High School of the Dead: Episode 1

Director Tetsuro Araki

Animation ProductionMadhouse Studios

High School of the Dead (H.O.T.D, strange abbreviation but that’s what the show uses) is a Madhouse produced show directed by the relatively young director of Death Note (TV) Tetsuro Araki. He has almost solely worked on horror/thriller shows and with H.O.T.D he directs another show adapted from a manga. But unlike the serious Death Note, H.O.T.D seems to be a light action horror with unnecessarily high amounts of risque fan service. It’s the typical shameless fan service in Japanese animation showing scantily dressed women and highlighting it at every moment they get. I was put off by this as I didn’t expect this from Madhouse but after some research I found the reason for this. The original artist of the manga Shoji Sato is the founder of Digital Accel Works a famous doujinshi circle. I’m going to stick with it for a few more episodes to see how things progress as I’m mainly interested in how the Japanese tackle the popular zombie genre in modern times.

Episode Summary

Starts in a Tokyo high school, the lead character Takashi is looking down at the closed school gate where a man is clawing at the gate. Teachers go to see what’s the problem, gets bitten and starts the outbreak at the school. Takashi rushes to his classroom and takes her former girlfriend (Rei) and her current boyfriend (Hiroshi) out. they head to the observatory on the roof. As this happens a speakerphone announcement happens partly until the announcer gets attacked, huge panic occurs and the rest of the school evacuates. The school is in immediate chaos and full of zombies. The types of zombies are the shambling kind with super strength. If you get bitten there is a delay until you turn into a zombie and if you get killed you immediately turn. The only way to stop them is the traditional smash of the head. Takashi is carrying a baseball bat and Rei is carrying an improvised lance. When they get on the roof we see that the whole city is affected. The JSDF is shown briefly as they fly by in their Blackhawk helicopters. End Spoiler: (They barricade themselves on the roof but Hiroshi was bitten on the way. Hiroshi dies, turns into a zombie and has to be taken out by Takashi with his bat.).

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