From manga publisher Yen Press comes the first volume of “Is This a Zombie?” a supernatural comedy series based on the light novel series by Shinichi Kimura.
“Is This a Zombie?” follows the journey of Ayumu Aikawa, a normal high school student with an interesting secret, he is actually a zombie. One night he is investing blood stains in the window of a house he is passing by and is ambushed by a serial killer who kills him, but thanks to a powerful necromancer named Eu he is brought back to life and in return agrees to serve as her bodyguard.
The manga begins with Ayumu going about his day at school, waiting until dark to head home as the sun makes him feel sick. On his way home though a young girl comes crashing down like a meteor, quickly followed by a giant bear looking creature dressed in a boy’s school uniform. With the girl unable to fight it off Ayumu steps up and dispatches the foe resulting in the girl, a chainsaw wielding magical girl named Haruna to accuse him of stealing her magical girl powers, though she calls herself a “magikewl girl”, therefore she must now live with him until her powers are returned.
Oddly enough Ayumu doesn’t put up too much of a fight and Haruna begins to stay with Ayumu and Eu. Upon arriving home they also receive a visit from Seraphim, a vampire ninja (yes I really did say vampire ninja), who offers to become Ayumu’s servant until Eu resurrects her village’s elder, adding to the crazy girl count.
The manga mainly follows Ayumu as he attempts to go about his daily life without everyone finding out his secret as he also tries to track down the serial killer responsible for his death. Along the way however he must also contend with “Megalos”, creatures like the clothes wearing bear that he previously defeated, in the place of Haruna, who has essentially become a normal (crazy) girl for the time being.
The story in the first volume feels really scattered and switches back and forth a bit, which makes things a little bit confusing early on. Along with this characters like Haruna are so off the wall with the random things that come out of her mouth that it didn’t feel so much funny as it was strange.
That being said however the manga does have a decent amount of action as well as comedy, especially since poor Ayumu is forced to wear Haruna’s magical girl outfit, which also leaves him naked when he changes back to normal, when he battles the Megalo. Fans of fanservice will also find plenty to enjoy in “Is This a Zombie?” as there are enough scantily clad girls to satisfy their need.
Visually the manga is of good quality, there is a fair amount of detail and the color pages make a full-color version very appealing. The characters all have unique designs that might look a bit out of place, especially Eu, but for a series like this they work. The cover of the manga features a full color image of Haruna, chainsaw in hand, in her magikewl girl costume over a pink background that looks pretty good, but the manga title is kind of small, sitting inside of a chat bubble off to the side. The text is large, easy to read and has good flow.
All-in-all “Is This a Zombie?” is an interesting series that offers a fair amount of comedy, action and plenty of fanservice. With a fast moving but slow developing story though it is missing out on some of the potential that it had to be an entertaining series. Volume one does have its moments though, which gives me hope that it will improve as each new volume is released.
If you enjoy series like “Rosario + Vampire” then you may enjoy “Is This a Zombie?”.
Is This a Zombie? Vol. 1
Publisher: Yen Press
Story By: Shinichi Kimura
Art by: Sacchi
Number of Pages: 160
Age Rating: Mature
Release Date: March 27, 2012
(This review is based on a purchased copy of “Is This a Zombie?” Vol. 1.)