Although the two words are often used interchangeably, surviving is different than living.
One of the frequently-cited limitations to the human imagination is an inability to imagine certain things beyond the scope of experience. More often than not, the act of dying in a dream leads to the dreamer waking up suddenly. We know of death as a concept, but it’s difficult to imagine because there is no way to simulate the experience in real life other than actually dying. Your brain will not only instinctively fight to keep you alive, but it also — being the organ tasked with coordinating your existence — naturally eschews the idea of non-existence.
Had Gakkou Gurashi simply been about its one “plot twist” – shown in the final moments of its premiere episode – it likely wouldn’t have held my attention. However, its third episode delivers a poignant and well-directed look at a young teacher who steps up in the fact of overwhelming adversity.
“There are days when nothing goes right. There are days when you stumble and fall. There are days when you just want to cry. To cry a lot. To sleep a lot. Or even to eat a lot. It’s alright as long as you pick yourself up again. Until the day you no longer draw breath.”
-Gakkou Gurashi, Vol. 5, Ch. 28
Mild manga spoilers to follow.
“I am Sakura Megumi, I was the Japanese teacher at Megurigaoka Private High School . . . no, I am still the Japanese teacher. Even if this building no longer functions as a school.”
-from Megumi Sakura’s journal, School-Live!, Episode 3