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highschool of the dead

I’m about 6 weeks behind on the fall season, but better late than never I’ll be starting my catch up tomorrow.  I think there are around 15 new shows I want to check out this week, while I saw previews of a couple of them at the end of the summer.  I watched the pilot episode of Samurai Girls, I liked the ink accentuated art style (it reminded me of the television adverts for the Street Fighter 4 computer game) and I thought the historical allusions of the character names (I think they’re all names of famous Japanese samurai, ninja and generals) was interesting and hopefully will have a purpose.  However, the rest of the content seemed like badly scripted, obvious and unexciting shonen/shojo action, so I won’t be watching it.  I also saw a 2 minute preview of MM, it looked awful and unless I’m reliably informed that the character design is ironically retro and it’s actually an intelligent spoof, I won’t bother with it.

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Zombies + Hot Girls + Madhouse = Winning Combo?

It certainly seemed like it when we saw the trailer a few months ago.. and it did garnish the kind of hype Angel Beats had, a kind of expectancy of it almost definitely going to be the most worthwhile anime to watch this season. Now that it’s come to an end, I think we can agree that just like Angel Beats last season, the most hyped anime was the disappointment of the season, sadly. Perhaps worse, since HOTD had one of the most disappointing endings I’ve seen in a long time (not that the Angel Beats ending didn’t make me cringe).

Okay it’s not all doom and gloom (well, it is really) – I can think of a couple of good points- this anime has  fantastic animation and a great soundtrack to go with it.

A wonderfully indulgent amount of violence and ecchi with Madhouses animation quality is nothing worth complaining about – in fact if it was anything less than Madhouse I would have questioned my rating further because the whole over-the-top (and inevitably hilarious) nature of the anime was what made the anime entertaining and worth watching. Also, the opening is a cracker and depend on your musical taste the ending can be hit-and-miss, but overall good.

So where did it go wrong exactly?

In a nutshell, Highschool of the Dead  is about a bunch of high schoolers trying to survive a sudden zombie epidemic which spreads by being bitten by the zombies. The whole zombie-apocalypse idea came across well enough, though sometimes you’re left scratching your head by some of the scenes that make it feel like things are rather normal and not doomsday-like at all.. but you’re supposed to forget about that as the girls find more and more of their clothes vanishing, exposing more eye candy.

A few things do happen in the anime, but by the end  it really feels like nothing really happened. It seemed like when it was done, it’s expecting you to forget about the various character and plot developments it made and accept the fact they might not survive it after all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a sucker for a good-guys-always-win ending but I would at least like to know what DID happen to the people I just watched running around manically for 13 episodes. Is it the case that another anime has suffered from not being long enough?

Highschool of the Dead is enjoyable, the action scenes were exhilarating and exciting and the ecchi all in good taste – ultimately though, I can’t help but feel the story is what failed and that’s why I probably won’t watch it again.

I will be watching the upcoming OVA though – there’s certainly no shame in wanting to see the girls again in what’s apparently going to be another pointless episode- is there? (Are there any girls out there who saw it to the end because of the guys in the anime? Really?)

6/10

- Senseito