Here is a screengrab from an episode of Highschool of the Dead.
Does that make you turn in disgust? Does it make you shake your head at the exploitative way this so-called art was drawn? If so, leave now – this review (and show) is not for you, you’ve already formed your opinion.
Is he gone? Good, I hate that guy.
For everyone that didn’t mind that bit of titillation (tee hee), here is the real review.
Highschool of the Dead follows 5 high school students as they try to avoid being eaten in a zombie apocalypse: There’s Takashi, the main character and brooding leading male; Rei, his love interest; Kohta, the gun-happy otaku; Saya, the smart one; Saeko, the badass; and Shizuka, the only leading character who isn’t a student, and lost all her brains to her massive breasts before the zombies ever appeared.
It’s a standard setup to a zombie series, but it’s done surprisingly well. There are very few zombie animes, which makes this one a change of pace. The animation at work in the series is stunning, with clean lines and excellent colouring, from every gore-caked zombie to well-endowed student.
Similarly, the voice acting is top-notch – at least for the Japanese cast – and it really helps to bring some intense moments to life – see Takashi’s yells in episode one and Saya’s breakdown in episode two. Every character gets their chance to shine and prove that they’re more than just an ass and two breasts. The voice acting in the English dub creates a very different tone entirely. For a B-movie feel, the English dub works well, and the voice actors seem to have a lot of fun with their roles. I’ve heard many people suggest watching it in English for a superior experience, but that’s entirely subjective.
Which bring us smoothly on to the main quibble that most people have with the series – the fanservice. While it’s true that the series does flash a lot of panty and boob shots, and I’d be lying if I said they were done tastefully, its all a matter of personal taste. The real decider is episode 6, which is essentially a twenty minute ecchi scene, with all the girls bathing together and then dressing in skimpy outfits. However, I feel that the fanservice employed during the series is done in good humour – Takashi never kisses a girl on the mouth onscreen, and episode 6 is played for laughs the entire time. It adds to the 70s exploitation movie-like feel that the entire series has.
So, onto the final verdict. If you’re in the mood to watch something with some damn good animation and VA work, and don’t mind fanservice (the lead artist for the series used to work on hentai) then give Highschool of the Dead a shot. I got my copy of the series pretty cheap, and it was well worth the money I paid. My only complaints are that the fan service can reach ridiculous levels at times (using boobs as shock absorbers for a .50 caliber rifle can’t be comfortable. Or safe.) and a couple of episodes do push plot aside to focus on it.
NOT GUILTY (but only just)