Book Review: School-Live! Volume 8

School-Live! Volume 8 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week, even if it is back to the daily grind.

Things are going fairly well, now that things have eased up a bit, and I am still glad to be able to do the things that I enjoy doing.

During the time it took for me to get back into a relatively good standing, there were quite a few titles released, and some that were the original source of shows I have no access to, so I decided to get them now, before I get too far behind.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called School-Live! Volume 8 by Norimitsu Kaiho.

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

The factions have begun to make moves, with Yuki's group and their allies continuing to cement plans to visit a new place, while the other goes to detain members of the faction that Yuki and friends allied with.

However, while out on patrol, somebody discovers that a member of Yuki's group may no longer be human, as her symptoms from being bitten are getting worse, and the girls' plan may end up with yet another setback.

While time away from a series might diminish some interest in it, whether series remains good or bad remains up in the air.

And after reading this, I can say that I kind of liked it.

From the moment that I opened up this volume and started reading, I found myself engrossed enough with it that I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as every other human being out there.

Now, with what kind of series this is, where the audience only expects the main cast can be having some kind of fun during a zombie apocalypse, it might seem to be strange that the series can still look to be even a little bit decent after eight volumes, but things do seem to be happen more often than in the anime that first got me acquaintances with, as many of the volumes start and end in a way that makes me interested in what was going on, even picking up where the volume before left off.

Back in the previous volume, after Yuki and the gang got situated in their new home and one of them found out that the world they new no longer existed and there was no outside help coming, the scene switches over to a girl checking up on somebody, and in the last few panels, it showed that somebody turning into a zombie, which made me think that something was going to occur soon.

While this particular moment did not intrigue me as much as finding out what the current state of the world was, it ended that particular volume well enough that it did not diminish my interest in finding out what would happen in this volume, as well as provided a good place for this volume to pick things back up.

And, in this volume, Houbunsha, or whoever they had compile these chapters into volumes, decided to have this volume start off with a zombie walk around the premises in a strange, though probably normal for zombies, way.

This series is partly a zombie apocalypse, and by having things start off with the sight of zombie, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen, and it gave me that all important thing needed to make a reader want to find out more about what is going on via the element of mystery.

If the volume had not started out like this, I would have been a little disappointed, because it would have wasted a great opportunity to quickly pull people in, which is what creators need to do to earn their living, and I would not even get why I even bothered giving this series much of a chance beyond its anime adaptation.

Fortunately, the ones who put this volume together did start it off right, and I was able to get myself right back into the series after taking a few months off.

Hopefully, things will stay like this as the series progresses, because I would rather not drop another series, like I decided to give up on Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid after 3 volumes because it's creator did not end the third volume in a way that was appropriate for its genre, as well as the fact that he thought there needed to be more characters that were part of The regularly recurring cast members.

Then again, considering that this series is not even as highly regarded as Jun Mochizuki's Pandora Heats, Kore Yamazaki's The Ancient Magus Bride, or Hiromu Arakawa's Full Metal Alchemist, I should not be too surprised if things go downhill dramatically after this point.

I also liked how there were a few things that made me chuckle.

While the humor was not that unique to the series, or even anime or manga in general, the moment still seemed to be executed well enough that I could get a fairly decent laugh.

From the very beginning, this series was shown to have a strong focus on its comedy, though not quite as much as the anime adaptation of this series or even Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, and it has been able to keep on delivering that humor on fairly regular basis, as things never became too tense for me to be unable to sit down and read this series, in order to have a bit of a breather, like I originally intended.

For readers to be able to truly enjoy a work, the feelings necessary to get that full satisfaction requires the readers be given some downtime, before the feelings come back in a subtle way, and both anime and manga do that by sprinkling in a bit of comedic moments, which is what helps people really get into things, as well as helps us find out who the characters are.

If Norimitsu Kaiho had forgotten to add in these little moments into this series, I would have been mad because that would have shown that he forgotten what made this series so good, aside from the stronger focus on people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse and their physical and mental struggles, which are more obvious here than they were in the anime, and there would be no more time to relax between times that are really dire.

However, because these brief moments of comedy were still present in the series, I feel like giving Norimitsu a good round of applause, as I can still use this series as a bit of a breather and can be happy with a series that is not quite so deep.

Another thing that I liked was how Kurumi started to become a little more like a zombie,

After Kurumi was bitten by a zombie in volume 3 and given a supposed antidote in volume 4, it seemed like things were over, but zombies did not come after her anymore, unless she instigated the confrontation, and that seemed to be hinting that Kurumi had not been cured after all, as well as make me wonder what was going on.

