This is a guest post written by The Austin Critic. Check out his blog here!
I don’t get Highschool of the Dead. There are times when it’s trying to be a gritty zombie show, and other times when it’s a completely over-the-top, fanservice filled action show. For example, the previous episodes had scenes which featured realistic weapon handling and a few uses of strategy, giving me the impression that this was a realistic portrayal of the zombie apocalypse. The next minute however, the main characters suddenly gain the abilities of Schwarzenegger and start dodging bullets, using weaponry, driving CG military vehicles into hordes of zombies and plowing through countless undead with melee weapons. It also doesn’t help that the fanservice just stops any chance that anyone could take this show seriously. This episode was further proof that this series is having an identity crisis, as one minute it decides to show the mental conflicts that Saeko has gone through before and during this zombie apocalypse, only to completely discard this serious subject matter with fanservice.
Read more after the break.
The beginning of the episode had Takashi and Saeko trying to reunite with their group, deciding to use a vehicle which can go in both water and on land in order to get there faster. Unfortunately, the sound of the engine just attracts more zombies, resulting in Takashi’s decision to drive on the lake in order to avoid the zombie menace. I know that at this point, the show just has too many plot holes in order for it to be labeled consistent, but I do wonder why the zombies notice that there is water separating them from the survivors. Why didn’t they go into the water in order to chase after them? I understand that they would probably be unsuccessful if they attempted, as these are mindless zombies who lack the ability to go up stairs, but why didn’t they at least try? All we see them do is stand at the shoreline, giving me the indication that they are aware that they lack the ability to swim and can also see the water, despite falling from a pair of stairs a few seconds earlier that they were apparently oblivious to!
The middle portion of this episode had Takashi and Saeko fighting their way into the city, with the duo attempting to distract the zombies by leaving the car motor running in order to distract them. The plan, while clever, fails due to Saeko’s inability to kill zombie children, causing Takashi to kill the children via shotgun, alerting another horde of zombies. The group then decides to hide out in a temple, where the show actually gives a small bit of backstory about Saeko. We then learn that Saeko is actually a sadist, which explains why she takes pleasure in killing the zombies. The flashback scene featured in this episode was executed pretty well, as it was intense while not feeling cheesy. At this point in the episode, I was prepared to give it a fair rating.
But then, Takashi tries to make Saeko regain her resolve and accept her dark side by… grabbing her breast. Of all of the dumbest plot devices I have seen in the ecchi genre, this was the most surprising and retarded. WHY IN GOD’S INFINITE WISDOM DID YOU GRAB SAEKO’S BREAST?! WHY? I DON’T GET IT! I DON’T FREAKIN’ GET IT! I DON’T CARE IF THIS IS AN ECCHI SHOW! YOU CAN’T RESTORE THE RESOLVE OF SOMEONE BY SEXUALLY ASSAULTING THEM! (BTW: The tactic succeded, meaning that this show was dumber than I thought!)
Overall, this was a poor episode, which is surprising, considering that it focuses on the best characters of this series. Sure the action was pretty damn awesome, and the final fight scene was Saeko’s best (despite the fight getting Saeko “wet”), but those merits alone aren’t enough to make this a fair episode. It’s enough to stop it from being horrible, but at this rate with only three episodes left, I don’t see how this show can improve. Hopefully the final episodes will only be fight scenes, as that is the only thing that this show can succeed at executing properly.