High School of the Dead
By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
Over the last five years (give or take a few), it would be safe to say that zombies have been “all the rage.” With the hit show The Walking Dead along with box-office successes like Zombieland, not to mention all the other zombie films such as the Resident Evil series (and games), 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead… it was only a matter of time before there was an anime based on this popular genre. Cue High School of the Dead. Brought to us by Madhouse studios, High School of the Dead is part-The Walking Dead and part-Dawn of the Dead but with high school students, violence, gore and plenty of fan service.
On a Spring morning in present-day Japan, five high school students and one school nurse are dealing with the problems of daily life: hormones, teachers, melodrama… you know, the usual. While skipping class on the school stairway, Komuro Takashi spots a commotion at the school gate, where a passing man suddenly bites one of the teachers. After being bitten, this man soon turns into a zombie himself and in turn bits a teacher, who then bites someone else, until the whole school is being turned into the walking undead. The six survivors band together to escape their school and zombified classmates. However, once free of the threats within the school, they soon find out that this was not a contained event and that this new epidemic is affecting the entire city and may eventually consume the country, if not the world!
Added to the Zombie Apocalypse are the traditional anime elements of teen romance, drama, panty shots, boob jiggle, martial arts and crazy characters. While High School of the Dead is definitely an interesting and unique show, it’s not a show for everyone. It’s obvious that the fan service, which borders on silly and perverted, is not to be taken seriously; and there are a lot of aspects of High School of the Dead that are nonsensical, designed to be taken lightheartedly.
Perhaps the most problematic of flaws in the show is the ending. High School of the Dead is based off a manga that is still ongoing, and thus the series gets the “open-ended, to be continued” treatment. It is rather sad, but the series really does end on a very low note. Given that the show is just thirteen episodes long, it will end fast and leave you wanting more, a lot more. Fans definitely hope for a second season, but if not, HOTD is a series that starts with a bang, and keeps adding more explosions with each consecutive episode until it hits the end, where things just abruptly stop. For those who stick with the series, this is a real cruel punishment that’s hard to forgive.
With all of the fan service this anime throws at the viewer, it wouldn’t be hard to find many viewers turned off. I, personally, get fed up with it and don’t see the point when a good story is all that is needed to keep a viewer’s attention. And while this anime is not going to go down on anyone’s “best anime ever” list, it was still fun to watch, especially if you’re into the zombie / survival genre of film and television. Hopefully they bring out a second season because it really is left on an island with so much story to be told. But until we get the next installment to High School of the Dead, we can always be content with AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars