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Pure Asian Entertainment: Film, TV, Anime & Manga
High School of the Dead

A 12 episode anime series

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A Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua

  • May 31, 2013

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 single shred of tension in them, stupid fanservice, illogical actions (even in the context of the story), excruciating tonal whiplash, and detestably pretentious attempts at looking smarter and more sophisticated than what it really is.

The fact that this animated dogshit is getting so much praise from anime fans ultimately shows just how immature and unintelligent so many anime fans are today.

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June 01, 2013
while I know this wasn't for me, (you know how I felt about this one) I understood just how it was geared for the anime fans of Japan today. I guess it is one of those things that the Japanese see things differently than us. Honestly, I hardly remember any real good anime series the past 3 years (movies yes, but not a series), I guess things are leaning towards what they see as commercial. I hated SEKIREI (turned it off after episode 8) and I did not finish SAMURAI GIRLS. Wish there were more SERIES like BLACK LAGOON, SAMURAI 7 and HEROIC AGE. I did like BROKEN BLADE though.I think these U.S. studios need to do more research. I am hopeful for the horror anime ANOTHER
June 01, 2013
I can see your point. The only thing that gives me pause is that when I don't finish something, I don't feel that I should write about it. I may do some quick tips, but one day I may sit down and tough it out and finish those titles. I like writing more about titles that I like. I finally got CORPSE PRINCESS collection for $ 17 and BECK so they are due to be my next targets. Man, I also need to review HEROIC AGE.
June 02, 2013
To Woopak:

I get that this anime is geared for "hot-blooded teenage boys," but that still doesn't make it anymore tolerable. The only anime I could see that working with would be Devil Hunter Yohko. That anime has its share of violence and gratuitous female nudity, but those are still done pretty moderately and don't clash all that much with the more light-hearted tone of the show, in which DHY thankfully doesn't really deviate from. High School of the Dead fails miserably because it wants to be extremely absurd and serious all at once, among other gaping flaws. I'm really not against anime only striving to be "fun and entertaining," but they still have to follow proper guidelines to create something good in the end, in which HSOTD majorly fucks up.

Like what Madpenguin said, I get that the Japanese see things differently from us, but that doesn't mean I should change the way I analyze my entertainment. As narcissistic as this sounds, I'm not going to lower my standards to the same level as most anime fans today in order to appreciate today's anime, they should bring themselves up to mine, because I have standards rooted in the proper fundamentals of storytelling. Sad to say, most anime fans today don't know squat about the fundamentals of good storytelling.
June 02, 2013
Frank, Trust me, I agree. I should write more stuff about the anime I did not like....my problem is as soon as the stuff don't grab me (usually I can tell by the 6th or 7th episode), I turn it off since I just don't feel like going ahead to finish and so this keeps me from writing stuff about anime series since I believe that I should not since I did not finish it. You managed to keep me from the bad anime for many years remember? So yes, the bad ones I've seen are rare.

Amazon is a place that thrives on positive reviews since it is a site that sells, and not a site to read a review. That is the primary reason I stopped posting there (even after the re-structure that I became a top 300). It was obvious that they liked postive reviews, that even my vine reviews that are negative get removed from the first page right away.

No, I don't think you dont understand that. Trust me I know you do, why do you think I followed your anime reviews for so long that you were my main guy along with Trash why I bought a title?  It does not make them things like this right or smart, nor does movies by Bay or the new Iron Man flick make them right. Hard to explain, and not in defense of any anime that catered to teenage boys, but those titles exist because there are buyers.

Now let's put this anime as an example--you hated this series and yet Trash liked it and rated it higher  than I did by giving it 4/5 (as I remember), while I gave it a 3/5. The value of your negative review is just as important as any positive one by Trash since it gave me information if I wanted to give the anime a shot. But, I would not be the first one to tell you that you should never change your standards, and feel free to trash whatever you feel that are bad anime. That is why they are reviews. Don't take my comment 'meant for teenage boys' the wrong way, and maybe we have outgrown these things. It is just that A LOT of these things get lost in translation. The English subs speak differently than the English dubbing--prime examples are BROKEN BLADE and BLACK LAGOON. They made the English dubbing geared to what may be seen as mainstream to Americans, while the Japanese language was a lot more serious in tone. With this series, the subs were different as well. The tonal shifts were there but they weren't as bad as in the English dub. I also think that there may be a possibility that American distributors may be editing out material in some titles since they do so with Asian movies.
This may have caused the shifts that we've often seen. (just a theory)

