What’s it about ?
Adaptation of yet another slice-of-life manga series… Er, wait, not quite.
Yuki, our protagonist, loves attending her high-school. She’s even a member of the “School Living Club”, who stay the night in an empty classroom on campus instead of going home. She’s a bit airheaded, to put it mildly, and you can quickly sense that her friends are a bit worried about her.
She has basically two sets of friends. Her classmates, of course ; the go from the completely forgettable to the bad girl who comes to school wearing a collar. And the School Living Club :
– Yuuri, the motherly club president, who spends most of her time cooking or gardening on the roof ;
– Kurumi, the one who gets most angry at Yuki’s antics and is never seen without her trusty showel ;
– and Miki, who’s technically more junior than Yuki but seems to have a better head on her shoulders.
(They also have a dog whose running around causes much hijinks.)
After a while, you get the feeling that something’s not quite right. Aside of Yuki, none of the School Living Club members seem to go to class. Whole areas of the building are cordoned off, and nobody ever sets foot outside. And there’s the worrying fact that, Yuki aside, the two sets of characters never really interact (although the show does its darnedest to camouflage it).
The twist, which comes to light at the end of the episode, is that the school is in the middle of a zombie apocalypse ; Yuki has snapped and is entirely delusional. None of her classmates or teachers are alive (there’s the striking visual of a half-torn collar on a desk in her classroom), and the other members of the School Living Club are merely indulging her, hoping she doesn’t do anything dangerous in between attending empty classes and talking with non-existent people.
Quite good ; there’s certainly a lot of effort put into foreshadowing the twist with background details, before finally pulling the rug and showing the actual state of disrepair for the school.
Points for the misleadingly cheerful OP sequence that does go out of its way to only never actually show other people onscreen with the main four characters, except in Yuki’s solo spots.
Hmm. I had seen enough promotional material about the show to be mostly spoiled on the premise ; watching the episode was mostly an exercise on spotting the hints and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Even with that additional layer, there’s no escaping that this first episode is rather boring, all told. With the rest of the School Living Club staying mostly in the background (or entirely deadpan, in Miki’s case), it’s up to Yuki to carry the show, and she doesn’t quite have the shoulders for it. It doesn’t help that the twist that makes her at least somewhat interesting is relegated to the last couple of minutes. It’s an entire episode of slow build while nothing really happens (so as to preserve the surprise), and that’s not really thrilling to watch.
Of course, there’s no way the show can keep going like this ; but I have no clue where the balance will fall between brainless slice-of-life (i.e. Yuki’s perspective) and an actual examination of the consequences of the setting, and its emotional baggage. Surely Yuki is going to snap back to reality at some point ? (On the other hand, the manga is still ongoing, so…)
I’m giving it a second episode to see where the chips fall, but there’s a lot of work yet to do in order to transform it into an actual watchable show.