A mysterious, lethal disease is on the loose worldwide, resulting in a catastrophic death rate of humanity, and the increasing rise of attacks, caused by the living dead.
In Japan, several high school students and a school nurse have banded together to escape Fujimi High School shortly after it was attacked by zombies. The group now attempts to figure who or what was responsible for this plague, and in the meantime, attempt to survive the present apocalypse.
Highschool of the Dead been published in English by Yen Press since January 25, 2011 and digitally since March 30, 2012. Yen Press has also released two hardcover omnibuses containing the color volumes. The series was also published in Polish by Waneko from April 2011.
After I got bored with watching anime, I started reading manga that wasn't to widely known. One night around 9 p.m., I was scrolling down the list of the website I was using to find something interesting. After checking out a few lame things, I clicked on the Highschool of the Dead. The very first page, bam, zombies attacking big breasted chicks. I was already hooked because I'm total blood and gore fan but I wasn't expecting too much other than a constant bloodfest. By chapter three, I couldn't stop reading at all. While there was still some pretty
bloody stuff in it, the pure look into the dark terms survival was met on by a bunch of teenagers was just frightening and awe inspiring. Watching these...kids go so far as to murder someone around them for the survival of the group was amazing considering no one had done such a graphic but truthful thing. I was thinking by chapter 5, my mind would explode from the huge amount of blood and guts being thrown around, but leave it up to a bunch of drunk girls jiggling eachother's boobs to lighten the mood. The evil storyline of the other half of the kids led by the corrupted teacher, using sex and a fanatical religion like system using fear of being cast out into the pit of hell filled with the undead and violent humans who've lost their minds is plain scary. Along with everything, including the beautiful arsenal of guns they introdue (very accurate as well) makes Highschool of the Dead one of the best manga to date.
Story: 9 : It sounds simple because it is. It's about the world getting taken over by zombies and how a small group of 3 girls, 2 boys, and 1 woman survive. But, whats really great about it is that, even though the plot is straight-forward, the characters are what really drive this thing forward. Random plot tickets aren't handed out by distant power/authority figures. Fate has no hand in anything. It's all the characters deciding what to do, when to do it, and how to get it done. Everything. This focuses on their development from "civilized" humans
into beings that merely survive. It gives life to moral dilemmas in the form of "what is an acceptable loss?", "us or them?", "my goals or the group's well-being?" and slaps around both sides before the characters reach a decision. The fan-service is also well done in that it feels natural and all given their situation. -1 comes from the simplicity of the fundamental issue that starts the whole thing. There is nothing else wrong with it.
I love how gray the world is portrayed in this.
Art: 9 : I don't really concentrate on the art much but even I could tell that this is some real quality. Characters are well drawn and emotions are plain to see on their faces. I only hesitate to give it a 10 because I didn't really pay much attention to how well done it was.
Character: 8 : Well, even though I love how this is a well done character-driven story, the characters themselves are stereotypical. Yes, they're sympathetic and lovable and enjoyable, but they're not anything real special, yet. I'm sure that they're going to be de-constructed as time and death takes its toll on the crew but, as it stands at chapter 22, they seem stock. -4 for shallow characters. +2 for obvious potential to do great things with all of them. I'm sure that they're all gonna have huge personality changes in the near future. On that note, I can also say that "changes" probably won't include that dreaded depressed emo mode.
Enjoyment : 10 : Not too sure what this means, but I loved the series so I'm giving this a perfect score.
Overall : 10 : This is, perhaps, the best piece of Zombie Apocalypse media that I have ever laid my eyes or ears upon. It has been much too long since the last time I came upon something that actually had all the characters learn to cope with a new situation without just getting a power-up of some sort which allows them to sort of poof away the issue at hand. Characters don't whine and whine, they learn to shut up and do stuff. For me, someone who thinks that characters and how they interact to form the story is the only real important thing, this is like finding out that Spring Break has been extended.
But, if you're not like me, then the mere fact that there isn't much that'll start your criticizing mind from ranting on and on is enough. You can wholly devote yourself to being immersed a world gone to hell and fully enjoy where the story takes you.
[I'm not really into reviews, so if I did something wrong, don't mind me. Also I'm focusing a bit more on anime vs. manga]
Highschool of the Dead. When I first heard the name, I though it was a parody. I don't really have a good reason for it. Of course, I heard about it when anime came out, so anime being slow every week and all that I decided to read manga, and I literally couldn't stop.
What you should first know about manga, if you've seen the anime, is that it has much less fanservice than anime. And that's why it's better. There is still
ecchi stuff around, of course, but there are no silly scenes of completelly random panties whenever the wind blows.
So, what is HotD about? It's about kinds running away from school, love, hate, weird teachers who make their students have orgies in the bus... and above all that, there are "them". Zombies. Typical, one bite and you're a zombie. You're done with your life - you became a living dead.
If I read something like this, I'd never read manga or watch anime. But there is something else in HotD. There's amazing mood, great dialogues, which keep you reading. When you read a chapter and look back to what you read, you will find out that you can put the whole thing you've read in two sentences. Yet, while you read, it seems like there is always something going on, something which keeps you wanting to read more. This is one more thing in which manga kills anime. It's only my opinion, but in anime there is way too much fanservice and you can't really concetrate on the story, and even though anime should have more tense with music and all, it seems much more relaxed. Some scenes which are really awesome in manga, which I'm imagining slow, with some sad music in background, in anime they're just skipped through like they are not anything important.
