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Is This a Zombie BoxartIn the anime world, there are few that would argue that every show released is a gem, and even fewer that would deny that sub-par products exist. The vast majority subscribe to Sturgeon’s Law, which states that “ninety percent of everything is crap.” Every so often, though, a series that manages to re-define the meaning of “bad” makes it to market. These shows are often so lazy, so repugnant that they manage to drive away all but the most devoted of fans… and even they have a tough time justifying their viewing! Among the most recent of these lower-echelon blunders is Is This a Zombie?: a joyless chore of an experience that would be best left as a reminder that things can always get worse.

At first glance, Ayumu Aikawa is an average high schooler. He goes to school, does his homework, and even lives with a cute girl! Appearances can be deceiving, though, and Ayumu is no exception. Some time ago, Ayumu was murdered by a mysterious sword-wielding killer. The great necromancer Eucliwood “Eu” Hellscythe, took pity on the lad, and revived him as a zombie in exchange for his undying servitude. Since that day, she’s taken up residence at Ayumu’s house, an aided in Ayumu’s search for his killer. Things get complicated one day, when Ayumu encounters a stray magical girl, and inadvertently absorbs her powers. Now, on top of his search for justice, Ayumu finds himself bound by the girl’s powers, and must also fight off the giant beasts that threaten Tokyo as his spunky victim takes up residence in his home!

Is This a Zombie 001If one wanted to be frank, he could describe Is This a Zombie? as fetish fodder wrapped in a bad harem comedy, with the trappings of a horrifically crummy action show. The poorly written plot telegraphs every plot twist and pivotal moment to the point where one would have to be careless to not see them coming. Characters with no previous background are shoehorned into plots, only to predictably turn into super-powerful villains vulnerable only to the powers of deus ex machina. Despite this, much of the action is boring and lacking in danger. Aikawa’s constant repetition of “It’s alright: I’m a zombie! I can take it,” set the tone of most fight scenes, as the only member that’s typically thrown into danger is Aikawa hiself. Due to his undead nature, Aikawa can’t be killed nor can he be injured to any real capacity, which kills any potential suspense.

Is This a Zombie 003One would be able to salvage some degree of enjoyment from the series if the characters exhibited some degree of charm. Of course, one could also be able to salvage enjoyment from watching paint dry in the right circumstances. Unfortunately, the cast of the series proves to be little more than a collection of two-dimensional stereotypes that don’t grow, don’t change, and don’t display any truly qualities that would appeal to lonely basement dwellers. Every stereotype, from the tsundere to the cool girl that likes cute things makes an appearance. Much like their vapid personalities, these characters do little to stand out on a visual level. The character designs are generic to a fault, and serve to amplify the characterization problems further.

Is This a Zombie 002There really is no good reason to watch this show. The combination of shallow characters, painfully bad writing, and unfunny humor would be enough to kep most people away. Add in the overall insistence the show gives off, as if to say that everything is positively perfect, and one is left with a stinker so bad that it shouldn’t be screened within the vicinity of an open flame.