H.o.t.D.D. – Democracy Under the Dead (Episode 3)

What did you watch? And that’s episode three of the Highschool of the Dead anime series. Seriously, I just want to hit play and keep going. I’ve also noticed that my episode reviews for Highschool of the Dead are longer than my normal season reviews… Whatever, I’m having a ton of fun.

What happened? The group have decided to leave the school and search for their families. To do this they will have to get past the zombie horde, but Takagi has a plan. She believes that the zombies can’t see and are only responding to sound. Takashi volunteers to test this theory and everything seems to be going well until another survivor slips up and alerts the zombies to their presence.

They make it to the school minibus and add a few more survivors, but one is a teacher, Mr Shido. Rei warns Takashi that he’ll regret saving Shido and it doesn’t take long to see why.

What hooked you? This episode started off with several news clips, revealing the extent of the zombie outbreak. Everywhere seems to be having the same issue, although the British have maintained order, of course. The interrupted news broadcast is a staple of any good zombie outbreak story and a great way to get a little exposition in.

That’s great, but there was much more to get excited about too, especially when the group charge out of the teacher’s lounge and head towards the minibus. I loved how Saeko and Takashi charged ahead and attacked the zombies head-on, Rei followed behind with her spear, while Hirano played the sniper, protecting Takagi and Marikawa.

It was also great that they seemed to tone down the annoying bouncing sound everytime Marikawa moved. I definitely didn’t remember it from the first time of watching, so hopefully, that’s the end of that.

This episode seemed to fly by much quicker than the first two. That’s probably down to the high intensity of the escape. There were other groups of survivors, some didn’t make it, but that wasn’t totally surprising.

On top of all that, we also get to see our first real villain, Shido. Some would argue that the zombies are the villain, but I’ve never seen them as anything more than an obstacle. It’s like a flood or an earthquake, surviving that doesn’t mean anything, because there’s always some jerk looking to take advantage of the situation.

What was your favourite thing? I loved the scene where Takashi volunteers to test Takagi’s theory. Rei tries to stop him and she asks him why, he says he doesn’t know, he’s just got to do it. There’s a lot of subtext in the brief and emotive conversation.

Takashi had recently killed his best friend, who had just turned into a zombie. His best friend that also was dating the love of his life. It’s complicated. Even so, there’s a lot of great little moments between them. They have history and issues to resolve, but they’re also teenagers facing a terrible situation.

So, when he says he doesn’t know, I believe him. Part of it is his urge to protect his friends and part of it must be about how difficult it is for him to face up to Rei, that walking into a room full of zombies seems like the easier option. Their relationship is fascinating.

What was your least favourite thing? It’s a small nitpicky thing, but I can’t get over how nonchalant some of the characters are when the zombie horde is closing in around them. Takashi, Saeko, and Rei are in full-on attack mode, but Takagi is prepared to tell Hirano off for interrupting her to kill a zombie that’s about to attack her.

Who was your favourite character? It was another good episode of Takashi. I’m going to bring up the scene where he walks into the room full of zombies again. The tension is amazing. Other than that, the guest appearance of Shaun of the Dead in the convenience store was a nice touch from the author.

Who was your least favourite character? Again, I’m saying least favourite because this guy is the pantomime villain. Shido is so over the top with his actions and intentions, I find it hard to believe that no one saw him kick the student in the face so he could escape unharmed. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good villain which is why he’s in this spot.

Are you ready for more? At this point, I am so into this show again that I am thinking of making it an annual rewatch at the very least. I’m also contemplating bingeing it once I’ve gone through it daily so I can really immerse myself in the world. I’m definitely not going to wait another three years.

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