HighSchool of the Dead-Series Review
I know this is the third review I've done of late recently but, this...this really annoyed me. And I'd hate to think you guys were watching it.
Highschool of the Dead is an anime series based around, if you can believe it in these modern times, it is an anime, based around, High schoolers---I shit you not it is really based around highschoolers-and guess what, they've got personal issues and want to screw each other. How original.
Now for those who don't know what an anime is, it's basically a cartoon show made in Japan, usually inspired by a manga (for those who don't know what that is, it's a comic from Japan. Why do things from Japan have to be named differently from what they are everywhere else?) and usually sports the theme of poorly drawn characters. Yeah, because that's precisely what people look like. I still don't know why cartoons like this have to be divided into their own genre, but it's stuck. And I guess there are just so many of them that it helps.
I've noticed something recently though, a massive amount of anime's to come out in the past 2 or 3 years, I'm not sure, seem to just be based around fan-service. What's fanservice? Basically sexual content put into the show to please the male audience. I'm not kidding, a lot of these shows have some very vague plot but can sport over half of their episodes to just be based around fanservice, rather than even remotely being useful to the plot.
That's why I don't watch a lot of it any more. Usually an anime series is about, 10-14 episodes along. I can't watch 14 episodes of just these ridiculously sexual, and yet unbelievably innocent girls being put in such awkward, humiliating situations for 14 episodes. For one thing, I find it a bit uncomfortable but, when it's not uncomfortable I'd just have a god damn nose bleed from it. So when I heard about high school of the dead, I knew to avoid it. It's about high school kids who want to screw each other...during a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. (What's a zombie? If you don't know get the fuck out, I can't believe you've never heard of this go check it on Google I'm not even going to humor you there!)
But as time went on I started to hear that people really admired this show, that the makers took it very seriously while making it, and made a very good horror with amazing animation and surprisingly good characters. So, I gave it a look and yes, the show started out to be very, very interesting, and entertaining!
So, let's start with the opening. This troubled brooding boy in high school is looking off into the distance thinking about relationships.
But the show gets out of that quickly enough to some good content, when the zombies actually start showing up. I like the way the zombies are introduced in this. Let's face it, zombies are everywhere in movies and the like, they're so big in the media and, because of that we usually have to see the zombie apocalypse kick off in every movie, comic, series or game that uses the...I can't believe I'm really going to refer to 'zombies' as this but, theme. In this, the infection's already started to spread and we see how it begins in this one particular area, a school. It's interesting to see how it happens, how quickly it happens and the events that happen during it. I also like the way the main characters react to it, because I think due to how big in the media zombies are, it's what people would do.
On that note, uh, characters let's wrap this up quickly-it won't take long.
Takashi Komuro-Teenage boy, likes a girl, is insecure about his abilities but is willing to sacrifice himself for his friends-even though he is very capable and powerful. All of the girls want him. He's just cool, ya know guys?
Rei Miyamoto-Girl. That's it. She has spear fighting skills, ok. She's...how can I describe her personality...embarrassed all the time?
Saya Takagi-...surprisingly...this starts out as a pretty in depth and developed character, just from a minute long moment in the series, and then this all seems to disappear after about episode 4. Trust me-a lot of the good stuff this show had to offer disappeared at about that point. Anyway, she's a generic genius character, who's pretty much there just to explain all of the stuff that the 'average background' characters wouldn't understand. She's a bit all over the place in her personality, but she's usually just cranky, for no given reason.
Kohta Hirano-All right-I was sure this guy was going to die straight away. Why? Well, he's a fat person that's not only in a zombie series...but, a zombie ANIME. An Anime, that has a fat person as a character. He knows a lot about guns, he's a big gaming buff and I guess he's just a nerd if you want to put it like that. I like this character. He's shy, helpful and feels very sunken into the apocalypse. Probably because in his gaming years he's been in that scenario a thousand times.
Saeko Busujima-She's a student at the school who studies in...ninja epicness, what more can I say? She's an amazing fighter. She's calm, collected and very respectful.
