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.