Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka? (Blu-ray/DVD) Review
Ever wonder what would happen if you were to give an undead zombie magical girl powers? Then wonder no more. Serving as the whimsical premise behind FUNimation's and Studio Deen's 2011 supernatural series, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka? (lit. Is this a Zombie?), the anime tells the tale of a zombie high school student, by the name of Ayumu Aikawa, whom suddenly finds himself in the midst of unusual circumstances after he is mysterious murdered by a serial killer. He is revived by the deadpan necromancer Eucliwood Hellscythe who moves in with him which is followed by a series of happenstances that threaten to interrupt Ayumu's "normal" life.
Recently recently released by FUNimation on Blu-ray/DVD as part of their anime classics line, the series still remarkably holds up decently by today's standards as a result of its off-the-wall cast of characters, despite its rather paint-by-numbers shonen formula. Based off of the series of light novels by Shinichi Kimura, in addition to the main protagonists we have the well-endowed vampire ninja Seraphim, the genius mahou shoujo girl Haruna and Ayumu's "bride-to-be" Tomonori. Each of the girls feels unique and gets her own respective turn in the spotlight, perfectly paced throughout the first season's twelve episodes as they battle creatures known as megalos. Throughout the series, Ayumu learns to care for each of the girls in his life which ultimately culminates in the series climax which threatens his new normal.
Where the series is at its best, however, is when they're logically trying to piece together the utter mayhem on-screen. Whether its trying to rationally explain why Ayumu became a 'maso-shoujo' (a pun based off of the term 'mahou-shoujo') to having a pop idol contest in the last episode of the season, the characters are just as bewildered by the circumstances as the audience, making it a fun and often laugh-out-loud ride through Ayumu's posthumous life. Although parts of the series are often predictable, its blend of comedy and its cast of characters do help to overlook this fact. My favorite scenes were often the ones where Ayumu would take things out of context and have delusional dreams about Eu since she was never able to speak for outwardly for herself.
Visually, the re-release of the series takes a graphical leap in 1080p Blu-ray. Where the original DVD product originally had tons of grain and flooded out colors when upscaling, the colors are vibrant and pop out benefiting the series' rather dark palette. Of course, there are also plenty of lighter scenes that stand out as well, particularly the winter scenes towards the end of the series. The snow looks gorgeous with the amount of detail that the animators put into the scenes which are brought to life with the help of the high-def release. For fans of Studio Deen and Zombie, this is the definitive release of the series.
With tons of hijinks, cross-dressing jokes and fan service make no mistake about it, Kore wa Zombie desu ka? plays out exactly like how you think it will. The series never tries to present the audience with any pretentious messages about undead civil rights or any existentialist views on death, and it doesn't need to. It's a rudimentary shonen series that never makes any apologies for what it is. Despite its predictability however, it remains an engaging enough series to finish it all the way until the end. Most importantly, with its colorful cast of off-the-wall characters and oddball take on the supernatural the series never forgets the reason why audiences are watching it in the first place: because it's fun.
What I Loved:
● One word: Eu
● Enough off-the-wall comedy to make even the dead laugh
● Decent character development leading into a satisfying conclusion
What I Hated:
● Story was predictable, while the characters are based off of archetypes rather than anything new
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor.