Is This A Zombie?, Vol. 1

By Sacchi and Shinichi Kimura. Released in Japan as “Kore wa Zombie desu ka?” by Kadokawa Shoten, serialization ongoing in the magazine Dragon Age. Released in North America by Yen Press.

Now, let’s be fair. I knew I wouldn’t like this title when I ordered it. As I’ve noted before, I sometimes get things I hate in order to bring more ‘balance’ to my blog – see my review of Qwaser of Stigmata as an example. And honestly, any title that ran in Dragon Age is guaranteed to get me looking at it warily, similar to Champion Red. Sadly, though, Is This A Zombie? is merely bad, and not laughably bad.

This is essentially one of those manga where the premise is ‘guy living with lots of cute girls of various tyes’, but the author can’t really be bothered to give us much backstory on them. character development for Haruna and Sera in particular is minimal, with the two of them fulfilling the usual moe fetish tropes – Haruna is the loli tsundere, and Sera is the violent kuudere. Amazingly, by the way, this is not actually the worst of the adaptations – there’s an ‘alternate universe’ manga running in Comp Ace called ‘Yes, She’s Your Bride’ that is basically this only with less monster fighting and more naked harem antics. The mind boggles.

There is meant to be a certain amount of self-parody here, I suspect, but it’s the kind that’s done by people who think putting ‘ironic’ in quotes is ironic. The sleazy fanservice winks at you, but wants to have it both ways so the wink doesn’t fulfill its function. There’s also our hero’s magical girl outfit – excuse me, ‘magikewl’ girl (Yen explains why they translated it that way, and I agree it works, but I still hate it) – which of course is designed for laughs. Even the layout of the manga itself screams ‘self-aware comedy!’. It’s just not very good at that.

This is actually a shame, as there are a few moments in the manga where it briefly gets serious, and they show a definite leap in quality. These tend to revolve around the third girl, Eu, who is the quiet Rei Ayanami-esque character. She’s the one who resurrected Ayumu and turned him into a zombie in the first place, and like many other emotionless girls in anime/manga, her emotionless state is actually a plot point. Ayumu’s advice to her, and his decision to take whatever fate throws at him in order to make her life easier, is about the only time in the entire volume I liked him (he is otherwise a sarcastic pervert, one of the new breed of harem leads who are a reaction against the nebbish “Tenchi” type, but seeing a perverse guy not sleeping with all the women chasing after him is even more irritating than seeing a ‘pure-hearted’ type not do so).

Yen’s translation is fine for this type of series – it’s very colloquial, and at times read like a dub, but the original was no doubt just as colloquial. There’s lots of sentai and giant robot references, all explained in Yen’s copious endnotes. Sadly, absent from the endnotes is an explanation of why they licensed this at all. Admittedly, it *has* an audience here, unlike Sasameke. This title will appeal very much to the harem-anime-downloading, body-pillow-buying, waifu-proclaiming males out there. For everybody else, read pages 130-145, realize that the rest of the manga is nothing like that, and find something else.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.


  1. Thanks for asking why this was lisinced I realize this type of thing has an audience but that doesn’t mean it has to be put out hopefully stuff like this won’t lead to another glut bad titles being released like what happened in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Speak Your Mind