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Beginner's Guide to Highschool of the Dead

Trying to find meaning among the rotting cheerleader corpses? Look no further!

Numerous anime cause a flurry of praise and discontent upon release. Be they intellectual, action-based, or otherwise. But even with what the worldwide anime community expects from the medium there come surprises. In this case, Highschool of the Dead comes forth in what some call ‘The Decade of Zombies’. Let’s take a look at what makes this boobalicious and gory franchise tick.

The brothers Shouji Sato and Daisuke Sato illustrate and write the Highschool of the Dead (HOTD) manga. This is Daisuke’s only known work but Shouji has a few more works under his belt with Fire Fire Fire in Shueisha, Triage X (see FoxxFireArt’s First Date), and others along with doujinshi. The manga started being published in Fujimi Shobo's Monthly Dragon Age September 2006 and the volumes are done by Kadokawa Shoten. There are currently 7 volumes out in Japan and the series is currently on an indefinite hiatus.Yen Press is handling the US publication and Vol. 4 was released last month with the 5th up for pre-order. The anime is created byMadhouse Studios and came out in 2010 for a total of 12 episodes. Interestingly, the director, Tetsuro Araki, is the man who also directed Death Note and Black Lagoon. Sentai Filmworks quickly picked up the US license and released the English dub on DVD/Blu-ray this past summer. The franchise also includes an OVA (Highschool of the Dead: Drifters of the Dead), a comedic parody manga (Highschool of the Head), a soundtrack CD, a behind-the-scenes book, an artbook, a Secret Box, all sorts of other merchandise, and more fan art and doujinshi than a minor should know about.

The Story

Takashi Komuro is a regular highschooler with regular teenage problems. But when a stranger at the school gate bites and kills a teacher all hell breaks loose. The incident quickly turns into an outbreak of panic as the school’s occupants turn into “Them” (zombies). Takashi and other students and faculty struggle to fight back the waves of undead as they group together to find a way out of the school in the hopes of finding their families. Turns out the incident is not isolated to Japan, but the entire world! All questions remain to be answered as Team Takashi runs for their lives!

The Characters

Takashi Komuro is the leader of Team Takashi. He used to date Rei but finds himself conflicted when his best friend starts dating her. He’s athletic and stubborn and his weapon of choice depends on what’s handy.
Saeko Busujima is the Team’s primary force. She’s progressive despite her traditional background; which would explain why she is the president of the Kendo Club. However, she has a sadistic side that gives her a wicked smile while killing hordes of reanimated corpses. Her weapon of choice is a sword.
Rei Miyamoto is Takashi’s childhood friend and former girlfriend. She was held back a grade due to her father being a good police officer and investigating political corruption. She often ends up being a damsel in distress but give her a spear and she’ll be fine. Her weapon of choice is a spear or staff.
Saya Takagi is a childhood friend of Takashi and Rei. She is also the Team’s brain and daughter of a rich and influential family. She is another damsel in distress but she is primarily protected by Kohta. Her weapon of choice is whatever she gets handed.
Kohta Hirano is the Team’s resident gun otaku. He gets bullied a lot but what nobody knows is he’s trained with members of various military outfits. He is a big help when the odds seem slim. His weapon of choice is any firearm he can get his hands on.
Shizuka Marikawa is the school nurse and the Team’s driver/caretaker. She is an airheaded blonde and another damsel in distress but her medical knowledge and Special Forces contact come in handy.
Alice Maresato is a little girl the Team saved after her father was murdered. Now an orphan, the Team takes her in as a ‘little sister’. She remains protected so she doesn’t have to fight but does her best to help keep the Team from falling apart. She also picked up a dog that tried to save her and named him Zeke.

Why Watch?

HOTD is one of few anime that takes zombies seriously. That is a big plus but nothing is really found out about the origin of how the outbreak came up. But the action sequences are superb for fans of all things zombie-including brutal kills and the failing of social order. Another good thing is each member of Team Takashi has their own skillset. There are a few moments of comic relief but that takes a backseat to the major draw of slo-mo and fanservice. Madhouse did a great job bringing the manga to life and the anime stays very true to the storyline. The series is rated TV-MA for violence, blood and gore, language, nudity, and some sexual content. As for the sub vs. dub debate, both have experienced talent but the dub script had some rather dumb liberties taken to translate to an American audience and lost some of the gusto. Still, the choice is up to you, the viewer.

