31 comments on “200th Review: Highschool of the Dead OVA – Drifters of the Dead

  1. It seems with our long debate on Bokurano (which would be limitless anyway since I never finished it whereas you did, so you probably would’ve won at some point down the road), we forgot this was about me hating on this being a 10 out of 10.

    I actually went and watched it, and it seems that even though I didn’t finish the original HotD, it was easy for me to just hop in and watch this. Now I have to admit, what transpired here was hilarious, and the main guy was pretty daring (and also achieved the quantum state of being unlucky and lucky). It was a fun little OVA, the service was actually a bit warranted in this situation, which it’s surprising for me even to think of this possibility (what warranted it was them of course wanting to get the guys to do all the work, as well as to buildup on the hilarity later). Seeing ecchi actually build up to something reasonably comedic is a nice bit of fresh air; amidst a market where ecchi is just there to attract some “attention”, and will either get you to want to see the full thing, make you feel uncomfortable as you try to get back to the (probably weak) plot, or make you laugh if you are of sane mind out of the stupidity of the situation (and/or the writers). This one was able to avoid those three outcomes, and for something like this felt like it had at least some thought put into it.

    Therefore, I respect your decision as it is the perfection of not only beach episodes but of ecchi material, and what all ecchi material should pretty much be. I welcome my Well-Endowed Overlords as the Queens of 2011 (unless some other show dethrones them, which with the lineup in the Fall as well as Steins;Gate, may actually be likely).

    Also, speaking of Jigoku Shoujo (you mentioned it a week or so ago), I went back and found that review of yours, and man you’ve come a long way in terms of writing. It’s only appropriate on your 200th review that I say congrats and hope to see more ^^

  2. She didn’t sign it because she was considered too young by the rest of them, if I recall correctly. She was about to jump on that bandwagon, though, as it’s shown that she’s stepping towards it before someone stops her. And it’s not so much deception as much as it is convincing really apparently stupid people that a lie he came up with on the spot is true, and it’s all acceptable because there was one person out of 15 or so that supported and, of course, they’re kids, and you know all kids are stupid. Even the Prime Minister’s daughter was pretty dumb, because you know, she was a kid.

    Point is, I cannot relate to anyone that makes such a stupid decision and neither can I accept that this is acceptable simply because they’re all kids.

    And the issues that I’ve seen (as well as one of the girl arcs I read up on, Ano Maki’s) just feel like the writer could’ve taken a grab bag of tragedies and try to stuff them in each episode. The tragedies are tragedies surely but so is a child dying in some third world country, and you don’t see most people shedding a tear for every single tragedy there. Tragedies (as well as every genre, to some extent) are only well appreciated when there’s enough time, but I feel like one episode doesn’t give enough time for me to actually care about the character enough to mourn his/her loss at the end of the episode.

    • She didn’t sign it mainly because her brother stops her. Oh BTW, in the manga, she did sign the contract, involuntarily (Koemushi prefers younger people than older ones) while her brother didn’t. The kids isn’t that stupid as you portrayed, especially the main protagonist, the fat guy and also the kid with scientist mom for example. These kids are not smarter or stupider than the impressionable casts in Madoka for example.

      And if you think Bokurano is primarily tragedies, then you are wrong. It is mainly either slice of life or drama. Their deaths are practically guaranteed, and most of them actually accept it quite easily if you ask me. The story before the brief mecha battles are what make Bokurano ticks.

      • The Madoka cast could at least see a large benefit from taking up these contracts; the Bokurano cast didn’t really see any benefits (and from what I imagine, there are none other than piloting a mecha, you want to count that). Of course the Madoka cast would make a contract because it seems like something that would benefit them (to their knowledge), but the Bokurano cast had nothing to gain from taking a contract, let alone the stupid game testing excuse that was employed to get them to sign in the first place.

        And if certain characters are smarter after the signing, but weren’t smart when making the decision to “Become a Game Tester”, then it’s more a character inconsistency than anything and shows how little thought was put into a real character and was more put into making certain situations dramatic. There was no benefit to them becoming a game tester, so they shouldn’t have taken the risk of even just hanging around a creep in a cave.

        I will say, though, the difference between the manga and the anime is an interesting one; would’ve been worth reading that part if I had finished and enjoyed the anime.

        • Piloting the mecha is definitely the major attraction why they sign the contract. Remember, they were shown a very realistic demonstration (so realistic they were fooled by it) which make the deception works even better. If Kokopelli works alone, he probably will not succeed. Being able to become a tester for such an overly realistic high-technology game isn’t something kids can easily refuse. The deception is first class, that’s why even the smarter kids within the group are deceived by it.