Now in my own write up on this, (I saw this with friends, which made it a more fun experience) I knew exactly that it wasn't for me but it became a different experience since we were having alcohol. Me and one friend shook our heads while three others were very entertained. They spaced out and so they liked it more than we did. So I wrote that 'feeling' in my review. Reviews are how we experience things, our thoughts and our personalized story. Because while one sword slash or gun fire may not have the same effect on you, it may have another effect on me or Trash. There is no bad or wrong opinion, all they are, are opinions. I always try to see things from two points of view, as I made clear before that this wasn't for me, I tried to see how a Japanese manga fanboy may be able to see it.

Reviews our own personal touch and this is why I often can tell when someone is merely copying off another review--because it is not consistent to the previous works.
So don't ever change what, how and why you review. I am actually very glad to have read yours and Rabid's take on this....you are right in your ways, while me, let's just say I am a softie, I am a little more tolerant. You are who you are, and I am glad of the way you are committed to your art. I just have more commitment to movies in general, that I commend you for having the patience to sit through a bad series. Since me, as with SEKIREI, SAMURAI GIRLS and two other titles I saw in netflix, I give up and stop. Now if someone was sitting with me, I may have gone through with it, and by finishing it then I would have written a full review. Why do you think I followed your reviews for so long and why I even ask you about titles? After I read your review about the WITCHBLADE anime (a series given me by friend last year since I have the entire collection of the TOP COW comic), I haven't even finished it yet. I know I know, I should, but remember, you are talking to me. an idiot who has more movies in a pile to watch.

But for your request to write about a bad anime, I'll see if I can give a bad anime series a go. I think it is about time I finished that gift of a friend of mine's WITCHBLADE...BUT PLEASE PLEASE, do not ask me to finish and review OVERFIEND LOL!
June 02, 2013
Hold up, now I need to read Rabid's comment to reply...
June 02, 2013
To Rabid:

I think I already told Frank that one should not lower their standards because each review has value so long as they follow their own set of rules (which the two of you do). I agree--I have seen the decline of the anime series the past few years. While some try to be different and good, they always seem to fall short. I think for the most part, something is changing in their country of origin, and I hate to say it, either their target viewers want to be more commercial--I have seen a lot of marketing in a store here where Anime Figures are sold. There is a lot of IKKI TOUSEN and WITCHBLADE figures imported from Japan and it is rare that you would find a figure for ERGO PROXY, BLACK LAGOON unless you special order it. I guess because they are hot items and not sure how they see collectibles in Japan, but such things reflect their culture. I am sad to say that maybe newer anime fans are seeking something different from us, since well, I don't want to sound arrogant, but we may pay more attention to certain things (and the Japanese have seen more anime than us) or they just allow themselves to be taken by whatever's is cool back there. I think perhaps since they have seen more anime, that maybe this sudden surge in 'easy entertaining anime' is a way for them to get out of the likes of STUDIO GIBLI... could it be that they want something to push the envelope and this is their way? Not sure since I do not live there. For example, that MIIKE is known for kid's movies back there while here in America he is known for horror movies can be seen as a reflection of culture difference. It is all about making money, and sadly, those with good standards are not many. Each standard is different though, and we look for different things. I am sure there would be those who think their standards are good while we think they aren't.

Yohko is a fine example, and I agree about your points. You should stay with your standards as usually I stay within mine. My write ups are usually how I feel during that time, and how I experience it. Frank usually says that I am more tolerant, and I think he may be right or maybe I just lack the tolerance that I turn off the players as soon as an anime series does not grab me. This does deter me from reviewing one.

You two have the drive that I may lack when it comes to reviewing anime series--I came very close to not finishing BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL, but thankfully I hanged until the 4th episode. Anime fans are still people, and as such each one is complex (at least those who can properly review), they have different tastes and personalities, and so all we can do is try to accept those things. I am not that exposed to all the so-called anime professional reviewers, but sadly, yes, that does seem to be the thread. As with H-wood, it is all about fun and entertainment regardless if the story suffers. See, for some folks these are art forms while to some, they are just pieces that entertain them. I think for the most part, commercial and mainstream is the same but different in Japan.