Verdict

HOTD is a series that has plenty to offer: zombies, action, fanservice, variable and enjoyable characters, and a story that leaves more questions than answers. So there is plenty to enjoy for a variety of viewers. The score is pretty good and the animation is topnotch, to boot. Let alone it pleases those who want an anime that follows the canon material closely. Should be interesting to see where the story goes to hopefully bring in some good reveals and twists.

Trailer

*Author's Note: Big props and thanks to FoxxFireArt doing an awesome job on the HOTD Wiki. He made it so I was able to make this entire Guide from the information and material on Anime Vice-which is a first. I have no idea when a second season will be announced but it will most likely not come until the hiatus ends. If you have already seen the series, or just want a different view on it, check outDunce Cap: Houston, "They" Are a Problem.*

-Will McQuigg ( sotyfan16) is your everyday anime/manga enthusiast. You can also find him on Twitter ( bildo_88).

Masako_Hihashion Nov. 14, 2011 at 12:11 p.m.

Is a shame that this manga stopped

Theresonlyoneon Nov. 14, 2011 at 1:46 p.m.

@Masako_Hihashi: wait what?

Masako_Hihashion Nov. 14, 2011 at 1:53 p.m.

@Theresonlyone: Is in a hiatus.... I think

InfiniteGeasson Nov. 14, 2011 at 2:38 p.m.

I can vouch for the dub and say that it's pretty good. I'd give it a 3.5/5. It's definitely better than some other dubs out there.

arch4nonon Nov. 14, 2011 at 3:38 p.m.

Highschool of the Dead goes hand in hand with pizza and beer. It's the kind of show you kick back, turn off your brain, and enjoy the ride. It doesn't really have any artistic merit and the story doesn't really go anywhere, but if you're just looking for a good time it's worth checking out.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Nov. 14, 2011 at 3:45 p.m.

I really think Yen Press is doing a great job with the manga. Saeko is one of my favorites. She's so freakin' bad ass.

I have a lot of fun with this series. I can't wait for it to come out of hiatus to finish up.

That anime English dub was just god awful. It wasn't the cast that was bad but the script. They were cursing to a ridiculous degree, it changed the entire meaning of scenes, they changed character's personalities, they were making unforgivable references to Sarah Palin (as if some Japanese high school student would even know who she is). The worst crime is the change they made to Episode 9. That's suppose to be a character changing moment where Takashi tells Saeko that he'll always admire her no matter how tainted she thinks she is. The English version was more "So you nearly killed some guy. So what?".

This series dub has me very worried for Persona 4.

@Theresonlyone: @Masako_Hihashi:

The hiatus is the fault of the author. The artist Shoji Sato is still drawing manga while HOTD is on break. He's working on his own series Triage X.

Contraon Nov. 14, 2011 at 3:59 p.m.

I began to get back in to anime last year. I'm pretty sure watching this is what stopped me again.

I can't watch the levels of fan service in it. It's creepy. I don't understand it on any level. I wouldn't recommend it to people due to that. I can't get past it.

Superevil225on Nov. 14, 2011 at 4:21 p.m.
My feelings towards HSOTD have been stated loud and clear: Too much fanservice, not enough zombie killing. No me gusta.
 
BUT Awesome work as always Will~!
ShadowKnight508 moderator on Nov. 14, 2011 at 4:43 p.m.

@Masako_Hihashi said:

@Theresonlyone: Is in a hiatus.... I think

@FoxxFireArt said:

The hiatus is the fault of the author. The artist Shoji Sato is still drawing manga while HOTD is on break. He's working on his own series Triage X.

This. Sato is currently committed to the series Triage X at the moment while HOTD is on a break until he can commit his time back on it if he so wishes to continue it. His recent work can be seen below:

Triage X Vol 1 JPN (Dec 2009)
Triage X Vol 1 JPN (Dec 2009)
sotyfan16on Nov. 14, 2011 at 6:08 p.m.

@ShadowKnight508: @FoxxFireArt:

I've been liking Triage X. I'm not very far in but it's fun.

takashichea moderator is online on Nov. 14, 2011 at 11:17 p.m.