Shizuka Marikawa-Bubblehead. Nurse.
Now, as I said, the first episode is very good. The atmosphere it makes is very believable and tense, the way the characters react to is convincing, and just the suspense you feel is great-I really want to stress that this episode is very tense and can be pretty gruesome at points. This environment on it's own really boosts your worry for the characters because, it's just so violent and dark. I can't go in to too much detail because of something that happens, that's pretty spoilerific. But trust me, the first episode's great, the second episode is great and the third episode is good too. They all have a good atmosphere, there's not a painful amount of fanservice, but trust me, it's there (I'd like to suggest you play a game called count the upskirts if you do watch it) the characters are interesting, the events are good and the artwork is phenomenal, offering a lot of good action sequences.
The show also has a quite a few subtle refferences in the background to other zombie related works, with things like the name Shaun being the name of a gas station, and music obviously inspired by that of 28 days later in a few places. I'll get to that in a minute though...
After I got into the fifth episode, I took a look back at those positive thoughts on the series that I found...and they were referring to the first episode only. The fourth episode's filler, that's all I can say about it other than that's it's not bad filler. From there, it quickly descends into one of those shows I mentioned earlier, losing almost all sense of tension, horror, good characters...it just turns into a highschool drama. Lots of fanservice, lots of characters realizing they want to screw each other...meh. Oh and hey there's, zombies over there.
How does the drama work out? Pretty poorly most of the times...you're looking at these situations and events, and sometimes when the characters talk to each other in them, or how they react to them, it's hard to describe, it's really hard to describe but you just think 'no. This isn't right'. Especially when looking at some of the more adult scenes. All right, I really need to comment on the fanservice. I hate it, particularly in this show.
It's either unrealistic how the characters react to each other when the developers decided it was time for a fan service scene (I'd bring comment to a particular bath scene...), or very inappropriate. Inappropriate in the sense that it usually turns out to break the atmosphere of tension that was made in the first few episodes. For instance, seeing a young girl get dragged down the stairs and killed by three zombie is traumatic. If not for the fact that her skirt had blown up so that her knickers were completely on show. I don't get this, why are they trying to combine fan-service and gore into the same event? I can take a guess...but it's just so sadistic that I can't believe it. Other than that I can't fathom, why? Why did the show decide it had to go down this path when it had such a good one starting point already? And this fanservice can get pretty extreme at times, ranging from girls in the bathtubs fondling each other to actually showing a girls buthole and vagina while she's being forced to make out with another girl, while the guy making them do it watches-and none of these are relevant what so fucking ever to the plot. If you guys just want to draw porn, do it!
Granted it can be very entertaining at times, but it just gets to be annoying, very, very annoying. And I think it's so annoying, because of how the show started. If it was just a run of the mill fanservice show, it'd probably feel less annoying.
One scene I also particularly hated was, well I think the creators still thought they had a really serious show here by this stage. Why? Well this links to my comment on the 28 days later music homage. They're driving through a peaceful city where there are no zombies around, the cherry blossom trees look beautiful and the entire scene is so relaxing and pristine. The scene was basically going for 'a reprieve after all the chaos they've been through.' Bullshit. This scene didn't work. It might have done after the first three episodes, but after those the series became a joke. What horrors do you possibly need a break from, the horrors of being exposed to buxom half naked women? I pity you, main character...
So, I really want to stress that it's ultimately not worth watching, due to how it gives you good stuff, and then takes it away for just a fan service show that seems even worse than it probably is, because of the start the show had. Even the ending to the series is anticimactic. It's fucking awful! With the build up it gives, you expect some epic, dramatic last-stand. Nope. It's pretty quick, sudden and isn't much of a conclusion.
Tl;Dr: This show starts off well. Good characters, atmosphere, artwork story and all. But the show quickly becomes a generic high-school drama filled with fan-service, which isn't something I particularity care to watch, and certainly not when it's responsible for killing what could have been a really good show. Also, even the artwork seems to stop being as impressive as it went on. It still looks good, but they just start to do less with it. All in all I'd give it a 3/10.