Being a die-hard anime fan as I am, I have also been watching movies my whole life. Through all these years, Zombie movies have never ceased to exist. We got Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, Survival of the Dead and many more in between plus hundreds of remakes (That was a bit exaggerated, of course). So when it comes to making anime along the same line of idea, there’s no better name than ‘High School of the Dead’
Since high school is the primary setting of more than 99% of anime (That was another exaggeration), the name ‘High School of the Dead’ implies yet another typical anime and homage to typical zombie movies. I do not usually write first impression posts and this is not a first impression post. I watched this anime because the hype was so strong and the first episode created quite a commotion in the aniblogsphere. As I am writing this post, I have watched the first two episodes and I must say that the anime surprises me by its shear amount of clichés. But what’s really interesting is that these clichés come from two different worlds; anime and zombie clichés.
The zombie clichés can be found all over the place and they are applicable to most mainstream zombie movies. Here are some prominent examples;
- go for brains/human flesh.
- can only be killed with headshots.
- are slow and clumsy
- are never alone and always travel in groups.
- have no sense of personality.
- only retain basic instinct, namely hunger.
- cannot communicate.
- transform into a strong fighter, regardless of personality or physical ability.
- at some point, have to kill their loved ones
- get trapped in the mall, a big mansion or a small town
- waste ammunition with body shots
- always hide infections/bite wounds
- go crazy over small personal problems
- sacrifice oneself to save others
- find that the phone is dead
High School of the Dead retains almost all of these stereotypical traits so far. It is really fun to watch just like how it was fun watching all those classic zombie movies. It is a shame how recent zombie movies tried too hard to be different and ended up inferior to the older ones. This anime brings those nostalgic feelings back and I am grateful.
A few things stands out that do not belong to typical zombie movie traits and in this case, they are all typical anime traits. I list some of the obvious ones here and I think more will be added as the show goes on;
- Stone cold kendo girl who kills with a smile; Busujima Saeko
- A naïve, ignorant character who always survive; Marikawa Shizuka
- At least one of the characters’ parents is someone big or influential
- The female-to-male ratio in the group is always 2:1 or higher
- Fan-service shots can appear anytime regardless of how dire the situation maybe
- Every girl has big boops
Maybe I should not be so surprised at how compatible anime clichés and zombie clichés are when put together since blood, comedy and fan service always work. That is a universal rule, after all.