Manga: Gakkou Gurashi

Meet the School Life Club!

Takeya Yuki is in love with the school. For her, it's a wonderful place, where she enjoys her school activities, especially the activities of her club: School Life Club. The club has Rii-chan as the president, Kurumi-chan as another member, and the teacher, Megu-nee, always there for them. Yes, she is in love with her school. What follows is the adventures of their club, as they live on the school grounds and mooch off from its services for as long as possible!

... Yeah, right.

Unfortunately, the truth about the situation she and her friends are currently in is much less colorful and far more bleaker than Yuki can ever imagine. The beautiful school she enjoys so much is in reality in ruins, the School Life Club is more or less barricaded in a section of their school, and she and her friends Rii and Kurumi are the only living people likely left in a city that is overrun with zombies. Despite this, her friends try to let Yuki live as close to a normal school life as they could manage, and through these efforts find it within themselves to live, and not merely exist day-by-day in the hellish situation they're in.

Also known as School-Live!, Gakkou Gurashi! is what you get when you cross together some of the most unlikeliest of genres: Schoolgirl Series Slice of Life, and Zombie Apocalypse Survival Horror. Drawn by Chiba Sadoru and written by Kaihou Norimitsu of Nitro+ fame, and serialized in Manga Time Kirara Forward (which serialized, among other series, Puella Magi Kazumi Magica and Yumekui Merry), this story explores what exactly happens when the cute girls you'd normally find in the former get dumped into the setting of the latter.

An anime adaptation is currently in the works, and it's set to air in Summer 2015 with the animation done by Lerche (the same studio that is responsible for Assassination Classroom) and, with no one's surprise, the script writing is done by Nitro+.

