June 19, 2012

High School Of The Dead Ep11

All right, so Ep10 wasn't the most sterling example of the wonderment that can be High School of the Dead.  I'll grant you that, but it was important for all that "characterization" stuff the kids talk about these days.  I'll tell ya, back in my day we didn't cotton to newfangled concepts like that, no sir.  We'd gotten along perfectly well for hundreds of years without fancy-schmancy character advancement or engrossing plots or witty repartee.  We had fanservice and episode-long powerup sequences, and that was all right with us.  But now!  Now, you can't have a show without half the cast becoming fully actualized people along the way.  Sheer folly!  That's why I appreciate shows like HSotD; it's a throwback to the days where we were lucky to have any anime at all.  Just with better art.

See?  I told you it was going to be a 747 of doomy doom!  I think it's safe to say that President Skippy Henderson is no longer amongst the living... but he may be amongst the unliving, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

If nothing else, you've got to hand it to the unnamed (and unseen) pilot of AF1.  Imagine... you're flying along, you've got a jumbo jet full of politicians, media, and the living dead (but I repeat myself), pretty much every airport in the world that's able to handle a 747 is probably full of zombies, if you even have the fuel to get to any of them.  Sooner or later, those that wish to eat your brains, as well as zombies, will be smashing at the door to the flight deck... and the one chance you've got is to put your jumbo jet on the ground.  That he was able to do so at all is pretty amazing.  That the plane is in relatively such good shape is astonishing.  I mean, the plane is still recognizable, the wings are still attached (well, mostly), it's a safe guess that the fuselage didn't break until the post-landing fire consumed much of the plane's spine... for all intents and purposes, that thing is in one piece.  Even the engines are still attached.  That's some mighty fine flyin' right there... too bad the pilot and co-pilot are surely zombiechow.

Yet this guy is still alive and kickin'.  There ain't no justice in this world.  Not that the other people on the bus would agree with me...

...'cause he's got them believing that they're the Saviors of the World, their pure spirits and bodies (particularly their bodies) will guide us all out of the dark.  He is honored just to be associated with them, and their pure spirits (and bodies) will clean the taint of his adult soul.  He's not worthy, blah blah blah.  Of course, they eat it up.  That he turns the bus into ORGYBUS during "rest time" surely has nothing to do with it, heavens no.

Yes, I said ORGYBUS.  This is HSotD we're talking about here, after all...

Red Storm Rising was the first "technothriller" I ever read, and it was the book that got me reinterested in militaria in general.  If you've enjoyed the military history writings you'll find here at The Pond, you can point to RSR as the starting point.  To be sure, I knew a little bit more than the average joe about such things, but not much more than that.  So a tip of the helmet to Tom Clancy is in order, I suppose.  Saaaaaa-lute!

Inside the hut, a detachment of The Fellowship is talking to some of the civilians... okay, Saya is yelling at them.  Apparently, the civvies are saying that the zombies shouldn't be killed, but instead cared for, because the government is saying it's caused by a disease... and diseases have cures!  Quite logically, our pink-haired genius points out that nobody knows what caused the dead to walk, and at the moment it doesn't matter.  Either you survive them or you become one of them, it's that simple.  That's what Dad said in the courtyard, and that's what they've seen during the run from the high school.

That's when this graces our screen.  There's no other way to put this: she's a socialist peacenik that believes that "the upper class" and "high schoolers drunk on violence" are the root causes of all the problems Japan is currently facing.  Peace-loving adults running the show are what's needed right now, not militaristic politicians with their own fighting force and heavily-armed teenagers.  If we hug the zombies, they'll stop eating us!  We shall name her Skipette Jones.

Afterwards the debacle in the hut, Saya is pissed, but Hirano says he knows how Skipette and the others feel.  Often enough when faced with a huge change in situation, people just won't see what they don't want to see.  Super-genius Saya doesn't get it: this isn't the time for people to hide their heads in the sand.  Hirano points out that, in fact, it's the perfect time for that sort of person to hide their heads in the sand.  They can't deal with the way the world has changed, so they're pretending it hasn't, or that they can change it back just by wishing.  A lightbulb goes off above Frodo's head: he understands what Skipette's group is going through, an epiphany that brings a smile to the faces of both Saya and Hirano.  That's why Our Hero is the leader of The Fellowship!  Yaaay.  I woudl have thought his ability to kill the undead in mass quantities and his being the main character and all did that, but it wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong in my life.  Probably not even the first time I've been wrong in this writeup, truth be told.  Meanwhile, in another part of the compound...

