Highschool of the Dead 3

Daisuke Sato / Shouji Sato – Yen Press – 2011 – 7+ volumes

So, I was pretty excited about trying this. I love over-the-top zombie action series, and odds are, if the breasts are as big on the cover as they are in this series, there’s a good chance they don’t take things too seriously. I tend to adore that mix of gratuitous violence and fanservice, regardless of the actual quality of the series. I was thinking this was going to be a lot like Reiko the Zombie Shop, actually.

With this kind of series, I assumed that it wouldn’t matter too much if you didn’t start at volume one. After all, it’s all about the guns, violence, and breasts, right?

Hmm… not this one. For some reason, there are about half a dozen characters, and all of them have deep inner conflicts going on.

What.

So this is a lot more like Diary of the Dead than anything, and I hated that movie. It was about emo teenagers driving around and “documenting” the zombie takeover, all while mulling over the philosophical and practical implications of this new world, and what it means to them. Perhaps I’m just old-fashioned, but to me, zombies are so inherently ridiculous that it’s difficult for me to take any story with them in it seriously, unless it’s strictly action or survival-based.

So with the focus of the series being primarily character-based, I missed out on quite a bit in the first few volumes. What I saw here didn’t interest me to go back and read the first two, but perhaps I am missing out on a lot of the best parts of these characters by skipping the first two.

The cast is pretty large at this point, but the main character is named Takashi, and is the ringleader of a group of high school students. He doesn’t really know how to be tough or use a gun or anything, but is brave when the situation calls for it, and humble to boot. For some reason, he gets teased a lot for… I’m pretty sure it’s for being an immature high school student, but these parts didn’t make sense to me (the characters… appear to revel a lot in their youth, which young people don’t do, but maybe I’m missing some sort of inside joke). Takashi is accompanied by a harem of large-breasted women that all appear to have a crush on his wussy self, and various hang-ups. This volume focuses on Saya, who has to deal with the oppressive shadow of her amazing parents and their efforts to save as many people as possible. It looks like the group has been heading towards Saya’s mansion, and now that they’ve grouped with her parents (heads of a right-wing political organization), it appears that the action will carry on from there.

There’s also a scene with Hirano, a geeky boy they pick up that’s good with a gun. It’s the only thing he’s good at, apparently, and there’s a cathartic scene where he talks his way through this hang-up.

While this is all going on, all this serious stuff, there’s also some vaguely pornographic scenes slipped in there, which throws off the whole serious vibe. One of the characters with Takashi hurts her back, and a doctor traveling with them apparently has to rub her all over with oil in as uncomfortably sexual a way as possible. Later, there’s a busload of students that are chaperoned by someone I assume is the villain, who talks them into having sex with one another. Lots of boob-grabbing and whatnot, though I don’t think they actually have sex.

I don’t know the characters, and I have a feeling even if I did, the cast is slightly too large and the story slightly too serious for my liking. I love camp, but this misses my personal camp mark by quite a bit. It is more serious, for people who are looking for a little more substance to their stories though, and the characters might be more dimensional and make a whole lot more sense if you read from the beginning. But… yes. Definitely not for me, this volume left me with a rather bad impression.

This was a review copy provided by Yen Press.


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