One of the most awaited new anime series has finally premiered over in Japan this past July 5, 2010. MadHouse’s Highschool of the Dead will air in Japan but will also be simulcast in the US with subtitles. Fans of the manga can now watch the series without having to wait for the dvd to be released by Sentai Filmworks in the future.
From what I can tell from this first episode the anime seem to stay quite true to the original manga source. While it doesn’t take everything from the manga scene for scene it does keep enough of the first couple chapters from the manga to set-up the series’ premise and introduce a couple of the main characters. The two characters introduced and which the first episode spends most of its time with are Rei Miyamoto (voiced by Marina Inoue) and Takashi Kimuro (Jun’ichi Suwabe).
The episode does a good job in setting up the personal conflict between these two childhood friends. It actually builds more on this conflict and it’s backstory than it did in the original manga. Here’s to hoping that the rest of the main characters in the manga also get more fleshed out in the anime as it moves forward. But for now, I like what MadHouse and series writer Yosuke Kuroda have done in adapting the manga.
One thing I didn’t have to worry about with this series is the quality of the animation. MadHouse is and still remains one of the top animation studios in Japan and their work on this anime doesn’t do anything but continue to prove their reputation. The characters look pretty much just like their manga counterparts which is great. Not all manga-to-anime adaptations get such an accurate transfer of character designs. The look of the zombies themselves were slightly exaggerated especially once they’re on the attack. This doesn’t bother me much since it does make them more menacing than just walking corpses.
The voice-acting I have to reserve judgement on until more episodes have been aired. The intro and end credits songs didn’t stand out, but that could change in time. Some of my favorite anime intro songs didn’t become favorites right away but took time after several listens.
As for the violence the anime captures it well, but I’m a bit worried that certain scenes may have gotten censored through cleverly added animations. I will have to see how the dvd turns out and see if some of the more overly graphic killings and zombie eating people were censored for the US market or if they were animated that way to begin with. I will say that the hype leading up to this series have created a high expectations for it but from my first impressions of this first episode I will say that it more than lives up to the hype…for now.
For those who want to see the first episode as a whole should head over to Anime Network where they have them up in one whole piece instead of broken up the way they are on YouTube. Link below should provide everything.