Home > Check-in Station > Check-in Station: Highschool of the Dead eps 1-5 (a gang of teenagers and a pornstar run around beating blind invalids)

Check-in Station: Highschool of the Dead eps 1-5 (a gang of teenagers and a pornstar run around beating blind invalids)

Okay maybe saying they’re a gang is not quite accurate, nor is the blind invalid part, but it’s close enough.  This show has the set up of an awesome video game, coupled with the action of an awesome Jerry Bruckheimer production.  Too bad the plot, nor execution is awesome as well.   After five episodes of blood and boobies, and death and panties, I have to ask myself if Highschool of the Dead is a great zombie show or a terrible after school special.  Be sure to eat all your brains before you finish this post.

I suppose statement about brains was a little bit misleading now that I think about it.  These creatures, “them” as they’re annoyingly referred to in the anime and manga,  just seem to want to eat.  They don’t go for brains.  With frightening accuracy these creatures, “they” seek out human flesh, period.  “They” remind me more of the modern zombies, than the old dawn of the dead ones.  Though they aren’t completely modern.  The trend nowadays (that phrase always makes me feel old) is to have ravenous, energetic zombies that run and think and mutate, much like the zombies from Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil 4 and 5.  “They” just mope around really until you get close then they go for the death grip and bite off chunks of you with gator-like ruthlessness and power.

Something else that differentiates “them” from your run of the mill zombies is their “infection”.  Most of the time it’s either an external influence and/or the infection inside the zombies that turns you.  And generally it takes a decent amount of time.  The infection rate in this series is as fast as I’ve ever seen it.  I saw a teacher get bit and less than a minute later he was a ravenous “them”, ripping out the throats of living around him.  That was a pretty big holy sh*t moment right there.  Then again, it’s somewhat of a plot device at this moment because I’ve seen people survive a substantial amount of time already before turning.

I’m focusing too much on “them” at this point though (see, I told you it was annoying).  This show is really about …  I want to say it’s about the gore and sexual fanservice thrown in the series, but I’ll take the high road.  This show is really about a small group of people (mostly high school students) trying to survive and see their loved ones.  And let’s put heavy emphasis on the survive part of that statement.  The parents of this group are rather conveniently unavailable at the moment, or perhaps they’re embarrassed at all the crotch and boobage their kids are showing and ogling and are a bit indisposed to being represented in the show.

The cast itself is a reasonably diverse group of characters, all capable of adding something worthwhile to the group and our entertainment.  Unfortunately, and I’m not the only one who has noticed this, they’re such actual characters, so stringently tied to their archetypes, that they often come across more as popular anime stereotypes than actual characters.  A crisis can bring out the worst in people, so that point I understand (and this will come up later).  But at times their ability to stick to these archetypes can really rub you the wrong way and make you question whether anyone would act in such a way in such a situation.

The best case in point would be the “tsundere” character, Saya.  There are times when her life is in actual danger, but instead of doing something logical to defend herself or help the situation she goes into this selfish unreasonable tsundere mode where demands to be demanding, and debates the most simple of requests.  If she were a real actor, I would tell her that what they’re asking you to do is not break character, it’s to act in a believable way so that the viewer doesn’t get smacked out of his ability to suspend disbelief.

The other characters that grate on me more than I think they should are Rei, (or as I call her staff of spear girl as I can’t remember her name without looking it up for the life of me), and the now infamous nurse, Shizuka (or as I like to call her Boobs or pornstar).  Rei has the horrible ability or trait depending how you see it, to say the most inflammatory, grating, petty things under duress or pressure.  I don’t want to throw out the bitch to describe her, but ability to turn on Takashi (or melee guy) makes me consider physical violence, or at least leaving her to fend for herself.

As for Boobs, there’s not much to say about her that hasn’t already been said by so many others.  In essence they took the one adult character and hit her with enough fairy dust and brain damage to make her as little of a threat to lead the group as possible.  She’s very representative of the more fun, or ridiculous side of the narrative in this show.  In the most horrible circumstances she can still stay in character and be a complete scatter brain.  I will admit she did an admirable job driving that bus, but that so far has been the high point.  She’s blatantly just walking oppai fanservice and comedy until they need her to act like an adult, or more specifically a mother figure for the narrative.  I don’t hate, she just tires me sometimes when I watch her.

The rest of the main group of students trying to survive really aren’t much different.  Whether it’s melee guy being stoic, or the usual male protagonist who thinks life sucks, but does what he has to do.  Or the otaku guy who is practically enslaved to the tsundere girl.  Or the samurai chick who’s even more stoic, but seems to secretly take much pleasure in killing.  And before I forget, I admire her ability to show her panties even when she’s wearing a long skirt and simply standing somewhere.  Damn Japan has some perverted winds!  All the characters seem for now at least to be very much in their shells and I don’t think they’r going to surprise me much, if at all during the series’ run.

As for the plot, it’s very much run and gun.  Think Gears of War when you think of the plot.  There’s a lot of action (preferably behind chest high walls), followed by recovery; which leaves time for exposition and human versus human conflict, mental and physical.  The pacing for this show is a bit slow at times, too.  But I fear that if it went too fast it would get too mindless and haphazard, so I don’t mind it much.  This is a show about zombies and survival after all, so plot should be basic and stay out of the way of the fun.

All this complaining probably has you thinking that I don’t like this show.  That’s incorrect.  This show most of the time is fun as hell to watch.  It’s just that it has some glaring flaws at this point, mostly character based.  It still succeeds well enough for the audience to care whether these kids (and pornstar) live or die.  And when the action gets going it’s ridiculous, but visceral and intense, and sometimes extremely well choreographed!  I honestly laughed at times at how well these kids completely kicked ass, but I didn’t complain.  This show does the baseline zombie thrills extremely well.

So far, Highschool of the Dead has been a display of excess and gore.  You’re definitely not going to like all of the main cast, but you’ll be gripped enough by the insanity of it all to want to stick around.  I know I do, these first five episodes have proven to me that I’ll have just enough fun to look forward to this every week.  It’s the classic guilty pleasure that everyone has.  I look forward to the Check-out Station for this series once everything’s done, whether the humans stand  on top of this dystopia, or it’s just one big festering ball of decaying, walking death.

Further Reading:

  • Sometimes you just stop giving a damn, that’s pretty much what happened in episode 5.
  • My thoughts on episode 6, since I don’t have time to update my post.  Though I assure you, my opinion wouldn’t have gotten any better if I did.  
  1. smokes
    August 10, 2010 at 10:09

    rofl, this is nothing compared to the next episodes XD

    there are some orgy stuff going to be there =))))))))

    it would be better if this would’ve been a hentai =\

    • August 10, 2010 at 10:22

      I’ll admit, I love my ecchi. I just think more drama and more zombies would be better in this type of series. I’m getting used to what this show really is though, a smorgasbord of sex and violence. I’m looking forward to that orgy though. All the women so far in this show are smoking hot. If they have DVD extras like Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou and Ladies vs Butlers then I’m all in.

  1. August 11, 2010 at 13:14

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