Friday 9 September 2011

Anime REVIEW: Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?

Released in 2011, Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? is a 12 episode (plus one OVA) television series based on a series of light novels of the same name. Ayumu Aikawa is a zombie brought back to life by a necromancer named Eucliwood Hellscythe after he is brutally murdered by a serial killer. As he continues his day to day life as zombie he meets a magical girl named Haruna, who battles against surreal animal creatures called Megalos. Unfortunately, Ayumu inadvertently steals Haruna's powers, meaning that he has to become a magical girl in her place to fight the Megalos. Not much later he also crosses pathes with a vampire-ninja named Seraphim. With Eucliwood (Eu), Haruna and Seraphim all now living under his roof, Ayumu battles monsters while trying to solve the mystery behind his death.

As far as surreal anime comedies go, Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? couldn't have a better opening. Zombies, chainsaw-wielding magical girls and a giant talking lobster - need I say more? But once the hilarious yet bizarre image of a super-strong zombie crossing dressing as a magical girl to battle school uniform clad animals has settled in, this show begins to take a nosedive. Jokes are repetitive (there's only so many times you can hear Haruna and/or Seraphim call Ayumu disgusting or a pervert and it be funny) and the moe fanservice drives the show down into the depths of being a sub-standard harem anime. This is a shame, because the concept itself works extremely well as a comedy. There are occasions where the show tries to be creative with its jokes and scenarios, but often it's just lazy gags that have been done so many times before on (better) shows. Once the matter of Ayumu's death has been resolved (which does make for a pretty good plot twist), the actual 'serious' plot of the show is incredibly dull, and its reassuring that by the end of the series the creators have returned to the lunacy that drew my eye to the show in the first place.

Despite the often poor set-up, the chemistry between the cast is actually pretty good. While several of the characters start off as incredibly annoying, they do become a lot more tolerable as the series progresses. Ayumu's nonchalant attitude toward both his house-mates and being a zombie works well against the more hyperactive Haruna, silent Eu and insulting Seraphim. And despite the monotonous plot, a carefully timed offhand-line from Ayumu is a brilliant way for the show to maintain some balance between the serious and the comedy.

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? is a mixed bag. At its best, it's a surreal comedy with plenty of amusing moments. At its worst it's a dull story spaced between bout of cliché harem anime conventions that have either been done to death, or been done much better by something else. Its biggest problem is perhaps that it tries to stretch into far too many different genres of anime, rather than making itself comfortable in one or two. The earlier episodes of the show are a delight, but as it goes on its clear that this zombie could possibly do with being laid to rest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Review of this animated series is amazingly great. You did a good job. Really well written and I like the review. Thanks.

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