Tuesday, February 14, 2012

High School of the Dead (HOTD) Season One Anime Review

Highschool of the Dead - Season One
Section 23/Sentai Filmworks
Complete Collection - 2 discs
300 mins. - 12 episodes
$59.98 (2011)
$69.98 (2011) Blu-Ray
ISBN 814131015617
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Tetsuro Araki
Studio - Madhouse

Synopsis: Takashi is a regular high school student who worries about classes and friends.  He grew up with classmate Rei and has a secret crush on her, but she likes his best friend Hisashi.  The three are attending classes at school when the "Outbreak" happens.  Strangely violent people appear at the school's gate and attack a group of teachers.  The teachers begin spitting blood and then attack some students - it continues and soon the entire school is overrun by flesh-eating zombies.  Not only is the school filled with zombies, but everywhere on Earth has been struck by a highly infectious disease and society is beginning to crumble.
"Have you seen my homeroom teacher? I need to chop off his head."
Takashi, Hisashi, and Rei must battle their way through the killer hordes of zombies in order to find their families.  Other students trying to survive join their group and these include Saeko the beautiful president of the kendo club, Saya the girl genius, Kohta the overweight gun otaku, and the school's incredibly busty nurse Shizuka.  Along the way the group gathers more members, but those without a strong nerve and will to survive fall to the zombie horror. 
Great animation and background visuals
A teacher manages to join the group along with several students following him, but the group soon discovers the zombies are not their only danger to be faced.  Humans taking advantage of the breakdown of society's laws are just as deadly as the shambling flesh-eaters.  They come across many people suffering from extreme psychological trauma and acting irrationally.  Will there be any rescue from this nightmare, can the students survive, and what hope do they have to find their families?

"Get back you undead fiends!"
Pros: Tons of fan-service with a nude bath scene thrown in for good measure, violent and gory - just like any good zombie flick should be, good script/dialogue with decent dub, great animation quality, nice music, opening/ending sequences are well done, underlying theme of friends sticking together was nice message
"I've been wondering all day if these are real!"
Cons: Over the top, not much character development, they establish zombies use hearing to find their prey and then everyone runs around shooting loud guns *sheesh*, annoyingly cute dog (that makes a ton of noise, people!), too few episodes (this set is the first season and just the start of the story, which is still in development) making this set pricey
More bath time fun with Shizuka and Saeko
Mike Tells It Straight: HOTD is the best of both worlds - equal parts ample fan-service and titillating zombie horror.  It delivers at every opportunity panty shots, jiggling boobs, up-skirt camera angles, bondage moments, and even firing guns causing boobs to jiggle.  If you like fan-service then you're in heaven here and there's even a fun bath scene where the girls grab each others' boobs.  Whee!
Zombies attack!
This show is definitely not The Walking Dead - it's not serious and lacks any true emotional drama past the first episode.  The characters run around among hordes of zombies without a care in the world.  The situations are over-the-top and unrealistic to the Nth degree.  If you're looking for a serious zombie show then look elsewhere, but this one is an action-packed romp.
Takashi rescues Rei by using her boobs to lessen the recoil
on a high-powered rifle
Let's be realistic here - there is no such thing as a serious animated zombie show.  TWD is as close as we're ever going to get with a live-action show and we don't need to beat up HOTD just to vent our frustration.  It's going to be okay.  HOTD doesn't elevate the zombie genre and only serves as an amusing escape from reality with a heavy dose of T&A.  The show is still better than 90% of the B-movie zombie flicks produced over the last 30 years.  Check out the series if you dig blood-splattering zombie horror flicks, big anime boobies shaking all over the screen, and can live without a compelling story.   
The Walking Dead...they're not!

TO BUY and Recommendations: