The Club’s dreams may be floating in the air, but the reality of their situation has only just been unearthed.
Continuing last week’s comparison of Yuki to Taroumaru, this week also gave me some sobering thoughts towards how she may actually parallel better to the walking dead. In just a flash before the opening, the show gave us a glimpse of zombie Megu-nee and how she’s still been keeping her diary, living in connection to the club she was part of. Isn’t Yuki doing the same thing, living out the brain-dead ideal of a school slice-of-life comedy and clinging on to what she’s lost? It makes the impending meeting of the two all the more dreaded – Yuki will come face-to-face with herself in more than one way.
Taroumaru deserved some more attention this week, though. He helps to demonstrate, with Yuki in tow, that Yuki’s carefree spirit will lead her into the same danger that others are in. Taroumaru has done this before with the recovery of Miki, but this week we got two instances – Yuki getting dirty because of the dog, and subsequently getting wet because of the same troublemaker – that cement this idea that Yuki has the kind of heart that helps on instinct, regardless of the difficulties she may put herself in. It brings into question whether a more sane and aware Yuki might be what the Club will need if the dog poo hits the fan; in times of relaxation and happiness, Yuki’s delusions have kept the Club going – but will they need this steadfast side of her to emerge more when their safety starts to crumble?
Seeing Rii-san crack a little this week was a further reminder that she’s the one girl we haven’t seen into the heart of. While that may scream ‘plot twist’ to me, I’ve had to put those questions on hold to grasp the actual plot twist of this episode – the first insights we’ve had into the foundation of this disaster. Being so shocked at the revelation was helped by how the series has continued its episode one trickery; I’m sure a lot of us, like me, have fallen into a false sense of security, not worrying too much about whatever ‘horrible reality’ there is. In fact, I’ve been having thoughts about the girls graduating just like Yuki’s had, escaping the school, escaping the nightmare, a dream – but, of course, the reality of the show has come to bite back. What the girls really need to face is not whatever’s outside the school; they need to confront the darkness inside it, and – fittingly – within the core of their group, Yuki herself.
The lower floors of the school feel like the lower depths of understanding – I feel like the girls will now have to push downwards to uncover more of the truth. The idea of a biological weapon could have felt cliché, but the sedentary mystery that had surrounded the school’s over-abundance of facilities directed the attention away from the origin and towards those who engineered it and prepared for a nightmare like this to occur. Like the scientists in Charlotte, Gakkou Gurashi! now has its own set of shady figures – people who have tampered with nature and consequentially corrupted the natural flow of school life for these girls. The calmness of the evacuation plans was also cruel, like the adult world had forsaken the needs of its children, willing to let a future generation suffer, ironically, for the sake of the future.
Of course, this horrible revelation has to be encapsulated by the one who’ll be her damnedest to be oblivious to it. We had some fan-servicey moments early on as Yuki and Kumiko stripped down to wash Taroumaru, and next week looks like that long-awaited swimsuit episode. Judging by the flow, however, I’m sure Gakkou Gurashi will interrupt it’s future fanservice with even more of a nightmare than what this episode developed into. After all, Yuki’s carefree spirit, after going through a number of cute oddments, was what led the girls to the horrible truth. An ending note that Yuki will be reaching out to Megu-nee certified this in my mind; next week’s swimsuit episode isn’t going to be a swimsuit episode.
The use of the photography was also a great symbolic touch. Cameras can only capture still moments in time, and it’s stressed that the Club don’t have a camcorder. Yuki, likewise, can only take a snapshot of Megu-nee with her in her mind, the snapshot she held onto in the photograph that can only remind Rii-san of Megu-nee’s death, a death which, in itself, is a snapshot, a residence in paralysis of memory, as Megu-nee now only relives her past through the small significant snapshots she remembers of it. With Yuki mirroring the undead, her memory works like a camera. But the use of flashbacks has signified how the rest of the girls have memories that aren’t ruled by mere moments; they remember and are shaped by animated decisions and changes. Rii-san can remember everything around when the picture was taken, but Yuki, to support her delusion, has to be blind to that context. The camera drew the characters together so well in that scene in all the ways they contrast to each other, and I really appreciate Lerche for these really subtle touches in times as tragicomic as that scene was.
Man, every time I talk about this show here it’s always about the serious stuff. Since Gakkou Gurashi’s happier side is there to enhance the dread and drama, perhaps that’s a given. But I should still take just one moment to say that aside from all the intense goings-on, this show also remains to be one of the funniest this season.
I’m overjoyed that it looks like Gakkou Gurashi isn’t using last week’s turning point as a cliché, and isn’t going to use this week’s revelation that way either. it’s too easy to anticipate a complete tonal shift after a dramatic change, but because we’re locked in our characters’ perspectives, we only get incremental developments (just like the OP is slowly changing too). The effect of last week? We don’t see Yuki’s Megu-nee any more this week. we only see a glimpse of the real Megu-nee.
The effect of this week? And how it’ll involve bikinis? I haven’t a clue.