The School Living Club, comprised of high school upperclassmen Yuki, Kurumi, Yuuri, and their faculty advisor Sakura-sensei, live at school in order to maximize their learning and social experiences. Their school is fully equipped with top-notch technology, allowing them to live there sustainably. Yuki is cheerful and bubbly; she loves school, her friends, and Sakura-sensei. But what begins as a cute, slice-of-life story starring moe characters takes a turn for the sinister when a startling scene shows Yuki talking to herself in a classroom long since destroyed. The following panel sequences show Yuki walking through a hallway with broken windows that were previously depicted without damage. When she approaches the window, she looks straight at the hordes of roaming and clawing zombies, unable to see them.
It soon becomes apparent that the members of the School Living Club are the only survivors of a mysterious zombie apocalypse, and Yuki’s way of coping with the tragedy has been to block out the fact that it ever happened. Yuki’s friends do their best to not only keep everyone safe from zombies—Kurumi has a shovel that never fails when the school is infiltrated—but to keep up normal appearances for as long as Yuki needs them. As the volume progresses, readers slowly begin to see that Yuki’s delusions extend farther than her surroundings and include one of the people she has been interacting with on a daily basis.
School-Live! portrays the many different ways people cope with tragedy, and the story and art work well to create twists and turns. After the initial reveal that Yuki has created a reality that doesn’t involve zombies, readers learn more about the situation whenever her memories surface, often leading her to a temporary breakdown. Overall, the story maintains a light tone matched by its cute and young-looking characters. In helping Yuki, the girls not only survive, but they have a rare opportunity to engage in normal school activities and gain hope for the future despite dire circumstances.
The volume ends with a close-up of another survivor outside the school building; those familiar with the anime will notice that the order of events presented to the viewer was slightly changed from the manga, as Miki’s rescue story was told via flashback in the anime.
School-Live! will make a great addition to teen manga collections and it is recommended for older teen readers. The anime, which is subtitled and available through Crunchyroll, has a large following.
School-Live!, vol. 1
by Norimitsu Kaihou
Art by Sadoru Chiba
Yen Press, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: 16+