Comics / Back Issues

High School of the Dead Volume 3

By Chris Zimmerman
July 21, 2011 - 18:15

When it comes to exorbitant amounts of up-skirt shots and larger-than-life breasts, High School of the Dead ranks among the pack. The popular manga by Daisuke Sato and Shouji Sato knows what its audience wants and is only too glad to deliver. The series unapologetically showcases fanservice with every opportunity afforded to it, supplying buckets of blood and entrails on the side.
Volume 3 see’s a decline in the zombie bashing, utilizing only 30 pages to showcase the camp and gore that made the first two volumes a blast to sit through. Instead, the action takes a backseat to character development and story progression.

The high school renegades gear up for their continued fight for survival, wasting little time in getting back in the thick of things. Unfortunately, the majority of the group is unfamiliar with their newfound arsenal and is quickly overwhelmed. As all hope appears lost, the group is rescued by an organized gathering headed by Takagi’s parents.

The series then follows the usual zombie routine, introducing a camp of survivors that will almost surely wind up as zombie fodder in the long run. Takagi’s father plays the role of stern leader and takes it upon himself to interview every member of the high school escapees. But despite the discipline evoked within the camp, Takashi and Rei are still as conflicted as ever, taking a brief moment to reevaluate their goals as-well-as their rollercoaster of a relationship.

The pages devoted to the students interviews with Takagi’s father are an excuse for the authors to employ exposition as a means of fleshing out the characters. Truth be told, the entire cast is made up of one-note characters that have undergone little development since the first volume and that doesn’t change here. Practically every character demonstrates the same attitude, beliefs, and sensibilities that defined them since the beginning.

Then there’s Shidou, the ultimate spin doctor and proverbial monkey wrench waiting to be thrown. His continued corruption of his disciples makes him the character to watch and an all around joy to read. His scene-chewing speeches and sadistic personality make it impossible not to fall in love with him, even if the nonsense he spouts is complete tripe.

With the recline in zombie action this time out, the third volume of High School of the Dead begins to show the series’ weaknesses. With limited characters and a plot that shows no signs of resolution, the longevity of the series could provide the most damage to the series. There’s only so much the series can thrive on before becoming redundant. As it stands, everything that made the first two volumes a blast has begun to feel like a crutch that the series has fallen into a habit of relying on.

Rating: 7.5 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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