Book Review: School-Live! Volume 7

School Live! Volume 7 cover

I hope that everyone is either enjoying their weekend, or excited that the weekend is about to begin.

Right now, I get little rest, as I do have to make sure that things are cleared before I can have any real time to relax, but I am at least still doing something that I can enjoy.

Earlier this week, I was looking around to see if there were any interesting titles out there and got some books from Amazon, just before the first of the preordered titles for the month arrived.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called School-Live! Volume 7 by Norimitsu Kaihou.

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

Yuki and the gang finally arrived at a university and encounter a little trouble from some residence being overly suspicious, yet are able to find their place among people similar to them.

However, they may soon have to depart from their new home, when the two factions there realize that they too are in a tough spot, and things only get worse when a member of Yuki's group learns a startling truth about the world from somebody inside a forbidden area.

I kind of liked this volume.

From the moment that I opened this book and started reading it, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs that every other human has.

While I would not exactly say that it does such a good job of this as Spice & Wolf, at least in a few volumes, Pandora Hearts, or The Ancient Magus Bride, it does things well enough that I can kind of forget about how stressed I have been this week, due to people disturbing me too much to be able to get through the titles I got for the month, and that does deserve some bit of praise.

Works of fiction are supposed to help people escape reality for a short enough amount of time that they can forget about the things bothering them, and Norimitsu is still able to accomplish this fairly well, even if the criticism that this series gets is a little warranted.

If he was not able to do this much, I would not even be able to see how this series could be liked by so many people, though not as many as Attack on Titan, because it already has the poor reputation of being an eternal tea party, and I would have absolutely no problem with dropping this series as quickly as I dropped Not Lives after only one volume.

Fortunately, Norimitsu came through and at least made something kind of exciting, so I can at least still use this series as a sort of breather, before going into titles that I do not know what to expect, which makes me want to give him a thumbs up for doing a relatively good job.

I also liked how there were a few things to chuckle about.

While the comedy found in this series is not so different from the series of the series, bordering on stale, nor unique when compared with anime and manga in general, Norimitsu is still able to do things well enough to the point where I can chuckle a bit, so that I can still enjoy things when practically nothing else happens.

Story may not exactly be the strong suit of this particular story, but it is known for having a few good moments where the audience can sit back and laugh, even if it is not on the level of D-Frag! Or Baka & Test, and I would have had yet another reason to drop the series if Norimitsu had forgotten this particular of the series, other than the fact that the main characters are having to deal with physical and mental turmoil, which was not as heavily delved into in the anime as it was here.

Thankfully, Norimitsu did not commit such an atrocity just yet, and it makes me feel like giving him a minor round of applause, while hoping that he does not forget what made this series so good.

Another nice thing about this volume was that how it kind of brought up how important it is for new books and other media to keep coming out.

Even though I might be approaching that stage in life where I wish for the quality of the old to come back, though I am still capable of seeing how flawed the traditional ways are, as I keep harping on how terrible movies and books from my country have become these days, I mostly like to read and watch newer works getting released because one can come across works that shine far brighter than what we call classics today, not to mention the old works eventually become boring after reading and watching them so much.

In the case of this volume, when the girls finally find their place in the university, they come across somebody with the usual desire of a person that likes to read, which is to read every book that has ever been written, and then a few discussions come up in which a world where the only books that exist are old books would not be a happy one.

This really resonated with me for two reasons.

First, if there were not any new books, there would be no way to tell what makes a good story and what works and what does not in telling a story.

While many of have had teachers in school tell us about all of these things that make a piece of writing great, those rules and standards are not the be all end all and are not necessarily needed, much like how Weston Kincade stated in his interview with me back in 2013 that the grammar rules we learn in school have exceptions.

In fact, reading both new and old works really helped me see that distinction, which helps me appreciate books without any hidden themes, as well as be able to notice when moments in a story need to have more emotion than they present, as well as see where various works can improve and the limitation of each medium that can be used to present story. Without any new works, we would not know be able to see how flawed the various works of fiction are, and outside of how subjective the notion of what a good book is, there would be way too many ratings of something being a perfect 5 out of 5 or 10 out of 10 or a dismal 1 out of 5, 1 out of 10, or zero, instead of a rating of 3 out of 5 or 5 out of 10.

The biggest reason this portion of the book really resonated with me though is the fact that we would not longer be progressing in our knowledge or even create a better society.

In our society, there are many of us that pursue knowledge, so that we can better our position or try to help others, while laughing off everyone who does not think rationally and realistically.

