Taking place in a Japanese high school, several school board members are attacked and bitten by a man at the front gates. Immediately, those who are thought to be dead rise up and begin biting whomever is next to them. A student by the name of Takashi witnesses all of this. He rushes back to his class to spread the news. Eventually, the entire school is thrown into chaos, with students being mauled and killed by their own classmates and faculty. Takashi along with two of his friends, Rei and Hisashi, arm themselves with bats and other things, in a desperate attempt to survive these attacks and find out what's going on. -summary
I'm a serious anime fan. Some who have known me for years consider me to be the hardest of the hardcore when it comes down to the genre. I have seen many series with intentions on seeing many more. However, even I have to be honest and admit, that there are times that I question why I even bother with the genre at all. Many of the anime titles within the last 6 years or so have been causing my interest in the genre to decline rapidly. Which is the reason why I have been revisiting older titles, or catching older ones I missed. This is mainly due to the newer anime titles possessing untold amounts of potential to become classic shows, and are held back by grown men in their late 30's and even early 40's, who are still stuck in that pre-pubescent 12 year old boy mindset. Which brings me to my latest disappointment High School of the Dead. An anime series that utilizes a zombie outbreak, which soon plunges Japan into the apocalypse. Seriously, oh what it could have been had real adults been the head of this project.
High School of the Dead is a 12 part series that follows a group of students just trying to survive the zombie outbreak, and make it from point A to B in one piece, hoping to find some type of rescue along the way. The series begins with a good spark, by making great use of its horror element, and paints a great picture on the possible end of humanity as we know it. Its rather unclear initially how far the outbreak has spread, and even what caused it. This always works when setting up a zombie takeover and I like it here. The very first group of characters are put through a traumatic experience which definitely helps in their development, and I thought this was a great move to set the mood of the series. The viewers get a good idea on what to expect with some brutal action scenes that definitely deliver, along with a creative weapon put together by a class geek to add some variety in the kills.
The motley crew of characters creates a rather interesting team of death dealing destruction. They're made up of a kid who arms himself with a bat, and has unknown leadership potential, a girl who can use a spear, a female kendo master, and the geek who's a master with any type of firearm. Then you have the brains of the outfit with a serious ego, and the oldest of the group which happens to be the school nurse. These characters are pretty much well developed and the viewer will get to know them well. I can see plenty of folks falling for this group and they may consider them to be memorable. Personally, I didn't care for all of them, and I found myself waiting impatiently for the horrible demise of several. The so-called genius grated on my nerves quite often, while the "elder" of the group came off as nothing more than an infantile dunce.
High School of the Dead reminds me of Elfen Lied in a very bad way. It introduces a very dark and nightmarish setting; which carelessly dabbles different genres. The fan service and tonal shifts clashes badly with everything, and I mean everything. It wrecks the action sequences, drama, and romance. It was very annoying for me. There's just something that really bothers me, when I'm watching girls in the middle of a fierce battle and there's panty shots in just about every scene. The series comes up with some of the most ridiculous reasons for fan service. I mean damn, I thought Najica Blitz and Godannar were bad at this, but seriously, wow, the fan service is so distracting, and it doesn't stop there either. The annoying school nurse is incredibly big breasted, and to maker matters worst, there's this "boing" sound almost whenever she moves around, and her breast separate in different directions. The comedy features the same old jazz, with geeky boys getting nose bleeds whenever he sees boobs or butts, and the main lead who acts as if he's completely terrified of the female naked body. Really, is it so hard to take a serious topic; begin serious, run serious, and end serious? Is it really necessary to add in these tonal shifts to "lighten up" the mood?
The anime redeems itself in some ways at times, by introducing certain themes such as government conspiracies, and questioning who could possibly be the worst threat; man or monster. There are several good moments that stand out, such as putting mankind's fear of an unexplainable situation on display. Like one predictable scene of a family killing a man they don't know, with intentions on only protecting themselves. Underneath the stupidity there are traces of brilliance. Unfortunately, the stupidity heavily outweighs the brilliance, and it highly damages the sheer quality of the series.