...SayaDad gives Saeko a sword as a present, a gift of gratitude as her father trained him years ago.  She identifies it as a "Murata sword," a machine-made weapon from around 1875 or so.  It would have been carried by an officer in the military of the time.

They both react like he's giving her a priceless gift... and I suppose I'm missing something in the translation here.  It's an old sword, certainly, and one that Saeko would be skilled at using, but it's not like we're talking about a katana from the 1200s here.  The closest I can come would be handing someone a cavalry saber from the US Civil War, though perhaps better made.  I mean it's great and all, particularly since there's a city full of undead out there wanting to eat your brains, but... as I say, maybe I'm missing something.  SayaDad, in so many words, says he's giving it to Saeko not just because of her father, but because Frodo doesn't deserve it.  He's their leader, but he's seriously flawed.  Speaking of which...

...Rei is up and around, and trying to convince him that he's a capable leader, that The Fellowship looks to him for guidance.  He's all "I ain't got nuthin', I'm just doin' it to keep alive and sh*t."  And then the show goes into full-on D&D mode, as he describes The Fellowship as a RPG game.

...and they've got a point.  You've got three fighters, though Hirano might technically fit better as an elf, what with his penchant for ranged weaponry.  The bodytype doesn't fit well, it must be said.  Saeko and Rei, though, are pretty much perfect.

Saya as a wizard?  Well, I suppose that's okay; she's the brains of the outfit after all.  SFX-sensei is a nurse, so making her a cleric (or priest) is a good call... though the hot nun costume might be pushing it a little bit.  Or a lot, depending on your personal tastes.  And then, there's Alice and Zeke.

I said it once before, and I'll say it again: d'awwwwwwwwwwwwww!  But that's not why Rei has dropped by, nope.  She's there for something more emotional (ew!).

She's come to the conclusion that she's losing Frodo to Saeko, so makes one last desperate play for his attentions.  She comes right out and says that he's a great guy, always has been (though she didn't notice when she was doing the whole Hisashi gig), and she wants to be with him, even if he falls in love with some other girl, otherwise she'll just die.  I'm not sure if she means that figuratively or not... in a world filled with zombies, the question is an important one.  He doesn't say no, and a few minutes later she leaves...

...to be replaced by Saeko.  Oh hells yeah.  Pimpin' ain't easy, but it's worth it for Frodo.  Meanwhile, at the front gate, a busload of survivors pulls up.  The guards give it the ol' hairy eyeball for a second, perhaps thinking about turning it away.  After all, it's just more mouths to feed, and it's not like they're followers of SayaDad anyw...


Well, heck, why didn't you say so?  C'mon in, we've got plenty of room!

I pretty much dislike everything these days, no question.  I admit this.  I've become a curmudgeon in my old age.  But I've gotta hand it to Shido-jerkass, he knows how to get into a locked compound in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.  Good thing he's got a cult behind him, huh?  Scene change...

...Frodo discusses with SayaDad what the plan is.  He and Rei are going to strike out on their own to try and find their families, then come back to the compound.  It's gotta be done fast; the undead have been attracted to the place for a while, and more and more are gathering.  There's going to be an orderly evacuation of Lothlorien in a couple of days.  Frodo simply says if we're not back by then, assume we're not coming back.  Mmmm... smell the drama!  Rei and Frodo gear up, Saeko insists on joining them, and the three are just about ready to leave when...

...OHGODPLEASEDON'TKILLMEIDIDN'TMEANITIWASTRYINGTOBEFUNNY...oh.  Rei freaks and charges out the front door, rifle-mounted bayonet flawlessly positioned like she's a Marine drill sergeant or something.  Nobody has the faintest idea what's going on.  It's like an animator just went rogue on the rest of the production staff or something and the footage made it into the final product.

Ah!  Well, we already knew that she didn't like Shido-sensei.  While she stands there with the bayonet pressed up against his face, we get backstory and exposition!  In MY High School of the Dead?  Inconceivable!  What, is this some KyoAni tearfest?  Nah.  Back in the old days, Shido-slimebag's father was a corrupt senator...

