May 26, 2012

High School Of The Dead Ep08

It was only an episode ago that The Fellowship came to the conclusion that they had to be ruthless to survive, and heaven help those who weren't them.  Immediately after deciding that, they galloped off on their trusty steed Humvee-kun and rescued a young girl from the clutches of a front yard full o' zombies.  So much for ruthlessness.  To be fair, however, if they hadn't've (am I the only person who uses that double contraction?) saved Alice, there's no question but that I'd've (again!) sent HSotD packing, with nary a sou to its name and good riddance.  So now they've got a child and a Yappydog with them.  Great, just great, that'll really help their survival chances.  So what wonders does High School of the Dead bring us with this new episode?  Shall they rescue two koalas, a ferret and an angry llama from the local zoo?  And just what in the world is the Japanese Ministry of Environment Supernatural Disaster Countermeasures Division doing to stop the zombie plague?  It seems like this would be right up their alley.

In my years of watching this anime stuff, I've discovered that any time you see the White House or Air Force One in an episode, nothing good is going to come of it.  Mark my words, readers, and mark them well: this is to be no ordinary jumbo jet.  It is to be a 747 OF DOOMDOOMY DOOM!

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, Skippy Henderson.  President Henderson has a problem.  Y'see, his wife and half of the Presidential aides became zombies on AF1, shortly after takeoff.  His SecState was bitten, and is in the process of turning as we speak.  Worse still, the entire press corps entourage turned as well... though to be honest, it seems to be an improvement in their case.  Somewhere along the way, President Skippy got himself bitten on the hand and he's not feeling all that perky.  SecState, doing his level best to advise his Skippy-In-Chief before he becomes a member of the Shambling Horde himself, says that the US should officially announce National State of Emergency Tactical Regulation 666D.  Which, I assume, calls for kittens and balloons to be handed out to all citizens, with instructions on how to play with them for maximum calming effect.  Or the firing of ICBMs at countries aiming at the US, one of the two. 

President Skippy can't decide, and while SecState goes all grnfgrrrngrfzombiebrainnnns, we get a look at the current situation map.  Europe is Zombie Heaven.  Brazil is gone, much of Africa too.  Japan and China are going down.  A look at the insert map shows some interesting things going on in the US.  There's a huge outbreak in NYC and Washington DC, not that anybody could really tell.  Chicago, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have anything much, while St Louis has gone all zombo.  Must be all the Cardinals fans mixing up the sensors.  I'm amused, however, by the small outbreak in Minneapolis.  "Yah hey dere, lingonberry goes great with braaaaaaaains dontchaknow?"

Minnesota zombies.  I'm scared to death, you betcha.

"So you think you're a Romero / playin' a part in a zombie show / take the Dead way home."  Let's give a round of applause for Supertramp, everybody.  No, I'm not going to explain why, exactly, these particular pieces of apparel are flying from Humvee-kun.  I have some standards, believe it or not, and that bit of the story falls below those levels.  Far below.  I had the same problem with a particular scene in Ikkitousen, and we'll just leave it at that.

I... uh... should we be seeing this?  I feel very uncomfortable right about now.  I mean, it's good that Hirano has bonded so quickly with Alice-chan and all, but this just ain't right... and if it was in any other series, I wouldn't think twice about any of it.  But this is HSotD, the production staff is on record as being perverts, and I think I need to move on from this picture right the heck now.

Oh thank heavens, those weren't his pants.  I feel a little better.  Humvee-kun is amphibious, so screw the bridges and the police, we're crossing the river where-ever the heck we want!  I'm not sure exactly what Saya is doing.  I dunno, watching for Moby Dick, maybe.  Or sharks.  Swimming zombies?  Zombie sharks?  That'd be appropriate for my reviews, wouldn't it?  First we had the holographic space sharks, now we'll have zombie sharks.  Come to think of it, we could only be so lucky!  Zombie sharks would be awesome!  Give us swimming holographic space zombie sharks and I think my head would explode.  After making it to the other side, The Fellowship splits into two groups.

The menfolk do manly things.  They discover, for example, that Yappydog is actually named "Zeke," after the Allied recognition code for the A6M Reisen fighter plane in WW2.  Well, he's small, he's fast, and he'd blow apart when hit by the machine-gun fire from a Hellcat... yep, perfect name.  Meanwhile...

...the wimmenfolk change clothes, helpfully provided by the closet of the Japanese Police's fifth-rated sniper.  To be fair, fighting zombies in an apron probably would add a level of difficultly to the situation, though for the life of me I can't figure out how.  Well, it's okay, whatever makes them happy.  Back at the front of Humvee-kun...

