Madhouse has a hit on their hands with the adaptation of Highschool of the Dead. The violence and gore is appropriately over the top, the character designs are equally over the top (the school nurse has nearly the same bust size as Cattleya from Queen’s Blade) and the fanservice is intact, even amped up from the manga in some parts .
The first episode serves as an introduction to some of the main characters in the series with others getting screentime, but not directly involved in the episode. The series centers on the outbreak of zombies throughout Japan (referred to as ‘them” in the show) and revolves around main protagonist Komuro Takashi and his classmates as they confront the outbreak that reaches the school after the city becomes ravaged.
The first episode introduces Takashi along with his best friend Rei Myamoto with passing cameos from Saeko Busujima and Kohta Hirano, while setting up the relationship between Miyamoto and Takashi. The episode also introduces Nurse Marikawa and Saya Takagi though they don’t have much in the way of screen time save for a few lines for Takagi in the beginning, with the bulk of the episode focusing on Takaashi and Miyamoto.
The animation is rather lush for a Madhouse production and also makes judicious use of 3DCG for the exterior building shots while the character animation is especially fluid (lots of bouncing breasts and flying skirts abound). The gore and violence is inline and even keyed higher against the manga in some scenes, with lots of blood spattering and head smashing. With Shuji Sato’s past history as a hentai doujin artist, the fanservice quotient is left intact and is brought to life with Madhouse’s excellent animation quality. Plenty of breast jiggling and panty shots are to be found in this series and its only going to go up from here.
My only laments are the strange placement of the ending credits in the middle of the ending scene, which knocked me out of the story and the lack of suitable zombie themed death metal and grindcore (Cannibal Corpse is rather appropriate for this series). Another negative I had really doesn’t concern the series itself, but the avenue in which its broadcast as the player for The Anime Network was not functioning properly for myself at the time of this review, despite registering and following all instructions, forcing me to resort to watching the first episode via other means. Not a good sign and I hope they can get it fixed.
Overall I highly recommend this series for those that want zombies, violence and fanservice. Clannad this isn’t. This is straight violence, gore and fanservice with a love story as an undercurrent and a main character that shows signs of being more than one dimensional despite initial impressions. The fast pace will throw some off, but it adds greatly to the tension making it enjoyable. As an easter egg, the episode features another remix of “East Hastings” by the band Godspeed, You Black Emperor! which was used in the film 28 Days Later.