What you should have in mind is that this is NOT masterpiece. It's FAAAAR from masterpiece. Why? Firslty, masterpiece anime needs to have touching story - HotD doesn't have it, but it doesn't really need it. It's not supposed to be anime like that. It's like saying a comedy sucks because there are no tragic moments in it. Second, when reading/watching masterpiece you're supposed to feel happy, sad or whatever the story is like at that moment. You're not reading HotD because you're feeling sorry or happy for characters, you're reading it because, as I said, it kind of has atmosphere around it which just makes you read more and more. There are some heart braking scenes, but that's just not it, the scene soons changegs into ecchi or zombie attack, so it's over even if it had potention to be good.
So, I will repeat myself, don't jump into the manga expecting a masterpiece and hellova good story. It's not. The story is, in lack of a batter term, amazing.
If you look a bit deeper, you will see that it's not a story about random kinds escaping from zombies and just fighting them and going from house to house trying to save their heads. It's about people dealing with themself, trying to overcome their own fears, thinking about their precious family and friends, are they alive or not. There are no longer ranks between people, wether you're homeless or a president, it's all the same now. Nowthere are people who can survive and those who can't.
I'm having really hard time rating series because of this. It's like exactly between nine and ten in my personal, biased, opinion. Trying to be not biased at all, I would give HotD an 8 maybe, so I decided to give it overall 8 - all other ratings are biased:
Story - 9
Art - 10
Character - 9
Enjoyment - 10
Overall - 9.5 (biased) and 8 objectionally.
I highly recommand giving these series a try, wether you've watched anime or not - it's worth it.
Warning: There may be minor spoilers. I don't go into detail, but if you're really worried, please just scroll down to the enjoyment section and beyond.
Highschool of the Dead. A franchise that is as much of a joke as it is a failure. Well, at least, that what some people think. There are a number of people who just can't look past the "bullet dodging boobs" and the apron-wearing, breast smother antics of the series' heroines. As a former member of that mindset, I at first could not stomach the cheesiness of the work, simply because I thought it had no substance. However, after
sitting through some truly terrible shows and reading a selection of mind-numbing series, I decided to check back with the franchise, just to see if it was as bad as I first thought. Well, here is my take on the series.
The story of HOTD starts off as a predictable mix of harem with a dash of zombie outbreak. The first arcs are focused on escape, while the rest of the series (thus far, at least) has been more oriented on simple survival. The story has its moments of breast dangling and panty flashing, like all harems typically do, yet this story actually does more than sate oppai-lovers' fantasies. I would not call the story deep by any means, but what's there is a world of madness and degeneration. The atmosphere of desperation is apparent, as the reader can frequently see the deaths of civilians and the background struggle to deal with this new world filled with "them". Betrayal and lunacy run rampant. There is sexual tension like in all harems, but the show does not shy away from borderline rape. After all, if a insane, mentally unstable male sees an oblivious girl with a huge rack at a gas station, do you think he's just going to let her go? What about when a group of highschoolers engage in a massive orgy on a school bus in a religious cult-like fashion? Is that truly fanservice? I personally think not, so I commend this series for its surprisingly thorough portrayal of a world ravaged by a zombie apocalypse, as unrealistic as it may sometimes seem.
Shouji Sato's illustrations still have his hentai influences, with wet clothes, boob squishes, the whole nine-yards. However, some of those breast-grabs aren't consensual. The "fanservice" shocks you back into reality of the world the characters live in: a world where emotions run wild and primal urges take over. Even Marikawa, the huge-breasted comic relief character, gets some powerful scenes, as weird as that might sound.
The looks of terror, distress and wildness are clearly shown on the expressive faces of the characters. Proportions of the females are messed up, but hey, they have to pay the bills somehow. The gore from zombies eating flesh and the effects of guns ripping holes in skulls adds a vivid picture of the action, making the illustrations top quality.
All of the characters begin the series fitting into their stereotypes at first, like actors getting into their roles on stage. However, most of them get dashes of characterization. Saeko, the big sister samurai fatale, spends some quality time with Takashi, while gun nut Hirano gets a lady in his life. Tsundere Takagi meets up with her family, while little Alice grows up face to face with the death around her. Shizuka, in all her klutziness, works hard to bring smiles to others and comes through when it really counts. There are quite a few side characters who, despite their brief appearances, leave impressions on both the characters and the reader. The only two who lag behind are the protagonist, Takashi and his childhood friend, Rei Miyamoto. Rei, while having a decently interesting past, fails to separate herself from the childhood friend tag as she mood swings her way right into Takashi's love life. Takashi, on the other hand, is a simple vessel for badassery and while some may argue that a person should not go into this work expecting deep characters, I am a believer that the best "turn off your brain" enjoyment has character development so natural that you don't even know its happening (Think Gurren Lagann). However, I have to give credit where its due and while Takashi might not be the most interesting MC, he doesn't feel copy and pasted into the series. He reacts in the ways you'd expect and says the things the viewer is (probably) thinking, asks decently smart questions and is not a complete idiot.
My further investigation of the series revealed to me that it wasn't just a nightmare-induced horror harem. The atmosphere is rich, the art is both finely cut and smoothly placed and the characters actually have a creative backbone. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes harems or zombie works and I would easily put this above the anime in terms of quality (which actually is a bit unfair since the anime didn't get as far is the manga did).
I can give this series, with confidence, the grade of a "meaty 7", as it's a work that is not a must see, but I do not regret (re)reading it and, for the right person, this manga can scratch an itch that many series can't.
I look forward to where the manga will go from here. Get out of your hiatus, mangakas!
Love anime characters with long hair? So do we! In this collection of long-haired anime characters, we feature a wide range of well-known individuals, from Sesshoumaru to Chitoge, with different backgrounds and personalities. Rankings are based on the amount of Favorites on MAL.
"How can zombies be sexy?" you ask. The answer is simple: they aren't! Here we'll be discussing the more attractive aspects of Highschool of the Dead. In the midst of a pandemic, what can be more important to the fight than a band of girls with brains and brawn, but most importantly beauty?