Mark’s Anime Corner
Review: Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? / Kore wa Zombie Desu ka Of The Dead (“Is This A Zombie? Of The Dead”)
I originally intended to review the first season of “Is this a Zombie?” but after having many joys from watching the very short run 1st season I immediately started watching “Is this a zombie of the dead” its 2nd season and I wholly regret it. I couldn’t believe from the 1st to the 2nd I could love and hate a show so fast & passionately.
It embraces all the silly joys of anime clichés as a joke that it is fully aware of and targets its audience through that. However, once into the 2nd season it forgets all that simple guilty pleasure and becomes a far more serious and is worse off for it, over-playing the stereotype gimmicks of these clichés to the point it becomes unbearable to watch. This leaves you questioning to why you wasted your time in the first place; if you were hoping for something fresh and new, you won’t find much of that here.
I love anime, I may not be a frequent watcher like my friends and I always want to defend the style but even after many years I do find it hard to find a decent one no matter what its genre. At first I was expecting this series to be more like the amusing “High School of the Dead” and with its first season it does excel at the silly anime clichés yet still bringing some form of drama and heart to the franchise.
So let’s start from the beginning. It’s an anime and like all anime’s, they take pride in their long drawn out intro sequence which serves as a compilations of nutshells informing you to what to expect from the show. If you have never seen one before it goes like this. Plenty of characters (mainly females) looking into the far distance being emotionless in a vacant environment badly trying to set the tone of the series that it is in fact a romantic comedy.
The intro is all about the flare of what never really happens but for what you really hope for it to achieve. Most times I wonder why they even animate it, why couldn’t we base the show on the intro alone as it seems far more interesting.
Anyway, besides the false marketing the intro ends with a struggling action sequence with our heroes fighting the main antagonist while a heavy beat catchy Jpop/rock song plays on without a care, reminding you that this show is meant to be cool.
423 words in and I haven’t even mentioned the plot or characters to “Is this a Zombie?”. From its title it does differ from anything you might know or love about zombies, but somehow that is also a good thing. This Anime does a lot of things differently yet anime clichés galore makes it familiar at the same time.
So lets focus on what matters. “Ayumu Aikawa” the lead protagonist is a normal boring high schooler & all natural round perverted good guy (it’s an anime get over it) who doesn’t let himself be surprised by any fantasy that so happens to exist seeing now after his death that he has become a zombie, due to a serial killer in his local area.
From the start of the story he has been dead for one month but has been blissfully resurrected as a Zombie by a young necromancer girl called “Eucliwood Hellscythe” who so happens to now after his death lives with him drinking mainly soup.
She is a young girl wearing armour who can never speak due to her immense magical power that if she did, her voice alone would kill them so to make due to her disability she writes on a notepad to express her thoughts to much added comedic value.
In the mean time, Ayumu still goes to school to continue his last life holding an umbrella against the sun to avoid himself decomposing fooling his classmates & friends of his current issues of being dead (yea becomes that will work).
One night, he patrols his local area in hope to find his killer yet while doing so at the local graveyard he finds a young magical chainsaw wielding garment girl called “Haruna” fighting a monster called a “Megalo”, which are talking annoyed animal spirits that are given no reason to be there other than that they are evil and should die. Yet their existence or back story is easily not the focus of the show and when they are explained it flew over my head that I had to look it up.
During being mixed in the fight the undead Ayumu (but very much still living in any other single way other than sunlight that decomposes him for laughs). Somehow without question absorbs the magical girl Haruna’s power. Her power is controlled by her pink chainsaw and is represented on the user by a very cute girl’s garment.
Now Ayumu has stolen her power and now dresses as a Tranny for whenever he needs to use her power which to me is a bit silly as Ayumu already displays great power now being undead and extremely powerful as a zombie making his muscle strength beyond 100% — I didn’t get it either I just went with it.
Yet this is all good and fun which extends itself with far more silly ideas as this now powerless magical girl has to live with him (of course) & the necromancer. The roster has to be bolstered by Vampire ninja big breasted girl (for the fan service I’m sure) who lives with the rest but has a more hate towards our main pathetic yet appealing lead.
From then on, our now newly over powered cross dressing zombie of goodwill has to fight off these evil demons yet once again (as I mentioned earlier, rarely happens). In the 12 episodes (and one OVA) they focus on more the simpler life of these one dimensional characters living together. There is one humours scene where the three girls play Jenga and take it to a whole new level.
Halfway through the 1st series we encounter Ayumu’s killer and have a memorable fight where the art & directing finally gets a chance to shortly shine and immediately after that the plot really kicks in – well, not so much of a plot, more of “the bad guy wants to cause trouble” which our heroes try to solve with violence.
Plenty of insults are thrown at our main lead and it is very nice to watch a show that doesn’t care, if you want to swear then great. If you want a tad of tentacle rape on our main lead then that’s fine along with decapitation only if it’s all for cartoony humour and that is what I really liked about this anime, it didn’t hold back in being immature while still holding witty dialogue between the cast members.
The 2nd half of the 1st season became far more serious which I was surprised about, especially for it to happen so quickly but now we have equal understanding of each character through the immature humour which now made me already invested in the characters. This is because I liked them even though I still have plenty of lingering questions about the nature of this fantasy universe and how it works. I got hooked when I didn’t expect to be and despite the shift of tone, it still kept the humour.
It may have ended in an anticlimax but it suited the story as the fight scenes never really reached their peak. What I was really excited about was the 2nd season for it to expand on the universe and humour, I was pumped and ready to laugh with more ways that they would defeat their enemy with more ways than “Noodle Theory” as a weapon (throwing bowls of ramen to kill spirits).
So to my dismay I watched an even shorter season of 10 episodes (not including 2 OVA’s) where the humour become over sexualised and the main lead, Ayumu just simply became the cliché pervert who gets punched in the face every 5 minutes.
I know the first season was much of the same but it was unnecessarily overplayed, especially how the first became more serious and good hearted towards the end. For a show that started out joking about these clichés, it ended up being swallowed by it becoming the very much thing it was taking the mickey out of and using it for distasteful laughs, making it as any bad anime before it.
But it got worse, with the original 3 females against the one male love triangle it suddenly became that every single female character including the minor ones were in love for no reason! With Ayumu, II counted at least ten females falling for him!
What once was a parody ended up becoming everything it hated or joked about. Action wise you can forget about it. The villain was introduced mid season with the characters going for a more of out cry that it’s the end of the world but the villain never seemed to be a threat like the 1st’s originals and do they ever fight — NO!!!
The 2nd season to me felt like one of these infamous padding seasons that happen with long running anime’s like “Naruto or Bleach” where they wait for the manga to catch up before truly continuing with the story, with the makers expecting/wanting us to get excited with uncertainty promises.
And sadly I leave with what was a promising anime of joyful over the top silliness made me want to wait another four years for a decent anime of any genre to be really special and rekindle my love for the style which has been very vacant in my soul for too many years to say.
Is this a zombie? 3.5/5
Is this a zombie? Of the dead 1.5/5