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From everything geeky to downright eerie

Highschool of the Dead – Volume 1

Posted by FuyuKaze on June 18, 2009

A mysterious, lethal disease is on the loose worldwide, resulting in a catastrophic death rate of humanity, and the increasing rise of attacks, caused by the living dead. In Japan, several high school students and a school nurse have banded together to escape Fujimi Private High School shortly after it was attacked by “them.” The group now attempts to figure who or what was responsible for this plague, and in the meantime, attempt to survive the present apocalypse.

I have been looking for a nice zombie manga to read or anime to read and I have recently stumbled upon this one entitled Highschool of the Dead. I must say, it really is interesting. If you like zombies and all the whatnot, or just like to see blood being splattered around, then this is a manga for you to read! I advise the readers with weak stomachs to refrain from this as it is bloody.

Anyways, the first volume is separated into three acts.
Act.1: Spring of the Dead
Act.2: Escape from the Dead
Act.3: Democracy Under the Dead

To start of this review, I will do a somewhat lengthy overview of the volume. In other words, I will be going through what happens with the story in each chapter. If, by any chance, you do not want to see the description of the first volume, just go straight to review section. Just do a good old ctrl + f and look up the terms Review Time!. Compared to ApocalypticBukkake, I will be doing an extensive summary on the first volume for those who want to get familiar with the whole thing. The other volume will be only my thoughts on the volume as they will be considered a complete spoiler to those who have already started reading.

Why are the first volumes being treated as such? Well, the thing is, just because a person can write up a great review on it does not make the manga series interesting to some. So, by giving a good foundation of the first volume, the person reading can try to give it a shot or not. After that, if they are reading it, they would just want to see what others thought about it and not reading the contents they have already read once again.

The first act – Spring of the Dead, introduces us to the whole universe of HotD. And compared to some manga, we already start off with the action.

At the start, we have some students beating up on zombies before the walking corpse bites and/or eats them. As we progressed we see the apocalyptic world of the manga as zombies walk the grounds, biting and eating everyone that are about. As usual, fear instilled itself on the humans as they desperately try to run away with their lives. Leaving friends behind (or trying for some) whenever they are in trouble.

We soon see that the author used the in media res to start off with the story as we are introduced to a small flashback to a few moments before the sudden outbreak of the story. Komuro Takashi, who obviously is the main character of the story, decides to skip class and goes to the roof wanting to take a nap, but ended up thinking about the pinky promise he made with another character of the story. Soon, the commotion starts as an unknown person is at the school gates.

You all know what happens when you get bitten by a zombie. Well, if you do not, then you turn into one. In a frenzy, Takashi runs back to class and gets Miyamoto Rei and Igou Hisashi out of the classroom. Following Takashi, they get to hear the explanation of his sudden actions and they retrieve some weapons. Rei tries to call, but the phone line is completely busy as the emergency system is under emergency.

After hearing the news and the horrified screams from one of the faculty members, the students panic and starts running away as fast as they can. Putting their lives before the others has they try their best being the first ones to be out.

While students scattered for their lives, the trio that got out of the classroom first faces off against their first zombie. Within the three, one of them is facing off against his first zombie, which is also his last.

Soon after, they run towards the room. While they are at a rather safe haven for now, the others outside and inside the school are being ruthlessly bitten and/or eaten by the ones already infected by ‘them’. Making their way to the observatory, being completely safe from the zombies. That is, until the disease finally takes over Hisashi’s body, turning him, just like in the movies, as a zombie as well. Before he ‘died’, he had one finally request and that was his death by Takashi.

The act soon ends after Rei goes over a crying fit and blames everything on Takashi. They soon reconcile as Rei ask for forgiveness and the whatnot. What will they do now?

Act 2 – Escape from the Dead starts off with Rei and Takashi leaving the observatory by splashing the zombies after them with some good old water. Water can do wonders and it sure helps you save your life against zombies by gushing them with it! Anyways, we get to see more characters in this act. We are introduce to the school nurse Marikawa Shizuka and president of the school’s kendo club Busujima Saeko.

