The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

ZRC Reviews First Episode of ‘Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?’

We first heard about this new anime series some time ago, at which point I was fairly skeptical we’d see it in America anytime soon. I mean, most stuff that comes out of Japan relating to Zombies is drenched in gore and defamation, so would there be much demand for a potentially Zombie Friendly, and very bizarre, tv show to be brought over, especially given the economic woes in the anime market?

Thus when it was announced that the series would be brought over in nearly real time for legal streaming service Crunchyroll, I started to get excited. Could Japan do a Zombie-friendly anime series, and would it be a success?

We have a tentative answer to the first question anyway: Yes. Yes it can.

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(The series logo)

‘Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?’ opens with slightly sullen high schooler Ayumu Aikawa narrating somewhat pretentiously about how his daily life is an illusion and the peaceful existence of everyone around him is a falsehood covering deeper secrets. On the way home from school, he sees a pair of cats crossing the road only for the smaller of the two to stumble and get caught in the path of an oncoming semi. Ayumu jumps in front of the semi without hesitating, grabs the cat, and then, just before the impact seals his grisly fate, turns to the camera and reassures the audience by saying:

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(Yes, the ZOMBIE is the protagonist, thanks very much. Take that, Highschool of the Dead)

This largely sets the tone for the show, and for that matter, the episode’s treatment of the Zombie condition. Ayumu’s a Zombie; he died at the hands of a serial killer, but that’s all right, because a necromancer, for reasons unexplained as yet, brought him back.

Possibly just so she can freeload at his home.

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(Yes, she actually wears that around the house)

Ayumu spends his days getting on with his ordinary life, and his nights wandering the streets hoping to find his murderer. He’s adjusting very well to his new Zombie status, though there are a few quirks; Zombies like him, it seems, don’t tolerate the hot sun very well (it dessicates them). He also feels drawn to graveyards, which naturally put him at ease, perhaps simply for reasons of cultural expectations.

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(I guess graveyards are peaceful)

It is on one of these Zombie of Justice nightly patrols that he meets a Magical Girl (literally) named Haruna, who wields a neon pink magical chainsaw and uses it to brutally dismember monsters. In the course of fighting one such monster poor Ayumu gets mutilated and cut in half, which only proves a minor inconvenience:

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(Being a Zombie certainly isn’t an easy thing)

Though it also looks pretty painful.

After the fight Haruna ends up entangled with Ayumu’s newly Undead existence after he accidentally steals her powers, making him both a magical girl AND a Zombie. You’ve got to see how the episode ends, it’s too funny to spoil here with a screenshot.

So how does ‘Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?’ fare in terms of Zombie Rights? Very well. In fact, astonishingly well, all things considered.

Yes, there’s considerable violence in the first episode, often directed at our Zombie protagonist. The thing is, however, he voluntarily leaps into action in many instances, suffering largely temporary (if comically horrific) injuries in the name of helping others, rescuing pets, or just being an overall Nice Guy. Ayumu may be a Zombie, but he doesn’t shamble around eating brains, or haunt some ancient castle looking for vengeance on society at large. He was revived by a Necromancer, but she seems all right, if somewhat bossy, and she’s helping him to adjust to his new existence in her own way. Even the (possibly self-designated) police force of the magical world, here represented by a pink-loving psychotic with mystic chainsaw, seems to bear no grudge against the Differently Animated.

If the first episode is any indication the show aims to be a parody of as many different sorts of anime as humanly possible, and while it’s at it, stereotypes about Zombies as well. Ayumu’s problem with moisture and heat calls back to Mr. Slant from Discworld; his relationship with Hellscythe reminds me of Princess Resurrection; the series openly mocks ‘Magical girl’ series like Sailor Moon or its modern equivalents, first and foremost by explicltly using the term (mahou shoujo) as a title, but also by having the combat between pretty girls and vicious monsters devolve into gore and madness. Constantly.

On the whole ‘Kore wa..’ presents being a Zombie as having serious perks, as well as posing some social difficulties with interacting with Living friends and Living people at large (watch for a reference to the popularity of Anti-Zombie videogames, it’s so fast you might miss it). Zombies, here, are the same people they were while alive, but given the chance to realize their full potential, which can amount to near-superheroism in the case of a genuinely good person like the protagonist.

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(With great Zombie Power comes Great Zombie Responsibility)

The Zombie Rights Campaign is on the whole extremely pleased with the one episode of this series available to date, and looks forward eagerly to watching more. ‘Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?’s first episode is currently available now on Crunchyroll for subscribers (here’s the series’ page) and will be unembargoed shortly for free viewing.

We heartily recommend it, and have awarded it a tentative ‘Zombie Friendly’ rating, pending the review of additional episodes of course.

Zombie Friendly anime? Refreshing!

(Our screenshot album for this review, with a couple more shots, is available here)


About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.

Comments

2 Responses to “ZRC Reviews First Episode of ‘Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?’”

  1. Avril says:

    There’s no fool like an old fool.

  2. Its excellent as your other blog posts : D, regards for posting . “There’s no Walter Cronkite to give you the final word each evening.” by William Weld.

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