Tuesday, January 29, 2013
On some of the fan-service in Highschool of the Dead Vol. 2
Note the fairly ridiculous costuming—tiny panties that tie on the side, a tiny apron and, um, that's it. Note the posing, in which artist Shouji manages to include both her ass and both breasts without going for full-on brokeback pose, by positioning the "camera" near the ceiling of the room and looking down at her. And, while it may not quite come through in my poor scan of the page, the coloring mimics the sort of soft-lighting of boudoir photography or soft-core pornography.
Despite how fantastical, a word I'm using her to mean something out of someone's fantasy, the image might be, it actually occurs almost exactly like that within the context of the story (Sans the coloring, of course).
While they're waiting for their school clothes to dry, the girls borrow clothes from the apartment to spend the night in. The school nurse wears either a towel or nothing (oh, they also start drinking, the nurse getting pretty wasted), Rei Miyamoto wears a super=tight, super-tiny tank top that doesn't quite cover her panties and Saya Takagi wears a tiny, half tank top and shorts that aren't much bigger than a pair of panties. But the tall Busujima can't find anything in her size, save the apron.
before, but I'm going to re-post it here, as it's a pretty good example of that particular outfit being worn in circumstances one might not expect such a costume to be worn in
I'm sort of fascinated by the over-the-top cheesecake or fan-service elements of HOTD, because the series isn't actually that over-the-top. Yes, there's a leering perversity to it, and obviously there's a lot of violence and gore, as the zombiepocalypse genre demands, but it's a pretty straightforward, serious horror drama: The fact that Busujima is dressed like that isn't presented as a joke, it's just matter-of-factly presented among the life-and-death elements of the comic, which are always played straight.
I also wonder about my reaction to it. I wonder why I like this comic, how I don't mind its portrayal of the characters in such costumes and poses in the least, whereas this is the same sort of stuff that I find literally outrageous in American super-comics.
I'm fairly certain that it has to do with the context, the fact that this is unambiguously a comic for grown-ups—It's rated "M", bears a "Parental Advisory/Warning/Explicit Content" label on the front that is visually reminiscent of early '90s gangsta rap CDs and cassettes and is sometimes even shrink-wrapped.
And it certainly helps that the stars are original to this series, not characters created for children's entertainment like, say, Wonder Woman or Supergirl, who are simultaneously appearing in hyper-sexualized comic books for teens and adults while they're also appearing in all-ages cartoons and comics and being sold as toys and bedsheets to little kids.
And it also helps that artist Shouji Sato is on the same page as the writer—the tone of the art matches the one of script, which isn't always the case in sexualized super-comic art. And it also helps that Shouji is a good artist (the above brokeback pose notwithstanding). I don't object to cheesecake or fan-service. I object to inappropriate cheesecake and fan-service. And I object most strongly to badly-drawn, inappropriate cheesecake and fan-service.
While Busujima's panties, apron and nothing else ensemble does give Shouji an excuse to draw her practically naked throughout the entire volume (or, alternately, readers an excuse to ogle her practically naked throughout the entire volume), this isn't a technically all-ages comic, so it's not like excuses are needed. If the Satos want to have Busujima, or any of the characters appear naked in the comic, they can just have them do so. Which they do in this volume.
Before she puts on the apron-only outfit, Busujima and the other female characters are all shown drinking and fooling around while bathing.
It's amazing how refreshing genre comics for actual grown-ups, free of any and all valuable all-ages IPs, can seem if you've spent a lot of time—maybe too much time—with super-comics.