Highschool of the Dead ( H.O.T.D.) follows a zombie apocalypse, anime style. It all starts during a typical day at high school. Takashi Komuro was skipping class as usual when he noticed a strange man at the school gate. The PhysEd teachers confront the man…well being a zombie series, the stranger turns out to be a zombie and after a bite, the PE teachers proceed to kill each other.
5 minutes later the entire school is killing each other.
H.O.T.D. is violent. Heads are bashed in with anime style violence. It is the only way to kill the undead, after all. People are eaten alive, shot and everything else that happens when the world goes insane. Even the characters comment about how everything changed in just 1-2 days. They go from being normal honor students to urban warriors who have killed former friends.
Highschool of the Dead has too much boobage for my taste. Zombies have always had a strange sexuality to them. They eat to reproduce. The horrible intimacy of that is what gives them this sexual element. HOTD adds teenage hormonal elements to the strange mix. Many of the key female characters are….busty to put it mildly. It is a source for many crude jokes and scenes teenage boys dream about. I found the scenes unnecessary.The crude scenes only detracted from the female characters. The female characters were each likeable and strong in their own way. Each character adds a certain skill to the team that helps all of them survive. Okay, all the females are likeable and strong except Shizuka Marikawa, the ex-school nurse. She is a blond bimbo with breasts larger than her head. She is the only adult of the group and does take on a motherly role (what the enormous chest tends to represent). She is intelligent, but rarely shows it with her behavior.
I found the way the characters interact and attempt to live as normally as possible with Them, as they call the zombies, around everywhere the most appealing. Each character has baggage they bring from the previous world, such as Saeko Busujima’s “raw nature” and Saya Takagi’s troubled relationship with her parents. I did find it annoying how the female characters fawn after Takashi, but HOTD is shonen.
Highschool of the Dead captures the feel of a George Romero flick and adds an anime twist. Unlike Romero films, the main characters are all collected and do what needs to be done. They tend not to panic as much as Romero’s flaky people. Sure some people will panic and get themselves killed, but no where near as many as in Romero’s world. In HOTD, the people become organized after the initial panic and create (admittedly temporary) safe zones in the cities. Ok, something else HOTD has over Romero: freakin’ samurai. Saeko and a few sub-characters embody bushido code. They dispatch zombie mobs with a flourish American firearms just can’t muster. Anime is good for these over-the-top flourish of awesomeness, though.
Highschool of the Dead is a good watch for any fan of zombies. The Japanese twist on American zombie culture is refreshing as much as it is familiar. The interaction and development of each of the cast is well paced and interesting. I guess the size and amount of boobs and underskirt shots appeals to many as well. At times the sexually charged scenes made the horror more horrible. Other times the scenes seemed contrived and just hurt the show. The animation was crisp and detailed. Sometimes there are short cuts: action lines and the like, but most of the violence is animated with a subtle sledgehammer. Computer animation is seamlessly combined with traditional animation. The music adds nicely to the horror and insanity.
Highschool of the Dead is one of the more plausible zombie shows I’ve watched. At least I am not yelling “idiot” toward the characters every few minutes like the Romero films. It’s nice to see characters be rational and do what needs to be done instead of being foolish and dead.