One genre that never seems to run out of ideas is zombie survival. Everything ranging from video games to graphic novels to television series all seem to have a connection with this classic horror genre. However, what happens when the zombie outbreak invades anime? We find out in “High School of the Dead”, a twelve episode series that focuses around the lives of several high school students as they try to survive a post-apocalyptic world.
The show follows a group of high school students, the high school’s nurse, and a young girl they pick up as they fight and bash their way to safety through the deadly and terrifying streets of Japan during the “Outbreak”. However, the zombies may not be the only thing they must fear, as we begin to see the signs of social collapse, when the rules and morals of everyday life are thrown out the window and replaced with only one desire; survival.
Now from the surface, this anime seems like it has a lot of potential, but this reviewer found a lot of problems that took away from the appeal the series is possible of having. The first issue is the excessive amount of fan service throughout the series. HOTD does not seem to use it in a non-discrete manner like other animé, but seems to put more of a running gag with the gratuitous use of fan service. It’s like saying, “World’s going to Hell, but hey, there’s a ton of boob squeezing in this post apocalyptic time.” “Return of the Living Dead” was more sound fan-service wise and it had a naked punk girl dancing in a graveyard and you can see everything.
Another issue this reviewer had was the amount of storyline they try to push into this miniseries. We see relationships arise, boys becoming men, and the introduction of the student’s parents, but the problem is that it leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The show is obviously based off the manga series, which features over twenty-five chapters or “acts” and to push it all into a twelve episode series is like trying to push an elephant into a Geo Metro. You won’t get it done with satisfying results. It does tease a second season at the end of episode twelve, but as of now, there is no guarantee of that.
“High School of the Dead” seems to try to accomplish so much in such a small series. It’s not “The Walking Dead” and it might not be for the hardcore zombie fan. It’s at least worth a glance at. If they decide to make a season two, then it might be redeemable and we’ll once again return to the “Land of the Undead Rising Sun.”