We’re now up to Episode 3 of Madhouse’s anime adaptation of Sato Shouji’s and Sato Daisuke’s very popular manga, Highschool of the Dead. The first two episode have been mostly about introducing the main characters of the anime and the basic premise of the series. We now know that the surviving highschool students like Kohta Hirano, Saya Takagi, Saeko Busujima, Rei Miyamoto and Takashi Kimuro are not the only survivors still left alive in the school. Now joined by school nurse Shizuka Marikawa, these band of students and one adult are slowly finding out that it’s not just Tokyo or Japan that the zombie crisis has hit upon.
There’s a great sequence early in this third episode where we see news footage from other countries having a similar outbreak with places like Beijing and Moscow having been hit even harder by the undead plague. We learn that the United States, Europe and the rest of the world are also in chaos. I like how this sudden flood of news reports sink in for the students. For some their reaction is to try and reach their parents, while for some the cold, calculating need to survive kicks in.
One other thing this episode does well that actually improves on the manga source is setting up the rules of how the zombies themselves behave. While in the manga its mentioned that the zombies do hunt by sound. In this episode we see in one harrowing sequence just how true such an assumption was which leads to one exciting action sequence once an inadvertent sound echoes through the school courtyard.
It’s during this particular section of the episode we’re introduced to one character who will become a sort of a “foil” to our main characters. I speak of the douchebag teacher, Shido-san. We see him cruelly leave an injured student to the zombies to help him get away. He also tries to appoint himself leader of the smal group of survivors once they escape the confines of the school in one of the buses. While the zombies themselves still remain the primary danger for the series’ main characters Shido looks to be a “Manson-type” character looking to take advantage of the crisis to put himself above everyone else whether others want him to or not.
For fans of the manga the introduction of Shido-san and the bus means that it may only be an episode or two before the infamous “bus-orgy” scene shows up in the series. One wonders if Madhouse will go through with that particular scene from the manga or will they just skip over it. If they did skip over it there will definitely be many fans who will be seriously disappointed.
To close things off the series finally hits it’s stride with this third episode and it looks like it will just keep on-going full throttle from now on. As an aside for fans of Shaun of the Dead they would get a kick for a brief “cameo” late in the episode.