...Hirano tries to teach a surprisingly apathetic Takashi how to use a shotgun.  Our Hero acts like nothing he's hearing is important, that knowing how to to blow the living dead away at range is pointless.  It's only been a few days, yet Takashi is already showing signs of cracking.  Uh-oh.  Returning to the aft end of Humvee-kun...

...the ceremonial trying on of the clothes continues.  I find that I'm torn, here.  The Zombie Survival Guide recommends tight, not skimpy, clothing as best against grasping zombie hands, but wouldn't wearing short shorts and tank tops work just as well?  On the other hand, such garb doesn't provide much in the way of protection against scrapes and cuts, which can cause as much damage via infection and disease as the chompchomp can.  It is a puzzlement, and not one I'm prepared to answer at this current time.  Fortunately, I don't currently have to worry about being eaten by zombies, and nobody wants to see me in skimpy clothing.  Up at the front of friend Humvee-kun...

...a few more seconds of shotgun instruction is interrupted by Hirano noticing something much more important.  MUCH more important:

...FANSERVICE!  I'll let you decide which type of fanservice is more important, the gun porn or the short skirts.  I know which one I vote for, and it has nothing to do with triggers and magazines. 

NO!!!  STOP IT.  GO AWAY!  *ahem*  Back in our regular anime...

Humvee-kun is feelin' kinda frisky!  Surprisingly, there doesn't appear to be any zombies on this side of the river, at least in the immediate area.  Instead of being curious as to why that would be, everybody begins to relax... just a little bit.  The decision is made to return to the original plan and track down The Fellowship's families; the nearest would be Saya's.  Everybody mounts up and the show gets back on the road.

As they make their way towards Saya's home, they are completely unmolested by the undead.  It's so obvious that even the whiny, oblivious Rei notices, and mentions it to Our Hero... and if you've been alive for more than a few years, you know exactly what happens next.

Yep, that's right!  Zombies, Mr Rico, thousands of 'em!  From nothing to undead at every turn, it's suddenly gone from being a character study episode to action again.  And, to be honest, that's what we want.  HSotD just shouldn't spend half an episode twiddling its thumbs... it's at its best when the Walking Dead is attacking.

...and Humvee-kun is at its best when he's charging headlong into the mass of shambling hordes, sending them flying everywhichway.  Now, it might be better if they didn't do this while Rei and Takashi are desperately gripping onto the roof, but what the hell, it's rule-of-cool territory.  Until the single most unbelievable moment in a show about the Zombie Apocalypse occurs.

A wire fence stretched across the street is enough to balk a three-ton HMMWV moving at high speed.  I don't care if that fence is made out of extruded adamantium and wrapped with the essence of Chuck Norris, it should have popped like an A6M Reisen being attacked by a Hellcat.  Instead, it catches the thing and holds up long enough to slice some zombies like a cheese grater.  Riiiiiight.  I can believe zombies.  I can believe a teacher forming a religious cult on a minibus one day after the zombie apocalypse begins.  I can even believe in five random high schoolers and their school nurse being able to kick zombie butt like a squad of Marines.  I'm okay with that.  But Humvee-kun being stopped by a wire fence?  I can't get past that one.

I also don't have much faith in 6000lb Humvee-kun's ability to brake so hard as to pop a stoppie, but I'll go with it, particularly because it launches Rei off the roof and onto the very hard concrete, back first, after bouncing off the hood.  Then again, it puts her in imminent danger of being nommed by zombies.  I may not like her much, but that's not a good way to go.

It goes without saying that Our Hero doesn't think so either.  He jumps down from the top of a now-stalled Humvee-kun and takes up a defensive posture in front of the damaged Rei.  Hirano starts sniping from the roof, and it looks like they'll get Rei outta there until Takashi burns through the five rounds his shotgun carries.  Not to worry, he's got a pocketful of shells...

...crap.  Fumblllllle!  At this point, near as I can tell, a shotgunner has four options: 1) let it go, man, 'cause it's gone; 2) pull another shell out of your pocket; 3) feets don't fail me now;  4) come to a complete halt, bend down to pick the dropped shell up off the ground, and let the zombies gather around you.  What would you do?  Fortunately for Skippy Our Hero, he doesn't have to make that decision because...

...Saeko chooses this to be her own personal Big Damn Hero moment.  She comes charging out of Humvee-kun, despite knowing that there's too many for her to handle, and tells Skippy Takashi to get Rei to safety.  Sounds like a good idea to me.  Once she's safe on the other side of the fence, everybody else can retreat to the inside of Humvee-kun or over the fence themselves until the zombie horde disperses.  Makes a ton of sense.

