Writer: Daisuke Soto
Illustrator: Shonji Sato
Sentai Filmworks, 2011.
I love a zombie apocalypse. No really. I love a zombie apocalypse. So much so that if you knew a little bit more about me you'd know that I've been paid to do a lecture on zombie apocalypses and its effects on social order.
Yes, I am a nerd...so?
Here's two reasons the zombie apocalypse is a great idea:
1. It makes everything simple. For example, who cares if your bills are past due? People are dying, man. And Oh, you're having a bad hair day? I'm having a zombie-ate-my-family day. Perspective is a good thing, and the ZA will provide some much needed perspective. Say goodbye to your First-World-Problems, and hello to survival mode.
2. In simplifying the world, including our relationships to one another, the arbitrary social conventions that create friction between groups based on race, culture, gender, etc. fall away...there is no more backwards, binary us v. us confusion! There is only Living and Undead. In establishing a common enemy we more easily recognize our HUMANITY...theoretically. (People are still bad sometimes, and they still cling to the old social orders when it benefits them.)
The effects of the ZA above are clearly illustrated in the animated series Highschool of the Dead, based on the manga series of the same name by Daisuke Soto and Shonji Sato. The setting of a highschool, a place rife with cliques and social stratum, only further emphasizes the message. As with all the best ZA situations, we as viewers are introduced to a group of dissimilar survivors who are thrust together by circumstance: geek and jock, egg-headed perfectionist and clueless bimbo, bad-girl kendo club captain and ridiculously busty assistant librarian, creepy totalitarian teacher and (obligatory) red-shirt-esque zombie fodder. They have to band together to survive...maybe? I'm still early in and that creepy totalitarian teacher, is really, really creepy.
|Creepier than zombie hordes!|
I have a feeling he will be the antagonist, and a villainous antagonist at that!
Dr. Shido's character seems power-hungry and opportunistic already. I expect his character may very well be representative of the worst humanity has to offer in a ZA situation. There's clear set up for him as adversary and complicating factor in later episodes.
Creepiness aside, this anime is surprisingly beautiful...there's a powerful juxtaposition between the beautiful and bloodthirsty: gorgeous skies and scenery is the backdrop to unflinching depictions of death. The fight scenes are brutal. This is one violent anime. But, it is also deeply emotional in a way that makes more than a few of the characters multi-dimensional from the start. The emotional angst of a few of the characters, and the genuine feel of their reactions was surprising.
I have only one complaint about the series so far: the random upskirt shots and excessive amounts of bouncing breasts are gratuitous, numerous and annoying to no end. Show me the fight scene; I don't care about wobbling fun-bags.
(Note the sheer amount of panties and breast shots.)
All in all, I think I might keep with this anime, despite my irritation at the T&A (it doesn't make everything better). The second season of Highschool of the Dead was announced in April 2012, and although rumors were that the announcement was an April Fool's Day joke, there has been information out that one is in the works with no release date confirmed yet.
Random Bonus Factoid:
While looking at the closing credits for HOTD for the Japanese cast and crew, I noticed that there was a position listed as "Art and Literature Support." What is that? And why don't American production companies have such a position? And if they do, why can't I find a job doing that? Because I would be really, really good at it (if I knew what it was).