Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Zombie Review: High School of the Dead (Anime)

I hope you like fan service.

I just watched the anime on Netflix. Spoiler: Very little takes place in the high school.

Overall: Would watch more if they'd made it. It was a great depiction of a group of survivors fighting their way through Day 1 and beyond in a big city. What was really fantastic about this anime was the certain scenarios that had next to no meaning to the plot, but gave a more realistic feel to the story (Example: scared little girl wets herself while Main character rescues her. Not referenced later, but it would totally happen in a real situation). They really used the landscape of a Japanese city well; using things like rivers (common), street blocks (obviously common), and obviously the high school as a great way to show how the characters would react.

The interesting set-up of this story, however, is the balance between Enemies. In shows like The Walking Dead, the main focus of 'Enemy' is not the zombies themselves, but the survivors and their interactions. Zombies are easily controlled, but when a person goes rogue, people die (example: Shane, Dale, Season 3 so far, etc). However, in HOTD, there seems to be an even split as to the 'enemy'. The officials in positions of 'Authority' have to deal with tough decisions, such as killing a few to save many (a common theme throughout the anime). Here scared officials are the Enemy. However, Zombies approaching after any sound is made is also a viable dead method, without humans being the outright cause of this. The Zombies are still a huge, inevitable threat, as proven by the Finale. In this sense, the show seems more balanced, and moreover, the world is a greater threat.

Back to themes, there are several themes presented here that I really like.

Blood is cheap: It seems that all our main characters are the sons/daughters of important families. Our early season villain is the son of an important politician, main female characters are all daughters of important people in power. But when push comes to shove, even the daughter of an important district leader is on her own, to fend for herself. The main characters are on a search for their families, but in the meantime, no one can protect them.

Killing a few to save many: In the fervor of war against the dead, many characters have to make decisions regarding the living. One situation that is brought up a few times is letting a small group of people cross a bridge or enter a safe zone. Letting them in brings in the possibility of letting in an unturned bitten person, therefore potentially harming the large group. Its a really difficult decision for anyone to make. People are still people, letting them die is inhumane. But letting in a possible threat that could kill a greater population is a great deterrent. Moreover, the anime provides both sides of the argument in positive light--a small group, huddled in a house, kills the poor man with the little daughter out of fear instead of letting him in. At the same time, the police try not to let in the group of crazed survivors cross the bridge into a secured area. These are situation that we, the viewer, can see what side they should have taken, but if we were in that position--what would you do?

If you are easily offended by upskirt shots, nudity, unrealistic battle scenes, and oversized breasts, this is not the anime for you. The sheer amount of fan service is rather distracting from the scenario. There are several scenes involving a plethora of women that just seem unnecessary and unrealistic. Definitely a Shounen (Or Manime, if you will), HOTD is not for the weak of heart.

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