The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?

Title: Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? aka Is this a Zombie?
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Studio DEEN
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 11 Jan 2011 – 31 Mar 2011

Synopsis: Life has been tough for Aikawa Ayumu. Dealing with the turmoils of high school and the burden of living alone, he soldiers on day after day, night after night. Thankfully, he is now dead. After being an unfortunate victim of a serial killer, Ayumu finds himself resurrected by a necromancer who happens to be the girl of his dreams. He must now fight against demons with his friends a tsundere loli Masou-Shoujo, a vampire ninja and his silent necromancer.

The Highlights
Visuals: Interesting and sometimes creative, even though the character designs are bland.
Comedy: Though utterly cliched, the overall concoction works.
Action: Done well enough to be engaging but hamfisted on the dramatic side.
Finale: Unimpactful melodrama.

Whoever created the convention that every comedy anime with a posse of cute girls needs to end with a serious plot arc should be shot twice in the eye by a Navy Seal. Everyone in the industry needs to take a note out of books the one of the few successes, Kyoto Animation, and realize that breaking viewer’s necks by twisting it 180 degrees a few episodes before the end in order to shovel in melodrama is a really bad idea. This notion is lost to Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?, so I’ll do something rare and recommend only the first eight episodes of the series and say the rest should burn in hell.

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? is a fanservice action comedy full of slapstick, fight scenes and touchy-feely drama that is only redeemed by the fact that it is very entertaining. There is something striking about a protagonist who is violently mutilated but treats his limbs being chain-sawed off as a minor inconvenience. The punch line is that he is an immortal zombie who really can afford to be hacked, slashed and barbequed with little consequence, so he becomes a glutton for punishment from both his enemies and his infinitely more dangerious harem. Combined with some interesting visual quirks like flying whales wearing school uniforms or architectural masterpieces formed from extreme Jenga, this formula is quite amusing to watch despite being a series of rather low-brow, repetitive laughs.

The show could have ended on the exact same note it started: a really stupid but fun comedy. It would have worn a bit thin after nearly a dozen iterations, but there would still have been a tingle of charm left. The creators obviously thought differently as Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? ends trying to squeeze out some sort of relevant theme from its premise by turning up the melodrama, acting like it’s one-dimensional characters are just suffering from temporary dimensional anorexia that can be cured by stealing introspective moments from Evangelion. The show did not go from entertaining to bad. No, it’s even worse. It went from entertaining to boring.

What Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka? does is much like throwing in episodes about rape or murder into a perfectly functional sitcom in order to punch up the finale. It’s awkward, unnecessary and unless you’re willing to burn the barn down and leap into the path of School Days’(1,2,3) WTF-ery, it’s just plain dumb. I believe that sitcoms should remain sitcoms, and not mutate into some serious drama the depth of which the established material simply cannot handle.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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