@Superevil225 said:

My feelings towards HSOTD have been stated loud and clear: Too much fanservice, not enough zombie killing. No me gusta. BUT Awesome work as always Will~!

Same here. This was the first time where I did a wiki job for a franchise that did not get me to love the show. I didn't work on the episodes, but I worked on a special concept for an episode, implied sex scene.

By the end of the guide, you made me realize I need to start at the beginning of the show and see it to the end. I still remember one scene where I don't like Takashi because he snap Saeko out of her nervous breakdown by squeezing her boobs. That was disturbing and looks painful.

I like how you repeated "damsel in distress" instead of using the other word that might turn off some female fans of the show. It's funny that you didn't say that for the little girl, Alice.

Edit:

Awesome guide. That was fast! I could have sworn you meant next week that you have a new beginner guide. I need to write a guide soon. October had three guides. November has one, so I need to add two to it.

sotyfan16on Nov. 15, 2011 at 12:41 a.m.

@takashichea:

I'm glad you reconsidered. If the fanservice is a problem then I'm afraid it's something you'll have to ignore when it comes up. Otherwise, you have the usual zombie story just with Japanese HS kids.

This time when I said I was going to do a Guide I meant very soon. I didn't get to writing until last night but I meant to start on Saturday. But yeah, usually when I say 'soon' it means a week or so.

And Takashi did that to save them. She has a secret and a sadistic nature.

TopographicOceanon Nov. 15, 2011 at 7:59 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

I really think Yen Press is doing a great job with the manga.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. The translation is good, the actual book quality is good and the colour pages are well done.

In fact I just got the Full Colour Omnibus edition today. It's of a very high quality. In fact, I was rather surprised how well the Omnibus was handled. Especially since I didn't think it would get released here.

And just as a note for anyone who is put off by the fanservice of the anime, the manga is much more tame. It isn't devoid of it by any means, but the anime cranks it up to eleven. So, if you're still interested in some zombie-slaying action, the manga may be more up your alley.

Metatron_Da_Donon Nov. 16, 2011 at 5:28 p.m.

The dub was bad but I liked the Subtitled version. And I hope that bastard perv teacher gets whats coming to him!

Beaten to death by kids or eaten alive? Maybe it was a bad idea to start an anime on such a young manga. I'd like to finish the story but it seems they should have waited for more volumes and material for the anime. I hope the return is not rushed and another good story.

sotyfan16on Nov. 16, 2011 at 7:33 p.m.

@Metatron_Da_Don:

From what I can tell, the anime covers through Vol. 4, so There is still more to the manga (Vol. 7). I don't think the return will be rushed and while it is a young manga, I'm glad the anime started because I felt in desperate need of a stand-out anime last year (and one that uses zombies in the usual manner).

MrASSH0LEon Nov. 23, 2011 at 3:54 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

They were cursing to a ridiculous degree, it changed the entire meaning of scenes, they changed character's personalities, they were making unforgivable references to Sarah Palin (as if some Japanese high school student would even know who she is).

When your running for the US presidency or when you 're part of it everyone on the PLANET knows who you are.Hell,I live in the part French part of Canada and I know all the republican candidates and I know I'd vote Ron Paul.

Theresonlyoneon Nov. 23, 2011 at 4:44 p.m.
@MrASSH0LE

@FoxxFireArt said:

They were cursing to a ridiculous degree, it changed the entire meaning of scenes, they changed character's personalities, they were making unforgivable references to Sarah Palin (as if some Japanese high school student would even know who she is).

When your running for the US presidency or when you 're part of it everyone on the PLANET knows who you are.Hell,I live in the part French part of Canada and I know all the republican candidates and I know I'd vote Ron Paul.

You still aren't that far from America. I live in the UK I follow world news and read proper newspapers and I can only think of Mitt Romely most people outside of NA can't do that.

No not everyone in the world knows who you are till maybe at best a week before the election and as soon as its over they fade back to anonymity after 4-8 years.

Dig Deeper into Highschool of the Dead

Highschool of the Dead is manga/anime series that takes place during a zombie apocalypse. Takashi and his friends fight to survive as they go in search of their families.

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