I don’t have a buttload of time to watch anime these days, but as I was looking for something that I could veg out to in 15-30 minute bursts and I’ve been into zombies recently, I decided to Netflix all over Highschool of the Dead.
The basic premise of the show is that the zombie apocalypse has occurred and a group of Japanese highschool students have to survive their world suddenly becoming a lot more bitey and decomposing. There’s nothing uber-shocking original in that aspect. In fact, I wouldn’t call any of it innovative by any measure. But that said, the show is not without its merits.
The main characters include a brooding but handsome main guy, a “military nerd” (instant badass, just add firearms), and four absurdly attractive and anatomically improbable women: the captain of the kendo club, the captain of the spear martial arts club, a brainy and abrasive rich girl and a blonde so airheaded that she seems to have trouble understanding the function of doorknobs yet made it far enough through medical classes to be the school’s nurse.
The women in the show are portrayed, by and large, as competent and as capable as the men, though with the extreme emotional fragility that I’ve come to expect from anime females. And the fan service, my gods the fan service; there is not thirty seconds that passes without a panty shot or great attention paid to the gentle bouncing of a character’s breasts (there’s an entire episode that mostly involves the girls taking a bath together, including fondling one another’s breasts in disbelief of their unclothed immensity). Still, none of them tip completely over into the “too annoying” category and that was pleasant.
The male characters aren’t exceptionally deep, though they’re pleasant enough. They’re also not so ridiculously clueless that you want to shout things at the screen, a thing that plagues other guys in anime.
I’m not sure I’d call this good, but I couldn’t stop watching it. It was entirely wish-fulfillment, escapist, adolescent male fantasy. My 15 year old self would have obsessed over this series to an absurd degree and my 41 year old self found it entertaining enough to keep watching all 12 available episodes, usually two to four at a time.
If you want to spend six hours or so watching animated boobs bounce gently and zombies get their heads smashed in or shot out, it’s worth the time, but please don’t blame me if you try to watch it with your girlfriend and she smacks you in face and decides to assemble a crack team of feminist berserkers to go storm the studio and burn the original copies.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 bashed in zombie heads.