Anime Review: High School of the Dead

So, The Anime Is Over.

High School of the Dead ran for twelve largely action-packed episodes filled with modern horror. By modern, I mean sailor fuku, panty shots, and extreme behavior by the humans in the midst of the zombie apocalypse, culminating in a nuclear weapon’s EMP pulse wiping out some remaining bastions of civilization against the undead hordes.

I don’t believe that this is spoiling anything because, put simply, the anime doesn’t “end,” plot-wise; it simply expires.

This is an escapist fantasy. Aside from not having chosen to wrap things up, this whole thing is not something that seems likely to have a happy ending. It is truly an apocalypse, with no hope, but with a core group of vibrant characters doing their best to survive.

Indeed, the whole point of this is wrapped up in the following statement:

“In spite of these circumstances – no, because of them – we are truly alive.”

That’s not word for word but, that’s mainly because the original trailed off a bit. We get the idea.

Pacifism Doesn’t Work On Zombies

Incidentally, love and peace doesn’t exactly work on the zombie hordes. In this show we get to see some people trying it, trying to understand these people, believing them to be ill rather than, well, the walking dead.

It doesn’t work.

At all.

An “Un-Japanese” Love of Guns

There’s some serious envy of Americans with their love of guns in this show. The chubby male support fire character turns out to have some rather wealthy bigshot parents, and thanks to this he was able to – get this – go to America and train for a month under an instructor from Blackwater. Yes, that Blackwater. The one that’s not even called that anymore (it’s Xe) due to its notoriety.

Anyway, the show finds a SWAT sniper in Japan’s top five (female, and friend of the most extremely busty character among the mains, a school teacher) whose house contains a stash of weapons that are, properly speaking, either really pushing it or completely illegal in Japan. Well, we know that a 20 shot clip on one gun is illegal. They’re not going to be arrested for it here though…

Driving Without A License

Early on the leading girl and the main male spot the front end of a cop car while riding on a bike without helmets and without a license. The girl goes on about how they’re gonna be arrested. Funny under the circumstances.

Not as funny when they find that a tractor trailer slammed into the cop car leaving two dead cops (from which one gun and some bullets were scrounged by the pair). But such are the circumstances.

I mean, normally high schoolers don’t get their hands on “real guns” or anything close. That’s why it’s an escapist fantasy, no?

The Extremes of Humanity

If there’s a real point to this, and I think there is, it’s simple: in a crisis, lemmings and sheep get slaughtered. You become a wolf or you join the slaughtered.

It’s not a matter of being physically superior, like being built like a linebacker, or having guns, or whatever. It’s a matter of will and spirit. Whatever form it takes, people can rise up to be counted.

I mean, the little girl the group saves (Alice, age 7) ends up being the gun otaku’s ammo replenishment girl. A little girl whose main job is otherwise to act cute. If she can find a way to contribute during a zombie apocalypse, surely, we all can.

Well, not that we should expect our own zombie apocalypse. But you get the drift.


  • Not for people bothered by gore or strong sexual suggestions.
  • Absolutely fantastic for people not bothered by that.
  • Pure entertainment that should be enjoyed as it was intended.
  • Better than homage, this beats out Western zombie movies.
  • It rocks.
  • Let me repeat myself. It rocks.

Highly recommended, if you’re not bothered by blood and the sexual suggestiveness. Honestly, I’m not a blood loving guy, but on zombies, it’s OK somehow.

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: [email protected]
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