Anime Review: Highschool of the Dead Episode 2

(Originally published on Livejournal on 7/30/10)

Anime Review in a Minute:
Highschool of the Dead Episode 2

Anime Review in a Minute: What this is all about.

About the Series: An infection is spreading rapidly through Japan, striking suddenly on a bright, sunny day. Without warning it reaches the front gate of Fujimi High School, and within minutes the pandemic has taken over every corner of the campus. Once bitten, within minutes (or seconds) you become one of the undead — a zombie that does nothing but try to spread the disease. A handful of students struggle to survive the onslaught, a ragtag group facing impossible odds and an uncertain future.

ep.2 tl;dr review: Six survivors find each other and band together; Hope for help from the outside fades.

In this episode: The zombies have taken over the entire campus within a matter of minutes. On the roof, the Reluctant Hero Anime Cliche (Takashi) agonizes over ‘killing’ his friend, while the Whiny Useless Girlfriend Cliche (Rei) agonizes over being unable to contact her father. Down in the school infirmary, the Stupid Big-Boob Blonde Cliche (Shizuka) is a total waste of oxygen as she is saved by the Cool-Headed Martial-Arts Expert Cliche (Saeko). The self-proclaimed Know-It-All Expert Cliche (Saya) is followed around by Gun-Crazy Otaku Cliche (Kohta), who whips up a quick nail-gun and goes on the warpath. The three groups of Cliches meet up and formulate a plan to escape from the school. But when they check out the news coverage, they learn that it might not be any better on the outside than it is on the inside.

My Thoughts: Speaking of Stylized choreographed violence as a substitute for story and plot…oh, okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh. But I’m not a big fan of violence for violence’s sake. Nor am I a big fan of fan-service for fan-service’s sake, so I’m doing my best to tolerate it in this series. At least the amount of flesh-toned jiggle was not as prevalent in this episode as it was last time around, except for Ms. Ditzy Blonde, who just bounces her way through her scenes with about as much water-headed awareness as Anna Nicole Smith.

For the most part, this episode was all about introducing the rest of the main cast, and in particular lots of attention of Saya. At first she takes command of her own situation dragging around the gun otaku fatso (who alternates between annoying fanboy simpering and moments of steely-edged military focus). As a self-proclaimed genius, Saya does her level best to think her way out of the predicament, but when confronted with adversity she begins to lose it. As the day wears on, her fears of losing control rise closer to the surface and her cool demeanor cracks, letting her frantic inner worries prevail. Even her own words of confidence are not enough, and in the end she is forced to admit to herself she can’t handle it and is reduced to tears. Oh, I’m sure in the next episode she’ll return to her usual bitch-queen facade, but now we know what that’s really hiding inside.

As far as anime shows goes, Highschool of the Dead is proving to be *insanely* popular among the American fansub-watching community. I mean, c’mon: lots of panty and boob shots, gore and violence, and zombies! What more could a pimply fanboy ask for? Maybe because I’m a bit jaded, maybe because I’m a couple decades older than the average fanboy, but mostly I see a bunch of cliches thrown together. Oh, it’s not “bad” or anything like that, just terribly…unoriginal. I’m still on the fence about this one. I’m thinking that if I dumb down my expectations…I mean waaaaaay down…and just watch it as a brainless popcorn flick it might be okay. And if there actually is some surprising interesting plot twist, bonus! But don’t count on it.

For more info:

Random Curiosity Anime Review: http://randomc.net/2010/07/12/highschool-of-the-dead-02/
How I envision the show will turn out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMnk7lh9M3o
No, no, no, no…here’s how I *really* envision how it will turn out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqEhFaBW4I8&feature=related

The Verdict:

Second episodes up for review next: Mitsudomoe, The Occult Academy, Black Butler II

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