Highschool of the Dead: Episode 8 – First Impressions

Madhouse’s anime series adaptation of the very popular manga, Highschool of the Dead (In Japan known as Gakuen Mokushiroku) is now 2/3’s into it’s first 13-episode season run. The reaction to the series has been pretty positive, but there’s definitely been some mixed to negative reactions to how the series’ animators from Madhouse has wholly embraced the ecchi nature of the manga. Some have even called it fanservice overload. I’m guessing they said the same about the manga when they first read it and thought the anime would tone things down.

My reaction to such criticism is “live with it”. There’s a reason why the manga has been so popular despite some long-delays from the manga’s writer and artist. For good or worse the manga and the series will succeed and fail because of it’s very ecchi nature. To expect the anime to actually tone down that particular aspect of the original manga source would be self-censorship and takes away half the fun of the manga. To continue complaining about the series because of its fanservice even this deep into the anime and still continue to watch it just speaks nitpicking and “grumpy old man syndrome”.

Now this eight episode does cut back on the fanservice after the some very heavy doses of it from the last couple episodes. There’s still enough of it that its not all about the zombies, but blatant fanservice sequences was very absent from this last episode. There are some very hilarious and awesome use of “bullet time” effects during the latter half of the  episode when the group gets trapped by an oncoming horde of zombies. We also get to see more great kick-ass action from the senior-class member of the group, Saeko Busujima, as she bokken smashes her way through the wall of zombies to try and distract them away from the main group. Takashi helps her out and it’s with his shooting and Saeko-chan’s acrobatic fighting that the bullet-time effects get put to good use.

This particular episode actually combines at least chapter 8 and 9 of the manga and it looks like the anime writers may be looking to start condensing the latter chapters of the manga into one episode. This maybe Madhouse’s way of hedging their bets in case ratings for the series doesn’t get a second season greenlit. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen and we get a second season to see the anime through right through the end. The manga is still going and with the anime series’ release it looks to gain more readers.

So, even with the naysayers dumping on the series because of the fanservice (even though they still continue to watch) I do believe the series has done well in adapting the manga. Some of the characterizations may seem a bit off as the series’ writers try to balance action, fanservice and quiet character moments, but with most shonen anime series sometimes characterizations take a backseat to what its audience want: the visual stuff whether they’re action and/or fanservice.

Probicus Parley 007

Probicus Parley
A Starcraft 2 Daily


Angry Baby Steps – When in doubt, move out, and the significance of getting Blink early:

I’ve been playing way too many team matches. I jumped back in to two 1v1s today, a loss and then a win, and it showed. I encountered the same trend in both, and I’d like to talk about it.

In my first 1v1 I was up against Terran. I thought “oh my god reapers”, because that’s what you have to think in 4v4 matches, so I went straight for a forge and three cannons before I even scouted the guy. Stupid, stupid, I know, but I’ve played like 40 team games since my last 1v1.

No reapers, no worries, but I immediately felt the setback. Here I was with two gateways and an expansion at the ready, six stalkers with blink to my name, and I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was up against. I sent in a probe, he died to a bunker at the other guy’s neck. I could have attacked. In the very least I could have sent one stalker on a suicide run to see what he was making. But no, I said screw it, my resources are pouring in now, throw down two more Gateways and start spamming stalkers.

I had about ten stalkers when he hit me, up against a bunch of marines. He won out with a few to spare. My cannons could have taken him, but by then it was too late for me. An expansion lost and two gateways beyond the range of my cannons, I packed up and moved on to the next match.

As it turns out when I had those initial six stalkers he had four marines. He’d scouted me early, he’d seen the cannons going down, he knew he had time to spare. Four barracks went down with reactors attached before he ever started massing units, and if you haven’t noticed yet reactors take a really long time. Those stalkers could have in the least decimated his supply line and given me a fighting chance.

My next opponent was zerg. The ling rush is a more realistic fear (in fact it’s probably the most practical way to scout Toss anyway), and again I started tossing down cannons. He sent a wave, they fell, and he reacted just like the other guy. “I have plenty of time now, I’m going straight for hydras/mutas.”

This guy made the mistake though of throwing down a couple sunken in case I countered his rush with zealots; he assumed that was the only unit I could mass any time soon. Well there I was in the same boat as last time pretty much, this time three gateways but no expansion, no stalkers yet because I went “omg six lings” and threw down like four more cannons. I did have a templar archive.

My (very) late scout saw an expansion going down, and I decided hey, waiting around didn’t work last time, so I started researching Blink immediately and resolved myself to go at it with what I had when the research finished.

Turns out he only had lings and those sunken. Just like the other guy he had taken my cannons (didn’t hurt that I started a bunch more during his attack after all) as a sign that I was just going to sit on my ass and let him build up. Stalkers with blink destroy lings without speed, and well, that was the end of it. I just blinked around his sunkens, took out his tech tree, and held position where I could snipe drones forever without a sunken scratching me. gg

What I took out of this was not that you should try to confuse your enemy, screw that. It’s a roll of the dice whether he falls for it, just one step up from cannon rushing. What I learned was that if you screw up big time early on and know that he knows it, you might as well try to retaliate as soon as possible. Maybe it doesn’t work for the pros, I don’t know, but at least in Gold league I was in back to back situations today where my own mistake could have won me the game.

I’m not recommending putting yourself in positions where your opponent rightly thinks he can easily overrun your base in a couple minutes, but if you find yourself there, don’t get flustered, take immediate advantage of it. There’s no sense waiting around to die, and there’s no harm in attacking with five or six units if the situation demands it.

From the other perspective, if your first assault puts you at a clear advantage over the other guy but doesn’t realistically end the game, don’t just think “oh I can tech up now” and quit making units for two or three minutes. Always maintain at least a token mobile force.

On a final note, in both cases I could not have won without Blink. In the top tiers your opponents should have a mobile force so you might want to reconsider, but if you have reason to believe the guy you’re up against doesn’t, Blink can be the game ender. I really like the idea of getting this upgrade early.