Anime has come a long way since the days my younger brother first introduced me to it. Back then,anime was known by only the most dedicated of anime fans who actually knew the origins of the animated features that we were introduced to in the early 1980's. For most of us, Gatchaman, Macross and others were not known by their true Japanese titles. The "cartoons" we grew up with that were somehow vastly different from the normal Hanna Barbera and Bugs Bunny features went by the name "Battle of the Planets" and "Robotech". Times have changed since those early days where anime was still very much an underground thing. I remember fondly the early days attending our first anime convention, Project AKON, in Dallas, Texas, were attendees could barely fill a screen room of 30 seats in front of a 27" TV watching episodes of "Maison Ikkoku" and "Ranma ½". Where cosplay was still very much in it's infancy, and the merchandise rooms were filled with a heck of a lot more anime merchandise and Japanese CD's than cosplay and steampunk stuff nowadays. Where we had celebrities like "James Hong , MST's "TV's Frank", and Bruce Campbell for everyone's inner nerd to gush over. And what AKON vet can forget "lights out" during Akon Seven?

Anime has certainly evolved, and has became so mainstream, we didn't even have to try to study Japanese anymore or rely on fan-subs. You could just walk into Best Buy and take what you want. Which was a good thing for most of us. The " Dubbing" vs. "Subbing" debate was a favorite argument back in those early days, but I still cringe when I remember "DOCO USA".

I still love anime, and every now and then, I'll slip into the dvd player an old "Patlabor", "Urusei Yatsura, or "Tenchi Muyo" dvd and think about the fun I had with my younger brother watching those "old school" animes.

Every once in awhile though, I'll find something new that sparks my interest, and it was after flipping through Netflix one day I came across "HOTD". I thought it was pretty interesting honestly. Not a bad story despite the gratuitous fanservice . Back when I was a teenager, there were dozens of movies where the kids were smarter than the adults and it was the kids that saved the day. Some of you might be familiar with such films as "The Goonies", "Red Dawn" and "The Rescue".

When I was a teenager stuck in horribly mundane classes in my old high school and praying that something adventurous would happen to break the monotony, I have to say, my imagination never took me so far as to imagining a world experiencing the life or death struggle of a zombie apocalypse.

I find this whole zombie thing pretty entertaining to say the least, especially since there are actually people who think it COULD happen.

It was after watching that anime and reading a few very well written fanfics on the series, that I wanted to write my own, based on the HOTD storyline.

Now, I'm not a writer by any stretch of the imagination. I wrote a story once as an English assignment taught by the school's volleyball coach and got a C- for my efforts. It was an over 200 PAGE, TWO WEEK effort. The reason I got a C- ? He didn't think it was an original story, and, he believed that I had copied it from another publication. I didn't know whether to be flattered or pissed off. Ah well, I passed the class and became a junior the following year. Thanks the hell a lot though, coach.

Anyway, it wasn't for a couple months after watching the anime that the bug for actually starting to put something down on paper about the HOTD series really bit me till one day on shift during a training session.

We were asked, what would we do to help a group of civilians during a major disaster if we were out on a search party and came across survivors and back up was not going to be around for hours? Of course, we were discussing earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural events and not a zombie apocalypse. But then, as I was watching the last couple of episodes of HOTD when I got home after a 24 hour shift, I began to think to myself about that same scenario we had discussed at work and wondering , "What would happen if I came upon a group of kids alone in the middle of a disaster with no one to help them?" After brushing off the whole thing as silly and childish, I let it go for a couple of months. But HOTD was still one of the better anime's I'd seen in a few years, and so after a while of debating the silliness of writing my own fanfic, I finally decided to give in. In writing this story, I wanted to base it on the subject and characters of the anime and manga, but like all fanfics, I wanted to make it unique, to make it my own. Then a thought occurred to me.

In 2002, I had decided to start writing a journal, where I started putting down some personal thoughts and experiences for my family to read about if for some reason I didn't return home.

I have to admit, there are some things you DON'T want people to know about our job. It'll make you sick, and no, I'm not being dramatic. Still, every single one of us in this world has an interesting life story to tell, and while I have a journal that's there to pass on to my family to read of some of my experiences if the worst should happen, I saw no harm in blending in a few of those experiences into this fanfic, to make it a little more interesting and yes, to make it definitely unique.

