After a two year hiatus that has had fans hanging in perpetual darkness since April 2011, Highschool of the Dead Act.30 "intellect, emotion, and DEAD" is here.
The fan response I've seen has been overwhelmingly positive, probably thanks to the fact that the long wait is finally over, but I have also seen some negative feelings, perhaps aided by the news that there is no definite date for the next chapter. Of course, fans are perfectly justified in being apprehensive. They just endured a bitter two-year drought of new material after all. For this reason, I want to give my opinion on this apparent ambiguity before I discuss the actual chapter. First, here is what's causing the stir:
The top message is something I'm not sure there is a good English translation for. I've seen it translated as "To be continued" (like the Yen Press version of this chapter) as well as things like "coming soon" and "till next time." This message commonly appears at the end of Dragon Age chapters. In my experience, it usually means a series will take a one-month break. Sometimes it could mean more than a month, or rarely the series even returns the next month. It simply means that the next chapter is not currently in next month's Dragon Age lineup, and the creator(s) and publisher haven't set a definite time yet. This is further shown by the smaller text below, which says something like "The next chapter's release date has not yet been determined. The date will be announced later." (I don't read Japanese, so please don't take this as a literal translation). It seems likely to me that the reason for this message at the end of the chapter is one or all of the parties involved weren't prepared to commit to another chapter so soon after this chapter. A few possible, and very speculative, reasons for this may be that Shouji Sato is busy drawing for Triage X and doesn't want to rush the art, the publisher wants Triage X to continue as a monthly series and doesn't want to overload Shouji, there are two new series already scheduled to appear in Dragon Age next month and there was simply no room for HOTD, or everyone just wants to measure the fan response to this chapter before they decide how often to release new chapters and how much longer the series should continue. I think each is just as likely a reason as the next, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was some combination of these and more reasons I haven't though of. Just so you know, this month's Triage X was half the normal length, which makes me suspect Shouji had trouble getting full chapters of both series done.
I am confident the series will return in June at latest. I just can't believe there would have been such a big deal made for a single chapter. They would have announced that it was only one chapter if that was the case. After all, what reason would they have for tricking people into believing it was a full return while secretly only planning one chapter? It wouldn't make sense.
Now that I've (hopefully) put some fears to rest, or at least increased some fans' understandings of the situation, I can move on to the actual contents of the chapter. If you haven't read it yet and don't want anything spoiled, stop reading here. Otherwise, see more after the jump.
I chose to include the page above because it is the first time we see Takashi's group in the chapter (not including Zeke two pages earlier), and it is on page 29. Page 29! That's right, Takashi and his group got a total of 15/42 pages dedicated to their plight through the streets of Tokonosu. That is just one page more than a third of the total chapter. 17 pages, which center around the police officer many fans agree is Rei's father Tadashi Miyamoto, take place at the Niidoko elementary school; and 10 pages follow Rika aboard a Japanese destroyer off the coast of the city. So why is this virtual three-way split significant? I think this might actually be a good sign in terms of the lifespan of this series. The manga has shifted focus from the main group before at times, but it was almost always brief or served simply to fill in a part of the story. The way these three parts are presented in this is a bit different. Each seems to be developing a different plot line. When you have three stories to follow, the entire plot advances less with each chapter, and we ultimately get more chapters out of it.
Is anyone as excited as I am about Rika getting a bigger part in future chapters? I'm anxious to see how her story plays out, especially after she prepares to leave the ship with a small arsenal.
I know, I know, most of you read this series for two things: boobs and zombie violence. Here you go you masochistic perverts:
As you can see, the series makes its return drenched in its usual bloody, scantily-clad glory. The chapter has a little for everyone, whether you like the story, new characters, or just straight up zombie decapitations. I hope everyone enjoyed it. I certainly did, and I can't wait for the next chapter.