          Furthermore, the kids eventually obtained another benefit of being a pilot, and that would be the recognition of being the savior of the universe. Not the world, but the universe. And they will not become some anonymous heroes at all, their heroics are publicized worldwide. Even world superpowers like America and Russia helped Japan because of this (I doubt that America will sit still not doing anything when Hawaii was bombed by a nuclear weapon). That’s why even they know they will die, they can accept it knowing that they can protect their families or friends or some cliche like everyone. Note that quite a number of POV arcs in Bokurano actually deals with this exact issue, especially the latter ones.

          • They signed the contract before that “simulation”. Proof. (Everything pretty much from 0:32 to 3:05)

            And they received recognition for their actions, which is great and all, but what about those who never learned the worth of their sacrifice?

            • The demonstration are done so that the contractees doesn’t back-off or give up after knowing what have happened. Actually, Koemushi can simply pick some random strangers to be a pilot without even making them put the hand on that biometric reader (that’s how he makes the little sister sign the contract involuntarily), but that’s one sure way to lose the battle for the universe. He has to make it so that the pilots will still continue even after they learn the truth. Remember, Koemushi will die too if the universe is destroyed, and he doesn’t want that (his background story explains that – and unlike Kyubey, he actually has emotions).

              As for the the early pilots, their death are recognized too. Posthumously.

              • They still signed the contract, though, and I would think one cannot cancel their contract once they’ve made it; especially with something that concerns the entire universe.

                • They cannot cancel the contract (but I think Koemushi can do it), but remember, the fate of the universe is in their hands. Koemushi does has his own restrictions and cannot do things that will jeopardize his own life. A single screw-up means the universe is finished, no margins of error at all.

                  • It still doesn’t change the fact that they signed the contract, and were convinced to sign it by a reason that no one in that situation would believe. I think if they perhaps had left the cave and not signed the contract, but were instead made to involuntarily sign contract like you said Koemushi could, then I would’ve found it more believable and could’ve related to them better, seeing as it shows that they were at least competent enough to make the right decision and would’ve made their characters much more consistent.

                    • Considering who they are, how they get there and the high-tech demonstration, it is more plausible that your theory. If they doesn’t sign the contract and leave, and then Koemushi teleports them to the cockpit and say ‘Surprise, the contracts are signed after all’, their universe will be finished far sooner than expected.

                    • It doesn’t have to be that blatant at all. They could be walking out of the cave when they black out and Kokopelli gives them the demonstration going “Well, I never gave a proper demonstration of the game, so I might as well show you.” This would raise interest in many of the people and motivate them to play the game, however unknown to them their contracts would be signed. The first pilot would receive the call and freak out, talk about it with the others. There would be a mix of fear and excitement in this development, depending on how they reacted during the demonstration. When the time comes to fight, there maybe confusion to what he has to do, but he’ll do it anyway out of fear of loss (the first pilot seemed like he could be kind of competitive). After the battle, I imagine the same things would happen as they did in the original plot. This is because many of the earlier arcs (as far as I watched) appreciated the newfound power given by the mecha, and therefore were able to put morality and fear aside as they went to crush their opponents. Later on, they would realize their roles and fight onward.

                    • Kokopelli did give a proper demonstration of how to operate the robot. What he didn’t tell them is what the robot is for, and what is the ‘fuel’ used. Just by looking at the high-tech setup, during a boring summer excursion, is good enough for them to honor the contract (there is one kid who actually doesn’t honor them). If deception isn’t involved, the kids won’t find the cave at all.

                    • What I meant was: “Instead of them signing the contracts, they instead leave the cave and then black out…” with the rest of that post being the same.
                      I also don’t think that someone would be bored enough to do something so illogical.
                      And the traitor in the group could’ve still led them to the cave, but just could’ve failed at convincing them (which with the situation they were in, it would be easy for one to fail to be convinced).

                    • If that’s what happened, I don’t think the universe will last after the first two battles (the demonstration and the first real one). After all, if they know that they have a contract even if they doesn’t sign it because they suspect something, the fallout will mean the loss of the universe. Koemushi will not do something that will jeopardize the fate of the universe (and his ass). It takes quite some time for them to know that they have to defend the universe at all in the series.

                      The demonstration seems to be very important, and always be done regardless of Koemushi power to subject anyone into a contract. It happened in Koemushi’s universe, also happened in this universe and also the next one. The same demonstration can convince the people at Koemushi’s Earth (which is far more advanced than this Earth) to stick with the contract, and the same also happened here. Koemushi has to find some way to make people to stick with the contract (someone can end the contract themselves by getting killed) or else the universe ends.

                    • So why in the real series did they choose to go on if they knew their fate anyway. Pretty obvious it’s more than just a game even in the real series.

                    • The recognition I mentioned before, and the perks that comes with it. Unlike some other Earths the kids fought, our Earth largely stands united behind the mecha that defends the universe they lived in. A universal tragic heroes I will say.

                    • Then they’d get the same things with my alternate (where the kids have common sense) start, since it doesn’t seem like there’s anything holding them back from getting it otherwise.

                      Either way, my problem was how it began and that’s all there is to it, since it made all the characters do something that was a dumb thing to do by anyone’s standards and yet is supposed to be deemed acceptable by the viewer simply because they’re mostly 7th graders. It also creates a bit of a character inconsistency that I imagine isn’t too well addressed (1 traitor vs 13 competent people. HMMM.) The alternate beginning is just an example of how this could’ve been avoided.

                    • With your alternate,the universe is highly likely lost. Remember, Koemushi can actually make anyone random to become a pilot, yet he still inserts the traitor into the group so that they will find the cave and meet Kokopelli, who will then show the hi tech cockpit and the demonstration, while the traitor exclaims ‘Wow, this looks good, why won’t we give it a try’. Koemushi does that purely because he wants to win too.

                      The deception works very well too,in fact they only knows that they have a traitor within them only after learning that one of the kids signed a ‘double contract’.

                    • Well, either way, they’ll know it’s not just for fun by the time that the first kid pilot dies, so there’s only so much that that deception actually did for them, other than to motivate them for just one run; though it seems the first kid pilot would’ve tried to win anyway judging from his competitive nature.

                      And yes, he could make any random person a pilot, but he likes them young, as you said before, but I’m sure he wants them at a mental capacity that they could pilot with enough competence to defeat the opponent. It’s ironic that in order to get such a desirable pilot, he has to rely on them making an incompetent decision.

                      And again, their demonstration comes after the contract signing, and all the demonstration did for them was motivate the first pilot to win, which I’m sure he would’ve had the motivation to do anyway, as well as the second pilot.

                    • No, I don’t think they know it either with the first kid piloting (due to Koemushi’s luck maybe). Maybe only the second kid,but that’s not true either. It was later down the road that they realized this.

                    • Oh right, because they thought that Mr Smack My Imouto Up pushed him off (versus him already being dead). I’m surprised they didn’t connect the damn dots that piloting = death after numero dos died, though.

  3. Why are you so enamored by massive mammaries fighting zombies? If you wanted to see such bouncy behemoths, I’m sure you could find it in say…a hentai. Saying that this is better than well written works such as Madoka is an insult to their staff, considering all the time and effort that went towards that project versus the “effort” that was made to make some fanserviced crap.

    Madoka? Predictable? I’m not sure where you’re drawing that from, but I have to say, the only case that you could say that HotD was ever unpredictable is because no one would EVER predict that (in the main series) the guy would pick up the sniper and shoot it through a woman’s tits, let alone have her tits conveniently and disgustingly flop back into place once the bullet passed though the convenient gap between them that appeared faster than the speed of sound (as it would have to be to avoid a bullet at that range). Why would no one ever predict that? Because it’s ridiculous, and not even a funny level of ridiculous but a disgusting ridiculous.

    And that’s the main series, which at least tried to have a plot. This one is obviously plotless as all hell, and all they had to do was do more boob flop animations and they were sold.

    • This OVA is very unique because the main character actually ‘does’ things that should be done in a setting like that. Imagine if the beach episode in Infinite Stratos have the main protagonist do what his counterpart here do, to any of the girls there. Let just say the girl is Houki for example. If the IS main protagonist actually does ‘that’ (which he would not do considering his character), IS would not have any second season. The harem will end (no more nearly-miss scenes like the one in the last 3 minutes) and maybe IS can actually focus upon the storyline instead.

      Of course the OVA is plotless, but things that are done it it are daring. Can you show me any other non-hentai anime which beach episode (or hot spring) that actually shows things like that.

      Madoka is so predictable once episode 6 finished, because for example, I can already see not only the true nature of Kyubey, but also how the witches is born et. al. I can see Sayaka becoming a witch from a million miles off. I can see that the other girl is actually a time-traveler, and Madoka will actually do make the contract at the end.

