FINALLY! One of my favorite manga series has gotten the animated treatment. Madhouse (the studio behind such anime classics as X, Perfect Blue, Death Note, Chobits, and Paradise Kiss to name a few) adapt the Daisuke Satou manga series about a small group of high school students trying to escape the nightmare that is a zombie apocalypse. The story centralizes around a small group of survivors: Takashi Komuro (central character and "leader" figure of the group), Rei Miyamoto (Takashi's childhood friend and love interest), Saeko Busujima (cool and collected upperclassmen with unparalleled skills with a sword), Kouta Hirano (chubby firearm fanatic with an deadly aim), Saya Takagi (rich girl "tsundere" genius type), Shizuka Marikawa (air-headed school nurse), and eventually Alice Maresato (7-year old girl caught in the nightmare without her parents).
What I love most about this series is how the zombies are portrayed, rather than some of the "new age" zombies made popular by works like 28 Days Later or the Dawn of the Dead remake, these zombies are are slow moving and not menacing on their own... but the horror comes when they gather in packs. Much like George A. Romero's zombies, these stay fairly true to the original (though slightly faster and stronger). Also, there is no T-virus or Rage-virus that brought them back to life, simply the dead started to walk again to eat the living. Being a fan of zombie flicks and especially a huge Romero fan, High School of the Dead satisfies on all levels, even with the blatant fan-service of bouncing boobs and panty shots, it never really detracts from the seriousness of the situation. This group is fighting fro their lives so who cares about a panty shot or two.
The visuals are conveyed in true Madhouse fashion. The setting simply pops off the screen and the animation is fluid and an absolute eyegasm to watch. The music is dark and ominous and compliment the setting of the story quite well. Overall, with only three episodes out so far, I know this series is going to fire on all cylinders. And what better way than to fight through the zombie apocalypse than with "mo-e" inducing busty heroines!