...and Rei's father was a police investigator.  The senator decided to teach the investigator a lesson about who's boss, so he had his teacher-son hold the investigator's daughter back a year.  Mwuh-hahahhahahahahahahahahahahaha!  How eeeeeeevil!  Well, in the process, it did emotional harm to Rei's dad.  So that's why she hates Shido, and why she's currently holding a rifle in his face.  As she harangues him, SayaDad comes out of his office and says "kill him if you want.  Your call."  Shido, turning into a magnificent bastard, agrees.  If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine, and all that sort of thing.

...and Bug-haired Rei lowers the rifle, Shido relaxes for a second, then she shoots him in the foot.  YES! Unfortunately, it's all in my head, but it's a nice thought.  No, she lets him live... and SayaDad boots him and his cult out of Lothlorien.  The entire Fellowship breathes a sigh of relief, and Rei gets a moment in the sun.

Literally.  Fade to black...

...then fade back up to somewhere in the middle of an ocean.  Or, really, below it.

The order has come in... fire missiles at "NK" and "RC."  Nobody is really sure who's the President anymore; the last one was someone from the Department of Homeland Security, but had already been infectorated.  Well, ours is not to reason why and all that, away we go!

Fade to black, roll credits.

Except there's an epilogue!

Space.  The final frontier.  The ISS has a great view of what's going on, all the while knowing that they're just as dead as anybody on the ground.  There's probably not going to be any more resupply flights, after all.  Sure, they can take the Soyuz escape pod and land somewhere... but what are the chances that they'll land someplace without zombies?  Depending on how long they've been in space, they sure won't be able to run very far, they won't have any food or weapons... probably better just to hang out in orbit, maybe open the hatches at the end.

Even the astronauts are ridiculously proportioned in HSotD!  I'd like to remind you that many many years ago, Robert Heinlein speculated on what zero-g would do to the female anatomy.  It appears that the production staff were fans, god bless 'em.

Oh.  Bummer.  Fade to black for reals this time.

Y'know, for a series about a zombie apocalypse, there's been an awful big shortage of zombies the past few episodes.  Like, none this time around, and only one in a cage last ep.  That's kinda not right.  Well, there's only one episode left, you've gotta think there'd be zombies in the finale, right?  Assuming the world doesn't end in a rain of nukes.


Next episode: more zombies... I hope.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:43 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
Post contains 2251 words, total size 18 kb.

1 De-panning is Hard!  I've been nailed by things like shifting light sources and clothing blowing in the breeze, and multi-planed backgrounds playing hob with the parallax.

Sometimes the solution is more steps.

Anyway, Hot Chick + Kneepads = Crude jokes

(And somewhere up there you misspelled "would" as "woudl")

Posted by: Mauser at June 20, 2012 02:20 AM (cZPoz)

2 I only read a few of the early Clancy novels, and "Red Storm Rising" I remember particularly fondly... especially in light of the fact that Clancy gets way too heavily invested in the Jack Ryan mythos in a big hurry.

Hmm. I should re-read RSR some time soon.

Posted by: GreyDuck at June 20, 2012 07:16 AM (Buiw/)

3 There are some nice pictures of a Murata-to (村田刀) here (scroll way down past the ads), and a bit of (awkwardly-translated) history here. From that, it sounds like the translator misheard the date (or else she misspoke), since they didn't start making them until ~1891.

(and then Japan switched to Western-style sabers until ~1925, before going back to this sort of design for the gunto used in WWII)

The seriousness you describe makes perfect sense to me: old warrior gives young warrior a battle-tested sword to take to war. Adding family into the mix makes it an even bigger deal; could there be an implication that he received the sword as a gift originally, from her father?


Posted by: J Greely at June 20, 2012 10:41 AM (2XtN5)

4 Here I go, trying to drag logic into this show again...

I wonder what the rationale would be for using nuclear weapons at a time like this.  Does the US government (what's left of it) really think it could stop the spread of the zombie infection with nukes?  You can't kill every zombie that way, unless you're willing to carpet-bomb entire continents, and any that aren't killed will just go on spreading the infection.  You'd kill millions of human survivors, too.  (Perhaps whoever is in charge thinks the situation is completely hopeless, and they do plan to carpet-bomb entire continents and kill every last person on the planet, zombified or not.  Thermonuclear mercy-killing on a global scale, if you'll forgive my morbid speculation.  Which is worse--being a zombie, or dying of radiation poisoning?)

