AgentJ (Level 13)

Batman is Anime, and Zelda's an RPG. These are a few of the most dumbest (sic) things.
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Ooh, new characters, which also don’t feature in the opening! More zombie bait! Interesting to see that the airport remains active in the face of zombies.

This show isn’t even bothering to mask its fan-service in an artistic or relevant coat anymore. The creators seem bored of creating excuses for boobs to bounce, for panties

Supposedly this show is geared toward the 17-24 male demo. I don't buy it.
Supposedly this show is geared toward the 17-24 male demo. I don't buy it.

 to flash, or for girls to talk dirty. Not that I mind, because I definitely do not : P

At the beginning, I thought Takagi (pink hair-chan) was supposed to be the brainy one who analyzed the zombies and situation, but now all she seems to do is trash our resident military otaku and be a brat.

Another of these weird inconsistencies; nearly an entire episode goes by without even a zombie sighting, much less bodies. Why are there pockets without the dead? And why is the water cannon powerful enough to blow the punks of the bridge but not hurt them tremendously? Well, I suppose that last one is just anime…

On the other hand, it was cute that the highway they were trapped on was number “666”. Love little touches like that.

I suppose this isn’t the last we’ve seen of creeper god teacher. It was sweet watching Hirano go all DEXTER on his ass. Hirano is part of a character archetype that I don't typically grow fond of, but his radical obsession with weaponry is, for whatever reason, opening a hole... in my HEART. 

  Then there was the totally ridiculous reunification of the zombie extermination squad, which gave me a new perspective on the show. Until this point I felt like it was supposed to be grounded in reality, but that clearly isn’t the case now. Whether that was a conscious change on the part of the creators, I suppose doesn’t really matter.  

So the group is together again, and they seemingly have a nice place to hunker down. Will they be safe there, repopulating the earth as they grow old in their own little fortress? Somehow, I doubt it.     
  Thats probably it for tonight, though maybe i'll watch an episode of this or Angel Beats before calling it a night. As always, I LOOOOVE comments, regardless of their positive or negative nature. So let me have it!
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When will they reunite?
When will they reunite?

 Did I miss the symbolism with the jet flying by our protagonists? It seemed poignant, but maybe its just supposed to be cool? But then it shows up again at the end of the episode, with some added imagery. I’m confused.

I’m somewhat shocked and definitely disappointed that the first third of the episode is a recap. I know it’s a necessary evil in modern anime, especially one that looks as good as this, but look, it has only been four episodes.

Every once in a while, you get these little inconsistencies that pop up in HOTD. Rei and Takashi are parked seemingly high up on a freeway, and are interrupted in the middle of a conversation by a group of zombies from their rear, meandering and stumbling as they are wont to do. But assuming they were following the noise of the bike, how long would our protagonists have to have waited there to be caught up to by? The tension benefits, but at the expense of accuracy, or whatever you want to call it.

Up till now, we have largely seen the struggle of a group in cramped quarters, but this episode puts just two survivors out to survive by themselves. Their struggle climaxes with the gas station scene, which finally fleshed out Takashi’s character and made him more than a vehicle for the story. His cold, cunning streak was an absolute pleasure to experience, and evolved him past what I like to call the “dating-sim syndrome”. I use that phrase as a descriptor for main characters that do little to advance the plot themselves, are two-dimensional or are just there to place the viewer in the story. It’s a problem I’m having in Angel Beats through episode 2. 

   
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I will rule over a new world!  
I will rule over a new world!  

 On average, I despise scenes in movies and tv where a news broadcast is used to get the viewer up to speed. Its ham-handed and lazy. This episode of High School executes it well. It could have been done differently still, but to see the body bags raise up as they became reanimated was a creative new look at the complications surrounding the undead. Its’ those sorts of insights that will draw me into any new zombie medium.

I don’t have a good feeling about these new survivors; none of them appear in the opening, they obviously aren’t very careful or smart, and, well, not all of them even last through the episode. Can I assume they’re the typical zombie fodder? Should I bother getting attached to any of them?

What is the deal with this teacher? There doesn’t seem to be any foreshadowing of the character, yet Rei has an obvious hatred of the guy. I don’t get it; how would she instinctively know in what way a (admittedly scummy-looking) guy like that is going to be such a problem that they shouldn’t bother saving him?

And after he’s saved, it is obvious that he isn’t to be trusted. I get a strong “Kira” sense, with a huge ego, manipulating nature, and a flair for the theatrical. I mean, he seriously pisses me off. He’s a big creeper, and I can’t see him letting everyone leave on their own accord. He needs “soldiers”. He surely will not just let the gang do what they want in meeting Rei and Takashi again, right?

