Book Review: School-Live! Volume 4

School Live! Volume 4 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week so far, regardless of whether you are on break or dealing with the daily grind, as usual.

As I mentioned in the last review, I had gotten some books recently that I had been meaning to get to for a while but could not, due to the situation that happened last month.

So far, I have covered one of the seven titles that I got and there are still quite a few to deal with.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called School-Live! Volume 4 by Norimitsu Kaihou.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

While doing some recon work, one of the girls come back injured and the others do not know what to do about the new predicament.

However, they know that they cannot remain alone in the school forever, and they have a few ideas to enact, but they still need to get things prepared and deal with the problem occurring within the group.

Even though it has been a while since I read the previous volume, as I have been focusing on getting this series three volumes at a time, until I got to where the anime stopped, which was the next volume, according to a page on Baka-Updates Manga, I must say that I kind of liked this.

From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading a few pages, I felt like I was pulled back into the world of the series and I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs that every human has to deal with.

If I had to say why, it is because the kind of atmosphere that I have come to expect from this series than more comedic tone that the anime took on when it aired.

Now, I do not hate seeing some amount of humor in a work, as it keeps things from going stale, but only if it is done right and feels natural, unlike what happened with Rewrite episode 10.

However, a zombie apocalypse cannot feel as relaxed as things felt during the course of the anime because people would have both mental and physical troubles in a scenario like this.

In the case of the manga version of this series, things still seem to be feeling intense, as this comes across as people actually trying to survive, though it might very well lose that positive aspect when I get to the later volumes, since this series is not what I would call one of the best out there.

Still, Norimitsu seems to know what he is doing, since I would have been a little angry if things started to feel dull, and I feel like giving him a bit of applause.

I also liked how I found out a bit more about what the characters were like before and leading up to the situation that they are in now.

While there were not too many flashbacks, which is actually a good thing, the volume included some writing from the late teacher that tried to keep them safe that detailed who each girl was as a character and what she was going through, while she herself was struggling as she tried to be strong for her students.

By seeing this, I was able to get a good idea of what each girl was like, except for the new one that recently joined their group, and get a good picture of why the girls were trying to make sure that Yuki stayed delusional, which I already noted was likely a self-defense mechanism that came about because the trauma Yuki experienced, and I want to believe even more now, knowing that she became much more childish around the time the zombie outbreak began than she was before.

Of course, I am not too sure how long Yuki will continue to be delusional, but getting this kind of information makes me want to see how each girl will develop over the course of the series and how they will all overcome their mental trauma, and makes me want to give Norimitsu some praise.

If he can keep this up, the series might become better than just another generic series, and that is what I am hoping to see.

I also liked how the characters were forced to do something and suffered because of it.

While there are many stories out there in which characters do something that they do not really want to do, such as Akira in Cage of Eden Volume 5, it seems like they always come out unscathed and they get over it quickly, which makes things seem to be little less realistic than things were before, even if it is necessary to get over things quickly in certain situations.

Here, however, when one of the girls that were part of the original group finds out that their beloved teacher became a zombie, she comes back injured and starts the process of becoming a zombie.

Megumi Sakura was part of their lives for such a long time and, even though the one that encountered her did seem to be emotionally charged by it, I do not think that they would have been able to kill her because of how close they were.

After all, I doubt that any good and decent person would be able to strike a fatal blow if they were forced to take the life of somebody close to them, not to mention that they would be haunted by the fact that took person's life, regardless of if it was the right thing to do or not.

Seeing as how this was illustrated perfectly in this volume, and how the new girl decided to take things into her own hands because she was not close to the deceased teacher, it came across as a bit more believable than if the characters just got over things, especially considering that these girls are only teenagers.

Manga already has a tendency to not feel realistic to many people because of the absence of parents and teens and children can do whatever they want, but having things be that realistic is also not quite as enjoyable as if only the things that the characters went through and did felt realistic and believable, since fictional works are meant to help people escape reality, as well as help us discover how humans behave and why, at least when we get fully fleshed out characters and are able to connect with them.

As a result, I find myself liking what Norimitsu is doing with this series, even if it is not quite at the level of Clannad or Your Lie in April, where a large part of the struggles is internal, and I hope that more moments like this get explored as the series progresses, otherwise I might just consider dropping this series for not meeting my expectations, just like Not Lives was dropped because it did not meet my expectations.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the girls have finally decided to leave the school behind forever.

Even though they have not really left the school at all in this series, except for when Miki joined up with their group, and it still seems to be rather appealing, I do not think a series like this would continue to stay good if exploring the school was all they did and many of the complaints about this series have to do with the fact that the lives of these girls is way too peaceful for a zombie apocalypse.

These guys are supposed to be trying to survive against many hordes of zombie, yet the only time they are attacked by zombies is when they leave their safe zones, which makes the series seem to be less realistic for a zombie apocalypse.

However, start with this volume, the girls decide that it is time to leave when the subject of graduation crops up, and my interest in this series is increased a little more than it was before, though it is not quite at the same level as Pandora Hearts or many of the other series that I enjoyed.

Hopefully, things can be a bit more interesting than the excursion that the girls took back in volume 2, but since Norimitsu Kaihou cannot really impress me as much as Jun Mochizuki or many of the other writers I like have, I am kind of doubtful that anything is really going to happen.

Still, that does not mean that Norimitsu should not be praised for expanding things beyond the school, and I am willing to give him some minor applause for doing something right.

Because my interest was captured and help throughout the duration of the book, the troubles being forced to do something felt more believable, the characters became a little more fleshed out, and that they are finally planning to leave the school forever, this volume was fairly decent.

Although I did like the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there were a few things to like, though not anywhere close to what I would consider perfect, this was worth reading.

I recommend this mainly to fans of School-Live! And Norimitsu Kaihou, as they would be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth trying, but this series might time some time before it can appeal to fans of zombie apocalypse stories.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me Patreon, so that I can continue to find more worthwhile read, and do what you guys usually do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.