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Highschool of the Dead Episode 1

July 6, 2010

Zombies. Blood. Breasts. Gore. Panties. Right, that’s Highschool of the Dead ‘blogged about, what’s next in line? Hmm, what’s that? You want more? Oh, alright then… As if you haven’t guessed from the show’s title, Highschool of the Dead brings us a zombie apocalypse, anime style, with style aplenty from production studio Madhouse. After starting with a burst of the aforementioned blood, gore and panties, we rewind to the beginning of it all, which turns out to be not too much earlier in this world’s timeline.Here, we see the dejected loser Takashi skipping class and bemoaning his life after seeing the girl he loves end up with another guy, giving us a love triangle which looks set to define the series before only lasting about twenty minutes.
Anyhow, while hiding away from class he sees a man at the school gate, relentlessly shaking it until a bunch of teachers turn up to turn him away. One of these teachers gets bitten, and the rest is history… Before we know it, Takashi, his unrequited love Rei and her boyfriend Hisashi are up on the school roof, fighting for their lives against a backdrop of a city in flames and chaos. Just when it seems as though things can’t get any worse for this trio… things get worse. Yep, this is definitely the zombie apocalypse.
If you’re expecting highbrow entertainment or anything of the sort from this series, then allow me to show you the door…. Right, are they gone yet? Okay, now it’s just us more well-rounded types left, let’s be honest about this – The opening episode of Highschool of the Dead is all sorts of adrenaline-pumping fun. Sure, the fan service is overblown and unnecessary, but it fits in perfectly with the decadent feel of the series, and throughout this first instalment the pacing and tension are almost perfect; perfect being mile a minute with no time for nuances such as establishing the reasons for this zombie outbreak or anything of the sort. This care-free, tightly focused scripting works perfectly to drag us along for the ride as society breaks down and morals go out the window within minutes of the action kicking off, to the point where we almost applaud one girl for kicking her friend down to the mercy of zombies in a (futile, naturally) attempt to save herself.

Just as you’d expect if you were to find yourself in such a situation, there’s no time to consider what happens next or think about what’s going on – Highschool of the Dead is all about surviving for the next five seconds and little more, and I already love it for taking that angle and running at it with well-produced, fantastically sound-tracked gusto. If you’re looking for a summer blockbuster of an anime series, it looks like you might have just found it if this episode is anything to go by.

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