The day it all came to an end, he killed his best friend and got the love of his life.
That’s as poetic as it is fucked up, which is awesome! Also, I’m ashamed at myself for actually not watching this earlier, what is easily the best first episode to an anime this year!
The story begins with Takashi Komuro sulking about his school, remembering how his childhood sweetheart, Rei Miyamoto, broke up with him to go out with his best friend Hisashi. Takashi watches as some random dude walks up to the school gate, bites one of the teachers, thereby starting the zombie infection within the rest of the school. Takashi goes to save Rei and Hisashi from an ongoing class. As the rest of the school gets zombified, these 3 run to the top (of course) where Hisashi gets bitten on the way. The episode wraps up with Takashi eventually killing Hisashi, ergo Rei is his.
First off, big props to Madhouse for creating yet another fluidly drawn and beautifully directed anime. The production values here are top notch. Now onto the characters that were introduced. Obviously the first episode showed glimpses of some of the other key cast members, but the focus was on these three for the time being. Takashi comes off as a selfish douche in the beginning as he whines about how Rei gave up on him when he didn’t return her feelings. Anyways, he keeps this to himself, so no harm done. Rei, as it turns out, was actually the self-centered one here. Her unnecessary humiliation of Takashi was probably due to her still feeling burnt by him in the first place. In the end they both hated and loved each other, and none of it mattered as everyone around them is dead/dying and they have no one else but each other. So that worked out quite well.
It was also obviously quite fun to watch people getting bitten and friends betraying each other just to stay alive a little bit longer. What irked me initially was the excessive fan service. The OPening made this quite clear, but I still expected some subtlety here. While it did draw attention away from the action at first, the fan service eventually got a bit more subdued towards the end as things started to get more serious. Still, I won’t complaint much here as it all adds to the charm of the anime.
So basically if you like zombies, fan service, gratuitous blood splatter and characters that actually stand out beyond their typical two dimensions, then definitely give Highschool of the Dead a shot.