HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD – 02
「Escape from the DEAD」
With hype this big, how could the second episode even top the first one? With hype this big, how could any anime episode top the first one (joking of course)? Easily done of course, since there really shouldn’t be any hype to begin with. I’ve looked around the net and HOTD’s been hyped up to ridiculous expectations, with beliefs that HOTD will become “2010′s Anime of the Year.” It’s not within the realms of impossibility, but let’s just say HOTD becoming anime of the year is a stretch. With a supposed 12/13 episode only cap, a screwed up ending might be the killing force making that lasting memory become very bitter. But hey, if it succeeds, I will be pleasantly surprised.
As the last episode did not introduce all the characters of what the audience will soon learn to be the main cast, this episode continues to play that role, with the addition of Marikawa Shizuka (Fukui Yukari), a nurse. She takes her place as the typical archetype of a big boobed ditz. Although she’s in the group as the “adult” character, and helps out with things “highschoolers” can’t do, I just see her as useless otherwise. As you can tell, I’m not rather fond of her character. As shown in this episode, she doesn’t even deserve to be alive, as it was only stupid luck that got her this far (she didn’t even know her savior’s name! lol). Although in retrospect, you do always have one of these “lucky” characters in zombie flicks as well. The other character that didn’t get much spotlight last episode was Hirano Kota (Hiyama Nobuyuki), a gun otaku who just so conveniently joins the group as the weapons master. You may be familiar with Hirano’s seiyuu, as he voiced Viral from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. I thought this would make things epic, but he hasn’t used his epic voice yet. Perhaps in the future.
Madhouse is doing very well to keep up the atmosphere of a zombie ridden school, with scenes of people being dragged off and eaten as the story weaves in and out to each small group of characters. The cinematography continues to be very dynamic, which I’ve come to recognize as the leading reason why this series stands out against other action anime. When the action gets going, they really know how to make your blood pump (the drill scene). The animation itself is still surprisingly consistent, but Madhouse isn’t one to slack off either (Usually?).
Story-wise, the scenes were switched around a bit compared to the manga, but I didn’t feel like it changed anything. The episode was like a mini version of a Quentin Tarantino movie, where a bunch of almost unrelated characters meet up in the end and clash in the climax. To better understand “them”, Takagi throws wet towels at a zombie which reveals that the zombies react to sound and not physical reactions, similar to your classic Romero zombies. They’re also slow as hell, so you can pretty much walk past them like the characters in the first “Night of the Living Dead” did near the end of the movie. For some, these zombies are better, for others, crazy fast ones are better. The way I see it, fast zombies are fast usually because of a virus (which often induces rage and adrenaline). Classic zombies are slow because, well, their muscles are dead. HOTD has never explained what the cause of the outbreak was, so I don’t have a basis to work on, but Madhouse may make up their own reason by the end of season. Only 35 pages of the second chapter were covered this episode, leaving 22 not animated. However, considering the third chapter is only 30 pages, I’m hoping they’ll continue where they left off.
Apparently there were censored areas in the last episode, but they weren’t as obvious to me until this episode. I assume the drilling scene was censored, as half the screen was black while it happened. As much as I want to say I don’t mind, the gore curiosity in me begs to see what was animated. As for those who were complaining about ecchi the first round, there was much less of it this time. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t appear again, as like I said, ecchi is just a part of what makes this series. If you can’t humor that there’s going to be some panty shots in a zombie story, then this series just isn’t for you. As for the rest of the still undecided folk, it’s only going to get better from here on out (at least, until Madhouse decides to rip us a new ending).
Note: Surprisingly, there’s a new ED this week, even though the background animation is still the same. I didn’t even notice until Divine mentioned it. I’m not sure why they changed the song or if they’ll continue doing it every episode, but I guess it’s for some added value and more singles to sell.