Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #252: Is This a Zombie? Vol. 8 by Sacchi

Good intentions can be a bitch sometimes. About two months ago, I read the first seven books in a popular manga series, thinking that covering a bigger swath than one volume would allow for a better understanding of a long work, and (I hoped) leading to a more interesting post here. And so I looked at a bunch of the very breast-obsessed manga Is This a Zombie? by a manga-ka billed as Sacchi as Day 192.

And then it turned out that the series -- which I assumed would run for a good long time, since it was based on a popular light novel series by Shinichi Kimura -- was only eight volumes long in all. Oops. So I reviewed nearly all of it in one go, without realizing it, and then would have to come back for the last bit.

Well, it's time for that last bit now: the story ends in Is This a Zombie?, Vol. 8, and I'll have to send you to the link above for all of the set-up.

(In brief: it's a fairly Platonic harem manga, with everyman highschooler Ayumu Aikawa having been killed and brought back as a zombie by a mute necromancer, then turned into a "magikewl girl" complete with frilly costume and transformation song by another such girl, and then had a vampire ninja show up as well. All three of those girls -- necromancer Eu, magikewl girl Haruna, and ninja vampire Sera -- moved in with Ayumu, because Japan, that's why. A secondary harem of other magikewl girls, serial killers, ninja vampires and others also sprung up around the central cast -- there's literally only two other males with speaking parts -- and the intros in each book detail their breast size and personalities in equal detail.)

As we open this final volume, Ayumu has been cursed, so all of the girls have forgotten who he is -- and forget him again every time he leaves them for a moment. This would lead to pathos if Sacchi allowed it to actually go on for more than a page, but they all immediately believe his story, remember everything, and agree to stay with him at all times until the curse can be lifted. (Cue a long bathing sequence and then Ayumu trying to sleep with two of the girls draped over him -- ho ho ho!) This also serves mostly to wipe out the previous hints of a love-triangle plot; Ayumu isn't trying to date or screw any of these girls, he just wants them to be around him.

There's also a battle against what's declared to be the toughest, nastiest megalo ever, but who, as usual, is shown as a cute little stuffed animal and who doesn't actually seem to be hurting anyone or causing trouble. But, don't worry, Sacchi doesn't focus on the tension there, either -- Is This a Zombie? has an irresistible tropism for vague sweetness and windy "we're all family" piffle in this last volume, deflating what tension and energy that was generated in the complications of the earlier books. (It might not be Sacchi's fault: it's entirely possible that he ran out of story from the original novel and is vamping to hit a required episode count.)

So this book is a sequence of jiggly flesh -- sometimes covered, but usually just strategically placed -- and dialogue about how everyone cares about everyone, and it feels like a spring slowly winding down. If you read them all in one rush, that probably won't be as noticeable -- this series was always a softball, equally about boobs and pseudo-familial love -- but this one, all by itself, feels particularly thin and puffy.

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

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