Welcome to the Imouri Anime Review, where people vote for an anime that the Imouri team will review. The anime will be reviewed using these four criteria; Story, Animation, Character Development, and World-Building. Each category will be given of score (1-10), and then an overall score will be determined.
It's Halloween and do you know what that means? The users from the Secret Anime Club voted for three spooky themed anime. It was a close vote, but Highschool of the Dead came in second place during the October vote. But this year is special. Imouri is doing a special Double Feature anime review. Part 1 will be Another and Part 2 will be Highschool of the Dead. Be sure to check out Another's anime review here.
Do you like zombies? Do you like quality anime PLOT? Then Highschool of the Dead is just for you. The story follows 5 high school students, a school nurse, and later a little girl as they try to survive a zombie apocalypse.
In modern-day Japan, all seemed normal, like any other day at school, when a zombie attacked a faculty member. After the faculty member was bitten, all hell breaks loose. One after another, students and teachers are bitten, turned into zombies, and start eating other survivors—Takashi and Rei team up to survive the initial zombie onslaught. Saeko and Shizuka fend off hordes of zombies as they try to escape the school. Saya and Kohta team up to figure a way out of the school, and eventually, all of them meet up and come up with a plan to survive. A bit later in the story, they find a little girl, Alice, and adopt her into the group to protect her.
The main story of the series revolves around survival while the group tries to make it to Rei's father, who is on the police force, to get answers as to why this pandemic occurred. Each group member must find a way to adapt to their current situation while trying to reach their objective.
The story itself is excellent. I love how it thrust a group of high school teens into a zombie apocalypse and seeing how they would react in the hellish situation. Though the story is very compelling and a typical zombie survival story scenario, it tends to be overshadowed, but TONS of fan service. Now, I like my fan service as much as the next anime lover, but I feel that sometimes it is too much, and it takes away from the drama of the story itself, which is survival. I think it is a great added element to the story as these high schoolers are still teens and hormonal. It shows that despite the group's chaos, it seems some things don't change.
Highschool of the Dead is very unique as it is not a typical zombie survival show. The group is continuously on the run, stuck in the middle of a metropolitan city, and overall, the story only takes place over a couple of days. For 12 episodes, that's great because it does how a lot can happen in just a couple of days when a zombie apocalypse occurs. Overall, I think the story is presented pretty well, but it could just ease off the fan service just a tiny bit and focus more on the survival aspect as a lot more situations could happen to the group in a small amount of time.
Story Score: 7/10
Highschool of the Dead has your typical animation style. It has a modern animated feel to it, and there are quite a bit of fast-paced action sequences. I do love how they play with the camera rotation to showcase speed and dramatic effect. Specifically, with Saeko's sword skills, there are many fast-paced sequences involving her as her character does require a lot of movement with her hand to hand combat. You do see that with Takashi's sequences, specifically when he wields the bat or is on a motorcycle.
The drawing animation is pretty good, and even the zombies are drawn pretty nicely. There is a lack of animation when it comes to the zombies eating and killing people. There is a bit of gore, but it quickly gets covered by ark shadows. You just need your imagination to know what exactly happened. Overall, the action sequences really bring this anime home. But there is one other aspect of the animation we need to discuss.
The PLOT animation is so overexaggerated, it's insane. I don't want to get into crazy specifics here as it goes into spoiler and hilariousness territory, but the jiggle physics is absolutely nuts. I know that some of the action sequences can get a little hyped, but OMG, with all the girls; Rei, Saeko, Saya, and Shizuka, the PLOT animation is on a whole other level. The animators made it very clear that they wanted to accentuate the jiggle physics. To be honest, it's that fan service in the story coupled with this type of animation that really drives Highschool of the Dead. Those two combined practically made this anime a household name in the anime community, and that is why this anime is considered extremely popular among the fandom.
Animation Score: 8/10
This anime has a fair amount of character development, not just between each other, but within each of the characters themselves. Takashi starts off as a loner or someone who doesn't care too much, but after experiencing the hordes of the undead rises to a more responsible leader type role. Kohta may look unreliable, but almost immediately grows into a support role, coupled with his expertise in firearms combat training. He grows into someone the group can rely on. Saeko comes of cold but ultimately accepts herself and her abilities and becomes a protector of the group.
Rei does seem to show some development between her and Takashi, but it's like an on and off switch, almost one step forward, two steps back. Saya is almost like Rei because she does have a little development, and there may be something there between her and Kohta, but again it's one step forward, two steps back. However, she does show her intelligent strength, and the group realizes her intelligence is a huge asset for survival.
The only two characters that really don't have any development at all are Alice and Shizuka. Sure they are capable of some things, like Alice helping Kohta out with magazine swaps or Shizuka driving vehicles or providing a place to stay for a night, but other than that not much happens with those two girls. That's fine and all, but you see most of the development happening with the core high school students. I wish there could have been more development with Kohta, specifically with his backstory, and more with Shizuka stepping up as the school nurse and her connections to her one friend (again spoilers). Overall, the development was alright.
Character Development Score: 5/10
The one thing I really enjoy about Highschool of the Dead was the world-building. You not only see what's happening in Japan, but you get to see what's happening in the U.S.A., as well as a perspective from space itself. You hear constant information about what's going on in other countries and see it first hand. You also get to see what other countries are doing in response to the pandemic and other threats from other countries. It's a full-scale end of the world scenario.
When you watch the anime, you feel what is happening everywhere else, and then they show it to you. You can see the post-apocalyptic world is built around you as you progress through the story. Even the characters make reference to movies that talk about similar instances. The world-building is happening before your eyes and ending before your eyes all at the same time. I would imagine that the way Highschool of the Dead portrayed the world ending in a zombie apocalypse is how it would be in real life.
World-Building Score: 9/10
I have seen this anime a few times. Honestly, I love this anime. It does contain a lot of fan service, but I don't mind it. I wish it would ease up on it, just a little bit because it's like in every episode. Overall, in my opinion, this is an anime that everyone should experience. Highschool of the Dead brings a lot of entertainment to the table, especially if you are a back zombie movie fan. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you put it on your list.
Overall Score: 7/10
*All images are from the My Anime List website. We do not own any of these images. Credit to all artists of the images.