Day #7: Highschool of the Dead (Anime)

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Highschool of the Dead | Madhouse

Synopsis:

A sudden outbreak of zombies causes chaos across the globe, quickly decimating the population.

Highschool of the Dead (H.O.T.D.) follows a group of Japanese high schoolers, who must band together in order to survive.

My take:

I’ve watched a decent amount of anime over the years, so there are a couple of things I’ve come to expect (or, more appropriately, ‘accept’) from it: fan service, and overly complicated story lines.

Surprisingly, the latter is all but absent from H.O.T.D.. In fact, for the most part the story is pretty simple; and it’s at its best when this is the case. Attempts to deal with cult-like scenarios, or political unrest in a world falling into chaos, quickly veer into the realm of being ludicrously bad – but, when it sticks to its main purpose, the story makes a simple kind of sense. These teens want to find their families, and they want to survive. Throw in some violence, and this is essentially all you need from a plot based on a zombie apocalypse.

Unfortunately, the amount of fan service – or ecchi – in this anime is just ridiculous. There are so many shots of pendulous breasts and panties that I can’t help but agree with one reviewer, who described H.O.T.D. as being “about a group of breasts trying to avoid getting eaten by zombies in whatever way possible.”

I’m not a fan of fan service in the first place, so I found the escalating amount of it in H.O.T.D. to be rather exasperating. Particularly since, on the whole, I found that some of the female characters had the potential for more depth than any of the male characters ever displayed. For example, Saeko Busujima (Miyuku Sawashiro) is undoubtedly the best fighter in the group, and shows herself to be cool-headed in tough situations. However, she is regularly reduced to a pair of breasts that defers to Takashi Komuro (Junichi Suwabe), the indecisive “leader” of the group, who has a tendency to yell at and physically abuse the females of the group. It’s more than a little annoying.

You might think from everything I’ve written above that my recommendation would be to steer clear of this anime – and I certainly considered saying as much. But, despite my issues with it, I did find myself breezing through the entire season in almost one sitting, because it was some mindless, zombie-killing fun.

I can’t exactly bring myself to say you should go and hunt down H.O.T.D. in order to watch it, but if you’ve got a few hours to kill and there’s nothing better to do, it’s at least mildly entertaining, with some cool looking fights.

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