I mean really, how many firemen out there will admit to being a fan of anime in the first place much less write a fanfic about it, and then blend in their own experiences as well into the story?

Which, by the way, yes I really AM a firefighter. I have served as a Firefighter/Paramedic for 26 years now and I still love the job, although it is starting to take it's toll in some ways. I've always been proud to still be serving in the field, and hope I still can for a little while longer. While I am proud of the job I do and the things I've done and the people I've had the great privilege to serve with, I'd still prefer to remain anonymous . I'm not out for personal glory for one and for another, there are some things that are true about the reputation of firemen and police in that we find it essential NOT to let each other know too much about each other, particularly our likes, dislikes, and hobbies. Why you ask? Because they can become excellent fodder for practical jokes that we firemen have become legendary for. (And no, I'm not kidding. "Ladder 49" barely scratched the surface on our love for practical jokes.)

Anyway, another reason I decided to write a fanfic is because after the truck and equipment checks are done, after all the training and station duties are finished, 24 hours is still a long time to be on duty before the next change of shift. It's remarkable to me just how quickly time passed by writing this story in between station duties and running calls. Still, this writing stuff is HARD, so it's still taking me a lot longer than I thought to start posting this stuff for you to read.

I had wanted to make a unique story, but the hard part is making a GOOD story where the reader doesn't think to himself "My, what an incredible waste of time that was".

I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon, but still, I wanted to make the story interesting, appealing, realistic and entertaining, and not just throw an enormous amount of literary refuse on the screen.

I also wanted, as I wrote this story, to honor my brothers and sisters in Fire, Police, EMS, and the Military with this story. There have been a lot of books written about us, and some of us in Rescue, Police, and the Military, have even written books about our own experiences that made excellent reading and obviously don't include zombies.

So I figured we were due a zombie version. LOL.

In this story, I have done some research to try to get things right about the guys that serve, but not being a cop or military, I've had to rely heavily on friends who are Police and Military to fill in the gaps. Research books, Wikipedia and the History Channel have certainly been a big help. Just the same, this is a fanfic written by a tired firefighter, killing time on a 24 hour shift, with no clue on what he was doing, so don't expect a literary masterpiece. But I do hope you have as much fun reading this story as I did in writing it.

Again, I am a Firefighter/Paramedic, and not Police or Military, although I have learned quite a few things from my friends in Police and SWAT and I have a few friends that have served in the Military and a couple in Special Operations who have explained a few things for the sake of accuracy, but they don't call them "The Silent Professionals" for nothing. And yes I actually do own the weapons my character uses in this story and they are all REAL, except for the Mk 18 carbine. My OC uses military weapons and some tactics, but again, I am NOT Military, so there will be NO claims of former service by me here. Stolen Valor is an ugly thing, and I won't be a part of it. I have a special place in my heart for the guys in the SEAL Teams, and everyone in Special Operations, so while in this fanfic my character has to do some things that are associated with the tactics and techniques of the guys in the military, you won't find me saying that I AM Military. I'm quite proud enough of my own accomplishments to try to steal someone else's. I never wore a badge I didn't earn, and I never called myself something I wasn't.

However, you can hardly expect to live through a zombie apocalypse by fighting with axes and fire hoses, so yes, my character does use weapons which are the ones I describe in the story that I really do own, except for the Mark 18 carbine (That's on back order, seriously. I can't wait for this whole ban thing to be over). And because there are Fire/Medics who serve on SWAT teams and serve in military bases as firefighters, yes, I used that as a basis for my character's whole reason for being in Japan in the first place, but that part is obviously fictional.

This story is meant to be a fun story and to also, in a small part, honor those who go in harm's way for our fellowman. So all you guys in the Military, Police, Fire and EMS, this is dedicated to you, guys.

And this story is especially dedicated to my younger brother Eli, who is also a "brother" among our ranks as an EMT and Fire Cadet.

And again, please folks, try not to take my pathetic attempts at the literary arts too seriously or laugh too hard at all my mistakes. This is supposed to be in fun.

But I would like to hear what you think, especially if it's good. :P

So drop me a review if you don't mind. Thanks!

I do hope you enjoy the story.

Obviously I don't own HOTD or any of it's characters.