High School of the Dead Episode #08 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, August 23, 2010
Release Date: Monday, August 23, 2010

Though it won't go fulfilled, I start every episode off now with a prayer that Alice will be killed. Brutally.

What They Say
The DEAD Way Home

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
High School of the Dead starts off in a really good way this time as it highlights the international aspect of the epidemic well and in a way that I want to see. Showing us events on board Air Force One with the First Lady being bitten and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs right behind her adds to the tension nicely, especially as he's practically begging the President to launch missiles on countries that could attack back with their own ICBMs if things continue to go south. It's a pre-emptive strike angle that makes an twisted kind of sense considering the situation. While I doubt we'd see the infected launching missiles anytime soon, at least on purpose, there will definitely be panicked and vengeful survivors who will want to get into those installations and strike anywhere they can.

On the flip side, we have the kids moving right along in Japan where they're making progress in their destination. But they have to take an amusing little side stop first for the girls to get undressed, chit chat about girly things and show off a lot of skin while teasing the viewer. It's even more amusing as it's done as the two guys are at the front of the humvee talking about weapons and plans, only to eventually turn around to see them all in school uniforms of different types, complete with leggings where appropriate, while wielding some impressive firepower. It's a double dose of beautiful, sweet fanservice that gives me exactly what I want out of this show from this particular angle.

The show takes a fun surreal feeling as it goes into the second half where the gang is going to Takagi's house first since it is the closest to them. The cherry blossoms are falling, they haven't seen the infected for hours now and even the skies are quiet. Everything has an incredibly peaceful feeling. Watching it all go to hell quickly is a thing of beauty, going from the numerous cherry blossoms to blood flowing heavily as they ram through throngs of the infected. Takashi finally gets into the killing business with a bit of glee as well when he goes to defend Rei and utilizes the weapon that he was given and understands just how brutally powerful it is. The only downside to the start of this fight is the way that Rei, injured or disoriented that she may be, just sort of lays there staring in wonder rather than helping out.

But it does allow Takashi to utilize her weapon in the most amusing of ways and gives us a hysterical bullet time sequence involving the independently moving breasts of Saeko.

In Summary:
While things start of slowly and kind of silly with the double dose of fanservice, High School of the Dead kicks into overdrive for the second half when it comes to doling out endings for the infected. With Takashi getting into things to defend Rei at first but partially just for the sheer thrill he gets from it, he and Saeko along with Takagi manage to really up the ante a bit and give us the darkness we needed. There's a glorious kind of exploitation used in this show that takes things to another level, but it doesn't feel so completely over the top in a way that you want to turn it off. Rather you want to see where they're going to go from here because they mix in that over the top thing with the dramatic elements of the show and while you could separate the two, I think it would just make it more mundane in a way.

Note that the credits roll early this episode and if you click away when that happens, you'll again miss a decent chunk of the episode and a really key moment in the story that sets the stage for the next arc.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 17 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: The Anime Network
Running time: 25
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: High School of the Dead