Otaku USA Magazine
Highschool of the Dead vol. 2

Takashi and Rei, his childhood crush, have escaped their zombie-infested high school and are riding off on a stolen motorcycle. Takashi worries about being pulled over, which goes to show that sometimes characters in horror stories just don’t always think through things. The police—if there are any left—are probably a little more concerned about the zombies. Speaking of zombies, the Z-word seems to be forbidden here. The living dead keep getting referred to as “they” and “them.” In quotation marks, no less. 

People who haven’t been turned into the living dead (or “them”) are flown off to safe places, but they might not be safe for long. Snipers have to take out zombies at the airport so planes can take off. One sniper seems interesting—she’s billed as one of the best cops in Japan—so I was surprised her time in the spotlight was so brief. Maybe she’ll be back more in later volumes. 

Getting back to our high school leads, Takashi and Rei meet up with some of their still-human schoolmates and shack up for the night. Despite all the horror and gore, the girls decide it’s time for a group bath, which makes the gratuitous fanservice go up considerably in this volume. There’s nothing like a group bath to get your mind off the world ending. 

In the midst of this, zombies keep attacking. They’re a tenacious bunch.  Most of the violence is pretty unemotional—who’s going to care about zombies getting it?—but there is a stand-out sad part when a father dies trying to save his daughter from the zombies. That felt out of place in here, since this generally feels more like a pure entertainment read with no intended depth. 

The second volume of Highschool of the Dead is a lot like the first, only more gratuitous. If you liked the first volume, you’ll probably like this one. I can get into the fast-paced action, but I’m not the right audience for all the gratuitous stuff. I’d be fine without it. Still, I know that’s part of what makes it sell. As to be expected, this volume ends with a cliffhanger, leaving our main characters in the midst of danger.

Publisher: Yen Press
Story: Daisuke Sato

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