Gakkou Gurashi provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Kurumi and her trusty shovel.
  • Adults Are Useless: Megu-nee, despite being a teacher, doesn't seem to be doing anything useful whenever she's on-panel. Obviously it's because she's not actually there, being dead and all.
    • Averted with the actual Megu-nee. She acted as an adult and protected the children, to the point where she got infected as a result.
  • All Loving Heroine: Yuki really loves her school, classmates, and her club. Unfortunately, most of everyone she knew became zombies. This may be a defensive mechanism to ease her psychological trauma.
  • All There in the Manual: The Tankoubon extras add some additional information, particularly regarding the Randall Corporation, a massive pharmaceutical company whose funding helped build the city the story is set in, and is also the one responsible for printing out the emergency manual that was given to Megu-nee early on. They also dabble in bioweapon research, and are hinted to be the creators of the zombie virus. Resident Evil anyone?
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The manga is drawn in a Moe style, but the setting happens to be in a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Badass Adorable: Kurumi, Rii, and Miki.
  • Beauty Mark: One of Rii's distinguishing features, under her left eye.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: In Yuki's mind, everything she sees looks like a normal day at school while seemingly being unaware there is a Zombie Apocalypse and except for the members of the School Life Club, she only sees the rest of the students are fine and not zombies. This is actually a defense mechanism created by Yuki to deal with the world she's now living which Megu-nee encouraged her. Her death was even the catalyst.
    • Miki, however, notes that while this delusion is a safety mechanism, and that Yuki herself might not even believe it herself, it can't last forever. In Chapter 29, Yuki's delusion temporarily breaks, and she loses her shit until it comes back.
  • Break the Cutie: Every girl in this series is psychologically broken one way or another, especially Yuki.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Aww, look. Another cute school girls slice of life series set in a great school... but wait! Why is that class is now dirty and there are zombies as well?! WTH!
  • Dead All Along: Megu-nee has been dead for some time as the Megu-nee the reader has been seeing is actually an illusion created by Yuki.
  • Dead Man Walking: Kurumi. It's implied that the serum used on her isn't a permanent solution, and if she doesn't take it regularly there's a real danger that she'll relapse. The problem with this however is the cache included in the emergency shelter has less than five left (deducting the one used on her), and there's no way of replenishing their supply.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The series deconstructs every single Schoolgirl Series trope you can think of by putting the girls in a Zombie Apocalypse setting.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Miki was close to crossing it before she was found by the School Life Club. Her friend Kei, who survived the initial outbreak with her however crossed it, to the point where she didn't care anymore as she walked out of their barricaded room.
  • Driven to Suicide: Whoever it was that had opened up the shelter before Megu-nee was found the following chapter after they were hinted at. He hung himself.
  • Expy: The designs for each member of the School Life Club not only match with an expected Schoolgirl Series archetype, they also suspiciously (or maybe intentionally) look like characters from other Manga Time Kirara series. To whit:
  • First Episode Spoiler: The story is set during a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Foreshadowing: Several hints were shown before The Reveal that Megu-nee is not what she appears to be like how she got into the toilet that Yuki's in even though it's locked from the inside.
  • Four Girl Ensemble: There's four girls most of the time.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: Had Miki's friend Kei just stuck around and persisted with her, she might have been inevitably rescued by the School Life Club too.
  • Genki Girl: Yuki is a deconstruction of this trope.
  • Government Conspiracy: Miki discovers a Government Emergency Manual for the school's staff on how to deal with the zombie outbreak which includes a map where the emergency supplies are located including medicine for anyone infected, which suggests the government knew about the zombies before the outbreak began. However, it is later subverted when it's revealed the manual was actually made by the Randall Corporation, who helped built the city the story is set in.
  • Hair Decorations: Yuki's cross hairpins, Kurumi's hair ribbons, Megu-nee and Rii's side hairclips.
  • The Heart: Her delusions aside (or maybe because of her delusions), Yuki's unflagging cheerfulness has served to ground both Rii and Kurumi into not giving up living.
  • Heroic BSOD: Rii finally snaps from the pressure in the wake of the helicopter crashing outside their school, and watching Kurumi and Miki getting injured in its explosion.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Megu-nee. From the brief flashes of memory Yuki showed, she stayed outside the audio-visual studio to both serve as bait, and prevent the zombies from breaking through the door.
    • Subverted in chapter 28. Kurumi shoves an unconscious Miki into a car and faces an entire horde of zombies on her own to protected her. Right when she's about to get mowed down, a broadcast from Yuki and Rii renews her determination to keep fighting, and somehow manages to deal with all the undead and survive.
  • Hope Spot: Anyone who thinks that Chapter 31 might be hinting at a new addition to the School Life Club is going to be very sadly disappointed.
  • Idiot Hair: Megu-nee. In a truly horrific fashion, it apparently persists despite the fact that Megu-nee's physical remains is already a rotting zombie.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Being in high school, Kurumi is obviously too young to qualify for a driver's license. She still gets saddled with driving the car during the school trip... because she played driving games a lot.
    Rii: That's right, we'll need a ride then. Kurumi, can you drive?
    Kurumi: I've only driven in games... It'll work out somehow.
  • Imaginary Friend: Megu-nee for Yuki.
  • Improvised Weapon: The only tool any of the girls have to defend themselves is a common gardening shovel. And unlike the Lobos in World War Z, the shovel isn't even sharpened, but suffice to say the girls get a lot of use out of it.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Indeed, a lot of the zombies wandering around the School Life Club's stronghold happen to be their old schoolmates.
  • In-Series Nickname: Megu-nee. Her real name is Sakura Megumi. Rii for Yuri.
  • Killed Off for Real: Poor Megu-nee...
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared to High School Of The Dead and other Zombie Apocalypse works, this series is more lighthearted since it incorporates Slice of Life Schoolgirl Series elements in addition to Zombie Apocalypse. It's a subversion in the later chapters, as the later chapters reveal the psychological impact the zombie apocalypse had on the girls, particularly Yuki. And the later chapters have scenes that are as equally disturbing and depressing as Highschool of the Dead.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Invoked. The girls are literally wearing the clothes that were on their backs when the zombie apocalypse hit, and it is hinted that what extra clothes they use for sleepwear were scavenged at the school's store.
  • The Load: Yuki has zero fighting ability, and what's worse her delusions make her a serious liability when things get hairy, as unless told there was something going on, she wouldn't even know that she needed to defend herself.
  • Magic Antidote: Not quite - Everything seems like the 'cure' to the zombie virus works like this, but in chapter 25 the reader gets a bone chilling quote that any zombie trope reader will recognize as very bad: Yuki:'Hey Kurumi, your hand is kinda cold.' Then the chapter reveals that the 'cure' requires regular injections, by one of the rescuers needing to take a regular injection of the 'magic' cure and failing.
  • Mega Corp.: The eponymous Randall Corporation, who while not directly named in the series itself, helped build most of the city through its funding. They're also an expy of the Umbrella Corporation, which means their research into using diseases as bioweapons helped cause the Zombie Apocalypse in the setting.
  • Mega Twintails: Kurumi usually wears here hair like this. However she pins them in a more sensible manner (closer to her head, to keep them from being grabbed) when there's heavy shovel swinging that needs to be done...
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The second trailer makes the anime look like a fun, zombie-themed romp.
  • Nice Hat: Yuki's cat-eared hat with its cat face pin.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The leader of the mall survivors that Miki was part of hides that he got infected, which led to the deaths of the others except Miki and her friend.
  • No Sense of Direction: While they have a perfectly functioning sense of direction when on foot, apparently neither Kurumi nor Rii can read a map properly, which quickly gets them lost in the city while taking turns driving the car during the "school trip". Luckily for them, Yuki does.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Ironically, some of the more suspenseful chapters happen to be the ones where the girls don't encounter any zombies — like the one where, during the club's "school trip" they coincidentally pass by Kurumi's (abandoned) home.
  • Not So Stoic: Rii loses her cool when Miki suggests they should snap Yuki out of her delusions.
    • She loses it even more when things go From Bad to Worse after the helicopter meant to save them crashes, and the ensuing fire left the School Life Club's sanctuary uninhabitable.
  • Older Than They Look: The girls are in high school, not middle school.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're not conscious but retain certain memories, which is why the teenage zombies stay in the school area. Mega-nee was able to regain her humanity for a period despite very much being past the point of no return, to hide herself far from the kids so she wouldn't hurt them.
  • Raising the Steaks: Humans are not the only ones that can be zombiefied. As Megu-nee discovered, any mammal can be infected, as evidenced by the puppy that Yuki brings home turning into a zombie.
  • Resist The Beast:In truly horrific fashion:
    Megu-nee:Yuki, Kurumi, Yuuri, I'm so hungry. Open the door... I love you all so Why WHY WHY WON'T YOU OPEN THE DOOR
    Megu-nee:NO No NO! THIS ISN'T WHAT I SHOULD BE DOING! I'M HUNGRY BUT.. I'M HUNGRY BUT...! (Going towards the shelter were the medicine is stored)THANK GOODNESS IT'S OPEN... JUST A LITTLE FURTHER- YUKI, KURUMI, YUURI... I'M SORRY EVERY-ONE THIS IS AS FAR AS I GO... I WONDER IF I'LL EVER SEE THEM AGAIN...(flash forward, a now fully zombie-fied Megu-nee, meets one of the girls with tragic results.)
  • School Festival: Or the best that four girls can come up with amidst a zombie-infested school campus anyway.
  • Schoolgirl Series: Well, it's about girls at a school, at least.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The Zombie Apocalypse has not been kind to the girls' psyches.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The Survival Club drives around town to find the origin of a radio broadcast and hope to find someone there. They only just miss her by minutes after obstructions and small roads waste their time, the operator already sealed herself away and zombified. Kurumi has no choice but to kill her.
  • Shoot the Dog: Yuki recovered a dog, and brought it back. All seemed to be well, but then it started zombifying.
  • Shout-Out: Miki is seen reading The Stand before the Zombie Outbreak.
    • Kurumi's musings during the start of their "school trip" might seem to refer to Thelma & Louise.
  • Shovel Strike: With their only reliable weapon being a gardening shovel, what else do you expect the girls to use against zombies? Kurumi becomes really good at it too.
  • Tainted Veins: Kurumi gains these on her right arm, and the right side of her neck and face, after her close brush with zombification. The veins go away a few days after the medicine takes effect.
  • Teenage Wasteland: All of the characters are teenagers, and unless one counts Megu-nee who is dead, there's no recurring adult character.
  • We Need a Distraction: Something the girls have to do regularly. As their redoubt isn't a hundred percent fortified, the girls usually need to get the zombies in the school away from wherever they need to go to, like the school store or the Library. When stealth isn't possible, they make use of the music player to draw the zombies somewhere else.
    • Throwing the Distraction: After their "school trip", the girls start using cyalumes to disorient zombies while being chased.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 5: Megu-nee has been Dead All Along and the current Megu-nee we see is actually Yuki's imagination.
    • Chapter 15: According to Miki, Yuki might be faking her delusions.
    • Chapter 18: The school was given a Government Emergency Manual on how to deal with the zombie outbreak, revealing the government knew about the zombies beforehand. Also Kurumi gets infected after she was attacked by a zombified Megu-nee!
    • Chapter 22: The government did know and the school had some sort of contract involving it. The reason for Megu-nee being in the shelter was not due to trying to get medicine for herself; She briefly regained her humanity while tearing at a door with other zombies and thought to try to retrieve the supplies for the girls before going feral again. Someone else had also opened up the shelter before she got there.
    • Chapter 25: A search party on a miltary chopper arrives over the area the school is in. However, we are shown the reaction of the soldier within, and the implication is that Kurumi isn't out of the woods yet, and will likely have to take the serum to stave off the effects of the infection for the rest of her life, ala Dead Rising... except the cache at the school has less than five doses of serum left.
    • Chapter 26: The search helicopter crashes in the school grounds. Kurumi and Miki go to see if there are survivors, but once they get there, Miki is convinced that there are none. Before the two are able to turn back though, the fuel leaking from the helicopter catches fire, which then causes a massive explosion that catches both girls in the blast. And as they lay stunned, burning figures can now be seen shambling out of the wreckage...
  • Wham Shot: The very first chapter lifts the curtain and reveals the bleak situation only a few pages before the end.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What ever did happen to Miki's friend Kei? The assumption is that she got killed after she left their sanctuary, but the series gives no definitive answer after Miki is rescued. Chapter 30 seems to put this to rest, however, as Miki spots a zombie sporting Kei's hairstyle shambling into the school grounds just as the Survival Club leaves it.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Aside from Rii's, none of the girls' hair colors can be considered normal. See Yuki's pink, Megu-nee's light violet, Kurumi's dark purple, and Miki's silver
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Rii sports a pair.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Not exactly the focus, but it informs everything that happens.