Do you play the Left 4 Dead series? If yes, join me and my like-minded friends above at Left 4 Dead Japan Steam Group as we defend
Tokyo eastern United States from the zombie apocalypse! Add me in your friend list via my profile here.
Today, Highschool of the Dead will have the honors of being the first 2010 anime that will challenge the newly anointed ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title holder Working!! Featuring a storyline that is very common in the Western world in multiple forms of entertainment media, will this anime set up in the suburbs of modern Japan shoots its way to the title?
Of course you silly, silly boy! You are in an anime now! Probably the first ever zombie apocalypse anime ever made.
It’s spring in Japan, and the school year has just started. Suddenly, from out of the blue, the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE arrived! A ragtag bunch consisted of several high-school students (and their anatomically-incorrect school nurse) then has to fight their way out of their zombie-infested school, one
safe-room episode at a time as the world slowly descends into a NUCLEAR APOCALYPSE!
Frankly speaking, the storyline in this anime is not much different than your typical Hollywood B-movies that has the same plot. Here you will see the conventional zombies that is sensitive to sound (while forsaking the other 4 senses), has supernatural strength, hard to kill except with a headshot and cannot cross any body of water. Fortunately for our survival team, the zombies here walks slowly plus the infection vector doesn’t spread airborne. If this is Left 4 Dead, which I play quite extensively, this ragtag bunch won’t survive a day with those fast common infected and of course, the special infected.
Oh BTW, those zombies doesn’t walk around moaning ‘Brainnnnnsss’ or whatever its Japanese equivalent.
And just like those B-grade Hollywood flicks, fan service rules the roost. If in those films, you can see scantily-clad women with the tightest of outfits and the least amount of fabric possible, armed with shotgun while cr0wning those undeads, in this anime you can see pretty much the same thing, except that the female characters prefers to melee the undead instead of shooting them. I have to admit, I do really like them hehehehe. The fan-service is definitely one of the most important traits this anime has, which is reinforced by the fact that as the series goes on, the amount of fabrics that the female characters wears become lesser and lesser with every passing hour.
Zombie apocalypse and fan service aside, is the story is any good? Well, I have never seen any of those B-grade Hollywood flicks being nominated for Best Picture in Academy Awards, thus you should not expect any Hayao Miyazaki-quality storyline in this manga-adapted anime. But then again, I highly enjoyed watching this fast-paced action-packed title, assisted by flawless plot progression all the way to the ending that is set up for a richly-deserved
movie sequel second season. If a second season is really in the cards, then I suggest that it should be cornily titled ‘Highschool of the Dead II – The Siege of the Shopping Mall’ or something like that hahahaha!
Meanwhile, I feel the character developments in this anime is constrained by the low amount of episodes this anime has. The way the story is written, there should be plenty of development potential left amongst the members of the ragtag bunch, especially the school nurse, the weapon nerd and the newly-orphaned brat. And did I see some good romance subplot forming there? Thinking about them, the more convinced I have become that this anime really need a sequel. A sequel with a corny title!
The Left 4 Dead protagonists may have it harder than the protagonists in this anime, but at least they doesn't have an emo baggage like the one above!
The character designs for male characters is pretty much your stereotypical shounen cookie-cutter design and just barely passable, but the designs for female characters definitely come straight out from a hentai mini-OVA or something like that. Nevertheless the designers managed to keep the design under control, unlike the over-the-top designs you can see in Dragonaut – the resonance. Definitely a positive aspect for this anime, and I fully expect to see more inappropriate ‘fan-fictions’ surfacing at TokyoTosho in the future.
Voice acting in this anime is solid overall, but there are no outstanding performer(s) that stands out from the rest. A positive aspect for this anime.
The OST is sparse and only evident in action scenes, but it is still decent. The OP theme is very good, and so are the most of the ED themes except for episode 8, 12, 11, and 4. A positive aspect for this anime.
Move aside Ceiling Cat/Basement Cat/Long cat or whatever! Here we have the most awesome cat in the world, who sleeps his/her way through a zombie apocalypse as if they are nothing!
The character animation in this anime is not as fluid as I expected for my standard, but the general animation quality is very good, even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography in this anime is mixed bag; the action scenes by the meleeing female characters are good, while the rest is just average. The director has not done anything wrong at all in this series, and that’s a decent feat onto itself, considering that it is really easy to screw up with this kind of storyline.
8 out of 10. Therefore Working!! will be able to keep its title for the time being. I still haven’t made any decision of what anime I should watch next, you just have to wait for it to come.
Some faulty advice about the usage of shoguns for killing zombies there buddy. In Left 4 Dead, unless you are cr0wning, you will aim the shotgun at the chest, not the head. The main protagonist will learn this the hard way though. And do not use them in open space maps, unless you are pretty desperate.