Highschool of the Dead Graphic Novel 1
Shii Nochi - Apr 1 2011 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: Pretty good!
Not for all Horror fans...
Highschool of the Dead is one of those series that can actually rub fans of the genre the wrong way. I, personally, saw the first episode of the anime at a screening and fell in love with it, but it isn't strictly a tale of a bunch of teenagers slaughtering zombies.
First off, HOD is, basically, like Ikkitousen (Battle Vixens) with zombies. While there is zombie action going on, there is also a ton of eye candy in the form of overly large, perky breasts and panty shots. They're pretty much everywhere, so this might just hinder your enjoyment of the series. As someone who has seen both Ikkitousen and HOD, I can say that the fanservice isn't as gratuitous in this series, but it's close.
However, if you can try to not get distracted by the curves of this series, you can uncover a truly intense story line. Just speaking of the zombies, the anime and manga are like an animated version of the Dawn of the Dead remake. You have a bunch of survivors neck deep in fast, violent zombies, armed with whatever they can find. In this respect, the series reminds me also of Battle Royale. There's a lot of brutality and gore, and the creator didn't shy away from having some friend-on-friend violence.
But, beneath the fanservice and zombie killing, HOD has the makings of an angsty, teenaged love story. It has the same make-up of romantic dramas, with the main character lusting after his childhood friend, who doesn't see him that way and has a crush on another friend (I won't give away any spoilers about that), who he resents because of it. If you took away the zombies, it would just be a story of a boy trying to make a girl to like him. You know, as he beats up reanimated classmates with a metal mop handle. Cliched, I know.
In other words, I give this series a 4/5. The plot, while not original in a genre that is filled with zombie spin offs, is well done and the characters are likable. The art is ok, too many angular lines that can make the characters look slightly off sometimes, but better than some others I've read and seen. Sometimes, between the wanna-be romances and cleavage, the horror of the story gets lost, but I've never come to a point where I rolled my eyes or actually got annoyed. If fanservice doesn't irritate you and you love zombies, I highly suggest picking this one out.
And, if you enjoyed this manga, you should preorder the anime while it's on sale here (it's currently reduced from 60+ dollars down to 42). While, from what little I've seen, it doesn't differ from the manga very much, the animation style makes it look more like a horror movie than an anime, reminding me of what the Walking Dead tried to be, and failed.