I've stated it before and I'll say it again: In general, I am not really a huge fan of the "zombie genre" of horror movies/TV shows/books. First of all, up until the invention of the fast zombie, you had to be an absolute retard to get bitten and eaten by one of the lumbering undead walkers. Yeah, the whole threat of creeping zombies was supposed to be that no matter how slow they were they wouldn't stop until they caught you (like Pepé Le Pew, as he slowly skips after that terrified female black cat), and there were tons of them; but I don't buy it. If you could just casually walk around something, I don't consider it a terrifying threat.
It's with this mentality that I went into High School of the Dead (or as the Japanese write it, "Highschool of the Dead," because their horrible English — especially in a show's official title — is funny!). I was originally planning to skip this series (for the reasons I just told you above), but waaaay too many readers wrote in requesting that I give it a shot. I was assured that any problems I had with the zombie genre of entertainment would be offset by the completely gratuitous and absolutely amazing amount of fan service dished out during the whole production. And so I figured what the hell... At the very least I'd have a shitty zombie show to mock just in time for All Hallow's Eve.
Well, before I get into my thoughts on the anime at hand I'll tell you a bit about the plot. You ever see Red Dawn? Yeah? Wasn't that an awesome movie! Well, instead of the commies turning the world into a shit sandwich — forcing our reluctant teen heroes to rise to the occasion and fight for freedom — well now, in High School of the Dead, we have Japanese high schoolers fighting and killing zombies. Well, zombies are kind of like mindless commies, so I guess that analogy holds up even better than I first thought. And I once saw a commie eat the head off a baby too, just like zombies, so the line becomes even more blurred the more you think about it.
Anyway, so there's this typical Japanese high school (you know the kind: kids pining for poon-tang they'll never get, ditzy nurses, asshole teachers, brainiacs, nerdy otaku, and kendo club enthusiasts all running around like they own the place), and in the middle of one fine Spring day, from out of nowhere, a zombie bites the fuck out of the gym teacher who's trying to push him away from the main gate. From there the infection spreads like the clap through a co-ed Catholic school that doesn't believe in teaching kids about condoms. Within an hour, students and teachers are fighting for their lives, trying to save teenage crushes and colleagues, and just attempting to get out of the confined death trap that is the main school building before getting eaten or turned into monsters themselves. This initial attack is brutal, bloody as hell, and filled to the brim with some very interestingly shot panty flashes and bouncing titties. Seriously, according to this show every Japanese schoolgirl has bigger and jigglier sweater puppies than Dolly Parton in her prime.
Okay, so teens are in angst (surprise!), zombies are attacking and turning people into one of their own in the blink of an eye, and soon a group of students and teachers band together and break free from the confines of their enclosed school in order to try and find their families and loved ones out in the wilds of now bustling Zombie Town, Japan. You got that, right? Anyway, it's not just Tokyo that's been bitten by the undead bug though, as we see in different snippets that other countries (well, we mostly just see the US of A's plight) are pretty fucked over too. It's a "group of misfits thrown together by a terrible disaster, who must work together to survive" scenario, but it's actually quite fun. There are, however, a few things that chapped my living ass about the show though...
**Slight Zombie SPOILERS** The biggest thing that bugged me was that these kids played their hand very smartly for a while, but then out of nowhere this very educated crew starts doing stupid things. For example, at one point they're safe in the ditzy school nurse's friend's heavily fortified apartment (several stories up from the street, past a gate they've already proven that the zekes can't get past, stocked with food and plenty of ammo [the friend's a military nut sharp shooter with the JSSDF]), but because the lead guy runs outside to save a little girl from some decomposing dregs they feel they must abandon the place... Now, before you jump on my ass (in a way I DON'T like), I must point out that the zombies can't see, they can't climb any real gate, and all our motley crew of heroes has to do is distract the undead horde and get their friend back safely and they would have had a solidly secure, food-filled place to rest for a while... But no. As soon as the main guy takes off to rescue the child they all go "Well damn... I guess we have to leave now" like a bunch of mongoloids. It's like freaking out because your should-have-been stillborn baby with no arms or legs sees you hiding some candy on top of the fridge, and you then feel you have to grab the bag, throw it in the fireplace and incinerate it all because the mutant kid might choke on a Jolly Rancher. That squirming little bastard probably barely even comprehends what the hell candy IS, let alone has the capacity to put together a homemade ladder to scale in order to get to that shit. Christ. I love Jolly Ranchers.... And I fucking HATE that baby.
Also, the main guy in this show that I'm reviewing brings that annoying-as-piss yapping dog (that he found with the rescued little girl) with them for NO GODDAMN GOOD REASON. The dog starts barking and snarling all the fucking time at the worst possible moments, giving away their position to the blind (but not deaf) walking dead. When all they have to do is stay quiet and let the zombies move on, the dog starts making a ruckus and they're boned. Would have thought the FIRST time that shit-eating furball did it he'd be tossed to the undead hordes as an appetizer.
