July 26, 2010

HotD Ep4: Boobs and the Moral Collapse

Posted in High School of the Dead tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 5:56 pm by meotwister5

When you think about it, utter chaos doesn’t actually last forever, especially when there’s really no one left to do it.  When the initial frenzy has gone and the dust has settled, you’re left with much of the aftermath in disturbing silence.  What chaos would ensue when most of everyone’s already either dead or a zombie?  There’s no chaos without an established society, and when that’s gone, when all everyone cares about is their own needs and survival, it becomes “Me, myself and I”.  In the end you still need to look out for number 1, even if it means you’d be doing things you’d never have thought of doing just the day before.  There’s no longer anyone to judge you for it.

But does that make it “right”?

What an asshole.

First and foremost, the decision to have simple filler flashbacks in the fourth episode was a bad decision.  It’s just the fourth episode and we get flashbacks?  The need to for something to fill in the gap is somewhat understandable given that this Act is itself rather short, but I would have preferred some original material rather than simple recaps.  It suggests that Madhouse is attempting to insist on an act a week for the series, which really will put a lot of strain on the content to stretch as far out as Madhouse is trying.  Timing wise, it indicates a big possible payoff in the future in terms of the season ender for those knowledgeable on the manga, but it undoubtedly will cause some frustration for both viewers and readers alike in the attempt to fill up the extra airing time.

Weapon Upgrade.

In retrospect, flashbacks would work very well if it was made in congruence to the mental state of the characters, reflecting on the previous day’s events and how their lives were shattered overnight, putting deeper perspective on their minds, but instead we get Takashi’s narration of the previous episodes.  I’m sure viewers don’t have that short of an attention span.



What struck me first was the background in which Rei and Takashi travels.  You can easily imagine that the previous day the city streets were full of people walking and talking, shops were open the bar in the picture above would be full of drunk salarymen bitching about their work.  There would be more hot schoolgirls flashing their underwear and gigantic boobs bouncing underneath blouses for teenage men to gawk at.

Not anymore.

The city is barren and empty.  It’s been only one day of chaos and now the streets empty, the cars abandoned and the occasional pool of blood in a street corner.  When you think about it, with everyone either dead, zombiefied or evacuated, who’s going to be screaming in terror or wailing in pain whilst under zombie consumption?  In ways this is the aftermath of chaos: It’s just zombies now.  All that’s left are the ragtag survivors clinging on to hope.

I really enjoyed the presentation of the aftermath of the fresh zombie apocalypse.  As expected urban areas are abandoned as even the zombies themselves wander off in search of fresh human flesh to consume.  The uncomfortable silence of society’s remains hides the possibility of terror in every street corner.  It really brings into perspective how much the world as they knew it has changed drastically in the span of a single day, without giving them even the time to digest the gravity of it all.  The world of modern man is all but essentially over.


The Moral Collapse

And then there’s the rapist kidnapper guy.

The man is completely insane.  The way he talks and the things he says he’s done are proof enough of how the horrors of zombieland has pushed a man beyond sanity and, in this case, beyond human morals.  With society in disarray he submits himself to his baser instincts and desires when there are no longer any restraints to his Id.  His mental collapse arguably contributed much to how he’s now pretty much a carnal-seeking existence, but at some point he must have convinced himself that it’s a zombie eat zombie world, and that every man’s survival entails getting what you want and need without regard for the other guy.  If someone’s going to be zombie food, it should be the other guy, and he might as well get what he wants in the process.  Without society’s rules and morals, he feels free to do what he wants, since no one’s left to tell right from wrong.

But again, even if there’s no one else, does that make him right?  I guess that’s up to the viewer to decide.

In a way he represents those who have lost themselves in the madness of chaos.  When rule of law is no longer enforced, there those who lose themselves in the maddening freedom for depravity (this guy) and those who find it an opportunity to enact their grandiose dreams (Shidou).  Thus, in relation to the main cast, we see both the goodness and the madness of society in times of great trial.

He deserved it.

The episode suffered a lot in the choice of directing.  Right now I don’t know if this is what Madhouse has planned in stretching the content, but really I’m assuming they understand that having a flashback every so often will just piss people off.  There are other ways to fill up the time rather than simple flashbacks, and if Madhouse insists on a 1:1 format then they need to explore other avenues of presentation.

On the other hand, the presentation of the desolate city and the rapist is also a very good representation of the social collapse, both physically and especially morally.  I mean ok it’s not as eloquently presented and adequately explored as a more thought-provoking series, but given the violent fanservice nature of the show, the attempt to present the chaotic descent of humanity drives home the fact that this is no longer the world they knew.


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