If you missed out on the hype surrounding the 2010 Japanese anime “Highschool of the Dead,” you might be wondering why it was so controversial. The show followed a group of high school students fighting for survival during a zombie outbreak, but it’s not the typical zombie tale you might expect.
While it received praise for its unique storyline, the show became notorious for its explicit violence, bizarre humor, and heavy sexualization of the teenage characters. Despite this, the show had a significant fan following, leaving many wondering why it only lasted one season and ended on a cliffhanger.
So what happened to “Highschool of the Dead”? Dive into this gory and provocative anime, and learn why it left such a lasting impression on viewers.
Highschool of the Dead’s early volumes gave Naruto a run for its money in popularity
Highschool of the Dead, a manga series written by Daisuke Satō and illustrated by Shōji Satō, debuted in the September 2006 issue of Fujimi Shobo’s Monthly Dragon Age magazine. The story quickly gained popularity and by 2007, tankobon volumes of the released chapters were being produced by Shobo and Shoten. In fact, the manga had more than three million copies in circulation in Japan by the time the seventh and final tankobon was released.
The series gained a significant following online through the use of scanlations, prompting the authors to include an English message within the magazine’s printing of the fifth chapter, requesting that readers buy the manga when it’s available. When Highschool of the Dead was eventually released in English, it quickly climbed to the fourth spot on The New York Times’ Best-Selling Manga List, beating out such classics as Naruto and Blue Exorcist.
Highschool of the Dead was not only popular in Japan, but it also repeatedly appeared high on the Oricon sales charts. Both the manga and the anime were huge successes, and fans were eagerly anticipating what would come next.
However, in 2008, the manga’s writer, Daisuke Sato, became ill, making the production of the series increasingly difficult to manage. This led to the manga being put on hiatus until 2010, the same year Highschool of the Dead’s anime adaptation aired in Japan. Unfortunately, even upon the writer’s return, little else was created.
In April 2013, Highschool of the Dead received a brief comeback through the release of a single chapter. However, none of the main characters was present in this chapter. Instead, it showed police clearing the school and a group of other survivors contained within it.
Despite its untimely end, Highschool of the Dead remains a beloved series among fans, known for its unique blend of horror, action, and high school drama.
Daisuke Sato’s Legacy Lives On: A Bittersweet End to a Beloved Show
The untimely passing of Daisuke Sato in 2017 left a gaping hole in the hearts of Highschool of the Dead fans worldwide. Sato had been battling ischaemic heart disease since 2011, and unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the years. After the final chapter of the manga was released, it was abruptly placed on hiatus, leaving fans clamoring for more. But the sad reality was that Sato’s passing marked the end of the beloved show.
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In a 2019 interview with Comic Natalie, co-creator Shouji Sato revealed why he had no plans to continue the series. “Overseas fans who don’t know the details of the situation say, ‘draw a continuation right away,’ but it’s not that easy,” he explained. “We are saddened that the work has stopped halfway through, but just thinking about Daisuke Sato makes me think that I cannot carelessly get involved.”
Despite the disappointment felt by fans, it’s admirable that Shouji Sato recognizes Daisuke’s invaluable contribution to the manga’s creation and is committed to preserving his legacy. Although the story’s conclusion may be unfinished, fans can still relive the bizarre and controversial world of Highschool of the Dead through the manga or anime. For those who haven’t experienced it yet, it’s definitely worth a watch.