July 5, 2010

High School of the Dead Episode 1

Posted in High School of the Dead tagged , , , , , , , , , at 10:01 pm by meotwister5

Gratuitous over the top violence!
Limbs, blood and guts spewing from every mouth and orifice!
Bouncing titties every 10 seconds!
More panty shots than a Victoria’s Secret model shoot!
Schoolgirls screaming in horror as they get devoured!
Schoolboys screaming in horror as they get eaten alive!
The undead walking and consuming all life in their path!
Ridiculously hilarious melodramatic drama and death!
The police and the military are powerless!
Only a group of improbably good-looking boys and improbably well-endowed girls stand in the way of survival and the destruction of Japan!

This might simply be the best opener of the season yet!

The Apocalypse has arrived.

Schoolgirls and Schoolboys in school, doing things schoolchildren do, blissfully unaware of the hellacious hellhole of hell that begins to brew outside their gates.  A strange and lumbering man appears in front of the school gates , prompting school officials to go and see just what the heck is going on.  The man looks pale and completely out of it.  A teacher reaches for the man and gets the final shock of his life.  He bites the teacher and the teacher lumbers back, slumps to the ground, and lies motionless.  The rest of the teachers look on in disbelief, trying to wake up their colleague.  He opens his eyes…

And so it begins...

If you’ve ever read the manga as I have (Ok sure only the first 2 chapters) then you know just how this is an ode to the Zombie B-Movies of old and new.  We have no idea so far what the hell happened and where it happened, but that’s not really the point.  It’s the classic Zombie movie setup:  Group of uncanny survivors bundle together trying to survive hell on earth, scrounging whatever weapons they can get as they try to find a way out of the land of the dead, even losing some of their own in the process.  Expect much over the top angst, drama and hell maybe even a bit of romance thrown into the mix.  Cheesy as hell but that’s exactly the point:  This is simply the stuff B-Movies are made of.

There's always time for panty shots. Even when you're screaming for your life.

The blood, violence and gore is clearly over the top.  These are some of the more ludicrous arterial blood sprays I’ve seen in a while, to the point it’s actually half disgusting and half hilarious.  In classic Zombie killing style, only a good ol’ headshot solves your undead problems, and from here you can expect a lot of violence as the first group of survivors attempt to make their way to the top of the school buildings, barricading themselves in and waiting for help.  However, if you’ve played and Zombie-themed game and any Zombie movie, you know that this is a cardinal mistake.  Expect more violence and blood as the episodes come, as the usual weaponry upgrades eventually arrive.

You’ve likely stared at the above screenshot of Miyamoto Rei’s silky white panties, which will undoubtedly become soiled with the blood of the undead as the episodes go.  The manga is rather uh… infamous for the amount of gratuitous panty shots and boob shots it has, and it would seem Madhouse believed this was an integral part of the storyline.  Episode one has either a bouncing boob shot or a panty flash almost every half minute, which in itself will either be a bane or a boon to the watcher.  One cannot deny that all the Ecchi in this is one of the selling points of the manga and thus the anime, alongside all the Zombie killing of course, but it does lead to some distractions as the episode went.

The drama of the tragic deaths and cannibalistic consumptions are gloriously over the top and almost melodramatic, it’s actually hilarious at times.  If there was anything that was enjoyable about the manga regarding this it’s that it completely revels in it.  Almost as if the death scenes were intended to be melodramatic to borderline funny.  There’s almost nothing serous at all with the deaths I’ve seen so far, to the point that many of them even feel downplayed by the story as if to imply that everyone, and I mean Everyone, is potential Zombie food, and there’s practically no time at all to mourn their passing when the fallen themselves will come after you mere seconds after they die.  It’s almost like a parody.

Apparently even undead breasts bounce like living ones.

Madhouse went crazy with the animation.  The (living) characters are crisply animated and reactive.  The undead look completely… well dead and essentially gangrenous as they lumber around in their bloodlust.  The city and the school are awash in chaos as dead bodies fill the streets.  I’m actually quite impressed with the near ridiculous amount of exaggerated detail they placed on the poor suffering victims as they get their limbs torn and their spleens devoured.  Hell I might as well say it:  the amount of animation and physics details they placed on the bouncing T’s and flashing A’s would make the creators of Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball want to take notes.

Takashi is GAR.

“But wait a minute Meo! You’re a smart man!  What are you doing watching a essentially stupid and derivative piece of crass fiction?”

Because it’s awesome goddammit!  It’s pure unadulterated and most importantly unpretentious fun!

In a time when intellectual douchebaggery tends to overrun a lot of anime, these are the types of pure fun and entertainment you can watch without having to worry about catching important symbolism, noticing subtle characterization hints or trying to figure out literary subtexts.  I tend to prefer more cerebral series when I can but I also enjoy these shows where I can turn off half of my brain and simply revel in the glory of female undergarments, decerebrated undead and the excessive use of projectile ammunition.

The above paragraph is what this series is in a nutshell.  It’s pure violent and perverse entertainment and most important of all, it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is. The manga and the anime presents itself with full knowledge and awareness of what it wants to give the reader/viewer and doesn’t attempt to give us anything more than that.  It sticks to it’s guns and runs with it all the way, running through the entire pattern of the Zombie Apocalypse with a raging hard-on for Zombie murder and hot schoolgirls.  This is simply full blown, adrenaline pumped entertainment.  Everything else is an afterthought.

And really, who has time to ponder the meaning of life and have an existential problematic when there are headshots to make and panties to flash?



  1. OceanBlue said,

    I agree with you. The appeal of the manga [and hopefully the show] is that it knows what its viewers are there for, and it delivers.

    They better not tone down the perversity. It’d ruin the balance.

  2. Michael said,


    Sadly, it may be the best show of the season.

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