Oh nelly! Then there was that one point (in episode 8) where the crew is driving down a street (in a goddamn HUMVEE), and they come across a pretty solid fence in the road. This traps them with a jumble of zombies (that's the correct term for an ass-ton of the undead) and then they spend a good ten minutes fighting, screaming (alerting more zombies to their location), dropping ammo, panicking like little girls confronted by a frog AND a spider at the same time, and then just giving up and waiting to die like pussies. The whole point of the first 7 episodes previous to this one was that these kids were PAST those kinds of amateur actions. Never mind that the Humvee could have driven THROUGH the fence (it was a goddamn military-grade Humvee for Christ sake, secure or not that fence would have fallen), or used the roof of the Humvee to climb OVER the fence, or actually crawled THROUGH the fence (the holes in it were wide enough for even the fat military otaku character to get through)... Episode 8 was just dumb... Filled with panicking retards doing dumb things — they'd already conquered stuff that was 5Xs worse already!
The last real big thing that cheesed my balls was the whole Shido-sensei subplot. See, Shido-sensei was a teacher at the school that the kids all came from, but one of the main girls in the group HATES him for some reason, and wants nothing to do with him... So after a busload of kids makes it out of the high school, and Shido starts acting like a douchebag, rallying the pathetic wiener kids to his leadership, our main crew of protagonists just abandons him to stew in his own incompetent juices. He of course comes back to haunt our hardcore survivors a bit later on, and our main spear-wielding girl has her chance to get even with him for what he did to her in their past non-zombie-filled days... But she chooses to just let him run away with his tail between his legs like the pussy he is. His cultish dickery and his connection to this girl just falls completely flat though. Nothing was gained or lost by his involvement. Yeah, he kind of caused that accident in the end, but that wasn't even his fault and that crash could have been written for anybody to have started it. I'm hoping his involvement leads to something big in the inevitable sequel, but it was totally unnecessary in this series — hell, the zombie pandemic was more than enough of an enemy for our heroes to overcome, but since they DID introduce Shido-sensei, I would have thought there'd be more meat to his portion of the tale, instead it just disappeared.**SPOILERS Over**
As much jiggling and cleavage as there is (and I'm sure you've heard of this aspect of the series, seeing that's all they played up in commercials and released art for it), except for one bath scene, there really was no full-on nudity. And even in the bath there were no nip slips or crotch shots. I mean hell, Ladies Versus Butlers had tons more brazen service. Not that that made either a better or worse show, it's just that I was expecting a lot more bang for my buck from HSotD if you know what I mean.
Zzzzzzzombies! YEAH! Come and get it, zombies! That's right... who's laughing now... who's laughing NOW?! You're going DOWN! Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This... is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart! You got that?
Alright. Who wants some?! Yo, she-bitch! Let's go! Gimme some sugar, baby! Oh you little bastards! All right, I'll crush each and every last one of ya! I'll squash you so hard you'll have to look down to look up! You're pissing me off, you ugly son of a bitch! Buckle up Bonehead. 'Cause you're goin' for a ride! Ooh that's gotta hurt!! Hail to the king, baby! Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun!
That's it, go ahead and run. Run home and cry to mama!
No way. No how. No nothing. This show was filled with nothing but pure crapolla from frame one.
Okay, yes, I'll accept that a zombie outbreak can occur (hell, I was responsible for 5 already this past decade), but that they can spread this quickly, and that only punk-ass school kids can survive the attack with their wits intact? Bullcrappy!
Okay, first, scientifically, let's take a look at how zombies multiply in this show. A zombie bites a living person and they become infected with the zombie germ (hereby known as Zombie Cooties, or Zooties). Within one to ten minutes the infected chump turns into a zombie him or herself. Okay, whatever, sure. It's plausible. But take what happens when lots of zombies come into the picture. In this television show, as soon as a group of zombies appears they overpower their victims in pure numbers and then chow down on him like he was the cinnamon dessert pie at the Pizza Hut buffet. They EAT the flesh of the living. How the hell does this thing spread like it does when zombies feast on the living, not giving them enough time to get away and then spread the Zooties to some more unsuspecting fups down the road. Do the zombies stop eating their meal when he/she turns into one of their own? I don't know... They never show that. And why don't zombies eat their own? I mean, most of them are only 2 minutes dead, I doubt they smell of rotting flesh already. It just doesn't make any sense.
Oh, and don't get me started on school kids doing anything constructive, let alone saving their own asses without their damn helicopter parents around to wipe their butts for them after they make a mess-mess! None of the kids I ever taught could even figure out which beaker held the hydrochloric acid even after I threw it in their annoying faces! Oh, and for good measure they make the only two teachers in this television show either mentally retarded or psychotic and megalomaniacal. Damn it, Japan! Learn to respect your elders! Looks like we need to nuke you again.