Anime Review: Highschool of the Dead Episode 3

(Originally published on Livejournal on 8/27/10)

Anime Review:
Highschool of the Dead Episode 3

Anime Review in a Minute: What this is all about – I watch the shows so you don’t HAVE to!

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.3 tl;dr review: The surviving gang of students plot their escape from the school; First signs of internal strife fracture the group.

In this episode: The five students and the school nurse weigh their options while watching the world fall apart in an interrupted newscast on the television. Logically assessing the situation, they decide to try to find out the status of their families in the city, then escape to somewhere safe…if even such a place now exists. After confirming Pink-Haired-Know-It-All’s theory that the undead attack based on sound, not sight, they charge to the front gate and a large school bus. Just as they are leaving, they run across another group of survivors led by the teacher, Mr. Shido. Rei warns Takashi to leave him, but he quickly boards the bus and strong-arms himself into the position as leader. Disgusted, she runs off the bus in defiance and Takashi follows after her – just as a runaway bus blocks them from the rest of the group. They arrange to meet up later, as the world falls apart around them.

My Thoughts: One of my biggest complaints about shows in the horror genre is how it always seems like stupid people end up making stupid, illogical decisions that get them killed. Noooo, don’t walk into that darkened room alone, oh noes! Therefore, I am pleased to see them calmly and rationally taking a few minutes to think through their situation instead of devolving into a flailing mob of idiots. Why even the ridiculously-big-boobed nurse, the token ditzy blonde (who I think I’ll start calling “Ms. Cow Udders”) has something reasonable to add. I question their decision to leave the relative sanctuary of the school (which could serve as a defendable fortress if they played their cards right) to brave the burning embers of the city, but I can understand the powerful need to reach their loved ones. So, off they go.

The group of six has their problems with each other, but seem to work well together when in survival mode. But then increase that to more than a dozen, and the self-maintaining group dynamic starts to break down, and you really do need a leader. So, enter the slick, slimy teacher Mr. Shido (who I think I’ll call “Mr. Pin Stripes”) with his own group of followers and forces himself into the top position. Rei apparently has a history with him, and rebels against his leadership. It’s not so much that Mr. Pin Stripes is *evil* (although the way he is portrayed and the foreshadowing from Rei will probably prove that to be true later), it’s that he is a complete narcissist, his actions decided from his own desire for self protection and aggrandizement rather than any specific evil intent. At least for now.

Invariably in shows like this, it ends up that the true enemy is not the external forces (e.g. the undead), but from forces within. In this case, the fractures in the group that immediately result from the addition of Mr. Pin Stripes will certainly lead to more danger to everyone than the relatively passive threat of zombies everywhere. Fights and conflicts within the group will be the downfall of them all unless they can get it under control.

The animation team seems to have a penchant for lots of action shots with blurred edges and speed lines, how dramatic! And a bit annoying when overdone. And, of course, there’s the omnipresent fanservice , with Ms. Cow Udders flopping around all over the place in the most inappropriate moments. But…that’s not going to change, the series is going to have the skimpy outfit tit-and-panty show regardless of whether I like it or not. So, I have no choice other than to just plain accept it as part of the series and that’s that.

For more information:

Review of Episode 1: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/507643.html
Review of Episode 2: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/517312.html

The Verdict: – This show gets the Zombie Reagan Seal of Approval!

Up Next (not necessarily in this order): The Occult Academy, Black Butler II, Nurarihyon no Mago, Shiki, Legend of Legendary Heroes

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