One other question: did the producers of the show hire Anglophone voice actors and script writers for the brief scenes with American characters, or did they cheap out and have the Americans speaking Japanese?

Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at June 20, 2012 07:27 PM (KiYAY)

5 I didn't go into it during the writeup because who cares, really?  But here's the gist: with the zombies swarming, President Skippy, at the urging of his already-bitten SecState, apparently approved National State of Emergency Tactical Regulation 666D, which called for a total emptying of the silos and subs at anybody who had nukes aimed at us.  And North Korea, just to be sure.  The idea seems to be "protection of the homeland from attack."  The country is going to have a hard enough time recovering from the zombie apocalypse, having to do so with a nuclear-armed China staring us in the face is too much to bear.  Of course, they've got their own zombie difficulties...

Oh, and they cheaped out.

Posted by: Wonderduck at June 20, 2012 09:00 PM (2L1Hk)

6 One possible reason for launching nukes:  you believe that the zombie-plague was deliberately caused, you believe that you know who did it, and you believe that you know where they are holed up, waiting for the rest of the world's powers to collapse. 

Your nation may or nay not survive at this point.  If it does, in scattered pockets, it will take many years to clear out the walking dead, rebuild your economy, etc.  But if the zombie apocalypse was planned, then whoever planned it is likely much better prepared than you were, and will recover much faster.  To prevent their evil plan from succeeding (and unleashing the zombie-apocalypse must surely be considered evil), drastic measures are called for.

However, I expect that in this show the nukes were launched simply as an excuse for stripping off women's clothing for a thorough fallout decontamination sequence, in glorious slow-motion...

Posted by: Siergen at June 20, 2012 09:04 PM (PuIGa)

7 I didn't go into it during the writeup because who cares, really?

...and by that I meant three things: 1) we've given it more thought than the actual show did now; 2) it didn't directly impact on The Fellowship; and C) Boobies.

Posted by: Wonderduck at June 20, 2012 09:16 PM (2L1Hk)

8 Siergen, that's logical... but this is HSotD.  The US is launching missiles at EVERYBODY, from all reports.  So is Russia.  China, too.  It's all gonna go boomity-boom.

Posted by: Wonderduck at June 20, 2012 09:18 PM (2L1Hk)

It's all gonna go boomity-boom.
It looks like your response to Peter was posted while I was typing mine.  As for the multiple nukes, that just means there's an even greater need for decontamination scenes.  With multiple lather and rinse phases.

Posted by: Siergen at June 20, 2012 09:38 PM (PuIGa)


About the nukes: it was the USA nuking NK and RC, with Russia joining in. The four you see at the end are China's retaliation against Japan.

In the manga, Rei implies that she went out with Higashi because Takashi never asked her.

(Wonderduck sez: edited to remove something I considered spoilerific, despite a spoiler tag.  Muon did nothing wrong, I just didn't want something he said known yet.)

Posted by: Muon at June 21, 2012 11:36 AM (OS+Cr)

11 Muon, I had to delete another of your comments. 

Maybe my editing of your first comment wasn't enough of a hint, so here's what it comes down to.  Please DO NOT refer to things that haven't happened or appeared yet.  If it hasn't been mentioned somewhere in the eleven writeups I've done, there's probably a reason for that.  Either I don't care (possible) or it's going to be important later (more likely).

I appreciate the comments, I really do.  However, and perhaps this is going to sound conceited, I don't need someone jiggling my elbow on this stuff.  Trust me, the person you were referring to was going to be mentioned. 

Alternatively, there are spoiler tags available for use.  Speculation is welcome, flat-out reveals are not.


Posted by: Wonderduck at June 22, 2012 03:25 PM (2L1Hk)

12 Sorry, I assumed things that definitely weren't in the anime were okay. Shidou's history is totally gone from his confrontation with Rei in this ep (he has a flashback while she's pointing the gun at him). The character I mentioned is in a later arc and could only show up in a hypothetical second season. (We might actually be thinking about different characters. It's not the one in episode 5.)

Posted by: muon at June 24, 2012 02:23 AM (JXm2R)

13 We might actually be thinking about different characters.

We aren't.  Please stop even hinting about her.

Posted by: Wonderduck at June 24, 2012 07:45 AM (2L1Hk)

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