Due to the unexpectedly successful K-ON!! anime review post which utilized conversation-styled writing, I have decided to use this particular format when reviewing controversial anime or anime that creates internal conflict for me. This time, it’s High School of the Dead.
Positive Canne: Anime about zombie apocalypse! It’s not every day anime fans get to enjoy the violence, the sarcasm and entertainment from this subgenre of horror which mostly exist in live-action movie. I, aside from being an anime fan, am also a zombie movie fan and I enjoy watching army of undead wrecking havoc in the city despite the lack of plausible scientific explanation for the zombies’ very existence. In addition to bloody violence, High School of the Dead also provides tons of fan-service. In short, this anime is a real treat for me and arguably is the only bright spot in the long, dull anime lineup of 2010.
Negative Canne: So basically, you get all dazzled by the bloodbath, the unnaturally large rippling boobs and the gravity-defying actions that you overlook all the basic elements that make up a good anime. I admit that I love zombies and blood as well but we are reviewing the anime here not rambling aimlessly like fanboys. Seriously speaking, High School of the Dead is literally a collection of disjointed fragments of post-apocalyptic zombie cliché and typical anime fan-service. There is nothing new. It’s just that no one has ever explicitly put these two elements together.
Positive Canne: May I offer you a word of advice? Get a life! Last time I checked, you are no professional film critics or something. Have you forgotten the very first reason you love watching anime? Wasn’t it the fun and the craziness? Wasn’t it because anime could take you to the world beyond your imagination, reason and logic? When did you lose sight of the meaning of ‘magic’? High School of the Dead is a rollercoaster. It’s bold, wild and crazy. The anime knows exactly what it’s doing and offering and it go straight towards that. High School of the Dead is all about premise and mindless fun. If you are worried about the plot, dialogue or the hidden message, then you totally miss the point. I believe that part of being a critic is to know the right way to look at each show. Not every anime can be fitted into the same criteria.
Negative Canne: Wow, I didn’t see that coming. You are probably right about letting go and enjoying the show. So let me clarify one thing first. Despite what I may have to say about this anime, I did have a good time watching it. Call it guilty pleasure and you are absolutely correct. One thing though, when you said ‘magic’, you didn’t mean the magical bullet-dodging boobs? *smiles devilishly*
Positive Canne: Tell that to yourself. Now, since we both agree that the staple of this show is fan-service. I would like to emphasize on how successful this show is in that particular field. High School of the Dead teaches me that there is more than one level of achievement in fan-service in regard of the effort and work put into it. And I can confidently say that incredible effort is put into creating the entirely new laws of physics for boobs. My goodness, look at them moving in The Matrix-inspired, slow motion or how detailed they are under wet shirts!
Negative Canne: Do you realize what you sounded like? *sighs* I know that they elaborately create fan-service scenes but when every scene is considered, the animation is not so perfect. Excluding action scenes, you get significant amount of lazily animated sequence. The background, after careful inspection, appears to be full of crudely computer-generated zombies. The animation is mediocre at best in places we are not paying attention. There is also another thing about fan-service that bothers me. I think they are crudely put into the show whenever there is the slightest of opportunity. The show ends up switching back and forth between blood and fan-service. And someone please explain to me why the girls spontaneously get drunk and sexually excited every time they settle in any shelter (including the shrine!) or every time someone touches them. Is that normal? *makes innocent face*
Positive Canne: Yep, that’s perfectly normal. *looks dead serious*
Negative Canne: You are kidding, right? I think we are done talking. What’s your verdict?
Positive Canne: I know High School of the Dead is never a candidate for getting A rating or above. But I genuinely had great fun watching it and that was enough for me. The only thing that almost ruined my viewing experience was the ending. It didn’t end! Now, when will the second season coming out? My rating is B+.
Negative Canne: High School of the Dead is the very definition of guilty pleasure for me. It’s fun like crazy but it was also severely flawed. But then again, many anime manage to be both good and entertaining so just being fun is not an acceptable excuse for me. I think it’s like pizzas. You can’t stop eating them even though you know it’s not very healthy. My rating is C.
Overall rating: C+
Title: High School of the Dead
Genre: action, horror
Released date: July 5, 2010 – September 20, 2010
Director: Tetsuro Araki
Animated by: Madhouse