful tasks around her school, and occasionally get into trouble.
To go into depth about what I enjoyed about this manga, I’ll unfortunately have to mildly spoil it (though most of this is implied or outright shown in the first chapter). Spoilers follow the cut.
Gakkou Gurashi!’s genre could actually be described as post-apocalyptic psychological drama. Shambling monstersÂ have taken over the school, leaving Yuki and her companions asÂ the sole survivors trapped within. Yuki is deeply in denial about the current state of the world, imagining a bustling classroom full of life where there’s nothing but battered, empty desks. The other members of the School Life Club, Kurumi and Yuuri, must protect her from herself and try to carve out a life worth living.
First off, I likedÂ Yuki as a heroine. She’s a breath of fresh air compared to the uber competent, gung-ho protagonists that normally populate end of the world manga. Her persistent delusions give her another little touch of humanity, and it’s easy to both pity and understand her. Yuki’s struggle to contextualize the reality of what’s happening to her within her picture perfect worldÂ is probably the most interesting part of this manga. And when the inevitable conflict that begins to break down her carefully constructed mental walls occurs, she gets some great character development.
The same can’t be said for her companions. Most of the other characters are about as interestingÂ as old, dried paint. All I can recall about Kurumi is that she uses a shovel to kick zombie butt, and Yuuri is… the smart one, I suppose. They certainly lack the character development arc that Yuki gets, and unfortunately, they feel very static. There is also a lack of real conflict between them; both of them are in agreement about the fact that Yuki’s delusional behavior shouldn’t be disrupted for the sake of the group’sÂ sanity. It’s for those reasons that I found it hard to care when any of them were in danger.
The art is alright. It’s very cutesy, almost saccharinely so, presumably to lull first time readers into a sense of security. The use of screentone varies between shoujo comedy flowers or bubbles and dark, gloomy overshading, which is a nice touch. Chiba also draws good frightened faces, which is a plus toward a series that’s dramatic. However, the perma-blush on most of the character designs seems unfitting for the setting.
I’d recommend Gakkou Gurashi if you have a few hours to kill (it’s only 30ish chapters, with around 20 pages a chapter), and like generic end of the world scenarios with a spin on the protagonist’s normal type. I’d recommend against it if you’re looking for a series with a fully fleshed out cast.
Availability:Â There is no English print license, but it’s easy enough to find if you search it out. It is also incomplete at the time of writing.Â We might see a print release stateside with the upcoming anime.
I’d Rather Watch This!: An anime adaptation of this manga is scheduled to start airing in Summer 2015. Personally I’m skeptical at the quality, as most of Lerche’s good series are comedies, but we’ll have to wait and see what an official PV brings.
**DISCLAIMER** I read scanlations of this series online, for free.