Tentacle-Free Anime: "High School of the Dead" (2010) Review
- by Kazekun, 28 October 2013
I’ve never really been big into the zombie genre, my first real foray into it was the ever so awesome "Shaun of the Dead" movie, and you may have seen my praise for the also awesome "Warm Bodies" movie, there’s even "Walking Dead" which I’ve enjoyed but fell out of it during the half-season break in season 2. I just don’t often like the serious, gory thought of the dead awaking and coming to kill you in hordes and either turn you into one of them, or shred you a part so much, that there’s simply no possible way for you to come back. Despite that fact, I have found I can deal with gore much easier if it is animated than if it’s live-action. The zombie genre is something that is rarely touched upon in anime, but when it is… it’s touched all over. Oh yes, you know where I’m going with this. "High School of the Dead".
This anime truly has it all: zombies, chicks, blood, cursing, high concentrations of badassery, breasts so large they defy physics and even heavy amounts of fan service. It’s a straight up journey story about a group of people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, it just so happens to have a lot borderline-sex. So why does this even exist if it’s only going to pander to the tug of war that your brain and loins will be going through as you watch this (brain for the horror, loins for the babes)?
You may find that odd of me to say, after I just laid out the biggest mistakes this anime made, but at the end of the day I actually felt for the characters by the end of the series, I wanted to see where their journey continues to take them, I loved the action, the animation is gorgeous, and this is probably the most fun I’ve ever had watching anything horror when the genre takes itself far too seriously most of the time (scratch that, Shaun is still my best experience). It may be my own defense mechanism kicking in when I am faced with scary things, I either go sleep or I laugh a lot. But zombies freak me out, so I need a good laugh when it comes to them. So it’s probably because I found myself laughing at the absurdity of this whole show that I enjoyed it so much.
Again though, the sexual overtones were taken to absurd levels that I did find myself groaning (not groining) during very large portions of it. Especially during the OVA titled Drifters of the Dead, ecchi shows (very sexual in nature) very often when being televised will use the original video animation episode that is not aired on TV push the boundaries they’d often get in trouble with on air. This series is no different and can really pull me out of the story I had become engrossed in; mainly because these sorts of episodes are generally more absurd than the actual show itself.
And that really sucks, because it can ruin the whole package sometimes, even more if someone doesn’t know it’s a side story that has no bearing on the overall plot. That’s a travesty but unfortunately these overly sexual series exist because we as the masses watch them and support them. Do I condone HOTD for the way it treats the women in its series? Hell no, did I have fun watching it all? Hell yes.
Which brings me back to what I feel is the whole point of this series: it’s to gut punch you with weird feelings of not knowing if you’re supposed to enjoy it or not, as we enter an age where anti-exploitation is gaining a new rise (I do not support any sort of exploitation except maybe slapstick comedy). Your brain wants to say no, along with the adrenaline rush of seeing massive zombies tear people to shreds, but other areas, the areas of pleasure and excitement say yes which comes from the sexual overtones and adrenaline of seeing zombies tear people to shreds.
Some of you may find yourself on the definitive line of “No, I cannot enjoy a series like this in any way,” and some of you may disagree and say “Oh but it’s all in good fun, just relax a bit.” Personally I find myself in the middle, I enjoyed the hell out of this show, the horror and gore does a splendid job of keeping you on the edge of your seat and I do try to recommend it to some horror fans but at the same time I understand where it gets everything wrong and I just can’t recommend it to every horror fan or even the everyday person. Which is the saddest part of all.
FINAL SCORE: 2 Pairs of Physics Defying… er, Zombie Slayers out of 5.
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Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.