Nitsujcember Part 27: Highschool of the Dead

H.O.T.D is one of the animes that I wanted to review ever since I started Project Nitsuj and when Aniween came around I felt it was the perfect time to tackle this series which set a new standard for fanservice as well as help anime get into the zombie genre. The series focuses on a group of students stuck in a zombie apocalypse. On top of trying to survive the students attempt to find their families and reunite with them. So they make the daring journey into their once peaceful city now turned into Hell on Earth fighting off zombies as well as other humans in order to find their families.

This anime really nails it with the realism. I am convinced that if a zombie apocalypse were to happen it would be along the lines of H.O.T.D. The anime does an amazing job capturing the fear, betrayal, violence, and insanity of a world falling apart and people allowing their true nature to show in the face of this new fear. Nowhere is this presented more than with our main characters. Takashi is a guy who was pretty much dead on the inside but once the zombie apocalypse happened it was like waking up from a dream for him and he took action deciding the first person he would save would be the girl he loved and no one else. After that we see instances where he becomes a hero in this new world while also battling to keep his sanity. Saeko is a girl who instead of being afraid of this new world instead feels right at home as her nature is that of a sadist who enjoys hurting others and she knows it. She knows she’s messed up but thanks to Takashi hasn’t completely lost herself. We see Kohta was definitely the comic relief character but at the same time he’s one of the most badass characters. Much like Takashi he too was dead on the inside. He was bullied at school and really didn’t stand out all that much but once the world ends he’s one of the few people who doesn’t panic and fights in order to stay alive. Saya becomes the brains of the group but also comes across as a bitch but I always viewed that as her way of coping with the situation she’s in. She’s afraid but at the same time she knows that if she shows even an ounce of fear she’ll start to panic and it’ll be game over for her. Shizuka is our fanservice character. There’s no denying it, she’s our fanservice character. Her whole point throughout this anime is to be eye candy and serve as the driver for the group. The one character who everyone dislikes myself included is Rei who seems to be the main heroine in this series but at the same time an unlikable bitch who for the first few episodes only serves to whine and complain about stuff. She starts to get better as the anime progresses but she’s currently the most unlikable character in the anime.

The zombie models in the anime are really good. I do like their designs. You can tell they were going for an old school zombie look and they pull it off perfectly here. The action is incredible to watch. The speed, the angles, and variety of fighting skills only serves to enhance the scene and make it all the more enjoyable to watch. Finally, the fanservice. In an anime about zombies the last thing I would expect to see is fanservice yet these guys managed to pull it off. The anime has a good balance of horror/drama and comedy/fanservice. The author of the series clearly knows what he’s doing as he times each aspect perfectly. There are times where we’ll have a serious scene or discussion for a few minutes and then leave it for the time being and then they’ll be scenes that are funny and full of fanservice to give us a break from all the action and drama and allow us to either take everything in or give us a chance to breathe. Now that I look back on this anime it’s honestly a lot better than I originally thought. My new score for this anime is 8.5/10 instead of an 8. This is a great zombie horror story and I’m glad this was Japan’s first anime of the genre as it really set the bar for what a zombie apocalypse should be like as well as showed us that you can have a lot of fanservice in your anime but still tell a compelling story with deep characters.

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