But as I have told Frank, be who you are and write what you feel. And no, you should not change how you see things, it is who you are and what makes a review different.
June 02, 2013
You know writing those responses gave me a headache LOL!
June 02, 2013
Frank,

Dude, you are responsible for me being able to avoid the bad ones--but remember I used to tease you that you must’ve wanted me to live off bread and water since there came a time that you came out with a flurry of positive anime reviews that it was hard for me to keep up so I just wrote in some of the titles. Anime is expensive back then, so I was very picky--I just looked at your reviews, Nick’s and Keith’s. On occasion, I would see an interesting review online and then ask you guys about it. But Netflix does give me more chances to stream them now, so it is only all about time.

I guess when I say ‘culture’, I meant to say their current pop culture. I dunno really what is going on, there even has been a flurry of Pink violence films being imported here. Either the demand here for those type of films are high, or that is all Japan has been making a lot. And no, I don’t think it is the Japanese at fault, but rather these anime creators who cater to those who buy things the most. As with here in the U.S., they are keeping their focus on adapting their manga, and sadly most of those manga aren’t really that good (at least the ones here aren’t for me)

I think HSOTD is the kind of anime that does try to be some kind of ‘pink movie’--outrageous, ridiculous and stupid. Now I haven’t glimpse at any of its manga, so I have no idea how it really worked. I agree it can be window-dressing, but I gave myself some room to doubt since I never read its manga and I could not recognize where it really was going to be after season one. Oh yeah, I was buzzed when I saw this, but my experience was fun since it was with friends who said jokes while we watched it.

Now as for BLACK LAGOON, the reason why I brought it up was that my first view of it was with friends using the English dubbing. I had issues getting into it, Revy was made a potty mouthed funny gun-slinging woman as with some of the characters. I turned on the subs, and I saw they were different. I watched it alone and that was when I saw the difference in the characters’ personalities and what made it cooler, was that Revy sounded very tough and yet enigmatic--the female voice had this Japanese accent that whenever she talked it made her feel more compelling as a mysterious woman with a dark past as she interacted with Westerners. I am saying that the tone and feel and personalities are sometimes changed. Le Chevalier (which my friends hated, and up to this day I am the only one who liked it) however was one anime that I preferred the English dub, since it fit more to the period that I was watching.

Good inquiry about Iron Man 3 and HELLSING. Now let’s see, I have read the Iron Man comics since I was a child and I still pick it up now and then. I am more familiar and at home with its source material. With HELLSING, Nick had been raving about it when he reviewed the separate volumes (I said I was going to wait since I could not afford to buy them individually) and so I did some research, I went to Japantown for some food and stopped by the bookstore where they had manga in Japanese. I could not read it but when I flipped the books, I saw that those same things (cartoony-odd comedy) were part of its manga. It may have not been able to translate well into anime, but at least it was part of what it truly was (which was why Japanese fans were unhappy with the first series). Since when was Iron Man a comedy while Hellsing Ultimate was exactly what it was meant to be? That is why I did not like Iron Man 3 and I appreciated the other. So when I approached it, (yes those bothered me, and yes, I hated its theatrics) I just saw it for how it rendered its own visual style and how it had some nice touches in Alucard’s character. I always try to see if something captures the essence of the source material, and all I know about Hellsing is what I flipped in the manga.

You always knew that about me, I always try to give a reader the tools to decide if one movie or anime is for them or not, I may personally dislike something but I always try to be balanced (I keep my emotions and feelings on hold), and so my rating may end up more generous since I look at each thing from what the filmmakers are trying to express than what I want to see. I always try to understand why some may like something that I don't, and my tastes aren't for everyone.

Yes, I agree. Japanese anime has more depth and brains than American animation. Because they catered to everyone, but mostly, to people who wanted good storytelling. Sadly, anime may be becoming something to make a quick buck on by being overloaded with manga adaptations. I guess the ones that get released here faster are the ones studios see as more marketable.

