School-Live! is an anime about Megurigaoka Private High School’s School Living club. The School Living club is comprised of four young ladies – Yuki, Kurumi, Yuri, and Miki – and their advisor Megumi Sakura (Megu-nee) and lives, eats, and sleeps at school. They have turned an unoccupied club room into a bedroom, they have their own kitchen, showers, and they use the school’s rooftop garden to help grow food.
If you haven’t watched at least the first episode of this show, I strongly recommend you stop reading here and go watch at least that far. This first episode contains a few really big story elements, and changes the show dramatically and reviewing it without spoiling the first episode would mean not giving an accurate depiction of the show as a whole. So I am writing this review under the assumption you have gotten that far.
The characters in this show are really well done. Sure, they’re a bit cutesy, but the contrast is good for the show. Yuki, in particular, is fantastic. The interactions between her and the rest of the members of the School Living club drive the show without seeming forced, and the way they handle her delusion, especially in that opening episode, is simply phenomenal. You develop such a fondness and concern for this cheerful, hapless girl, and the show sets itself up for the inevitable crumbling of her delusions so well.
School-Live! could’ve used one or two more episodes, because it changes gears remarkably suddenly and lacks time to really develop some of the subplots later on. Aside from that, the show’s pacing is actually really good. You get to watch the relationships between the characters grow, you get new revelations regarding both the circumstances and the depth of Yuki’s delusions regularly, and you get to build an emotional connection to these adorable little girls – and their dog, too.
The show is full of surprises, some of them very well foreshadowed, others less so. I found myself often thinking back and making connections to previous events that suddenly take on a whole new meaning. It’s fantastic, and it is well portrayed in the show’s opening. While the music is largely unchanged, the scenes in the opening change over time, and give extremely subtle hints about the future.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering… this is one of the most adorable shows ever. So if you have a hard time watching Cutes struggle, this might not be the best show for you. But don’t worry, I was expecting the ending to be far more tragic than it actually turned out to be – so it’s not all struggles.