***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Gakkou Gurashi. Reader discretion is advised.***
As a reminder: This is NOT A REVIEW. Films and other posts under the Out and About: Eigakan label are watched in Japanese with NO English subtitles. Therefore, misinterpretations and misunderstandings are possible. With that said:
I just got out of Gakkou Gurashi.
Ever since I started this site, I wondered when I would finally showcase a live-action production. There are a few films I wish to cover sometime in the future, and thus, I needed to break this wall somewhere.
Therefore, why not start with the live-action adaptation of Gakkou Gurashi?
For a brief synopsis of the film, based on my understanding, it was similar to what was seen in the anime. Or, at least, the general idea was.
When the zombie apocalypse broke out, a band of high school survivors – Yuki Takeya, Kurumi Ebisuzawa, Yuri Wakasa, and Miki Naoki – and their teacher, Megumi Sakura, form the School Living Club. Not only was this “club” a chance for the group to hold out until help arrived, but it also served as a way to maintain the illusion of normalcy so that Yuki’s fragile psyche didn’t fully crack.
For those who may not know, the Gakkou Gurashi anime is among my top favorite series of all time; and I mean it is sitting at the VERY top. So, when I heard there was going to be a live-action rendition of this story, how could my interest not get peaked?
Now, was I really expecting to be blown away by this movie? Not in the slightest. There are many aspects of Japanese-made manga/anime adaptations which annoy me even more than some of the nonsense Hollywood sometimes tries to pull. For instance: Japan, it is okay to not have a film’s version of a character look one-to-one like their original-source counterpart. Liberties can – and often, should – be taken to better suit a different medium.
I won’t say the Gakkou Gurashi movie broke this trend, but it could have been way worse. In fact, that was one of the things which impressed me the most about this film. There were some convincing conversions from drawing to live-action. In particular, when the actresses who played the four main characters stood still, it was as if the series had truly come to life.
Plus, brownie points for this movie NOT giving Yuki the hat she wore in the anime for it would have looked all kinds of stupid.
Unfortunately, that stunning illusion was then broken when the actresses started talking. Even without catching every word spoken, I doubt there were any future Oscar winners in this bunch. None of the acting was ever cringy, but it was hard not to laugh at its campiness.
Was there merit to this movie? I tentatively say yes. Were there things which annoyed me? Oh, you have no idea.
When I do eventually review this film for real, I will have to continually remind myself to focus on the story in front of me instead of simply comparing it to the anime (I would say manga as well, but I have not yet had the chance to read it).
Fortunately for me, this is not a review. So, I can bitch to my heart’s content about how KURUMI IS NOT THE F@#$ING MAIN PROTAGONIST OF GAKKOU GURASHI.
I love the character of Kurumi. Her depiction in the anime was of a strong-willed fighter who stoically protected her friends despite holding back her own fears and anguish. Nevertheless, it was Yuki’s storyline which fueled the very idea of Gakkou Gurashi. The live-action film, on the other hand, damn near made Yuki into a pointless character.
Also, the opening few scenes told me that this movie was just not going to get what made Gakkou Gurashi, Gakkou Gurashi.
That said, I’m really curious to know how many of my thoughts towards this movie – either positively or negatively – came from me already knowing much of its source’s twists and turns. For instance, there was one build-up specifically which I thought was insanely heavy-handed and not at all clever.
As of right now, though, based on what I could actually understand, what were my gut impressions towards Gakkou Gurashi’s live-action adaptation? Well, it wasn’t what I would call “good,” but I certainly could have hated it more. There were definitely parts which surprised me for the better. However, I am still a little peeved this movie shares the same title with such an amazing series.
But you know what? I could be wrong. We will just have to wait and see.
Thank you all so much for reading. Please comment down below if you have anything to say – positive or negative – about this post. Also, if you have seen the film, I would love to hear your thoughts.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.