The action scenes are definitely the selling point, and I can imagine many people turning a blind eye to all of the flaws for these sequences alone. There are some very good action scenes at times, with nice bullets to the head and well choreographed action. However, at times, the action isn't so much as stylish as it is silly. I'll leave these segments up to possible viewers to see for themselves.
Production values are very solid here, and the animation brings out the very best in the action scenes, as well as the fan service. There appears to be a great amount of detail put into the character designs as well. All the females are very close to busty and engulfed in major sex appeal. I have nothing against this, but it's just handled too much in a childish manner. Outside of the opening J-pop theme, I enjoyed the BGM, and most of the ending themes. The soundtrack is something worth listening too, and I enjoyed the English cast, which contained quite a bit of profanity here and there. And the only moments I found funny took place in some of the dialogue.
High School of the Dead has a lot of things dragging it down. There are even moments of illogical and clumsy writing. After seriously thinking about it, I really hate this anime. It suffers from a salad bowl of genres that do not jell together. I will admit that it does have a strong ending and mildly strong second half, but the nonsense is through the roof to the point where it's impossible for me to enjoy this. This is not something I can watch again, and I don't really care enough for a sequel to see where the characters are going either. If you enjoy heavy fan service in your anime, or if you seen Najica Blitz and liked it, then this is for you. If you need straight forward, no holds barred action, then this is for you. But if you take your anime serious, and have a disdain for tonal shifts, then avoid this because you'll more than likely hate it. Personally, after seeing the trailers for more of their titles, it's safe for me to say that I'm done with all anime under the Sentai Works banner. I hope they go belly up quickly.
The series has a 300 minute run time.
Pros: -Visuals and action -Soundtrack
Cons: -Careless meshing of genres -Tonal shifts heavily damages everything it does correct
I wasn’t really expecting much when I saw the first season (12 episodes) of “High School of the Dead” and being based on the manga series by Daisuke Sato and Shoji Sato, I have to admit, it wasn’t exactly my type of anime series. However, I would be lying if I said that the anime series and the direction by Tetsuro Araki didn’t know who their target audience were. A lot of male teenage Japanese kids and even those adult males who loved “Ikki Tousen” would … more
I've heard a lot of things about High School of the Dead, but mostly how it's a combination of zombie horror and anime fan service. I was convinced by a few respectable anime fans that this anime was garbage, but since I just got a mini vacation from the university, I thought that it's been a while since I smashed a terrible anime into a million pieces, and since High School of the Dead was free to watch for Amazon Prime members on their instant video library, I put my sights on … more
I already eviscerated High School of the Dead with my full review, but I feel like doing some more. Much like Elfen Lied, High School of the Dead is a deliberate attempt by the animators to cram in all the worst clichés of the anime genre in the attempts to rake in large amounts of cash from fickle anime fans (in which there's no shortage of). This anime is full of characters flatter than crepes, gobs of goofy action scenes without a … more
High School of the Dead is among the biggest disappointments for me. After a second thought, I had to lower the rating to this, and if I continue to dwell on it, it could very easily end up deep in the negatives. The ridiculous fan service and tonal shifts ruins every single thing it does right.
Highschool of the Dead (学園黙示録 HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD, Gakuen Mokushiroku?, "Academy Apocalypse", abbreviated as H.O.T.D.) is a manga series written by Daisuke Sato and illustrated by Shoji Sato. The story follows a group of high school students caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and a nuclear holocaust. The series was serialized in the September 2006 issue of Fujimi Shobo's Monthly Dragon Age, and the first volume was released by Kadokawa Shoten on March 1, 2007, with a total of seven volumes available in Japan as of April 25, 2011. The series is licensed in North America by Yen Press, and released the first volume on January 25, 2011. An anime adaptation produced by Madhouse aired in Japan from July 5, 2010 to September 20, 2010.