Sunday, February 6, 2011

Highschool of the Dead, Season 1

Original Title - 学園黙示録 Gakuen Mokushiroku?, "Academy Apocalypse"
Produced by MadHouse Animation

Original Airdates: July 5th- September 20th, 2010
(Involves heavy amounts of violence, gore, sensuality, and partial nudity)

…in other words, Not for those under 17 yrs of age

Since I’m a fan of anime and zombies, High School of the Dead seemed like a perfect fit for me. However, there are a few problems to address later on.

In modern Japan, zombies have begun to attack a high school. Takashi Komoro takes action and decides to save childhood sweetheart Rei Miyamoto from the hoards of living dead and escape from the madness. Soon enough, Takashi and Rei meet other survivors: Saeko Busujima, a kendo master; Saya Takagi, a self-proclaimed genius and resident loud-mouth; Kohta Hirano, skilled marksman and gun fanatic, and Shizuka Marikawa, the school nurse and the group’s only proficient driver. Will this rag-tag group of survivors make it to find their families, or to survive to the next day? Will the undead be their worst enemies, or the other people that survive this apocalypse?

The Walking Dead, Dead Rising, Dead Space, 28 Days Later…. The list goes on and on for how much Zombies have infected the imaginations and interest of audiences these days (the less said about the CW “drama” with zombies, the better). HOTD certainly wears its inspirations on its sleeve, from musical cues from 28 Days Later to the title brining up memories of George A. Romero movies (Night, Dawn, Day, Land, Diary, and Survival of the Dead). Since this is a show about Zombies, it would be apropos to have zombie gore, and plenty of it; there’s tons of great action sequences, and I applaud MadHouse Animation for their fantastic fluidity and style in bringing the manga to its’ animated form. One of the first season’s best episodes, The Sword and the Dead, features Saeko Busujima facing off against zombies with a katana.

Now on to the only reason HOTD gets a 4 out of 5 stars…

There is WAY too much fan service going on in this show. Now, I’m no prude, but seriously it gets really annoying when you’re trying to enjoy an anime about zombies, and you’re being blocked by fan service. I'm not unfamiliar with the practice, as seen in other anime like Code Geass, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Hellsing, but unlike those anime, HOTD pushed the fan service until you go crazy.   (If you don’t know what fan service is, look it up). I watched the first six episodes with my buddies, and we were all exasperated by how much gratuitous sexism and ogling of the female characters there were in the FIRST episode.

If you cannot wait until October 2011 for The Walking Dead Season 2, give HOTD a chance if you also enjoy anime.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click Here  to buy First Manga Volume of Highschool of the Dead, Vol. 1

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