In this volume, that dilemma reappeared when Kurumi started acting more like a zombie and started to forget things, though she has not fully become a zombie yet.

In many works of fiction, especially the most cliched manga series out there, the creator writes things in a way that things are over and done with and they move on to the next thing that will trouble their characters next, and after a while, it becomes just as tiring as society trying to get people to focus so much on the positive things that they do not take precautions against the risks.

If things were really resolved this quickly and easily, there would likely be very little challenge in life, as well as there being little to no conflict in a fictional work, which I agree with literary experts is something that is a necessary ingredient in making a good work of fiction.

Without conflict, there is nothing that will motivate the reader to continue following a book or series, and there would not be any truly memorable moments, or even deep messages to be found, though the presence of conflict does not mean that there is a message to be found, and if Norimitsu had not brought the fact that Kurumi had not truly been cured, I would have been even less impressed with this series than I would have been if the volume did not start with a zombie moving about, because things would feel a bit too unrealistic and not very believable.

Fortunately, Norimitsu did not forget about Kurumi's infection and it really makes me wonder what exactly is going to happen next, as it reminded me that these girls have more troubles to deal with other than supplies and finding more survivors, and makes me want to get the next volume right now, even though it does not come out until December, according to the product page on Amazon.

If Norimitsu can keep having Yuki's group and the others continue facing multiple kinds of conflicts like he is here, this series will continue to be decent enough to read from time to time, even if it will not ever gain as much respect as the well known titles in the world of anime and manga, and that is what many of the fans of the series would like to see happen, instead of seeing more eternal tea parties that people think this series has become.

The thing that I liked the most though was how there was conflict between the factions at the university where Yuki's party decided to stay.

In both survival stories and stories involving a zombie apocalypse, which could be consider a kind of survival story, there are troubles that arise because of the major threat and troubles that arise because of what we believe, thus leading us to act irrationally.

Now, some people might think that people would band together and some how do the smart thing each and every time, but we are not rational creatures and we act on our emotions in many situations that we encounter, and because we act upon our emotions so much, we tend to create problems within problems, as well as make problems worse.

As a result survival and zombie apocalypse stories are expected to be a little bit more realistic than other works of fiction, and if that realistic factor was not present, the fans of those kinds of works will not be able to buy into the work and possibly not bother with either the rest of the series or anything else from the writer.

Seeing as this series is set in a zombie apocalypse, those same standards apply here, and if Yuki's group had nothing to worry about, other than zombies, I would have already dropped this series, as there is very little about this series that intrigues me beyond the mental struggles the girls have had, since it really does seem to be nothing more than an eternal tea party.

Fortunately, in this volume, after we notice that somebody at the university became a zombie, these issues do surface in that the militant faction suspects that somebody in the peaceful faction did something and/or were hiding a zombie and they going hunting down the people that are not willing to fight, though they are not killing them yet.

Seeing these scenes play out, along with all of the other things going on, made me not only wonder what was going on exactly, but it also made me more interested in reading the next volume than I already was and lessen the feeling that this is nothing more than just an eternal tea party, though it very well might be that, as it created what could be considered a great cliffhanger.

Hopefully, things can keep moving along this path, as I would rather be telling people that this series is underrated, rather than something that could be ignored, which is one thing that I am sure the fans of this series would prefer this series to be seen as being.

Unfortunately, Norimitsu has not done anything to truly impress me, beyond exploring the psyche and mental states of the main cast, so I doubt that this series will ever become something that I could enjoy reading beyond that desire to have something that could help me relax, though it could still happen.

Still, Norimitsu does deserve credit for doing things right, and I am willing to give him a small round of applause for delivering the minimum again.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added into what I already talked about.

Because my attention was grabbed relatively quickly and held right up until the end, there were things to chuckle about, it was revealed that Kurumi had indeed not been cured, and that there is infighting within the university, this was a fairly decent read.

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

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos and things that have become common place in this series, nothing really bothered me too much.

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

Despite the fact that there was quite a bit to like, such as the great way this volume began and ended, the fact that the best part of this volume did not go beyond the bare minimums only made this good enough to kill time.

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

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but with how often this series only meets the bare minimums of creating a good work of fiction, it might be best to look for something, unless you are truly bored.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you want to judge for yourself whether or not I am right, buy a copy of the reviewed title from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can find more worthwhile books and manga for you guys to read, and do whatever you do when you find something that impressed you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.