The Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions are one of my favorites in the collection, so I wanted to review these for you guys so you can check out their pros and cons--if there are any--and read up on what makes these different from the individual volumes.
Also, if you are looking for an all-around as well as an inside look of the Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions and how they compare firsthand to the individual volumes, I added a link to our review on YouTube that you can check out below!
First off, Is Highschool of the Dead Good?
Yes and here's why. Highschool of the Dead is one of my favorite zombie manga stories. It's as gloriously fun and action-packed as some of my favorite b-horror zombie movies and the art and story are fun to experience.
If you are new to Highschool of the Dead, the story essentially is about a group of high schoolers working together to survive the zombie apocalypse and all of the obstacles they have to overcome in their new and scary reality. It really takes a good look at how these teenagers quickly adapt to the circumstances and how this new world shapes them.
Of course, situations like zombies taking over are going to bring out the best and worst in people, and Highschool of the Dead does a great job at showing how it pushes people to either work together to rise out of that darkness or pushes them further into it, but most of all, it explores the gray area that many of these characters reside in.
You have a lot of interesting characters that all excel in different areas that are pertinent to surviving the zombie apocalypse. There are various groups as well with different intentions and a look into how both people and nations would respond to this threat which makes it more interesting as well. I really think the story is done well here and, on top of that, the art and panels are amazing to witness.
One thing I will note is that this manga features some fan service since it is an ecchi manga in addition to a horror manga and supernatural story. To me, the manga has way less fan service than the anime, so if you dropped the anime for that reason, I recommend giving the manga a shot. Not to say there isn’t still quite a bit, but wanted to mention this if this is something you aren’t typically into. Even so, it’s all done in a light-hearted way and I personally don’t mind these elements.
Highschool of the Dead Manga Individual Volumes vs Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions
Highschool of the Dead was released with English translation in the Full Color Editions, but individual volumes of the series were released by Yen Press as well. The individual volumes are paperback whereas these Full Color Editions are hardcover. There are a total of seven individual volumes of Highschool of the Dead. The hardcovers are omnibuses with the first volume containing 1-4 and the second containing volumes 5-7, so two hardcovers fully collect the series.
The Full Color Editions are larger than the individual volumes. Their dimensions are approximately 7.5 x 1.75 x 10.5in whereas the individual volumes are around 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.55in, so they are bigger all-around; However, if you compare how much shelf-space these would take up, they take up considerably less space since they are only 1.75in thick in comparison to four individual volumes which would be take up around 3.6in of shelf space. In terms of what the Full Color Editions are similar in size to, they are almost the same size as the Deluxe Editions from Dark Horse albeit a tiny bit larger with approximately .2 in separating them height and width-wise.
The first few pages of the individual volumes are in color, but the printing of the full color editions appears brighter to me when comparing the two. The rest of the paperback volumes aside from a few pages in the beginning are in black and white.
The translation and the story are the same in both, so there are no differences there, and the sound effects are translated the same on both as well. They both have the Japanese sound effects with small translations underneath them directly on the page. The one thing that’s cool about the Full Color Editions though is the fact that he even colored the sound effects, which really makes them stand out and gives them even more emphasis.
The Full Color Editions also include extra material, such as illustrations, commentary from and interviews with the creators, concept sketches, and more.
At the time of this post, the Full Color omnibuses are selling for $44.99 USD on Right Stuf right now and the individual volumes are going for around $10.49 USD each. The first volume contains four individual volumes, so it only costs you around $3 more to get them. They are definitely competitively priced for what you get.
Positives to Buying the Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions
They are full color and are made in a larger format
As mentioned above, the individual volumes have a few color pages in the beginning but when comparing these color pages to the same ones in the Full Color Editions, the printing of the Full Color Editions is brighter and the colors are bolder. So, the printing of these is absolutely incredible. In terms of look and print quality, the Full Color Editions are definitely the best way to experience Highschool of the Dead and there’s no question that I prefer them over the individual volumes.
One of the biggest positives to buying the omnibuses of course is their full color panels, which really pop. Also the paper is like what you see in comic book omnibuses so they have a glossy finish. The quality of the printing and the vividness of the colors is incredible and these are some of the most beautiful Full Color Editions I’ve ever seen. I really enjoy the way his panels flow and I love the moments he chooses to emphasize.
