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YMMV / Highschool of the Dead

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In the scene where Shizuka tries to stop Saeko from putting Ishii out of his misery, Saeko hastily cuts Shizuka off and says she's determined to give him "an honorable death". But immediately after she administers the blow, she grins and chuckles to herself. Was she really concerned with ending his suffering, or simply eager for a chance to kill?
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Alice witnessed her father's murder, and is stuck in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse. Considering this is her default expression, she's taking it very well.
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    • The same can be said of Shizuka, who was nearly raped by Shimada. Yet, from the next chapter onwards, she's back to her usual self as though it never happened. In fact, the only one bothered by it was Rei, having nearly been raped, herself.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Base-Breaking Character: Rei, depending on which camp you're in. To her fans, she's a badass who pulls her weight within the group. The other side hates her for being a Clingy Jealous Girl and believe she's exploiting Takashi's feelings for attention.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: It's about a group of teenagers, who're trying to find their missing families in the midst of a sudden (and unexplained) zombie outbreak. But you'll be seeing so much cleavage, ass crack, and camel toe, that it makes really easy to forget about the plot.
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  • Bizarro Episode: The "Drifters of the Dead" OVA special.
  • Complete Monster: Koichi Shido{u} first shows he's a man to fear when, during a zombie attack, a student he's guiding twists his ankle and begs Koichi’s for help. Koichi’s response was to kick him in the face, before gloating over the poor kid's impending death and his own survival by stating that the new world had no place for people that weak. Then he uses his position as a teacher to get himself elected leader of the surviving group. Koichi sets out to make himself a cult leader, promoting sexual activity amongst the kids to make them loyal to Koichi. A student doesn't like the action going on in the "orgybus" and asks if he can just be dropped off at his house to see if his family is ok. Koichi and his group, who are at this point a cult, decide that the best way to grant his wish is to throw him out of the bus and let him be eaten. In a Zombie Apocalypse, Koichi stands out as more evil and vile than any walking corpse.
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  • Crosses the Line Twice: Accidentally shooting an infected woman in the breasts? Fan Disservice. Accidentally shooting an infected woman in the breasts, and then accusing the offending bullet of sexism? Hilarious!
  • Die for Our Ship: Rei. Clingy Jealous Girl, occasional Distressed Damsel and in the wrong corner of a Love Triangle that involves the fan favorite: Saeko.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Shidou, for some, despite or even because of his status as a Complete Monster. It also doesn't help matters that he does have a Freudian Excuse backstory where his father's adulterous and emotionally abusive ways caused his mother's eventual death, thus paving the way for Shidou to become the kind of man he is today.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Surprisingly, "BFFs" Misuzu and Toshimi appear in quite a few fanfics that shows them being saved by someone and journeying with the main cast.
    • Also applies to Kyoko Hayashi, despite being one of the first to be killed in the series.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Takashi is shipped with Saeko, mainly because she's hot and she's a fan favorite character.
    • Saya and Hirano also have a respectable fanbase, due to all the Ship Tease and UST between them.
  • Fandom Rivalry: A slight one exists with fans of The House of the Dead, due to this series having "HOTD" as its official acronym.
  • Fetish Retardant: The constant Gainaxing can bounce into the Uncanny Valley at times.
  • Genius Bonus: Zeke is known as Zero in the official English dub. The Mitsubishi A6M Reisen fighter plane had the official reporting name of "Zeke" among the Allies, but it is far, far better known as the Zero.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Illich Guardiola is the English voice actor for Kouchi, a teacher who engages in inappropriate relations with his underage female students. In 2014, Guardiola, who is also an acting teacher, was caught engaging in a sexual relationship with one of his underage female students. What's worse, though the incident ruined both his careers charges were dropped and the two went on to get married.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One of the mall survivors wears a jacket with the words "Bad End" printed on the back, and he gets one.
  • Les Yay: Done twice, with both scenes involving Rei:
    • Such as the bath scene between her and Shizuka in episode 6, which is so risque, that it's a wonder how they got away with it.
    • And near the end of "Drifters of the Dead" OVA, she ends up frenching Saeko on the beach, while both are in the nudenote .
  • Memetic Molester: Likely intentional on the writer's part, given how inappropriately Shidou was caressing his female students along with the creeptastic manner in which he kept licking his lips, in episode 5. Which Saya lampshades while whispering to Hirano:
    Hirano: (arms nail-gun) Shall I... "interrupt" them?
    Saya: (sighing) Forget the pervy teacher and 'Slutty McSally' over there, we've got bigger things to worry about.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • ORGYBUS!!!
    • Boobs Dodge Bullet!
    • I'M GETTING WET had spawned a new Memetic Mutation in 2ch, as noted here. NSFW.
    • Takashi slapping Rei in Chapter/Episode 1, due to her scrappy status.
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Fans commonly hold Rei to be solely responsible for her breakup with Takashi, while turning a blind eye to his part in it. They also gloss over the fact that she only began dating Hisashi because she believed Takashi had abandoned her.
    • Some people who watched the anime but haven't read the manga complained that Madhouse inserted sexual fanservice, but some of it was taken directly from the manga. Though some of the more infamous instances of fanservice (such as Saeko's "boob matrix" scene) are exclusive to the anime.
  • Moe:
    • Alice/Arisu Maresato.
    • Asami Nakaoka: Initially seemed completely helpless, but even when she's pointing a gun at someone, she's so moe that it hurts.
  • Moral Event Horizon: A given due to the setting. Among them:
    • As the High School is overrun by zombies, two BFFs proclaim their everlasting friendship right before one gets grabbed and the other turns on her and kicks her to her death, right before getting chomped on herself.
