Tuesday, December 21, 2010

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Highschool of the Dead

Highschool of the Dead

Official Sites: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry
Video: The Anime Network (Free for promotion, Pay afterwards for Eps. 3-12 ("Subscribers"). Ep. 1 free for "Guests", Ep. 2 free for those who register, which itself is free ("Registered"))
Free Promotional Period: December 13-31(?), 2010

I was originally aiming for something pleasant and soothing for this month's pick, as it is December and the winter and holiday season is upon us.

And then The Anime Network presented a very, uhh, *nice* gift…

The broadcaster announced last Monday, December 13th, that they would drop the access level from "Subscribers" to "Registered" for each of the twelve episodes of the controversial hit anime Highschool of the Dead (or "High School of the Dead", though I'm going with the original spelling here, which is actually grammatically-correct, too). A tale of high-school students trying to survive in a world quickly overcome by the undead, this mix of zombies-and-boobs has been a polarizing title with its overt fanservice, but also a well-praised one for its genuine horror touches and nods to various entries in the genre.

It is also an atypical show for venerable studio Madhouse (Casshern Sins, Death Note, Di Gi CharatBlack Lagoon, Kobato), which, in spite of its wide-ranging portfolio, rarely does fanservice-centric works, and director Tetsuro Araki (Death Note, Kurozuka, Aoi Bungaku's "In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom" arc). Still typical, though, are the high production values and caliber that the studio is known for. Highschool of the Dead is gorgeous to look at (and that's not counting the characters, either--sans zombies), but also offers a bit more substance to its story and characters. The show is definitely for mature audiences and not everyone may take kindly to the fanservice, but those unfazed by zombie killin' and/or Benny Hill-level sound effects will likely find plenty love in HOTD. And even if you might be, try giving it a looksee. You never know (especially since its free, for a limited time only)…

As of this writing, The Anime Network has unlocked Ep. 8, which can be accessed by Registered users (and registration is free, by the way). Each day, another episode is reduced from its "Subscribers" status until Christmas Day (Saturday, Decemeber 25), which will see the 12th and final episode unlocked for all to see (and "through the holidays" as they say, which is sort of vague, as it could mean until Christmas or New Year's Day. Just make sure you watch them soon. ;) ). Of course, you can catch them all after the free offering ends, as well as other titles from The Anime Network's library, with a Premium membership, which starts at $6.95 /month! Happy Christmas and Happy Watchings…


UPDATE [01/31/11]: Around a month after recommending HOTD and its free promotion, the series is still available for free to all registered viewers at The Anime Network, and perhaps for the foreseeable future. In addition, the channel has also posted it on Hulu for free.

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