High School of the Dead

Also Known As: Gakuen Mokushiroku Haisukuru obu za Deddo, H.O.T.D.
Genre: Action, Thriller, Ecchi
Format: 12 Episodes
Allegiance: Madhouse
Director: Tetsuro Araki
Vintage: 2010
Intelligence Agency Report by: Drake
It is another day of school, but instead of sitting in class, Komuro Takashi is on the roof of his high school thinking about the girl he loves. While up there, he notices a disturbance at the school’s gate. It seems that a grotesque man has bitten a teacher, which leads to an unknown zombie infection spreading rampant throughout the school. Now it is up to Takashi, four of his peers, and the school nurse to survive the impending zombie apocalypse together.

Field Agent Report by: Hikari
Overall 5.50
(not an average)

Before I get into this review, I just want to make a disclaimer: in no way am I a fan of ecchi; I despise it. If you look at my reviewer profile, you will see that I state that I refuse to watch it. Yet I thought that this show couldn’t be that bad, and that maybe I would learn to like it and ignore the fanservice. I think you know what I’m going to say next. I was wrong. Horribly wrong.

However, the story is fairly interesting and has a great pace, and the characters all have some depth to them. I even like how realistic the series is regarding what could actually happen if a mass outbreak ever did occur. The music is well-paired with the scenes, as well. Deep bass thunders whenever there is trouble or action, and that sexy, sleazy saxophone we always hear when a foxy anime lady is around is prevalent, too (I think you know why).

MADHOUSE does an incredible job of animating the series, especially in the action scenes. These scenes are a joy to watch, full of lots of great and innovative methods of killing zombies. The attention to detail is also well done, and the zombie designs are perfect, as are the zombie transformations. The series portrays its female characters as skilled in weaponry, which shows that girls are not as helpless as they seem in some other anime. However, female empowerment stops there.

When they’re not showing their skills in combat, the women in the show are all horribly horny, it seems, and whenever they get tired, dizzy, or just plain bitchy, they want attention and sex. One character even gets off on using her sword! On top of that, a highly unrealistic bath scene and various unrealistic suggestive poses indicate that this anime is meant for men—specifically, for men who have no respect for women. I don’t know about you, but as a woman I do not lean over railings with my butt in the air, and I certainly don’t walk around the house in my panties when males I barely know are around. The series’ image of women as overemotional, sexually repressed, and unnaturally buxom is a disturbing image indeed. Thus, the impact the show had on me isn’t all that positive. I think that this would be the perfect anime if it had not had so much cleavage and fanservice; in fact, I would be all over this anime otherwise. But the treatment of women as sexual objects cannot be ignored. This is not the kind of attention most women ask for unless they are in a loving relationship, and this is not what I picture when it comes to loving relationships.

Even the men in the show are set up to fit a stereotype. Komuro is the typical strong-but-average male that I think any teenage boy could look up to or identify with. And then there’s Kohta, the average male nerd who is obsessed with guns. He is often shown as very strong and military-like, yet he is brushed off as weird because he’s nerdy and the girls just don’t like that. I think Kohta could have been a better main character than Komuro at times, as Komuro doesn’t know as much about combat as Kohta does. However, due to the stereotypes in the show, Kohta is always the outsider while the girls and their breasts are all over Komuro.

If you like dripping breasts, sex-crazed teenage girls, and lots of gore, High School of the Dead is for you. As a woman, I did not enjoy this show and probably would not watch a second season if it ever aired (although it’s doubtful it will). The ecchi is to the point where every scene is disgusting. I did enjoy the zombie action and post-apocalyptic choices that the characters have to make, but despite all that, the series’ presentation and its idea of women turned me off of the whole series.