Disclaimer: This is the kind of show that you might not want to read about if you haven’t seen it, due to spoilers. Just a heads up.
I really like zombie movies. I’m not much of a connoisseur, though, and you may find my taste questionable due to the fact that my favourites of the genre are Resident Evil 1 and 2 as well as the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead. The reason why this is the case is probably related to the fact that I do have an issue with one particular thing that many zombie movies do, and that’s the same issue that I have with most other horror films: The endings are rarely happy, and usually almost everyone dies. I’d like to stoically say that I just think that’s boring, but no, it actually makes me sad and leaves me in a bad mood.
Fortunately, this is rarely an issue in anime(Another is one of the only exceptions I’ve seen), and Gakkou Gurashi is very much anime in that regard. The ending is bittersweetly optimistic, but in every other respect the show borrowed a lot from zombie movies. And I really liked that. Gakkou Gurashi had that suspense and otherworldliness that I crave, but without the stuff that would’ve left me with a bad aftertaste. Sure, the ending wasn’t really conclusive, and that’s something I usually don’t like in anime, but I still prefer it to a conclusion where everyone dies.
And the reason for that is that the inconclusiveness leaves room for more story and more exploration of the world. Where did the zombies come from? How far have they spread? Can they be stopped? Are there any more survivors? Questions like these are basically impossible to answer in cases where everyone dies(unless you make a spin-off, but I’m not especially fond of those in general). And even if the show never gets a sequel, at least I can fantasise about it. It’s difficult to fantasise about something when you have to start with “Ok, so, let’s pretend that all the characters are still alive…”, and I’m glad Gakkou Gurashi doesn’t make me have to do that.