We are also introduced to two other characters: Takagi Saya and Hirano Kohta.

It is a test of survival as the three groups try find a safe haven to go. While reading this chapter, I found it quite funny that Shizuka found that her Prada was equivalent to her life. Let’s see the screens to this part shall we.

Saya is soon trapped by a zombie and while she fends for herself, by killing the walking corpse with a drill to the head, the three groups have finally gathered up at the same vicinity.

After beating the zombies that tried to turn them into ‘them’, they were able to enter a safe location, for now that is, and think about their current situation. By taking a break, they can freshen up a bit and catch up on what is currently going on, thanks to the television in the classroom. The news report that chaos is within the lands as zombies roam free and authorities are trying their best to annihilate them. After a few more talking, the group decides to band up and leave the school grounds.

They fight their way through and finally end up being at the front gates of the school. But alas, they are completey surrounded by zombies. I honestly would have laughed if I saw those famed running zombies here. Because they would have been completely screwed and it would have been the manga. Sure it would be sad seeing this gory zombie manga end, but it would have been funny none the less.

The act ends as the group, along with others gets into a bus and drives away from the school. Killing a few zombies on the way as our good nurse finds the resolve to drive forward. Do not fret, she did not go against her code of a nurse as she did not kill humans but walking corpses!!!

Act 3 – Democracy Under the Dead is a bit more relaxed as it contains less pages than the previous acts. But nonetheless, we do have some development as Rei and Takashi leaves the bus after one of the passengers, the teacher, ends up becoming the leader of the group, through democracy. Yeah, like I believe that, that teacher is completely bonkers!

There was a bit of a commotion in the bus and from there, and the evil looking sensei ends up being the leader of the group through a vote, after a speech that is. Rei leaves as she does not want to be working with him and Takashi follows after the bastard calles Rei a lost cause.

Takashi and Rei are soon attacked and after beating up the motor man that had attacked them, Takashi and Rei takes the zombified man’s motorcycle.

Review Time!
This is one of those manga I got hooked on as soon as I started the first volume. I mean, take out the fact that I was looking for a zombie type manga, the action and all the blood being splattered around immediately took me in. I am one of those people that likes to see blood flowing, splashing or whatever here and there. No I am not a sadistic killer, I just love the whole action that is entailed in blood. More blood = more action.

Anyways, I like the whole fact that we have the hot babes in the manga. I love Saeko and Saya! If you have read it, who do you like the best out of the girls? Share a comment if you want, but Saeko and Saya are my faves at the moment! Back to the point, the manga actually focuses more on the whole survival of the zombie apocalypse thing. And it also adds in the few fan services here and there, not too much, but good enough to satisfy those who love fan services.

This is one of those manga that I so want to see turned into an anime. And I totally would love to see BONES take this project! I like how they did the whole Full Metal Alchemist remake. Another good choice would be Madhouse. Those two are completely for the win in my book!

Back to the manga, at first, I did not know how well it would turn out. I thought that four out of the six would end up dead, leaving only two: Takashi and Rei, considering they were the first to be introduced an all. But nope, Saeko, Saya, Shizuka and Kohta stays alive. They also bring in more people with them. For now, I will not say much about character development as I am sure I will be spoiling some stuff from the other chapters as I have already read them. I will be posting my comments on volume 2 later on.

Anyways, this manga is a must read! I totally recommend it to everyone… well everyone that can handle the whole blood and gore thing that is. And, of course, the whole mature people thing. Nevertheless, this is a completely good read! Zombies are walking about! Maybe you can learn something by reading this, you know, on how to fight zombies when they finally start to walk on earth – zombie apocalypse!!!

I think I read too much of this manga! Leave a comment, it will be nice to actually discuss this. Until I actually have the forums up and running, this will be where it can be discussed and all!

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