October 4, 2010

764 words 4 mins read

Wrapup Review: Highschool of the Dead (Season 1)

Last month I did a “Zombie Review” for the anime, Highschool of the Dead.  At that point in time we weren’t terribly far into the series. While I titled it a review, it was, in large part, an introduction. Since they’ve wrapped up season 1, I thought it was worth reviewing again.  This time I’ll stick to reviewing it, and presume that if you need an introduction — you can go back and find it.

Note: Basically no spoilers

If you’ve watched this show at all, or looked at ANY of the pictures (they are plentiful in both posts), you’ll quickly realize that sex sells.  It sells lots of anime (movies, tickets, books, etc).  Really, they should have named the series “Tits of the dead”.  From beginning to end, they provide us with a wonderfully constant stream of comedy and tits.  Even when they really don’t need to, they make sure to get in the random panty shots and other glorious fan service.  Even though the series is about zombies"Them”, it goes down in my record books as one of the most fan service heavy series ever.  Even comparing to a series such as Najica: Blitz Tactics in which the camera is perpetually mounted in the floor so as to give you a better panty shot… Highschool of the Dead still has them beat.  I’m looking forward to the next round of one upsmanship.

While I really did enjoy this series (for reasons other than a plethora o’ fan service), it has issues with timing in the later portion of the season that I simply must nit pick on.  The first, say, third of the season was almost scene from scene from the manga.  I can enjoy anime that is fairly different from the manga, along with anime that stays very true to the manga.  So I did enjoy this “mirroring”.  Actually, I was impressed with how nearly identical the anime was to the manga.  By about the midway point they started changing things up in the anime (as compared to the manga).  At first it was little things, a timing issue here, a line there.  So on and so forth.

The problem begins to develop, but wasn’t really noticeable at the halfway point.  When it becomes really obvious is the last, say, three episodes.  The anime is… well… WAY different from the manga and the timing gets shot to hell.  I don’t want to say that they timing is flat out bad, but having read the manga it feels very awkward.  There are a number of scenes that they stretch out unnecessarily and other parts that feel like they are rushed.

I came to two possible theories as for why this is.  The first is that the anime was made on the heels of the manga, and the manga simply wasn’t written far enough ahead.  Seeing as how the manga is only a few books ahead of the anime, I have a feeling that this is very possible.  The second theory is that anime, being only 12 episodes for the season, wanted to have this first season being only the “Beginning of the End” arc.  I think it is highly likely that both of my theories are at least partially correct, and play upon each other.  They made the anime without knowing exactly where they were going.  Once they had a far enough road map, they knew they needed to start changing things up.  This falls under “poor planning” in my book, but at least they didn’t botch it all together.

Overall, I relished my time spent watching this series and eagerly (impatiently) awaited each week’s release.  Even with the timing issues, the rest of it was well balanced and well written.  There was more than enough comedy to offset the zombie stuff so it didn’t feel like a pure horror series.  The comedy wasn’t so over the top that you can’t possibly take it seriously.  The fan-service is gratuitous, but mostly limited to the “down time” of the series (so as to not overly spoil the action).  While I haven’t heard anything about a second season, this first season was just too short.  There is so much more to cover and so much potential that leads me to believe (and fervently hope) that they will be making more seasons.  I suspect they will all be short, but quickly produced.  Hopefully, they are far enough out there as to not have the timing issues.

This is the way the world ends.  Not with a bang but a whimper.  -T.S. Eliot “The Hollow Men”