Thursday, August 1, 2013

Anime Review: High School of the Dead

HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD: The action scenes are so well made that they make up for the shallow plot

High School of the Dead is about a group of high school students who are caught in the middle of a pandemic that turns humans into zombies. This is a very basic storyline for the zombie apocalypse sub-genre. But what I really like about this show is that it has the decency to blatantly tell the viewers so. It doesn’t pretend to be tackling moral issues that could be incorporated in such a story. It just delivers what the title suggests -- high school students killing zombies.

This shallow story has merits on its own however. It doesn’t need many episodes to establish plot points that the viewers typically see in a zombie story, like a conspiracy in biochemical laboratories and governments and other clichés. Its lack of subtle plot points has made the story straight to the point. Aside from that, this simplicity has also made room for other factors to stand out -- and the technicalities that stand out the most are the fighting sequences.

These scenes are very well executed that it doesn’t even matter if they defy physics. If anything, this defiance just makes them even more entertaining. What makes them much more entertaining is the effective use of music, which, I must add, fits so well with the themes of the show. In short, this shallowness of the story, instead of being the downfall of the show, has had an opposite effect, for it has made the other elements of the show take the spotlight.

However, the story has its negative traits as well. There are parts where the pacing becomes excruciatingly slow, just to make room for Ecchi sequences to take place. This is somewhat problematic, especially for those who don’t really enjoy Ecchi, like the female audience, perhaps.

The Ecchi elements don’t stop there, they have also been incorporated, in a very distracting way, in the fighting sequences, that it comes to the point that they seemed to be forced. I understand that High School of the Dead is also under the Ecchi category, so this is quite understandable, but I just can’t help but see the Ecchi elements as problematic because they affect the quality of the show. They could have been used for the better, not for the worse.

If there is anything that has been used for the betterment of the show, that is the characterization. The characters of High School of the Dead are very interesting. They are distinct enough to leave an impression, and they blend well together. But the most impressive part is the fact that they had room for character development. For a short series that is very plot-oriented, that is something worth praising.

High School of the Dead, overall, is a very recommendable series, especially to the zombie enthusiasts. However, they shouldn’t expect for a complicated plotline, for this is the kind of series that is solely for mindless fun. The story has not reached a proper conclusion yet, so I assume that there will be another season. So, while waiting for that season to be released, what’s stopping you to watch some high school students kick some zombie butt? There’s plenty of time to catch up before Season 2!


  1. I haven't seen a good fun show in a while, and since I am somewhat of a zombie fan, I think I am going to watch High School of the Dead. The clips from the action scenes look like a lot of fun. Also isn't the director the same guy who directed Death Note?


    1. I'm not sure about the director stuff. Not very familiar with the names. But I think I heard somewhere that High School of the Dead and Shingeki no Kyojin were directed by the same person -- and that's something.

      Yes, this anime is good for mindless fun. The plot is not that complex and deep, and it doesn't pretend to be. Since you're looking for short and fun titles, this is a good start. You can also try Black Lagoon, which has two seasons. Black Lagoon not actually 'fun' but I think you'll enjoy the story and the action scenes, and the badassery in general. Fooly Cooly is fun too. It has like 6 episodes or something. It makes no sense but it sure is fun as hell.

    2. I looked up the director of Highschool of the Dead, Tetsurō Araki, and yes, he also directed Death Note and Shingeki no Kyojin.

      After watching the first episode, I agree, the anime has good mindless fun. Also just from watching the first episode, I agree, the Ecchi parts during the fight scenes felt strange and definitely forced. Other than that, I look forward to watching the rest of the series after finishing up FMA: Brotherhood. Thanks for the other recommendations, I have heard a lot about Black Lagoon and FLCL!