Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Highschool of the Dead

High School of the Dead; animated horror-harem series, Japan, 2010; D: Tetsuro Araki, S: Junichi Suwabe, Marina Inoue, Miyuki Sawashiro, Eri Kitamura, Yukari Fukui

Teenager Takashi is shocked when his high school is invaded by a horde of Zombies, massacring every living person. Together with students Rei, Saeko, Saya and Kota, as well as high school nurse Shizuka Marikawa, they board a bus and manage to escape out of town. They encounter numerous problems on their journey to the mansion of Saya's parents, where there are enough supplies. At top of all problems, a nuclear strike is launched against the Zombie invasion. Takashi and the team thus find refuge on an idyllic tropical island.

If there was ever an extremely polarizing example of 'guilty pleasure', then it was anime series "High School of the Dead": it takes one of the most worn out, the most exhaustingly overused concepts - Zombies - takes a very conventional approach in the survival of the characters, has practically no inventive ideas that break its cliches and has too many examples of fan service, to such an extent that they overshadow the entire story. However, the fan service is so grand, so honest and so 'tongue-in-cheek', one can almost forgive it for everything. The authors basically gave a Zombie story in a R. Meyer world, the so called Bakunyu subgenre: the main focus point are definitely the buxom girls, and the fascination with their large breasts is obvious not only in the most obvious episodes (the bath tub sequence in 6 and island sequences in 13). Namely, the authors are so sly that all the girls with small breasts die fairly quickly in the series, while only those with large breasts survive and continue their quest with Takashi, conveniently, especially blond nurse Shizuka Marikawa with a cup size F or larger, who is so clumsy that only the director's gimmicks guarantee her survival from the Zombies, despite all the odds. This would not be a problem if there had been other ingredients that would sustain "H.O.T.D."s interest independently from large breasts - some style, some truly comical or inventive ideas - but alas, except for the great animation, there is basically nothing else besides it. Supporting characters come and go, and the story just goes around in circles, with only a few unusual moments that stand out (for instance, when two astronauts in a space station observe in horror that nuclear strikes are being launched on Earth's surface). If anything, male viewers will at least enjoy the beach sequence in episode 13 with girls in the bathing suits. Overall, great it is not, but it is hot.


No comments: