Half-time Review: High School of the Dead (H.O.T.D)

High School of the Dead (for some reason abbreviated as HOTD) is about the world being hit with a mysterious disease, resulting in the creation of living dead and general pandemonium to spread throughout the Earth. The story follows a ragtag band of high school students and their busty school nurse on the run from these zombies, trying to survive. The band includes Komuro Takashi, the male protagonist, Hirano Kouta,your gun expert, as well as your busty girls Rei , Saya, Saeko and Shizuka (probably arranged in order of bust sizes) , as well as your token loli girl Alice.

From Madhouse, the studio which brings you famous shows like Death Note, NANA and Legend of the Galactic Heroes, it is understandable if you came looking for excellent story development as well as great, unique characters.

You won’t find any of that here.

Perhaps it’s not Madhouse’s fault. With Hollywood being a major player in deciding the boundaries of genres and entertainment, perhaps it’s not right to blame HOTD’s lack of storyline development and unique characters on Madhouse. Zombie movies have always been characterized by several damning traits : The world overridden by zombies, your usual , skilled group of combatants slaying zombies and driving towards some unforeseeable destination, and of course breasts – lots of lots of breasts.  HOTD is thus , crippled by the genre of zombie shows and thus , falling into the all-too predictable pattern, only in anime form. That means that breasts now come with awesome physics, slow-motion and their own range of sound effects guaranteed to confuse the living hell out of a blind person.

Blind ? Speaking of blindness, to say that HOTD is bad as a result would be bad. There are plenty of visual spectacles, other than the breasts. Every fighting scene is enough to get the audience interested, as with zombie movies -fighting is what attracts the viewer to watch the show. Viewers want to see blood. Viewers want to see Takashi slam that bat into that man’s head, caving it in. Who wants to see a show where all the protagonist does is run? And HOTD satisfies this lust for violence with glee. Every fight scene is more detailed than the rest of the show,and each fighting scene is different from the others,from situation to camera angles, down to even weaponry, even.

Even so, you can still watch it for its merits as a depiction of Zombie Holocaust. Some say the show is unrealistic, to have that bath scene, for example, during the zombie outbreak. I admit, that might not have been entirely believable, giving the situation and mood they seem to portray. Otherwise, HOTD is damning to watch  : The police officer, in charge of barricading the bridge from people crossing , is a stellar example of this. Forced between his duty to protect the people, his order to barricade the bridge, his command to kill the people and what appears to be the death of his own family, the police officer , overwhelmed with the chaos of the world and guilt of bloodshed on his hands, commits suicide. It’s a zombie holocaust. People are confused.People are scared. People who believe in God pray desperately for salvation, and everyone fights for their own survival. Alice’s father died trying to get shelter. In such a world, only the strong-willed survive, and those which are not should die, to quote Shidou Koichi.

Indeed. Given that the Earth is doomed, the survivor’s instinct kicks in. Why share resources with those which are useless? As a result, we see people fending for their right to live. Such a world is completely unfathomable , and people slowly go insane. The devout must have gone insane, hoping that the One Above might do something to save mankind. People become animals, fighting for their own survival, needs and wants. All barriers of society are broken down, save for the tiny shreds of government control still remaining. Everyone fights for themselves – and that’s what they are doing too.

All in all, although I do admit that HOTD might not have been particularly fresh in its choice of characters and development, but it does have its fair share of entertainment value. It’s indeed a pioneer in anime for its execution, but despite all of this, HOTD provides that horror show viewers hunger for, and even providing more comedy than other comedies (laugh count 10) , serving as an entertaining watch.

Viewers hunger for fanservice too.
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33 Responses to Half-time Review: High School of the Dead (H.O.T.D)

  1. Lenneth says:

    as a gore lover and a person who plays l4d2 without getting bored even after shooting the same hordes over and over again on my laggy laptop, i enjoyed watching it, what i don’t really like is takeshi, who has a bunch of girls trying to seduce him whenever they get the chance and worse still he cant even use a gun properly even after receiving so many advices from hirano, he even spammed with a sniper rifle using breasts as support and utterly misses every shot, what a failure he is i say, i rather have hirano as the main protagonist than him.

    • Valence says:

      But would he be any bit entertaining? I’m sorry to disagree with you yet again (for the nth time) but I prefer Takeshi over Hirano as a protagonist.

      Now,now, I know that both you and I are awesome at shooting revolvers (self-praise ftw) but would that be any bit entertaining?Hirano is good at fighting, yes, but as the main protagonist he wouldn’t be any bit entertaining. His time is spent following Saya like a dog, and he doesn’t have enough substance to protect the others on his own. He’s a follower, not a leader. He can’t protect the girls, neither do they treat him any bit seriously. Him as a protagonist wouldmake the show as a joke.

      Missing with rifles is kind of understandable, if you have ever felt the recoil from a rifle. Trust me,the recoil is much higher than the revolvers (duh) , so aiming is harder. Furthermore, shooting is about technique. A 10-second crashcourse isn’t enough to teach someone to shoot. Even we took weeks of lessons to learn to shoot. Furthermore, sniper rifles are even harder to use than revolvers too. Given the situation, where the zombies are closing in, and it’s a life-and-death situation, who wouldn’t feel fear? Who would not panic? The zombies shamble towards them, and he tries to shoot them down, albeit badly, but he succeeds. That’s all that matters – he survived.No point being ‘good at shooting’ – if you die.

      Also, I don’t see how those girls try to seduce him. Aside from Shizuka the Slut,and Rei, who are both geniunely trying to seduce him, the others just act as fanservice to both the males. I don’t see how you can hate them for that.

      Furthermore, Takeshi is not a failure. You have to understand the situation they’re in. You have to understand the fear, the emotion, the skill needed. You have to understand what these characters must have been thinking, as though they were real. If you want to be a realist about anime, you have to use the reality in the anime itself.

      • Lenneth says:

        haha well we took 3 days of lessons on shooting only due to lack of time, yet i still did well being able to shoot all in and all, takeshi missing badly is one thing, another thing is i feel sorry for poor rei, even though is a slut as well, who had her breasts being pushed by the heavy recoil of that sniper rifle, looking at them being abused like that for such a horrible shooter makes me want to punch takeshi in the face. in the recent episode, we even get to see a darker side of him. when he was running along with saeko to find a way to saya’s house, wait maybe i shouldnt provide a spoiler if you have not watched episode 9, but the point is, when saeko was in doubt of herself to be a mad killer even before the whole zombie apocalypse occured, takeshi, who only cared about his survival, lied to saeko saying he is willing to accept the mad killer saeko, only to be able to get her to kill the hordes for him as he happily runs behind her, but all he only cares about is for her to protect him, and not to support her truthfully. Though, this is only my opinion of him, i don’t wish to spark off a debate or anything, all in all, i hate him. He should just stick to hitting the zombies with a bat or something and ride a bike merrily , seeing how our views are always different, i shall not argue much further about how asshole takeshi is, on another note i like the loli 😄

    • Valence says:

      Because I’m a stubborn bastard who refuses to go down in a debate, I continue to defend my stand.

      You still don’t seem to comprehend the difference between firing a rifle and firing a revolver. I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t fare any better.

      Also, I admit, that part was ridiculous. How is it possible that breasts can withstand the multiple recoil of a rifle shot?

      And as I said, that isn’t a ‘darker side’. That’s just pragmatism. That’s just survival. We want to survive.We don’t care who you are, as long as you are on our side, we don’t care. Who are you to choose who you are with at just a critical juncture? As long as that person is useful, you will want that person to help you. Given the choice to choose between someone who can’t run and someone who can actually provide me with support against the zombies when fighting , which would you choose? Like I said, Reality in anime is a different concept in itself. You have to suspend your disbelief. You have to change your mindset, to think differently.

      To be frank, your ‘debate’ about how he is an asshole is not really sound. I can’t agree with it, aside from the Rei’s breast rifle part, but he had no choice there, so that’s not a strong point either.

      However, the only thing I can agree with is that I ,too, like the loli.

      Lolis ftw.

      • Lenneth says:

        well i am not really that good in debates anyways, i am more of talking random crap then having a solid argument with another person. i do understand the difference between a rifle and a revolver, if i don’t i will fail as a fps gamer, scrap that i am a master in it. given that i need to change my mindset of the show, i shall rethink about it again…maybe i am too used to shooting zombies for a long period of time to the point i have forgotten about human feelings, can’t really sleep without thinking about gore and horror related things.

        Lolis banzai! hehe

        • howeirong says:

          Revolvers are waay easier to use than rifles, especially if your enemies are right on top of you. Hefting a one-metre long deadweight that bruises you with every shot is not fun. Trust me, I’ve handled both. And no, being an FPS gamer does not qualify you to know the difference, it probably makes it worse.

          Just me being a gun-tard, ignore me if you want.

          And nothing takes multiple recoil shots without bruising. Nothing.

