RedCrossRobbery's avatar

RedCrossRobbery

  • Chicago
  • Joined Nov 3, 2008
  • 25 / M

Highschool of the Dead

Mar 29, 2011

Oh Highschool of the Dead (HOTD), why do you tease my visuals with so much wonder, only to fail the delivery of content?

HOTD is a visually gorgeous horror anime, and the first of it's kind to truly capture the attention of the large zombie apocalypse demographic. Despite what may come off as a harsh review, allow me to admit that for those people out there who are into (no pun intended) mindless zombie horrors, this anime has crossed it over perfectly.



Story: 5 out of 10.

A 5 may sound harsh for storyline, however I do have my reasons. If I were to systematically break down the storyline for what it is, I would probably have given it a 1 or 2. "A group of high school student keep their calm and fight for survival, when millions of adults are losing their shit and panicking and dieing,". I'm fairly certain that they picked up a cookie cutter, wrote "zombie movie" on the side, and started cutting out pieces for their storyline.
That being said, also understand that the reason this storyline is reciprocated so heavily, is that it works. Also, due to the characters being so likeable (in that classic, flawed, anime style we all love and hate,) the storyline can be ignored for the individual actions of the characters themselves. Because of this, I boosted the story to a 5, because it seems that at least they knew the storyline was weak, so they covered it up, and did a fine job.
Something that should be mentioned is that this series also relies heavily on ecchi humor/pacing. I usually love the genre personally (I'm a male... it happens,) but the touching moments between characters (mainly Komuro with Rei and Saeko) are lessened because of all the ecchi shots we are presented before hand.
Another part that angered me, is that it fell into the trap of "poorly scripted dialogue changes opposing ideas" that alot of animes seem to be tossing out lately. One character will say "There is NO way that we're going there!", and the other character will put her in a headlock, and scream "HEY! WE GOTTA LIVE!" and she will say "... ohh... you're right... we do need to live... I'm sorry,". Perhaps it's a cultural thing that I, as an American, am missing, but even if someone told me the most logical thing in the entire world, screaming it at me, while causing physical damage, would result quickly in an ass-kicking, or me just leaving. 
PLEASE NOTE: This is also just the first season of the series, and they toss around the idea of taking the story globally, involving a nuclear war and what not. Whereas this is cheesy to me, it also shows that they do have teeth, and plan on using them.

 

Animation: 10 out of 10.

I would honestly never take a review seriously if the Animation was voted low. Even for the stylize choices, and a few budget shots (single images shaking on screen whilst noise is played in the background,) the graphics for this series are breathtaking.
Whether it be clever camera shots (albeit, falling into the ecchi direction about halfway through), or the brilliant uses of color and lighting to create a nice horror landscape that most movies cannot do, or the characters likeable reactions themselves, everything about this series is gorgeous.
This series is quickly gaining popularity, and it's no wonder why. It offers great gore, giants tits, and pseudo-sexual scenes on ever episode. I do appreciate all the ecchi, but from a literary standpoint, it just looks as if trying to hide the failures of a bland storyline. That being said, the ecchi scenes are at least well made? I don't know how to say it without sounding like a broken record, but the animation is quite marvelous in the series.

 

Sound: 8 out of 10.

Sound is important, no one has ever contested that. However, the majority of viewers (myself included for sure,) don't pay much attention to the sound. This however is never the case with Horror above all others. 
Having to fill itself with realistic gurgles, scream, cuts, bashes, whimpers, growls, and all other form of noise, a horror has to seriously step up it's game, and HOTD certainly doesn't fail to deliver. The opening song is really catchy, and likeable, but the ending songs are all sort of relative. Mostly due to the fact that they are almost always different songs, but all sung by Maon Kurosaki.

 

Characters: 8 out of 10
I had this at a 6, until I read KiraRin's review, and changed my mind about such a low rating due to one character: Marikawa. With that being said, I will give a brief summary of the characters as a whole, and then give my personal opinion of each character by themselves.
Overall, the characters really make the story. Each character (besides Marikawa) starts off as weak, petty, teenagers, without many world skills, but throughout the series, having to deal with something we have never before seen (or ever will mind you),  forced them all to grow (besides Marikawa). A good anime, and to some extent horror as well, usually thrives off of the characters, especially when using a recycled idea like zombies. HOTD certainly took notice of this, and made some really great characters that you want to root for.

  • Kouta: Kouta is one of the better characters in the series. He is a bumbling, fat otaku, who is in love with Takagi, and is a crack shot with a rifle. The only problem is they explain his NRA gun knowledge, and marksmanship based off of a month with a teacher in the US. Really? A month, and he's out-shooting police? None-the-less, he grows alot as a character, and being the only "ugly" one of the group, we all root for that underdog.
  • Rei: Rei starts off as the kind of bitchy, friend of Komuro, that Komuro loves, but she loves another man (or so she thinks). A couple of zombie bites, and baseball bat swings later, she is back with Komuro, and slowly the onset of love forms between them. Also, near the end of the season, you find out why she was held back a grade, and you truly start to love her after this point.
  • Saeko: Saeko is my personal favorite (and perhaps the name Saeko (psycho) is a pun?). She is the gorgous, calm, bad ass with a sword, that also falls for Komuro, and I believe in the shrine, they may have had sex? I'm not sure. Anyway, she is just a walking badass, and during one scene, she breaks down, and tells Komuro about how she gets off to killing, and how dark and broken she is, and Komuro tells her that he accepts her anyway. She is a wonderful character.
  • Takagi: Takagi wasn't a character I necessarily liked, but she is the one that grew the most I believe. She started off as an arrogant, loud mouthed know it all, who boasted her "genius" at every turn, and treated everyone else like trash. She opens up every chance she gets in the series, and quickly adapts to situations. Perhaps this is in reference to ehr actually being a genius, but she is the brains behind the team. She also has problems at home, with parents that are cool as shit, and she does in a moment of strength understand her love for them.
  • Marikawa: "Check out my ginormous tits, and watch as I get drunk and flash my panties at everything". Marikawa is a complete fan service, lacking any growth, or character outside of bubbly, dumb nurse, who wants a good dicking, and has friends with guns. I would have lowered the score of characters overall, if KiraRin didn't highlight a great point. When Takagi mentions her being stupid, she just says "that's how my character is written". Kind of cheesy, however, very fitting. Her character is supposed to be bubbly, and dumb to add contrast to how serious the other characters can be. She is an anchor, and as much as her character annoyed me, I will continue enjoying her barely-cloth-wearing ways, and try to ignore her lack of structure whatsoever.
  • And finally, Komuro: I believe HOTD backed the winning horse when they wrote this character up. He is the perfect young hero archetype. He starts off strong, and in moments of weakness, learns and becomes stronger from them. He is sensitive, and for these traits, most of the women fall in love with him. Watching him jumping from Saeko to Rei is a real treat, hidden in an otherwise gruesome anime, and his character grows at a steady, stoic pace.

 

Overall: 7 out of 10.
Overall, the series is lacking in most of the things I look for in a series, but the characters, as well as graphics keep me interested, and I will probably continue watching as more seasons are published. I only hope that the future episodes try to calm down the outrageous back-flipping baseball-batings, or the "no zombie around for a mile... OH WAIT! NOW THERE ARE A BILLION!" that infect most story lines like this.

 

5/10 story
10/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall

You must be logged in to leave comments. Login or sign up today!

There are no comments - leave one to be the first!