LIME Anime Review: "Highschool of the Dead" (Gakuen Mokushiroku)
Genres: Action, Drama, Romance, Horror, Fanservice
I'll be giving some background info about how I feel about the anime as a whole, then give some specific examples. I will be warning you about spoilers, so don't worry. :3
After I briefly go over the anime, I'll give you my "L.I.M.E Ten Star Rating."
To start, Highschool of the Dead (not having read the manga) had a very alluring premise. I abuse the hell out of animenewsnetwork (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=11271). Seeing that the ratings weren't terrible I decided I'd give HotD a shot. To be honest, the first few episodes did little to disappoint. In fact, after the first couple episodes, I got caught in the hype. Seeing utterly confused characters experience a post-apocalyptic world unfurl before them was something I had not seen done well before. The stress was real, the problems were real, and more importantly: THE ZOMBIES WERE REAL.
It was not like your typical "zombie" anime where there's just a crap load of zombies/monsters and the main character bad-ass has been training and fighting against them. Then, the main character mindlessly crushes these weak-ass zombies with some sort of katana or magic or whatev. THESE zombies in HotD, pose a VERY real threat. In fact, there's a couple times in the anime I feel that they play off of the cliché zombies mentioned in the latter. *Small Spoiler Alert: In the very first episode, a character claims he'd be fine against the zombies because he is a black belt in some form of martial arts. Guess what? He gets zombie-fied shortly after that comment.*
I have to say, the first couple episodes were pretty interesting, they did a good job of sucking you into the whole zombie hype. However, towards the middle of the anime, it starts to fall off. Firstly, for some reason, the stress of the anime starts to revolve around the cast's personal problems… I mean… what? Really? Erm… okay, well I guess it's kinda important? Whatever. Secondly, BECAUSE the stress shifts, the zombie battles become more cliché! Because the focus has been redirected towards the moral status of the cast, the zombie fights lost it's luster. Sure, they did start to get the hang of fighting against zombies, but to the point where they smirk and start joking around during the fights? I mean, they could actually die! But it seems there's plenty of time to make light of the situation. Thirdly. O. M. G. The fanservice. It's strange, because fanservice is hardly alluring to any audience. It wastes time, and can be confusing. But I can hardly think of anime's where they didn't have at least one fanservice dedicated episode. Highschool of the Dead takes this to a whole other level. *Spoiler Alert (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08R-c8Hid_E)* This episode… my god. It seems after this episode, the anime shifts gears from a zombie horror, to a strict fanservice schedule in which there isn't 3 minutes that goes by without a ridiculous display of text-book; no, hardCORE fanservice. Geez… if you watched the clip (which you really should) or watched the anime, you'd know what I'm talking about.
So I'm not here to tell you why you shouldn't watch it. Judging by the ratings, there are people out there who thoroughly enjoyed it. But, never take my word for it, if you're scared of watching it now, you damn well should be. If you are brave enough to watch this anime, I salute you, and let me know if your thoughts align with mine. Anyways let's go over some scores:
Looks: 2 / 2 stars. The character models were somewhat original and the quality was well kept. As far as detail, it was pretty standard, but overall easy to look at.
Integrity: 2 / 4 stars. Alright, if I haven't made my point clear, the plot integrity was pretty meh. I mean I'll grant 2 stars for the sake of the animation consistency and the fact they attempted to re-address the goal of the anime as of late in the timeline, I'm willing to give a 50%. The overall journey of the plot in my honest opinion is lacking. Jumping around from personal problems, to the actual zombie situation, then going as far as to mix an ecchi love affair with 2 mentally despaired chicks is a cheap attempt at romance. Not saying romance is bad, but what they tried to do was not exactly awesome.
Memorability: 2 / 2 stars. Although overall, to say the least, it was not my favorite anime, I must admit that it did a pretty good job establishing the "there is no happy ending here" feel. Although it started to lack luster from the middle to the end, the beginning made a pretty strong impact. Even though I might remember the anime for all the wrong reasons, the outrageous fanservice is something I'm not likely to forget.
Ending: 1 / 2 stars. I generously grant one star to HotD. After dealing with side conflicts, the cast comes together and tries to reestablish hype with the cliché optimistic "there's still much to do" feel. Although the main focus of the anime was not resolved, they end it with, "the ride's not over!" Basically, they scream, "HEY, THERE'S GUN' BE A SEEZUN TWO." Ugh. I'm not likely to watch it, but then again, you can't review something unless you've watched it from start to finish.
Highschool of the Dead final grade:
6 out of 10.
If you're looking for a different spin-off a zombie anime, HotD might be for you. This gives a quite an American style of a zombie problem. In other words, if you want real zombies with seemingly real-life dilemmas that arise from a zombie problem, but not looking to take it too seriously, then try Highschool of the Dead out. In my opinion, "Zombieland" did it better. But let me remind you that the only thing scarier than an army of zombies with superhuman strength is a big-boobed chick with a wooden sword.