Long time was taken in the release of the first episode of Life by SOS fansubs but was it worth the wait?
Defiantly, Shiiba Ayumu played by Kitano Kii stars in this reality check for the Japanese world, laying down the hard facts and bare truths of the issues kids face today in all schools across Japan and most of the world.
The first episode throws down scenarios such as suicide, self mutilation, bullying, discrimination, domestic neglect as well as peer pressure, domestic pressure, sadism, seclusion and other problems - and this is just from the first episode!!
Ayumu wants to stay close to her best friend in high school and gets her to give her major revision help for the entry exam. Surprisingly Ayumu passes the exam and her friend doesn't, prompting her to turn on her as she spent more time helping Ayumu then revising herself. distressed Ayumu gets a worried call from her friend's Mum that she hasn't returned home from school.
Ayumu goes looking for her only to find her dead in a pool of blood from what appears to be the result of jumping off the school roof.
Ayumu locks herself away for days overwriting her face on all of her many photos with her deceased friend, retracing her thoughts and deciding she was the reason her friend's dream was snatched away and then decides it better she wasn't alive and starts cutting away at herself with a pair of scissors.
Jump ahead to the new term at the new school and she is a wreck and wants to be left alone. One girl sees this as an opportunity to find someone who she can open up to - she is so adored by other classmates she can't dare express her true feelings to the others in the class.
Hence a bond of unusual friendship grows between Ayumu and the popular girl, but as she gets pulled into her close circle of friends she sees how other girls getting bullied or singled out for rough treatment but stays quiet due to the fact she doesn't want to make her new friend upset (see what happened to her last friend?) and watches on as one girl gets rough time.
Last scene sees Ayumu try consoling her friend after she was dumped by her boyfriend. Thinking she has done enough she lets her friend go home only to turn and see her standing in the path of an oncoming train.
Talked about cursed! cant wait for another episode, this episode had quite alot so I didn't mention the minor subplots like the domestic pressure, the sadist boyfriend who is trying to meet his father's expectations of top marks by hitting on a teacher, and others.
Clearly one to watch although on the side of caution as it is hard hitting and the wiki summary mentions it deals with bullying and rape.
Clearly a departure from the rosy anime/manga inspired school flicks we are used to.