Reviews: Highschool Of The Dead

Shameless (anime review)

Right, so I decided to give this a try, and it's pretty much your standard zombie shlock in anime flavor. A group of teenagers (and an adult) of varying likability find themselves in a zombie apocalypse and must fight to survive. Amongst said characters are the pervy protagonist, his childhood friend (I think)/love interest, the gun otaku, the unnecessarily belligerent Alpha Bitch, the Aloof Dark-Haired Girl, and the school nurse to be the designated adult.

The show is Best Known for the Fanservice, and for good reason. There's gainaxing other boob shots, and panty shots galore. One episode even has a bath scene, and hell, the OVA is a Beach Episode (presumably they couldn't fit one into the 12 eps they had). Besides that, though, is the large amounts of Gun Porn I'm not sure is all entirely accurate, and, perhaps the worst thing about the show, the shoehorned political commentary. I mean really, when you're showing panty shots and boob shots every other scene in your zombie survival series, you've got some nerve shoving your political views in acting like you're being insightful, when really you're just being pretentious. Seriously.

Oh, and the little girl peeing scene. In one episode, the protag picks up a kid who just lost her dad to the zombies. While trying to get away from the house he found her at and back to the group, she complains she has to go and can't hold it anymore, before asking if she can just pee, which the protag begrudgingly agrees to. Yeah. If you had any doubts the writers was at least a little bit messed up, there you go.

Fortunately, the dub was handled by people who realize how stupid this all is and usually doesn't take itself very seriously. I say usually because even the stupid political commentary is left intact.

One thing I do kinda appreciate is nearly the entire female cast prove to be competent fighters in their own way. The closest anyone gets to being just The Chick is Shizuka, and even she has her moments. No one is The Load.

To sum up, if you don't mind dumb zombie shlock and gratuitous fanservice or are looking for something to rip on with your friends, give it a go. Otherwise, stay away.

Picture yourself at a table...

...Eating a plate of meat. Like, good meat. Or salad. Whatever your favorite dish is. You like the taste, you like the texture, it's very good meat. Some of the best you've ever eaten. Next to it, a big bowl of your favorite flavor of ice cream. *

Now, picture some dude, sitting next to you at your table, who INSISTS, every second bite of your steak, on forcing a spoonful of that ice cream into your meat-filled mouth whether you like it or not.

And you have Highschool of the Dead in a nutshell. Likeable characters, surprisingly decent story, badass action. It has plenty going for it to be taken seriously. Straight zombie killing finally getting a foray into manga and anime...

...until you're quickly reminded that no, it's not about characters, or even killing zombies, as much as it is about watching hot chicks jiggle around with their legs spread. The world is ending, people are learning how to adapt, but who cares, this pair of F-cups is jiggling slightly differently than the other 328 times you guise!!

The sheer amount of wasted potential drives me up the friggin' wall. And I'm not even gonna get started on the anime and its blubbering, hysterical mess of a female cast.

Don\'t Expect Much, but Still Kinda Fun

If you're thinking of picking up "Highschool of the Dead" and you're hoping for any sort of meaningful plot - sofar as what's behind the "not zombie" (even though they totally are, they just refuse to call "them" that for whatever reason) outbreak, or any sort of resolution - you can stop reading now and find something else, 'cuz this ain't that kinda story. Sorry.

Oh sure, they toss in a bit of speculation here 'n there to make it seem like there's eventually gonna be an explanation, but no. All you get is: 'One day things were normal, the next day zombies. Everywhere.' And apparently, there's no end to them.

For those of you that're okay with Excuse Plots, "Highschool of the Dead" can still be a fun read, though how much you get out of it will obviously vary.

If nothing else, the artwork and character designs are some of the best I've seen, and the cast may or may not grow on you. My personal favorites were Hirano, the gun toting Otaku turned specialist, and Saya, who's Insufferable Genius and Genre Savvy (which includes repeatedly breaking the 4th wall) saves the group on more than one occasion.

When deciding between the anime, or the manga, I usually prefer the former, but this was one of those rare occasions where the latter was better. The anime only covers up to chapter 17, so you'll be missing out on the entire mall arc and characters like Asami. Plus, there's a lot more character interaction though not much in the way of actual development. Aside from being a little grizzled by the time you reach the end, they're still basically the same as they were at the beginning.

In a nutshell, it's basically Dawn of the Dead with D-Cups, panty shots, and half-naked chicks. And... I'm actually okay with that.

Lets play a game, shall we?

(This is a review of the Anime)

Here's the game. Try to watch this series and count every time 5 seconds go by and there is no fan service. Now five seconds may seem like an exaggeration, but in the fight scenes? Just try, I'm being serious.

Now, there were some good parts, but most of the story was underwhelming, and for the most part, the characters were just silly, and stereotypical. It brought up ideas of how humans would break down in these situations, and the gore was not held back. The fight scenes were well put together... if not for the absolutely ridiculous fan service.

I might have been okay with really skimpy outfits, or even just a lot of panty shots, (or even if the characters were just plain naked and sexy) but it was like the fight scenes were choreographed to exploit T&A as much as possible. And it wasn't even good T&A! It was gainaxing on drugs. The breasts were like pairs of water balloons being swung wildly about by a 5 year old! At one point, the main character shot a bullet in between a girls breasts, as they flapped around individually to avoid it... in slow motion. Not to mention this kind of thing happened between every scene of fighting. And sometimes, when they ran out of shots to exploit the main cast with, they would get a panty shot of a zombie.

I don't understand how someone could enjoy this, High School of the Dead has bad writing, characters, and (if there is such a thing, it's this) bad fan service. Don't waste your time with this.

Pure Awsome Coated In Pure Fanservice

The poster boy for gratuitous Fanservice.

A friend called this "fanservice with a plot" and I can see his point, but the truth is if you peel away the layers of ridiculous fanservice there is actually a rock solid, well written plot which is surprisingly enjoyable. I actually enjoyed the plot's drama far more than the fanservice, although that's really not my thing (I've rejected quite a few anime because of their obsession with pausing the plot to show me semi-topless women).

With regards to the plot, it is deeper and more engaging than most zombie apocalypse stories and much deeper than I thought a zombie apocalypse could be, largely due to the characters and their interactions. Zombie shows are usually action orientated, but High School Of The Dead, relies more on drama derived from the relationships between characters. That's not to say that there isn't action, on the contrary there is quite a lot of it, and on a side note, the gun play is shown very well and is by far some of the most realistic I have seen in any show.

As a show it has quite a few crowning moments of awesome and some Ship Tease (Which is fine as long as it doesn't degenerate into fanservice… which it usually does) but the show undermines this by shoving boobs in your face every five seconds or so.

To recommend this is a difficult thing. I know I've harped on about it a quite a bit but there is a lot of fanservice, so much so that I think it's fair to say that at least a quarter of every episode is dedicated to it, but that doesn't sully the fact that it is a highly engaging dramatic and action packed story. If you can get past the gratuitous fanservice then you should definitely watch it. If you can't well... you're missing out, but I don't blame you.

Headshots Or Pantyshots?

Take your pick, this series has both. And plenty of them.

Let's get the bad out of the way first. As you probably could've guessed by now, the Fanservice. Now, don't get me wrong, fanservice sells, and for good reason. It's a fictional mainstay and it's not going anywhere. But there's a time and a place for it, and HOTD occasionally forgets that. And by occasionally I mean all the damn time. The infamous Matrix Boobs scene is evidence enough of that. The fanservice tries just a little too hard sometimes, and it ends up souring a number of scenes that would have otherwise been quite dramatic and gripping.

Now for the good. To sum it up quickly, you only wish this was your highschool. This is, unquestionably, a full-bore World Of Badass, where only those capable and willing to kick ass survive. And boy howdy do they. Fight scenes are beautifully animated, well choreographed, and totally off the wall. No matter how you like your zombies, beaten, stabbed, chopped up or shot full of holes, HOTD delivers.

The characters themselves are also quite entertaining to watch (once you get past the incessant fanservice of course). The survivors as a group have great chemistry, and their interactions almost make you feel like you're reliving your own highschool days. Just with more zombies. The cast is large and diverse, and no two characters are alike. They each possess their own distinct personalities, strengths and goals, and you can tell they're much more than cardboard cut-outs.

As a final strength, HOTD does what maddeningly few zombie works do. It shows in extensive, heartwrenching and gruesome detail, the complete breakdown of modern society under the rising zombie threat. There's no skipping step two here. The total collapse of order and social norms as we know them is executed masterfully, to the point where sometimes you'll wonder how our heroes are even keeping it together (hint: they aren't).

Sadly all these pluses serve to do is balance the scales, not tip them in HOTD's favor, leaving it far beneath the glory its best moments deserve. In the end, it comes down to this. Is there a lot wrong with it? Yes. Is it mostly the fanservice? Yes. But are you willing to look past that and strap yourself in for the best goddamn Zombie Apocalypse this side of Armageddon? That's up to you.

Not my cup of tea

One night, at my best friend's flat, he showed me a few episodes of Highschool Of The Dead so as to introduce me to it. It didn't quite do it for me. I don't mean to disrespect the opinions of the people who do like the show, but it's made up of two things I'm not real fond of: Lord Of The Flies and Frank Miller. I'll explain what I mean:

For the first point, just like in Lord of the Flies, the characters of Highschool of the Dead are also Crazy Survivalists with morals that are at best questionable and at worst non-existent. Is it any wonder why people prefer The Lord Of The Rings? :P *laughs like Grover*

For the second point, I know, Frank Miller didn't work on this show, but with the focus it has on the female characters' bosoms bouncing (even when there isn't really a reason for them to do so), he might as well have. At one point I even remember saying "Geez girl; put a bra on."

As for me, I think I'll stick with Grenadier; the fanservice there is more fun and less intrusive, and everybody loves Rushuna Tendo. :) She's like a Disney Princess. With a gun. :P

nothing special but worth a watch

I started watching this show not knowing what to expect. It's a strange mix of ecchi and violent which isn't usually a good mix. And zombies. But this mix doesn't take away from the story. The story is normal, nothing special but no bad points and it makes sense. The story is basic zombie story where a group of surviors try to survive.however the govement is actually HELPING and is still working throught this story which is unusal and intresting to see. Characters are okay and some are actually interesting. This anime seems to be just okay. But it is worth a watch and at times can be enjoyable and exciting. You should see it if you've got some spare time.