“And these companies can and are getting away with this. Why? Because of the target audience they're shooting for. And let me tell you, most of their target audience have no knowledge on film. I can actually prove this particular discussion took place. On Rabid's High School of the Dead review on amazon, a guy by the name of Rich defended this anime by claiming no zombie movie ever has had a deep storyline or developed characters.... I have heard this before in defense of this anime. So how many others probably think the same thing? My point, most of the target audience have no knowledge of film to put this zombie anime in that context and they don't care to research it either. These anime companies see this and are taking advantage of it. And in Rich's case, besides being so ignorant, you can read his over 900 reviews on just how he words himself and you can tell he does not have even a reasonable amount of intelligence.”

Most people always say things according to where they are coming from. And we both know that some people want to establish themselves as someone who knows his stuff. Besides, I think in amazon, there are “plants” that give the movie or anime a higher average than deserved…so they could sell the title. The only times I still post there is when a great movie goes unnoticed (and so I post a review for it to help out the film‘s promo), or for those vine reviews where I get to try out a new product.

I just hope in the future as anime become more and more mainstream a new breed of anime fan will surface, that is more objective and level-headed than the ones out there reviewing and praising it now. And, bold enough to put their thoughts out there.

Anime is such a great medium that both sides of reviewers will always show up. The problem is, (but I have not experience it myself) there are rabid fans out there who want to stick it to those who know better. I think of it this way, I may be older than those kids so I try to be the better man. Amazon will always be plagued by such reviewers, and so we will have to share space with them. You and me and Rabid see reviewing as an art form, because we see these things as an art form. Just try to be more considerate, (but it is fun to poke fun at them) since when you know more, you should be more understanding--even the dumb ones can have something good to say….sometimes.

For you…I’ll see if I can stream some bad titles. It is your fault that I am more picky. Let’s see how FATE: Stay Night works out….


 
 
 
June 03, 2013
To Woopak:

In relation to the tastes of Japan’s anime fans influencing what anime titles get produced, I always thought that as of late, the Japanese have been producing anime made to cater to the American anime market. I say this because there’s now a ton of anime fans in America, and so many of the shitty anime titles I love to decimate in my reviews are made much more palatable to American anime fans than many titles from the 90’s and older.

I also saw High School of the Dead in subtitles, and even in its native language with the dialogue unaltered for American palettes, I still thought it was excruciatingly stupid, no matter how much more “classy” the original Japanese dialogue may have been.

Now with Hellsing Ultimate and it being more faithful to its source material, like what Madpenguin said, I still don’t think it’s a good reason for it to have the severe tonal whiplash that it does. From what you said about the manga source material, the Hellsing manga sounds atrocious, and for the animators to just copy it directly without any consideration to analyze it for deadly flaws is reprehensible. Just because the source material is one way, that doesn’t always mean the people adapting it should follow everything to a “T.”

To prove that changes from the source material can lead to something great, look at Ghost in the Shell. Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell manga was pretty awful, since there were bad tonal shifts and clashing art styles that killed the attempts at it being a sophisticated piece of work. When Mamoru Oshii directed the Ghost in the Shell anime, he took out all of the stupid shit in the manga and gave us all something marvelous.

In general, anime should only be judged on its own merits and not need the manga source material to justify any of its shortcomings.
June 05, 2013

Frank,

Yes!! It is had been awhile since I bought a new anime title based on your rec. The ones I have recently gotten are the ones either you or Rabid or Nick have recommended…and they aren’t all that new. I guess now I can have rice and soy sauce instead of bread and water hahah. I hope you review SHIKI and that one other title I’ve been wondering about. (will send you a link) I saw EDEN OF THE EAST on sale (I think Jay recommended it), but now sure if I want to take a chance on that.

Yeah, certain titles work well with the Japanese language, especially samurai anime. Certain ones like the count of monte cristo and le chevalier really work better in English.

Hell Girl is one anime I tried…twice to sit through when I borrowed it. Elfen Lied I managed to finish somehow, but nope there was nothing else to be said that you and other reviewers have already said. Princess Resurrection is another anime Nick (I think) recommended, but I held off. I understand that…each of us have areas in film or anything that we pay more attention to. You do have to remember that I am the guy who has a fondness for stupid ridiculous pink violent movies such as Tokyo Gore Police, Mutant Girls Squad and OneChanbara the movie…that you even made fun of me on occasion back then LOL!! I know they are bad, but I got a kick out of them. So…you can say that I managed to have a kick with Wicked City, Bio Hunter…I tolerated HSOTD since I was in the right mood perhaps, but that goes to tell you just how bad other titles were if I could not finish them (Gun Sword is another title that I gave up on). A friend of mine argued with me about Sekirei and its merits; he said I was taking it too seriously and so to end the discussion, I just said it wasn’t for me.