      • I think things should be rated in terms of their worth instead of how close they come to being a hentai. If this has changed while I wasn’t looking, forgive me, for I must go give Yosuga no Sora a 10 out of 10 now.

        I knew many of the things about Madoka already because I picked it up when it was at it’s 9th ep, and simply because I had read someone’s blog post on it. I spoiled myself on those details because I thought it was just another Mahou Shoujo that just had a My Little Pony esque following. This is probably why I don’t recognize this show as being predictable… Though I have to say bravo on getting Homura pinned as a time-traveler.

        Still the presentation of HotD vs Madoka is something. On one hand you have boobs covered in blood that some guy is expected to get off on while they slice some zombies heads. Pure fanservice. Nothing else. On the other hand, you have a show that set out to do something that I consider daring: taking a genre and flipping it over on its head. The first 3 eps of “plodding around the dithering main character” (and yes, the main character was somewhat weak, which was the point) were meant to show a stark contrast to how things really were in that world.

        And as for the constant Bokurano comparison that plagues that review, while it is somewhat appropriate, Bokurano didn’t really play off of any theme or anything as much as Madoka did. All it did in comparison was just make the kids die to what was for them initially held no reason. Madoka at least had reasonable consequences for actions that warranted such consequences, but Bokurano had kids roped into that crap because they thought he was a game tester. I’m pretty sure even a kid would find something suspicious about a guy hiding out in a cave making games. It just felt ridiculous. Many of the earlier arcs were even more predictable than Madoka (I dropped the show after the arc where the dude kills his father). To me it just felt like a senseless tragedy against god knows what. I don’t see why the writers had to use kids as the masters of the mecha, other to add dramatic effect. At least Madoka was taking jabs at the mahou shoujo genre with their tragedies.

        • The OVA is good not because it is close to hentai (Seikon no Qwaser would have score very highly for example). It is good because it is not conventional. Things that is done in this OVA can end stories. It can end harems if IS example is used. It can accelerate character development in merely an episode.

          Bokurano’s worth doesn’t really lie at the ‘defending the universe’ part, but more on what happened during the period when the pilot knows he/she was chosen and the time to battle starts. It is like Jigoku Shoujo (where the good part lies between when Enma Ai’s summoner gets the doll and the final moments when the string was finally pulled), but much better. The kids doesn’t suspect anything when they sign the contracts because one of them is a traitor – surely you know that right? And modern kids sure made for very good realistic drama or slice of life stories. Jigoku Shoujo also used plenty of kids too that are more than willing to reserve a spot in hell voluntarily. Many of the arcs in Bokurano are simply better than the ones in Madoka, that for sure.

          • I can interpret your opinion of it being “not conventional” as meaning “Good, lighthearted fun” but I don’t see why that’s a 10 out of 10.

            And I never finished Bokurano and don’t plan on doing so. The point that the pilot knows s/he was chosen (or in my case, just he, since I never watched an arc involving a girl, if I recall correctly) was also what sort of put me off about that show. They all have such trivial problems, and in the father killing case he seemed to bring onto himself since he was such a dick. Sure I feel bad for them but at the same time I feel like it’s all their fault for trusting a man in a cave. Even if there was a so called traitor I think that there would be enough opposition to him that their sensibilities would come out and say “Hey wait a minute, this is a bad idea and [traitor] is just an idiot.” and leave the cave.

            And I only started Jigoku Shoujo, so thanks for spoiling that (well not really, that outcome is predictable). Though, from what I can tell, the use of kids in Jigoku Shoujo is much more appropriate considering the emotional instabilities that plague their existences, which would make it more likely that they would seriously take up on what pretty much equate to deals with the devil. Here, you just have kids dying simply because it’s more dramatic and apparently assumed that just one traitor will tip the scale against everyone else’s common sense if they’re all just kids.

            • When I say ‘not conventional’, it means that it does things that similar episodes in other titles does not do, that’s all there to it.

              There are no opposition to the man in the cave because the man and the traitor works in tandem to make everything believable. Deception of the highest quality, on par of what the likes of main protagonists in One Outs or Akagi do. Plus, they are kids, which makes things even easier. In fact, even with that, at least one of the kids DOESN’T SIGN the contract too, which makes it even more believable.

              Considering that you have never seen a girl pilot (there are plenty of them in Bokurano) in the series means you barely scratched the surface. You haven’t seen the issues each of them have either. In fact, I do think using mostly child pilots works very well here.

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