However, Albert Einstein, who is considered one of the smartest people to have ever lived, said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to what we know now and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Now, some of you guys might be laughing, because we are told that we must grow up and accept reality, but much of what we have and know now was the result of somebody imagining something and either they or somebody else takes that idea and either turns it into reality or find out what the truth is, as well as allows us to develop beliefs about the world.

These ideas are expressed via books and other forms of writing, which in turn allows us to either take those ideas and put new spins on them for entertainment purposes or notice that the things that we have been taught were true are actually not entirely correct, and without new books and movies to challenge what we think we know and understand, we would still be stuck in a world where we blindly follow people who use the idea of the existence of gods to make people do their bidding, as opposed to finding out what a loving god would really want or questioning his existence to begin with, not to mention the beloved classics would not even exist either.

While the book does not necessarily discuss things in detail like this, since this series is not really that deep to begin with, the fact that a brief conversation or two about how sad a world without new books would be reminded me of all of this makes me want to give Norimitsu a nice round of applause.

If things like this, which made me, and possibly others think, were more prevalent in this series, I would be able to read this series with a bit more appreciation and be able to proudly say that I follow this series.

Unfortunately, Norimitsu is only human and has not really been able to impress me as much as many of the other writers out there, so he is really going to have step things up before I can even put this series on the same level of greatness as Pandora Hearts.

There were two things that I liked the most though.

First, seems like there will be some confirmation that somebody other than Yuki is experiencing delusions.

Back in the previous volume, Yuki and the gang make a side trip to rescue to an elementary school, to rescue children, and later on, after Yuri brings Ruu out of the school, the scene of Yuri comforting her little sister all of the sudden changes into a view of Yuri hugging what looks like a stuff bear with trying to comfort herself, which clued me in that she was experiencing delusions caused by some kind of guilt.

While there are not any answers towards whether Yuri did not make in time to rescue Ruu or regrets not saving her at all, this volume starts off as if Ruu really was there and it kind of disappointed me, because this manga has done a great job of exploring the inner turmoil the girls are having during the zombie apocalypse, which was not really explored in the anime adaptation from a studio called Lerche, which made me think that Norimitsu had completely forgotten about something.

However, later in the volume, when the university students decide to make plans of who goes and who stays, Yuri says that she will stay and Touko, one of the new characters, seems to notice something.

Yes, these new characters are pretty much adult characters, and they are not swayed as much by delusion, nor do we know if they have went through anything traumatizing like those in Yuki's group have, but it makes me wonder if the university student are going to plot something or go along with the delusion, in order to not make things worse, and it ends up making me interested in reading the next volume right now.

Unfortunately for me, unless I decide to read the scanlations, I will be in for a long wait, seeing as the product page for the next volume on Amazon says it will not be available until mid-September, so it will be a while before I find out what will happen for sure.

The other thing that caught my interest was that the state of the world had finally been revealed.

Like many other survival stories out there, the characters in this story have been holding out hope that a rescue team is going to find them and take them to a place where other survivors can be found, which is very typical of people are too optimistic, as those thoughts would prevent them from doing whatever is in their power, just like how the pessimist will not do anything because they have given up on everything, and it really bothers me when they do not even try to create a rescue team, especially after what Yuki said back in volume 2.

Even though it would make it difficult for a rescue team to find people if they did not stay in one place, it does seem to make things a bit more enjoyable when they characters do not just sit around.

And, in this volume, it become even more important for the survivors not to sit around because Miki learns that the world they knew was long gone and there were no signs of any rescue party, even though there were survivors.

If Norimitsu had kept up that optimistic attitude of a rescue party possibly coming, this series would have ended up looking much more like an eternal tea party than it did before, and I would have enough reason to not even hesitate to drop this series.

However, because he did not have a rescue party, I am much more interested in seeing how the characters will survive with the knowledge that there is no rescue party, such as if they will form their own rescue party or if they will ultimately give up on humanity, and it makes e even more interested in finding out what will happen next.

I must say, Norimitsu is making some decent decisions when it comes to making an interesting story, even if it cannot be considered the perfect series, and if he can keep things up, the series may just turn into something good.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that stood out as much as the stuff I already talked about.

Because my interest was captured relatively quickly and held quite well up to the end, there were a few things to laugh about, and some short conversations that could make you think deeply, even though those conversations were not deep, and the writer let us know that things were not forgotten and went in a rather interesting direction, at least for the series, this was a fairly decent read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

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

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

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, especially for series that I mainly read as a breather, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of School-Live!, as they will enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but with how happy-go-lucky things seem to be a lot of the time, it might be better to look for something else.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buying the reviewed title from Amazon, so that I can possibly continue to follow this series and find other worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you usually do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.