To be fair, there are anime viewers who appear to be really trying….but their lack of exposure/experience to certain titles keep them from writing a good review. Those are the ones I think are teens, or maybe they are just excited to experience anime for the first few times that they eat them anything up. Then there are those who are plants…to sell a product. Then there are pretenders...Oi.

I do have to finish Witchblade, and I think I can handle that one since I liked the original comic series by Top Cow ever since Waid took over the writing again. I do need to finish stuff when I reach 8 episodes….(but 16 more of torture?), I can handle 13 episodes easily but not 26 hahah.

To Frank and Rabid,

The two of you do bring up an interesting point about adaptations. Myself, I have some rules when judging an adaptation. 1) it has to capture the essence of the source material (I don’t care if I like it or not, but I may give it a pass as long as it pays respect to what it is adapting) 2) Improve on the source material or make it aimed for either its fans or to introduce newbies to it. (I do believe that adaptations are mostly aimed for its fans.) 3) Do not insult the characters (instantly loses points when it does).

I do not want to ruin Iron Man 3, but it did something unthinkable that I almost walked out of it. Avengers made several mistakes, but at least it was entertaining and the humor did not become unwelcome. It took everything I had to keep my review of it neutral, but I really wanted to give it a 2.5/5.

Now Hellsing Ultimate is a different story. I would agree with you 100 % that if something does not aid with the flow of a screenplay when compared to a source material, then one needs to make some adjustments. However, in this case, HELLSING already had an anime series before (made before the conclusion of the manga) that was torn apart by its fans. I cannot say what caused the uproar, but the Japanese fans of the manga just demanded that a more faithful adaptation be made and this then came in the form of Hellsing Ultimate. I know it is a catch-22, a double-edged sword, and honestly, while those cartoony touches bothered me, and I hated the forced theatrics, I reviewed that anime according to what it was intended…a more faithful adaptation meant for its fans. I don’t think I could criticize it too heavily on some areas since I had to review according to those intentions. Maybe it was a way for the filmmakers to say to the ‘fans”…you want something more faithful? Here you go and enjoy (even when they may not agree with what was done either). Since I do not read Japanese then I could not read the manga, so I focused on its strengths instead….which I thought it had its good merits. I am not defending Hellsing Ultimate, or the decisions made with it, but I could see what the producers were trying to do. Now if I reviewed the first Hellsing anime series, then I’ll probably stick to how I usually review…not knowing what the source material really was. I would say that the first series was indeed more fun and I really liked its soundtrack, but as a direct adaptation (for its intentions) the Ultimate series is better at least from that point of view. (does that make sense?)

I am a believer that no review is useless, as long as the same is observed, be level-headed, and unattached to what you are reviewing. But, yes, there are those who are just a little too eager….to prove a point even when there is no point to it all. I once talked to someone in a Cards and Comics Central (collectible anime store here) who was extremely knowledgeable with the Trigun manga and while he accepted the anime, he really elaborated as to how it could’ve been a better anime series. He even told me as to why the next Trigun series had been delayed in production. Now…if only this guy would take the time to write a review, and yet he doesn’t, instead we get stuck with some reviewers who may be ‘plants’.

Good discussion, dudes! You know I am also learning from you two. It is nice to talk about stuff in a good-spirited discussion.

 

 
1
More High School of the Dead reviews
review by . February 12, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
Bombastic, Stylish, Sexy, Crude Anime Zombie Series That Wallows In Adolescent Fantasies....
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 …
review by . October 15, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
 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 …
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David Kozak ()
Ranked #5
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more
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Wiki

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,[1] with a total of seven volumes available in Japan as of April 25, 2011.[2] The series is licensed in North America by Yen Press,[3] and released the first volume on January 25, 2011.[4] An anime adaptation produced by Madhouse aired in Japan from July 5, 2010 to September 20, 2010.[5]
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