The post-credits footage is some pretty sweet animation of our two main protagonists, and it plays out beautifully. Reminded me a bit of The Place Promised in our Early Days in its tone. 

  

The next episode should be up momentarily, as I’ve saved these up over a few days without much of an internet connection.

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Sorry for the lengthy delay. In part because of the disaster in Japan (the image of the wave coming inland has been burned into my mind) and because of a suddenly busier personal life, I had neither the time nor desire to review episodes the last few days. And before I go any farther, I'd just like to say how grateful I am that none of my Japanese friends have lost family members to the earthquake or tsunami, and my thoughts and prayers go out to those in morning tonight. 
   
This experience will give me a vastly different lens through which I view the series.  
 

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Looks like the cast is coming together. From the opening, I only see a little girl that we haven't met yet. 
    
Kicking soooo much undead ass
Kicking soooo much undead ass
Well Rei sure got over watching her boy-toy quickly. She spends a whole two minutes in a relatively peaceful place before trying to call daddy and breaking down again. Distractingly odd, but I suppose all characters deal in their own way. A more understandable freakout was that of our pink-haired genius princess, Takagi I believe? While her constant berating of her protector was irritating, seeing her test the zombies' senses was a very "Zombie Survival Guide" moment. And then she had her own little breakdown. And it was pretty emotional.  
 
"Samurai girl Saeko" as I call her, kicks so much ass. She ends zombies with one blow of her wooden sword, and does it so well that she finds most of the zombies to be beneath her (aka doesn't bother killing them). She could very quickly become a favorite of mine. 
 
From a zombie defense standpoint, I'm not positive that leaving is a great idea. Sure, the school is overrun with the undead, but at least they're in a gated community, meaning there won't be many NEW zombies appearing. How many people are there in a typical high school at any given time? A few thousand? By staying you get the opportunity to find more survivors and bunker in against a set number of opponents, rather than an endless horde. By leaving, you're cramping yourself in a small, nearly defenseless room that requires fuel to keep you safe. And where do you plan on going? they're making the same mistake Simon Pegg and Nick Frost did in Shawn of the Dead. At least, thats how I see it.  
 
  
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AgentJ presents the biggest sure-thing since Toppa Tengen Gurren Lagann! 
 

The guy who designed these school uniforms is my hero 
The guy who designed these school uniforms is my hero 

There have certainly been better years to try to bring an anime stateside, but has there ever been a better time to make a show about Zombies? I think not. Zombies have become the de-facto supernatural creature (though arguments could be made for vampires) AND supernatural disaster at the same time. Books like Max Brooks' "World war Z" and "Zombie Survival Guide" helped kick off a fad that has spanned all genres, from movies (Shawn of the Dead), to video games (Left 4 Dead) and even american TV (The Walking Dead). Having fed on the nerds that began the craze, it is meandering into the mainstream. 
 
So for the Anime Network, scooping this property up I'm sure took all of two seconds to think about. And High School (referred to from now on as HOTD) doesn't rest on its laurels. There is a very good show underneath the nerd pandering. The tension is thick and constant.  Characters react to the situation in vastly different, yet (relatively) believable ways. Everyone we've met so far are all likeable in their own way, which will make subsequent deaths even harder (after all, one episode, one down). How many of these first-episode characters will we get to see as zombies later?
 
The learning curve of the main characters through the first episode is the most interesting thing to watch. Takashi's first instinct is to bring his friends to the roof, and his group stays calm while much of the rest of the school is freaking out. They learn quickly that they have to take out the head, and use their various weapons to dispatch their attackers. As with most opening episodes, not much really happens, but its all so tense and tightly edited that I hardly noticed.  
 
Like all my favorite anime, HOTD has mouthfulls of style.  Characters flip through the air as they tell gravity to fuck off. The opening is slickly animated with blood splatters and saturation effects. Character models pop off the screen, and colors are vibrant. Fanservice certainly isn't lacking.
  
I found the exchange between Takashi and his lady friend right after the credits to be the most interesting. She just broke up with him to be with his best friend, but now that friend is dead, and she reacts in a realistic manner, more so than I would have expected. Its as if her mind is breaking from the stress, and the emotions animated in her face portray that very well.  How quickly will she recover, if at all, and who will succumb to the pressure of being inundated by the zombie hordes? I can't wait to find out. 
 
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