This Gakkougurashi Review will probably be one of the more difficult reviews I’ve done, simply because the nature of what makes the show good is also its biggest secret. Keeping this spoiler free is going to be extremely difficult, but I’ll do what I can. Gakkougurashi (or, School-Live) is a “slice-of-life” show about 4 girls that take part in the School Living Club, a club that does exactly what it sounds like: they live at school. Often, the show is is about as innocent as it sounds; following the hilariously adorable antics of the characters such as chasing the club’s dog, Toroumaru, through the halls disrupting classes. Of course, the true nature is something very, very different but I won’t go into the details on that. As in our Top 7 “Stand Alone” Anime Episodes list, where Gakkogurashi makes #3 for it’s 1st episode, clearly that 1st episode is something else. And let me tell you, it is. In fact, if you have any inclination to watch an extremely good episode with no idea going in, I’d recommend you do that now, then come back to the review to decide whether or not it will be worth it. Seriously, the best way you can go into it is knowing nothing about it.
What initially drew me to Gakkougurashi was when the other two Anime Inspectors told me to watch the first episode. After about the first 15 minutes I had no idea what on earth they had gotten me into. When I start a show, I HAVE to finish it, the completionist in me won’t let me drop anything. Anyway, when it got to the point where it revealed what the show actually was, I was hooked. I was ready. I couldn’t wait to see where they went with it. And, they didn’t go very far, unfortunately. What was amazing about the first episode was that Gakkougurashi was a something different that was masquerading as a generic slice of life show. What was disappointing about the rest of the show, is that it continued to be a mostly generic slice of life show with the setting revealed in the twist. The characters are just living at school with not much of a care; there is even some backstory and some drama involved, then it all comes to a climatically disappointing end.
Gakkougurashi has a somewhat interesting story beyond a group of girls living at school. What’s interesting about it has nothing to do with the storytelling, but the setting. Beyond the setting just being what it is, the writers unfortunately don’t do much with it. Near the end of the show, there is the illusion that it is important to a more or less non-existent story, when it really doesn’t add too much of anything. It ends up just being about the interactions of everyday life between 3 incredibly normal characters, one crazy one, and a dog. And while these interactions are adorable for the most part, I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a slice of life show for girls under the age of 12 – until the reality of the setting made its elusive appearance every episode. It was cute, but not exactly worth it, especially not after the tease of the first episode showing what it could have been.## Characters
There aren’t that many characters in Gakkougurashi, and that might be a good thing since their interactions are what made the show bearable to watch. The main character, Yuki, is the one that is energetic, bubbly, and very not normal. But again, just like the crazy setting, it doesn’t actually seem to change that much. The other three characters, Yuuri, Miki, and Kurumi, are mostly generic archetypes. I definitely get what they were going for: making the most generic kind of show, then surprising everyone by putting generic characters and genre through a super crazy setting. But since they didn’t do very much with the setting, the blandness of everything really detracted from the show. Kurumi, despite being a cut-and-paste archetype was one of those characters I couldn’t help but love for one reason or another (mostly the shovel). Taroumaru, the dog, was totally adorable and also kind of the basis of the funny antics the show threw in. That said, he literally ruins fucking everything.## Art/Animation/Sound
The art in Gakkougurashi is something I do have some respect for. Studio Lerche does a fine job with the art style, even the few 3D objects look decent enough. What I have to show some respect for is the way that they successfully depict different character’s perspectives in different shots. It adds a lot to the viewing the of the show. Some scenes are even pretty beautiful. Where it falls somewhat short, however, is in the animation. Much like the other aspects of the show, the animation sticks to being as generic and slice of life styled as it can be. So we get unmoving frames with talking chibi heads instead of actual converstaion. This isn’t a huge issue, and it doesn’t even disrupt from viewing the show, but it really could be done much better, and it would have added a little bit to it. Actually, it just wouldn’t have taken away as much as it did.
The sound was decent; better than it should have been. The voice acting was really spot on for each character, and the adorable dog sounds were on point as well. For some reason the opening was very memorable, and I believe they had the characters humming the tune throughout the show, which was a nice addition. The soundtrack was not spectacular but it was certainly better than the show deserved to have.
Gakkougurashi certainly has its quirks, which can be kinda enjoyable. The main character’s hyper-ness is really fun to watch, for instance. She is always getting into some sort of trouble, but also always keeping the group entertained and happy. Miki’s flashback arc was somewhat emotional and actually did make me care for her character a little bit, but it was something that didn’t amount to much as the show came to a close. The deeper relationship between Yuuri and Kurumi was nice to watch, but even that almost seemed like an afterthought. Yuki was about the only character to grow in the whole series, which was kind of a shame considering that there was so much potential to make something VERY good out of the premise.
There really is something unique inside of Gakkougurashi, and I’m extremely disappointed that they didn’t do more with it. Overall, I wouldn’t call it bad by any stretch. Parts of it (like episode 1) are very good. But that’s just it. Aside from the very few great parts, everything else is basically exactly average. I definitely recommend watching the first episode, that hass something that I think a lot of people can enjoy. Aside from the first episode I can’t really recommend going on. There is a hint at a second season and, if done differently, there is definitely potential. So maybe, if a second season comes out and is actually good, then it might be worth watching the entire season. All in all, Gakkougurashi doesn’t really fit in my scale because it is so unique, but I can confidently give it 3 stars. I am recommending that people that like something that is very different from normal to give it shot and maybe try a few episodes after the first one to see how they like it. A lot of the three stars does go into the first episode, however. So, enjoy the show and thanks for reading! Till next time, just remember…