Which, of course, Takashi Skippy completely blows off and goes groping for his dropped shotgun shells.  He is promptly swarmed under and eaten, followed quickly by a defenseless Rei.  Saeko is unable to disengage from the horde of undead before she too goes down under the sheer weight of numbers.  Only Hirano, Saya, Boing-sensei, Alice and Zeke remain to evacuate to the other side of the fence.  All because Skippy decided to be Our Hero instead of Our Tactical Thinker.  Good jorb!

That's how it should work, and in real life that's how it would work.  However, this is anime, and while this show probably isn't above killing off a character or two, they'd have to go out in a blaze of glory, not a snuffed ember of stupidity.  But first, this is HSotD: before death, there must be boobies!

Feel free to insert any bipod/cheek rest/firing mat jokes you'd like right here.  I choose to admire the audacity of the Production Staff.  If nothing else, they do have a focus that's second-to-none, and they take immense pride in their work.  If you've seen this episode, you know what's coming next.  If you haven't, well, there's no way to show the highlight of this fight scene in still pictures; I've gotta go to the youtube.

I read somewhere that to pull that particular trick off, Saeko's breasts had to be moving at something like Mach 2.  While I give her immense credit, even I don't think that could work, no matter how strong her bra is.  Despite all of this Matrixy stuff ("Whoa."), the zombies are still a-comin', and Hirano runs out of ammo.  His pleas for more go unanswered for a few seconds, and he turns to look into Humvee-kun.  In that moment, he knows that he'll have to go inside to get the ammo himself, and by the time he comes back, his comrades will be dead.  He looks inside...

...d'awwwwwwww.  Resupplied, he goes on a zombie-based killing spree, but it's clearly not enough.  The hordes are closing in and darn fast.

It's so bad, even Saya joins the fray, grabbing Takashi's dropped shotgun.  She's not a fighter.  She knows that.  And she still goes out into the fight.  For a few seconds, it's enough... the horde is held back.  But only for a few seconds.

She runs out of ammunition.  Saeko has her wooden sword ripped out of her hands.  Hirano goes dry.  Our Hero is out of bullets.  Rei is immobilized by her damaged back.  It's over.  They fought the fight as well as they could, but it's over.  And then...

...diving out of the sun comes one of the Emperor's Eagles, Zeke!  Just like the Japanese fighter pilots in 1945, outnumbered, outgunned, and let's face it, outclassed, Zeke still comes barreling into the fight... and just like in 1945, his actions are futile and pointless...

...except that they inspire both Takashi and Saeko to try and sacrifice themselves so that the others may live.  They go charging into the mass of undead, making as much noise as possible to draw as many as possible away from Humvee-kun.  Their wild-eyed charge gets them to a flight of stairs out of the highway and out of immediate danger.

...but as a distraction, it turns out to be something of a failure.  A few zombies follow them, but the majority stay focused on Humvee-kun and the soft squishy things inside.  Takashi realizes that he's a failure and he's going to see his friends eaten in front of his very eyes. 

Fade to black, roll credits.

...and when the credits are over, a muffled voice says "everybody duck!"

It's the cast from Jin-Roh, here to save the day!  Well, actually, no, it's a bunch of firefighters carrying supersoakers.

Poof!  No more zombie horde about to eat The Fellowship!  But Frodo and Sam Takashi and Saeko are still separated from the group.  They're in danger, but this is also Takashi's neighborhood; they plan to get to Saya's house, one way or the other.  But who are the firemen?  We're not sure, but they're led by her mother.

Saya's understandably happy about this development.  Fade to black, this time for reals.

Wow.  A review three weeks in the making, and an episode full of The End Of It All.  That it didn't happen doesn't make the gloom and darkness go away.  There's definitely been a shift to the dark side now, and it isn't going to get any less gloomier in the future.  But everybody's still alive, that's gotta count for something.


Next episode: more zombies.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:55 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 2592 words, total size 22 kb.

1 You're right - there is no way that mere words could adequately describe the action in that video clip!

Posted by: Siergen at May 27, 2012 10:40 AM (PuIGa)

2 A couple of points.
1: I don't think the presidents name is really Skippy Henderson.
2: The art in picture14 seems off model somehow.
3: The bullet is traveling in the vicinity of 2700 feet per second.
    The bosoms in question transit back and forth during the time that the projectile passes through the area of interest  and thus are moving at least twice as fast as the bullet itself. This gives a breast speed of at least 5400fps.
    The speed of sound at sea level is roughly 1100fps. 5400 fps is just under 5 times that or approximately Mach 4.8-Mach 4.9 so a conservative reading of the available evidence would indicate that in addition to her levelheadedness, well developed sense of ethics, athleticism and general competence, Saeko possesses hypersonic tits.
4: I laughed twice. It seems the wait was worth it. 

Posted by: Brickmuppet at May 27, 2012 04:01 PM (Omb+U)

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