When I first heard of High School of the Dead, I figured it’d be little more than a mildly entertaining anime-style remix of the same old zombie movies I’d seen so many times before. I was completely wrong. Something unexpected and very disturbing happened at the end of the first episode: I realized I’d never seen a zombie movie before. I knew plenty about zombies from video games, The Simpsons, Maddox, classic literature, and living in the zombie capital of the world where I saw giant inflatable zombies on the street, yet somehow I never got around to seeing zombies in a movie.
How do zombie movies end? Do you have to kill all the zombies? Do the zombies get cured somehow? Do the main characters simply escape to somewhere safe? I was clueless. High School of the Dead quickly turned into the most thought-provoking anime I’d seen in ages.
The premise of High School of the Dead is fairly straightforward. A zombie outbreak is taking place worldwide. Zombies break into the titular high school. The main characters band together and fight for survival.
The team consists of a meganekko tsundere, a childhood friend, a dojikko nurse, a military otaku, a hot chick with a sword, and a male lead who looks exactly like Kazuki from Busou Renkin.
Overall, the characters are nothing special. Good thing it doesn’t matter. High School of the Dead is all about the action and fanservice. Behold:
If you don’t like ’em big, there’s always Kazuki, whose sideburns are still developing.
After escaping the high school, the gang finds and stays at various strongholds until they collapse. Inevitable collapse makes a great story. Triumph and togetherness are overdone. High School of the Dead gives you plenty of collapse and relatively little togetherness. The gang doesn’t infight enough to get annoying, but it’s not like they hold hands and skip down the street singing about themes of friendship. They just put up with each other for survival.
The show isn’t perfect. The nuke plotline was stupid, the nurse was useless, the dog was ugly, and there’s a lot you could nitpick about the zombie behavior and battle dynamics. The most annoying thing was the way they kept saying “THIS ISN’T A MOVIE!” every other episode.
Final Grade: ++
Reading this post will do nothing to change your opinion of High School of the Dead.