Keep calm and aim for the head…
School girls, zombies and good old fashioned violence, does Highschool of the Dead live up to its name? Your crush is in a relationship with your friend, class is boring as… well, class. And since you’re skipping, you have a wonderful view of the school gate – where the janitor and a teacher are being slaughtered by an appearing zombie. Nice, huh? High-school of the Dead (or HOTD for short) was one of the first anime I watched and I absolutely loved it, however I being new to the scene so anything with boobs and violence caught my eye! In retrospect there are a few things which I feel HOTD could have done better and many a thing it did splendidly, here I’ll list a few.
Presentation of HOTD is marvelous, beautiful scenery and classic cherry blossom trees to set the scene to a bloodbath to come. Lots of interesting animation techniques are used such as near the beginning where it pans across a roof as our characters are chased by flesh hungry zombies. It’s also perfectly gruesome, y’all be having none of this Yu–Gi–Oh Violence with a few bruises here and there, oh no, it ranges from necks being bitten out, arms and legs being chopped off and my personal favorite getting pummeled by a makeshift nail gun. Yes, yes there is lots of fan-service too…almost an unnecessary amount, but then again I wasn’t exactly repudiating it. I welcomed the fan-service with open arms, However looking back on it sometimes it was out of the blue and with no apparent reason, we just had fan-service for the sake of…well…fan-service. On the other hand the nudity is less explicit than the violence, so nothing more then maybe some boobs here and there, I’m looking at you guys. I’m just saying don’t get too excited. Also The manga has an art style, that holds the right balance between detailed and clear, so you can follow through the fighting scenes easily. The pacing transfers the action, but stays calm enough to follow along. Moreover, the sides aren’t overloaded with text or sidenotes, so you can just read through.
Now lets take a look at the story, can you guess it? That’s right, Takashi and his group have to survive this zombie apocalypse, there are a few side stories that are looked into briefly but the main drama revolves around being revealed humanities true nature when faced with an enemy with no rules and that is only out to kill. But it is exactly the same with mankind when this apocalypse starts, rules are disregarded and people go insane (as per usual with your zombie thrillers…) and even kill for fun. However there is a lot more to HOTD than just that, friendship is shown (which i might add is rare in these kind of thrillers) and the strive for a greater and happier life is discussed throughout. Flaws are explored and interesting scenes depict the true horror which is at the heart of men. Although everything is way too convenient such as having everyone in the main group being able to beat the crap out of things in their own way, and the fact that all the girls just magically gravitate towards Takashi, but again there is more – love triangles are formed and more flaws are explored, including the meaning of love and how far can you go to say that it is true love. But enough about love and more about action! The group find themselves in interesting situations all the time and the plot tackles them carefully and skillfully. The situations may be a bit too conveniently placed here and there but the way that they all work together and the strife they push through is almost emotional at times. But then again: Boobs.
You know I would go as far to say that I actually enjoyed watching HOTD again, the problem is that I don’t think it fully understands who it wants to be yet. It’s almost as if it isn’t taking itself seriously at times, and when it does try to be serious I just say ‘Meh’ and enjoy the gore instead. It’s a great anime and manga and you should definitely give it a go, however it doesn’t have anything that would make me want to go for round 2 apart from it’s bad-ass opening theme.
Highschool of the Dead – Facts
By Daisuke Satō
Published by Fujumi Shobo, Kadokawa Shoten, Mad House
recommended for: males who have an appetite for action and gore, with a side of ecchi and girls who like ego-shooters and are subscribed to playboy.