What did you read? So that was volume five of the Highschool of the Dead manga. It was another five act volume, but also had a bonus act which expanded on the time back at the high school where Takagi forced Hirano to help her escape. This is the first volume that is all new from the anime, so sit back and enjoy (will contain spoilers)!
What Happened? The whole group is back together again following the escape from Takagi’s house, but this time they are in a mall that was secured by a veteran police officer. Before they arrived she went for backup, leaving her rookie partner Asami in charge of the survivors.
There’s a very different dynamic from the Takagi house. As much as you may like or dislike the Takagis they ran a smooth operation. Asami is well out of her depth and the survivors are getting more and more desperate. In order to reduce their perceived threat, the group hide their guns in a lingerie store.
Hirano and Takashi notice Asami struggling to keep control so they give her a police issue revolver, hoping it will help. Before long they find out just how out of her depth Asami is. One of the survivors attempts to rape Marikawa only for Asami to pull her gun on him and order him to stand down. When he refuses, all too aware that she is bluffing, Hirano strangles him with a fishing wire resolving the situation.
The group are planning on leaving the mall as soon as possible. They are outsiders here and things are far from friendly. Then when one old lady takes a turn for the worst, Takashi, Hirano, Asami, and another survivor make a dangerous trip to a nearby medical centre, looking for supplies. This raises more ethical questions for consideration during an apocalyptic event.
After the tragic mission, the girls discuss their concerns that Takashi and Hirano are taking on too much of the burden, having saved them each at some point in the last couple of days. Before they get a chance to really help, they spot the veteran police officer staggering back towards the mall as a zombie, inciting panic amongst the survivors.
How was it different from the anime? None of these has been turned into an anime, so it was completely different. Once again on top of the zombies and fan-service, the author raises some interesting ethical questions and creates some wonderful dynamics and obstacles for the group to overcome.
What was your favourite thing? I love the zombie mall dynamic, like in Dawn of the Dead. It would be such a fun element to play with as an author. Everything they could ever want is there, but is it enough and what will others do to get it from you!
What was your least favourite thing? It was a little slower than some of the other volumes. Granted there was some excitement with the mission to the medical centre. I think this also resulted in less of the glorious double-page spreads, which have been incredible so far. I know it’s going to pick up again, there’s always the false sense of safety that comes with the zombie mall dynamic.
I also was a little shocked to see the guy that attempted to assault Marikawa allowed to just wander around the mall as if nothing had happened! They should have at least locked him up somewhere.
Are you ready for more? Of course, things are just starting to get interesting. It’s a shame that there really hasn’t been a second season of the anime, as it would have been a giant nod to the Damn of the Dead, and from the various references in the manga, I’m assuming that the author was a huge fan of George Romero.