Highschool Of the Dead

Basic Information:
Director: Tetsuro Araki – Recommended works: Guilty Crown, Otogi-Jushi Akazukin (OAV) & Death Note.
Madhouse: Independent Japanese Animation Production Company.
Both Subbed and Dubbed versions are available.
Genre: Action, Horror, Romance, Thriller.
Age rating: 15
Year of release: 2010
Based on the Manga: Highschool Of The Dead: Story by Daisuke Sato. Art by Shoji Sato.

Synopsis:
Takashi Komuro is a normal Highschool boy, until an infection breaks out that turns people into zombie-like creatures. Along with his friends & the school nurse, they fight their way out and continue their journey to find out what exactly has happened to the world.

Review
‘Highschool Of The Dead’ a electrifying, terrific success or a hollow undeniable attempt to sell simply on ‘show’ and not on ‘depth’ or ‘meaning‘.

The two sides of the argument is what you may find with this particular Anime. I will try to weigh both sides and give a fair review of ‘Highschool Of The Dead’.

Highschool of the Dead is an Anime that aims itself at the Shounen & Seinen audience. The reason for this is, if you haven’t figured it out yet. A large majority of young men, who like women with big boobs and they also like guns. This means guns and bobbies! This is the first thought I had when I saw this Anime advertised.

When I finally decided to watch the Anime I expected it to have stereotypical horror characters set into a modern, conventional setting. This is something that surprisingly I did not get. Instead I was given very different characters, which I will talk about later. Also the conventional setting was changed to include various nods and references to other horror films. These changes bring forth an interesting premise, which drew me to watch on.

The Anime is set in a world that has seen this on Television, Films and so on. Much like our own reality and the characters think of it this way, when presented with the zombies but luckily not every character has serious ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ knowledge. The Anime is clearly being made by fans of the 1970s/80s zombie horror flicks. I respect that the characters and the world that it inhabits create this extremely gory and remarkably violent chaotic Anime.

This Anime as an idea and for it’s audience I have to recommend it but two parts of this Anime I found very difficult and one other that was just me being picky at first.

I’ll begin with me being picky. The first two episodes especially, for me were annoyingly difficult because of the use of Digital Animation. I know that majority of all Anime today is hugely done with the aid computers. Rather than drawn all on paper due to tremendously paranoid producers, who panic at the thought of an Anime not being perfectly clean because the Animators weren’t able to draw perfectly. I always loved the physical feel of drawn Animation but I could still watch modern Anime using computers to add the colour and remove errors and so on. I just struggle to watch Anime with Digital Animation where it isn’t necessary, in the Anime unless it’s a Sci-Fi such as Ghost In The Shell. In something like this, with a modern setting I’d be sure that an extravagant use of Digital Animation would be less effective than Animation that fitted the rest of the setting and Animation. Despite this much of the target audience will enjoy the Digital Effects used in the Anime at first but whether it will remain re-watch able is for you to decide.

Now onto my problems with the Anime. The first is to address is the insanity of an episode near the end. (Skip this paragraph to avoid spoilers if you want to). Rei is laying down unable to get up because she is injured and Takashi uses her huge breasts to rest the sniper rifle on, while he fires the gun. As logic dictates this is madness because it would severely injure her chest from the recall and deafen her immediately after firing. In the same Episode Saeko dodges a bullet with a movement of her breasts. It’s better if you watch the Episode yourself but when you see the Anime you will know what I mean or you might just Google Saeko awesome boob dodge or some crap like that. There are other ‘what the fuck’ moments in the Anime but it’s easier to forgive them because in other areas they take in the account that many of them need to learn to use guns before they become awesome with them. Unlike in some Zombie adventures like the Video Game ‘Left 4 Dead’ where your normal citizens are perfect shots with guns and can move and shoot large weapons with EASE! Sorry bad gaming memories hit there.

Now finally my final love/hate relationship with the Anime’s characters. The main cast of characters for the Anime are arguable for me. This may seem as though I am about to explode with rage but I do love two of the characters, Kohta Hirano & Saya Takagi. I find them to be majority of how I kept watching this Anime. Hirano brings such joy and has such a remarkably insane character, which is brought to life by Nobuyuki Hiyama who played him in the Subbed version. Also Saya is exceptional in the Anime because of her reality and unreality. Her character has such normality and inability that she becomes someone for us to emphasize with greatly because she cannot fight as well as the others in the group. Although she has (Spoilers alert: read on to avoid) the introduction of her rich and powerful parents who are clearly unrealistic and insane. They reminded me of generals from a by gone age, charging into battle and their death.

The other major character I discovered to very interesting was Saeko Busujima because in one early episode she explains how killing them would take too long and attract more of them. Knocking them to the floor to clear a path is far more logical and effective, while out-numbered. She immediately seemed intelligent and determined and she had the possibility of becoming a far greater character later in the Anime.

One character I had no interest in was Shizuka Marikawa because she does almost nothing. Her purpose is almost to get them from place to place. She is the school nurse but spends her time driving the group around. At one point (Spoilers ahead) she brings them to her friends house, who CONVENIENTLY is the best sniper in Japan. She holds several weapons a secure fence around her home and a heavily armoured humvee. Although her friend is not at home they stay there for a short time before leaving with a small girl and a puppy. This brings me to explain that the minor characters we see throughout the Anime. They can have more interesting plot and story even though they appear far less than Shizuka. But I do commend the Anime for not trying to have her be a dumb nurse trying to help someone injured by a zombie. Luckily they wrote her in the Manga and the Anime to have sense to know that it is futile.

Rei Miyamoto is my greatest hatered for a character. She serves as the connection to Takashi’s past love with her, which can cause him to loose focus and struggle to make good decisions. She is more than just waiting to die and cause the main character depression. She is CONVENIENTLY adept with various weapons, especially anything resembling a spear. She does at first serve as an instigator to get the group away from a psychotic teacher (Koichi Shido) but after then she becomes another fighter. Her purpose is to show signs of her still liking Takashi. Throughout the Anime she has become bearable to me but I cannot speak for a majority on her as a character because I have spoken to no one about her before writing this review.

Now I reach the big one, Takashi Komuro. I originally hated his character but I gave the Anime a full watch because I enjoyed Hirano & Saya so much that I wouldn’t stop watching because of a few characters. I found Takashi to be very cold and difficult to believe as a main character. Watching through the Anime I saw a genuine improvement in his character, which was brough forth not him but by Saeko. This is something that is wonderful because what makes characters in all mediums interesting, is what other characters bring to them and their lives. Saeko and Takashi are separated from the group for a time and she shocks him with what she tells him about her past. She also tells him how fighting makes her feel. He lies to her to maker her feel better and this shows the selfless good hearted character that he can be. His selflessness can be irritating but when it genuinely helps other characters with their problems and allows the story to move forward, it is brilliant. He has a constant stance of survival over letting out his humanity and emotions. His character is almost on a path to an emotional break down but with the people around him he could survive to the end of the Manga and Anime with his brain attached.

Summary
I found this Anime interesting and it has tempted me to read the Manga. I know that we can expect another season because the Anime was such a huge hit for a twelve episodes Anime. I will be able to happily say that I would watch another season of the Anime when it is made and released.

My final words: If you can dodge bullets with your boobs, then you can dodge balls!

Written by Charlie Gracie (Rockyeahh).

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