HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD
A bit of a disclaimer here before I go on: I'm not a fan ecchi series. I don't understand the purpose of them. To me, the exploitative nature of these series serves as only a distraction to the lack of a good, strong story. You have an uneven amount of women outnumbering the men, you have more than two women flirting with one dude, some of the girls are complete and utter twats, and the panty shots. Oh, how they love to show the women's panties. I remind you that most of the ecchi series stars high school girls.
With that out of the way, Highschool of the Dead.
And just in case you're wondering, that's how they title it; no space between "high" and "school". Don't know, don't care.
To get the plot out of the way, it concerns a group of high school students battling their way from safe haven to safe haven in order to get out of town and be rescued. The stars of the show are an indecisive dilweed, a calm, yet murderous woman, an annoying brat, the token fat dude, the adult who acts like a child, and the other high school girl that barely shares any screen time with the others, even though she and the dilweed have something going on between them.
Based on the title's suggestion, there are zombies in it, and presumably, it all takes place in high school. That's only a quarter true, because the high school in question only appears in the first two episodes. The rest is the main group going from place to place to find refuge and wait for some kind of rescue. Fortunately, they know how to handle themselves, for soon they manage to find a house that's filled with all sorts of weapons that the token fat dude knows all about, since he was trained by U.S. Blackwater forces (But of course). The murderous woman uses a samaurai sword and everyone else barely uses the guns they are given.
I've been harsh with the characters in the last two paragraphs, but honestly, I never really liked them. They barely go through any kind of change whatsoever. Their personalities differ based on the situation on the story, rather than being naturalistically progressive. The dilweed I mention earlier comes out as two-dimensional since the only thing he's ever good at is to yell in someone's face and getting frisky with some of the ladies.
I'm not even kidding. There's one point where he has to get the murderous woman to fight against the horde of zombies after her little confessional made her a bit of a puss out. The solution: he runs around, wraps his arms around her from behind, and gives the mightiest squeeze on one of her bosoms. Yeah. How is this supposed to help, other than to make her feel that in the morning after?
For those of you who don't know what ecchi means, it's Japanese for "dirty", "naughty", "frivolous", and basically anything that has something to do with sexual tendencies. In some anime, ecchi series are what amount to "cock-teasing" the audience with girl's breastesses bouncing so unrealistically, it makes you feel sick, with the aforementioned breastesses being the size of giant watermelons, and tons, and TONS of panty shots.
There is never a moment where the girls consider putting on pants or shorts, guaranteeing that their cooches will NOT be seen. Yet they persist on wearing short skirts and whenever they are in combat or when the wind blows, you would certainly see what color of panties they're wearing. Come on, they need to protect that fair skin from the zombies. You think they would put on jeans and a t-shirt and that would be the end of it. But hey, they love to wear their school uniforms and they are sticking to them.
One episode deals with them getting cornered by a group of zombies when their truck is stalled. One of the girls is on her back and for some reason, won't get up. The male protagonist jumps down and uses her gun, but in the most uncomfortable fashion for the girl: he takes the gun and he wraps his arms around her ta-tas and with each firing round, her sweater puppies jiggle with excitement. Goddamnit…
I should also point out in an episode where the adult (who is a nurse) has to put on ointment for the girl, who has been violated in so many ways from that guy, I'm surprised she still has feelings for him. This scene is so gratuitous, the animators are not even trying to be subtle. How the nurse handles the ointment makes it look like she has some kind of sticky substance that is NOT ointment or even lotion. I'm not saying anything, but I'm sure some of you are. But what's worse is that the girl is completely butt naked! I don't know why she needs to take off ALL her clothes just to put ointment on her back, but I guess the "ointment" required her to be naked. She's a high school girl for God sakes. And there's a scene with the nurse eating a banana and chocking on it.
Jeez, I can't take this anymore. Every time a panty shot or some exploitative thing happens, I laughed, and not the "ha ha" funny, but rather the "I can't believe I'm watching this shit" funny. The biggest hurdle is that with all the zombies in the world and all the characters it handles, they only thing going for it is exploitation.
The zombies in the series are barely in there and the character moments or any kind of development between them is shallow and underwhelming.
I think the final straw came for me is an episode where the group manages to find a house to stay for the night. A few miles away, there's a large group of people in some kind of refugee camp and the zombies are slowly approaching towards them. We see a woman asking for help, because her daughter was bitten. The daughter gets up and bites her mother on the neck and the mother becomes a zombie as well. The police that are stationed at the refugee camp began to fire at the zombies to hold them off.
However, there's a group of people who want to rebel against the police, thinking that they are responsible for the pandemic. There's all this chaos and anarchy and it really builds the tension. BUT, it is completely ruined when some of these scenes are intercut with the girls from the group having a bath together, in the nude, grasping each other's funbags, and laughing away.
I suppose if there's one good thing is a moment between the crazy lady and the leader man. She confesses about her troubled past to him and explains why she's so crazy. This moment is actually well done in that the scene doesn't really become obnoxious with any panty shots or boob shots. The token fat dude is pretty funny at times and he has moments that make you root for him, like when he wants to rescue a little girl from the zombies. The action scenes are pretty good, however they lose their awesomeness by showing off the honkers and the colors of the undies.
If you were to take the ecchi parts out, which is pretty much the main meat of the series, this is another bland, generic zombie show. The zombies seem like a minor inconvenience for the heroes, the characters are dull with no arc whatsoever, and the animation is above average for the most part. A reviewer said that Western zombies have been played for mostly parody, yet THIS series plays up for straight-up horror and does it well.
Has this person not see all the ecchiness of this series? It makes the horror null and void for all the panty shots we're given. I'm more horrified about the girls' dignity rather than the zombies.
If you want to see the exact same kind of thing, only with a more mature perspective and real-life themes interplaying with the zombie apocalypse backdrop, go watch The Walking Dead. Believe me, you'll get a far better storyline and characters than this crap. Which is a shame, because having the teenagers as the main protagonists has numerous possibilities to deal with teenage drama and issues they deal with.
Yet in the end, this is mostly played for exploitation. Even the opening says a lot about the series. Exploitation and all.