The stereotypical zombie is kind of boring. It is slow-moving, doesn’t think, likes eating brains way too much, and is pretty ugly to look at. Thankfully the stereotypical zombie has been harder to come by in recent years, what with the speed-demons of Dawn of the Dead, the intelligent bastards of Resident Evil 4, and with the anime Zombie-Loan the undead can seamlessly integrate with society.
Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana are both in debt to the Zombie-Loan, where they must kill zombies and other such undead who are not supposed to be on Earth. Each kill leaves money (kind of like in a video game) and with this money they pay back their loan. Nothing is that straightforward, though. They are both zombies themselves and the debt they owe is the one which allowed them to cheat the afterlife in the first place. Zombies killing zombies? That is pretty much the greatest concept ever, right?
In the mythos of Zombie-Loan everyone has a ring around their neck that turns dark the closer they come to death. Naturally for the zombies, whom are technically dead, this ring is black. Only Shinigami (Death Gods) can see this ring, making the chore of sorting out the living from the dead somewhat difficult for Chika and Shito. And then they meet a quiet, diminutive girl at their school, Michiru Kita. Michiru happens to have the eyes of a Shinigami and can see the rings. In exchange for not killing her, Chika and Shito allow her to spot rings for them.
Zombie-Loan is a series that just seethes coolness. The aura of ridiculously awesome drapes every scene. Unfortunately there is a big problem: Zombie-Loan fails to present an engaging plot. And the characters aren’t engaging enough to truly carry the series. As a result it flounders for twelve episodes (rumor has it that will be bumped up to fourteen for the DVD releases) and does little to create any lasting impact.
Thankfully a twelve (going on fourteen) episode series is just short enough that it will survive on style alone. It will sell its dvds as well as any other short niche series. But it won’t create that feeling of “wow!” that a series like Soul Eater does (another highly stylized series). Watch it and enjoy it like me, but watch it and enjoy it before making a purchase* to find out if it is something that will click with you beyond “hey, this is cool!”
*DVDs are not yet available in the States, but it would surprise me if it doesn’t cross the ocean before too long.
US Distributor: none yet
Number of Episodes: 12
Availability: fansubs can be found
Links: ANN Encyclopedia