    • The household that kills Alice's father and ignores her.
    • When Rei says that Shidou isn't to be trusted, you wonder why, until a couple pages later when he kicks a student in the face when he twists his ankle and asks for help.
      • Shidou's father himself crosses the MEH when he deliberately has all evidence of his corruption destroyed or otherwise disposed of during an investigation into his activities, as Rei implies when she states that her father found absolutely nothing incriminating about the bastard.
      • Oh, and as if Shidou's willingness to harm his own students (and even murder them; see Complete Monster) wasn't bad enough, he had to go and get Rei's mother ostracized. Yes, his family finally shamed Rei's entire family. And That's Terrible. Perhaps Rei should've crossed the MEH (see below); it's a wonder the main party found Mrs. Miyamoto alive and not infected after being shut out by her own neighbors following a simple shopping trip.
    • The protagonists themselves have acknowledged they may cross the line as far as old human society is concerned. So far, two of them think they already have crossed the line: Takashi believes he crossed the MEH by killing his best friend partly out of jealousy over Rei and doesn't regret leaving someone (a violent nutjob, granted, but still a living human) as live bait for the zombies for attempting to kill him and take Rei, and Saeko claims to have crossed the line long ago, when a man attempted to rape her and she defended herself, but enjoyed it and continued hitting him even after he was no longer a threat. Rei comes very close to the Moral Event Horizon when she's given an opportunity to kill Shidou as revenge for rigging her grades over her father's involvement in the investigation of Shidou's father's corruption (an act that can be considered Shidou's earliest candidate for Moral Event Horizon, by the way—both Rei and Mr. Takagi definitely think it's bad enough to warrant a summary execution). However, she decides he's Not Worth Killing, thus averting this trope. Perhaps she should've killed him (and potentially crossed the MEH) then and there, considering what almost happened to her mother shortly after Shidou recovered from the subsequent ambush on his lot by "them".
  • MST3K Mantra: The curious interaction between gritty realism and gratuitous, over-the-top Rule of Cool makes this the best reaction to several aspects of the show, especially the matter of zombie navigation. The fanservice is another point of contention to deal with if one is to enjoy the series.
  • Narm: The fanservice reaches ridiculous levels at times.
    • Takashi grabbing Saeko's boob during his rousing speech at the end of Episode 9 becomes this, which seems strange since there was no apparent reason for it. Not to mention, he was damn near crushing it. It's a wonder Saeko wasn't in pain. Instead, she seemed to get off on it.
  • Periphery Demographic: HOTD has a surprisingly large amount of female followers.
  • Ron the Death Eater: The Saeko fandom really hates Rei, to the point of creating threads specifically to bash her. To them, she's a shallow, manipulative bitch, who's only clinging to Takashi because she's got no one else to turn to now that her "real" boyfriend's dead.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Saya's anime portrayal is generally disliked for being a condescending know-it-all and her tsundere-ness, with strong emphasis on tsun-tsun; especially towards Hirano. Though the manga cast her in a much better light.
    • For a minor character, the unnamed kid from the mall arc gets a lot of hate, since he was responsible for letting the zombies into the mall, while trying to save himself. Which lead to the deaths of several of the others he'd abandoned, as well as Asami and Shimadanote , who both died saving him.
  • Shipping Goggles: The last thing the shippers want, is to see Takashi end up with Rei. So you can imagine how they feel about him reciprocating her feelings.
  • Snark Bait: Even when the show gets complimented, it's still called mindless and stupid.
  • Squick:
    • Any fanservice having to do with the brainwashed kids or the zombies.
    • In "Drifters of the Dead", Takashi spends the night banging Saeko... until the morning after reveals he'd been hallucinating and was actually with a trio of bikini-clad zombies. Let that sink in.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The anime's first episode features a track mimicking "In the house, in a heartbeat" from 28 Days Later. Episode 4 features another track mimicking "Abide by Me" from the same movie.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Operating motor vehicles without a license, generally showing independence may not seem so bad, but consider that the series takes place in Japan.
  • What an Idiot!: Okay, Mr. nihilistic mall survivor, you claim to be such a huge zombie fan and yet charge into a group of zombies while pathetically flailing a knife about, when it's been established that any melee weapon shorter than an arm's length will only let them get within biting range? All for the sake of going out like a badass? Not to mention that your stab wound wasn't even critical and the zombies could have easily been avoided? Enjoy your undignified, lameass death.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: All the fanservice, gorn, and craziness seems to be a Seinen series, right? WRONG. It's a Shonen series. Let that go into your head for a while.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Saya's family and their supporters are a group of uyoku dantai- militant, traditionalist Japanese ultra-nationalists with an eye on reclaiming lost territory and historical revisionism. It's considered politically incorrect in Japan to forward ideas like that, much less on a Fanservice show. Simultaneously, anyone displaying leftist views such as the protestors and survivors in the camp are depicted as straw cowards, idiots, and/or hypocrites. It's not clear if this is the author's personal opinion or dramatic embellishment, but his older works like USA vs. Japan 2025 and an alternate history where Japan is divided Korea-style after World War II clearly state that he is more sympathetic to the Japanese right, even though not necessarily belonging to them. The ultra-nationalists are censored in the anime as their views are considered politically incorrect.
  • The Woobie: Asami gets belittled and ignored by the mall survivors, found that her instructor got zombified while looking for help, has a Heroic BSoD, and is later Mercy Killed after being trapped while rescuing the person that necessitated escape.
  • Woolseyism: When the gang shacks up at Shizuka's friend's apartment (who is not there), they find entire closets full of guns. Takashi mutters "Who is this chick, Sarah fucking Palin?"


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