You can just see so much more detail here and this manga really comes to life, especially the landscapes and settings, or looks even more dead, depending on what elements you are looking at in Highschool of the Dead's manga.
The art looks amazing in these omnibuses
Shouji Sato's art is amazing already, but it looks even more amazing in the Full Color Editions. Especially when it comes to the larger, more impactful panels.
In one of the interviews included in these volumes (by the way there’s a few of these included throughout that are interesting to read), he mentioned that he really took care in making sure that you could tell the difference between the living and the zombies. He did a great job with this in the black and white version, but the zombies look even more grisly in full color and the blood and gore elements hit even harder than before.
This is a manga that’s full of carnage as you would expect in the zombie apocalypse and I love just how gruesome he gets with his art and how this all comes through even more so in these Full Color Editions.
They feature a lot of extra material
On top of those interviews I mentioned above, there’s a lot of commentary from the creators included throughout, character sketches, illustrations, and more that are featured in these omnibuses as well and this makes them that much more awesome to experience. On top of the manga, it's almost as if there's an art book sprinkled throughout these volumes as well. I know there’s an art book you can purchase too. Not sure if these are pulled from that art book since I don’t have it in my collection yet, but it's really cool that they added in these extras nonetheless!
They made better design choices with the Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions
I really love the look of the Full Color Editions and the designs of the covers. The dust jackets have a nice texture to them on the lettering and on the bloody handprints. The first volume features beautifully drawn art of Rei on the front and when you flip over to the back of Saeko while the second volume has art of Saeko on the front and Saya on the back.
The spines also have a lot of texture to them with raised lettering and details and these look awesome when displayed on the shelf. These also look great with or without their dust jackets on. The volumes themselves feature the same art as seen on the dust jackets but without all of the lettering and extra details that are added, so you can see the full art when the dust jackets are off.
The art in the individual volumes is cropped slightly at the bottom of the pages whereas you can see the full art in the Full Color Editions thanks to their large format. They made better design choices as well within the Full Color Editions. For instance, the way they handled the Act text in the top corner of each chapter allows you to see the art fully whereas you can’t in the individual volumes (they have a black background behind the text to pop it out).
In addition to them being in full color, it’s design choices like these that make the Full Color Editions better in my opinion.
They provide for an awesome reading experience
These volumes do have an eye, so they lay flat while reading, which is something I’m always hoping for with larger omnibuses like these. Omnibus 1 is just over 700 pages long and the second is just over 600 pages long, so these have a lot of content. I’m so happy with how these are made because, despite their thickness, they are never difficult to read and all of the panels are completely visible throughout.
As far as manga omnibuses go, these are an absolute joy to read and the experience I had while reading them is one of the best I've had so far.
Potential Negatives to Buying the Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions
This is a first, but there are no negatives in my opinion to buying the Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions, because they are competitively priced with the individual volumes when on sale, they have better design and formatting, the art looks amazing in this large format, they have a lot of extra material, and they are one of the best Full Color Editions I've ever purchased.
Final Thoughts: Are the Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions Worth It?
Another thing I want to note is that this story is not complete. Daisuke Sato, Highschool of the Dead’s writer, tragically passed away. What he left us and all he was able to create is definitely still worth reading though. I know that some individuals don’t like getting into a series if it's unfinished or on a lengthy hiatus, but I personally would have missed out on some of my favorite manga series if I lived that way. The journey doesn’t reach its end, but you get to see where it was headed and give love to someone’s work, who they dedicated their hours and life to.
If you are looking to read Highschool of the Dead, I highly recommend going with the Full Color Editions over the individual volumes. They are phenomenally made, the colors are beautiful, and they are one of the best Full Color Editions I’ve ever seen.
The large format allows the art in this series to shine and they are beautifully designed. The extra material is also above and beyond what I’ve seen in many other Collector's Edition manga and this makes the Highschool of the Dead Full Color omnibuses that much more of a must-have. Plus, they are priced just a little higher than the paperback volumes, so they are a no-brainer in my opinion!
You can find out where to order the Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions below!