          • Lenneth says:

            must i say again i KNOW the difference between them already…geez…do i have to repeat myself over and over again on that point? I KNOW what is a rifle and what is a revolver. And no being a fps gamer does not make the matter worst, you are just grouping every fps gamers into one group which is the group that does not know how a real gun feels like, which is wrong

        • Valence says:

          Sorry to break it to you, but that’s exactly what you sound like, sorry.

  2. Azure Hoshizora says:

    All the service is the flaw of this entire anime. I seriously think the show will make me fall off my chair and roll around in hysterical laughter with all its boobs and zombies, which are 2 seemingly different and unrelated things.

    I try to tell myself the fan service is really just to make it slightly different from the other horror-zombies-taking-over-the-world, L4D/House of the Dead-esque media and that the anime world is not going to be taken over by large chests. Hirano just made me loose faith and I gave up after the business with Saeko, aprons, cucumbers and zombies.

    Otherwise, I’d say the animation itself would probably be worth watching.

    • Valence says:

      Hirano made me laugh, but as a main character he would have been kind of a joke. The fanservice is there simply because it’s a zombie show – all zombie shows have fanservice. Be it HOTD with naked aprons, or Hollywood actors showing some skin .It’s all to ‘please’ and ‘entertain’ the customer.

      • howeirong says:

        No, the main draw of HotD is indeed the mix of gore and fanservice. Zombie movies without fanservice would be something like watching the Doom movie – just lots of shooting at non-human-looking monsters, which gets kind of boring. It gets that L4D feel, which is good when you’re playing it, but bad if you’re watching. So something’s gotta break the monotony.

        • Valence says:

          It entertains a specific audience, but fanservice in excess personally scares me away. I mean, it’s okay to have fanservice, but really, matrix breasts?

          Anyway, other than just fanservice, they’re plenty of other ways to break the monotony as well. Such as perhaps some humour.

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  4. Ex14 says:

    TBH. HOTD has moments where it’s portrayal of a zombie holocast is really. awesome. but then again stuff like the slow mo dodging of bullets and redundant fanservice really kills it sometimes….but then again the manga was already geared towards fan service so not so surprising, the level of fan service in the anime

  5. Nopy says:

    I’ve given up on any sort of plot. Now I just watch it for the bloodshed (and maybe a little bit of bouncing).

  6. hiroy_raind says:

    When the source manga is filled with fanservices, I find that very usual, with the mangaka being an author of several H-manga and doujinshi already.
    When the anime director wanted to crank up the fanservice even more than the manga, it was one of my biggest “WTF man?” of the year.
    When me and my friend watched eps 8, it was our biggest laughter of the season, because we just saw a pair of boobs moving faster than a bullet.
    We were expecting it to tear off.

    It’s funny how I kept thinking that the characters in the world of HotD act realistically to the zombie apocalypse, except our protagonists.

  7. biotoxic says:

    I’m liking HOTD so far, probably my favourite show this season. I’m liking the survival scenes the most. Seeing how quickly others turn on each other to survive has been interesting.

    Then there’s the over the top fan service and ridiculous action scenes. But I’m not going to complain. It’s part of the package, just got to get on with it.

    I’m a sucker for zombie apocalypse anyway, and HOTD meets my expectations on that front. Wait, boobs are part of a zombie apocalypse? I must have been missing something :D.

    • Valence says:

      I like the show too, but I don’t like that excessive amount of fanservice cropping up time. I’d rather watch some zombie get its head caved in than watch boobs bounce in slow motion with realistic physics to boot.

  8. Canne says:

    I initially love this show for the blood and zombie apocalyptic theme. But now I love it for the boobs ripple o_O

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  10. Hiro says:

    Hotd was incredible every episode gave it’s own feeling to the adventure that kept you wanting more. The characters were all entertaining in their own ways and the only thing about this anime that doesn’t get a 10/10 would have to be the storyline. But by far #1 zombie anime of all time 😀

    • Valence says:

      Make that the only zombie anime ever, if you ask me. Is there truly another zombie anime out there?

      I didn’t really like the characters to the extent of 10/10, but still the show was good. Looks like there might even be a sequel though.

      • Hiro says:

        I hope there’s a sequel! I’ll go crazy if there isn’t one. I’m hooked 😀

        • Valence says:

          I think there would be one, given how they end with that random shot of the shopping mall….

          • Hiro says:

            I really hope so. I used to be obsessed with samurai x and rurouni kenshin, and currently obsessed with zombie stories so anime zombies girls 😀 = win!
            But I must admit DBZ is my #1 anime (if it’s even considered anime)

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