Now that … that was an unexpected ending to the series for me. But not so much unexpected in the sense of the overall content, but rather in the manner of delivery. Hmm. I suppose the main elements of the story that were tied up in and of themselves were done so in a consistent manner, and there are not really any “dangling aspects” of the story that stood out (for me, at least) … but somehow I felt like the way the last chapters of the story were wrapped up were not strong and disharmonious with the rest of the narrative and even how they wrapped up previous mini-arcs. And that is regrettable, as for me it impacts onto the series as a whole in my eyes.

Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 01Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 02Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 03Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 04

Generally speaking (and this is merely my personal preference on things) I am fine with a series starting out a rocky (Plastic Memories), or starting out strong and having a lapse in the middle of its run (Koufuku Graffiti), but possibly the most important aspect of a story is being able to finish in a strong, convincing, consistent and engaging manner – something both of the aforementioned series had. But the way this series ended for me in more of an “Erm … okay … I guess that happened.” kind of way, and to be honest that is a bit frustrating.

Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 05Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 06Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 07Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 08

I would say that there were three main stories that were wrapped up in this episode. The first of these was related to Yuki finally being able to face up to the fact that Megu-nee had “died” (aka been zombified and then killed, though Yuki does not seem to have learned that end result of things in this episode), and then makes her way to the Broadcasting room to “send the zombies home” with a “school is out” message, thus saving everyone else in the process (which she does, though for me it was not a very strong moment).

I tell you though – seeing her attempt to physically get rough with the zombies compared with Kurumi or even with Miki … umm … Yuki is definitely not an athletic girl. I felt so sorry for her when she unsuccessfully tried to hit the zombie with the baseball bat and almost got eaten before being saved by the zombified Taroumaru distracting the attention of the zombies. The image of school being let out is a metaphor for Yuki as well, of course, and her making the announcement is a decent conclusion for her story.

Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 09Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 10Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 11Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 12

Speaking of Taroumaru, he was the second of the stories that was concluded. The medicine that Miki was able to procure was able to save Kurumi in time (yay!) but not Taroumaru. Taroumaru, in fact, was given a lengthy and heartstrings pulling death sequence and burial in the garden, with many expressing thanks to him for enriching their lives, physically saving them (especially Yuki in this episode) and protecting them from danger at times as well (remember the warning growls he gave when he noticed the zombie in the library way back in episode 2?) … I kinda felt like this wrap up was a little “milked” for emotional reactions and such, but oh well. It was not so bad when looked at the tone of the series in general.

Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 13Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 14Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 15Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 16

In some ways the final story wrapped up could be related to Megu-nee and the accomplishing of her protecting and mentoring work as a teacher that she was able to complete, even with her succumbing to the process of zombification in saving them from an early thunderstorm backgrounded zombie attack shortly after the After School Club was established. The club members see that living in the school is no longer plausible thanks to the destruction of the zombie apocalypse utilities in the previous episode thanks to the accidental fire outbreak on the roof, and decide to make their way to other shelters marked as such on the documents Megu-nee set aside about the zombie apocalypse preparations in general. Thus, before leaving the school grounds they have a graduation ceremony of sorts and all pile in the car heading for the other locations. All of the members of the Club … plus an extra in Miki. Megu-nee is shown smiling as they all leave, and this moment worked much more effectively for me.

Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 17Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 18Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 19Gakkou Gurashi - 12 - 20

However, as the members of the After School Club are driving away from the school grounds itself we are given three different surprises – one is almost like a wrapping up of a mini arc and I found its quiet inclusion really effective, perhaps for its unexpectedness. As the car was nearing the school gates the Miki caught a glimpse of the zombified Kei finally, finally making her slow way to their school. And just after showing this we are shown a parting message that Miki wrote on one of the blackboards to Kei about her graduating and being alive. VERY well done in my opinion. The other two surprises were foreshadowings. One was of another dog digging up Yuuki’s hat from the grave of Taroumaru on the roof (presumably the very dog Taroumaru was drawn to when he went down to the area where the zombified Megu-nee was lurking). The other was of a young woman who discovers one of the balloon messages let loose in the sky in episode 7. It looks like there are indeed other survivors! Is this heralding a possible season two, perhaps?

For now I think I will save my overall thoughts for a review of the series as a whole … I want to give it a couple days to “settle” and then to steamroll the series from beginning to end before writing up my impressions. Will see you then when I attempt my “last words” on the series.

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Currently the “oji-san” of the staff members age wise (in his mid 40’s) yet the most recent addition, he is also a Japanophile from his teen years while not quite an “otaku” who lives in the United States. Came to actively following anime late in life (in 2008), but in general loves the traditional arts, history and culture of Japan as a whole, both ancient and modern.

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