High School of the Dead

I was hoping this would be the anime equivalent of Dawn of the Dead… It wasn’t.

We start off in high school following Takashi, a harem of busty girls’ and an otaku named Kouta when zombies attack. Over the course of the series so far, zombie related violence and panty-shots increase as social-order and the girl’s clothing vanish.

My summary of the plot is flippant because it’s a good-looking show with no interest in zombies. The following post constains images NSFW

The reason I watch zombie films is to see a depiction of reality take a turn for the worst. From social collapse and people working together or turning on each other to ensure their own safety. A Hobbes-ing of the world if you will. Deeper zombie tales may also deal with fear of infection and identity loss.

Well forget all that as this anime loves lechery.

This is in no way Romero-esque. There is no social commentary beyond the Darwinian nature of a zombie apocalypse. However it is honest about what it is: slickly produced exploitation. Not necessarily a problem if you like ecchi or seeing this:

Just whoa...

I don’t. To be fair, it was always going to have to balance horror with fan-service considering the source manga.

Oh anime and your suspect gender politics. Dehumanising females and not zombies misses the point of the horror zombies generate.

The males’ get off lightly character-wise. Kouta, is a gun-nut, bullied and overweight who comes into his element when zombies attack.

Thankfully he keeps his clothes on. He is probably analogous with a lot of the target audience. Takashi is much more a typical anime hero. At least they have reasonable personalities. The girls are nothing more than blow-up dolls.

Come on... I mean... There are zombies outside, is this really the time?

High school is a place of hormones so the boyish breast fixation is not unreasonable but the endless boobage makes this anime seem either a clever satire on current anime ‘fan-service’ trends and gender politics or just plain exploitation. It’s the second.

Sexual objectification rears its head with death scenes more akin to sexual assault rather than zombie chow-downs. It felt like blatant misogyny. Then it struck me. Lighten up, you’re taking it too seriously. It’s for otaku who like ecchi.

The gratuitous fan-service and violence ensures that sex and violence are melded together to create a stereotypical otaku audience’s dream come true:

Teacher gets eaten, nubile young women wait for otaku to prove their masculinity through their knowledge of zombie-survival-techniques and improvised weapons.

So we have established this show loves ecchi, what about the zombies? They are ridiculous. They track people down with their sense of hearing because they are blind which immediately removes a lot of the threat they pose. Japan does have a history with zombies, a rather cool one to. Just not here.

So it’s not for me and other people who dislike ecchi. At the very least, this show will sell body pillows to otaku and comfort them during their High School life.

10 thoughts on “High School of the Dead

  1. vashdaman

    Great write up, I haven’t watched it, but if I did I would imagine this would be how I felt as well.

    I also seem to take these shows too seriously as well and just get annoyed with the misogyny at how they Dehumanise and degrade women. I suppose they are just fulfilling certain peoples wishes, however I still think the vast amount of anime that depict women like this are doing society no good.

    1. Good comment. Glad to see I’m not the only one who takes these things seriously!

      If people watch it then companies will continue to make it. It is basic business and not completely unreasonable as long as it’s tucked away in the schedules and there’s something positive to act as a counterpoint.

      I agree that it doesn’t do society or the medium any favours as it degrades both females and the audience. I find anime like this a turn off but not every anime can be Paranoia Agent or Kino’s Journey.

      I think it’s time we started depicting females much more positively or we’ll have a generation of boys unable to cope with the real deal.

      Thanks for the reply! 😀

      1. vashdaman

        Absolutely, I totally agree we do need a good mix of anime, and some brainless, silly enteraining fluff is definitely needed. However at times I do wish the balance could be slightly better, as we seem to have so much anime filled with misogyny, completely unrealistic(or unhealthy) depictions of women and fan service galore, compared to the amount of more mature, considered or left of field anime, and I feel they sometimes get lost amidst all the fan service and expoiting(of audience) shows.

        Still while saying all that there is still a good amount on truely great and interesting anime being produced, I just wish it would get the same amount of attention the other stuff does.

        I suppose every medium is like this more or less though.

      2. It would be fantastic if every medium could strive for some higher artistic ideal. This is where being a dedicated fan comes in because it’s up to cinephiles and anime heads to support different releases. Not slavishly because that would just bankrupt us.

  2. Michelle

    I am so glad I read this article because I am seriously tired of seeing panty shots. At first High School Of The Dead seemed to have potential but after 2 episodes it suddenly turned into the typical annoying fan service series. I understand some fan service but to let it take over the whole story kills the whole point of watching. (To me anyway…) I wish upcoming anime would learn to control their amount of fan service. I don’t mind it I just don’t want it to be all that I see.
    Anyway I just wanted to say I completely agree and thank goodness you mentioned Paranoia Agent. Paranoia Agent is such a great series and so twisted.

    1. Great comment. I totally agree about High School of the Dead’s wasted potential what with shameful gender stereotypes and all the jiggling and panties choking the screen. I recommend The Walking Dead (which is what this anime could have been had the source manga taken the horror route) as a panacea.

      Ultimately, we as an audience have the power to take our money elsewhere and watch other things.

      There are a lot of anime that tackle a wide range of subjects with maturity, wit and imagination. Time of Eve, Tatami Galaxy, Ghost Hunt and Genshiken come to mind.

      And anyone who likes Paranoia Agent has great taste.

      Thanks for the response.

  3. vashdaman

    Yep, I just want to second that Time of Eve is a great show!!

    Not seen any of the others mentioned(shamefully even including paranoia agent), but I plan to get around to watching them all hopefully(especially now I have a bit of free time over the festive season)

    I am really bored of all the fan service most modern anime seem to throw at us and think we love, and as Jason has mentioned I have even gone so far that I refuse to support anime that I feel is exploitative. So many anime with potential throw away their chance to be taken seriously by adding two dimentional, uninteresting female characters who seemingly are not allowed to have any sembalance of a interesting personality for fear that it may distract people from the panty shots or gravity defying breasts, or god forbid the audience may actually view the character as human being rather than a strictly sexual object.

    Anyway rant over, for more great anime that doesn’t resort to cheap fanservice I recommend Eden of East, really great series, however be warned it will leave you wanting more!

    1. I agree with you. Nice animation but the content flirts with the pervy a lot. But then I’m sick of fan service and poorly written characters who are there so their breasts can be grabbed. 😉

      Thanks for the reply!

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