DVD Review: Is This a Zombie – The Complete Series

is_this_a_zombie_review_screenshot_6Ever wanted to see a Zombie combined with Magical Powers, No? Well we are about to as ‘Is This a Zombie’ Season 1 is soon to arrive on UK Shores, but what exactly did we think of this DVD Release by MVM Entertainment? Find out in our DVD Review of Is This a Zombie – Season 1.

Synopsis:

Some guys have no luck; he’s got no pulse. That’s life for unfortunate, undead Ayumu. First, he was murdered by a serial killer. Total bummer. Then he was resurrected as a zombie by a cute little necromancer. That seemed pretty cool until she moved into his house, refused to speak, and forced his rotting carcass to do all the cooking. After that, a magical girl in a pretty pink dress used her matching chainsaw to chop his corpse in half.

Luckily, the necromancer’s powers of resurrection trumped those of the chainsaw chick, so instead of dying (again), Ayumu became the world’s first magical girl zombie. There’s also a voluptuous vampire ninja who thinks zombie boy’s a pervert – and a hideous crayfish demon who wants to devour him. Confused? All you gotta know is this: zombies, frilly dresses, demons, and moe chainsaws. Pink. It’s the new dead.

Our View:

Ayumu might seem like your normal school student by attending class and hanging out with his friends, but actually he is a Zombie that, unlike normal zombie stories, doesn’t eat brains and cannot be killed by ordinary means. Combine this with a non-talkative necromancer, an out-spoken magical girl, a vampire ninja and a mysterious serial killer you soon realise that Is This a Zombie isn’t going to be your traditional anime series.

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Depsite being a Zombie Ayumu continues to live his (un)dead life as an ordinary human, that is until he encounters Haruna, a magical garment girl, battling against a Megalo (a demon) in a cemetery. After getting mixed up in the battle (and being sliced in half by Haruna’s chainsaw) Ayumu somehow obsorbs Haruna’s magical powers and ends up becoming a Magical Garment Girl himself, and so Haruna decides to live with Ayumu until her powers return, while Ayumu in the meantime will defend the city from the Megalo threats. Haruna isn’t the only new addition to the household either, as new characters, such as Seraphim and Mael Storm (both of which are Vampire Ninja’s), are quickly introduced to the series and quickly get accustomed to living (and interacting) with Ayumu, all of which has comical consequences from him. It’s at this point where the series starts to become slightly stale with ‘as expected’ comical encounters taking place between the characters, that is until new threats emerge in the form of an old acquaintances, but even this is short lived and unmemorable.

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What’s interesting with ‘Is This a Zombie’ is that the series seems to have a ‘half-arsed’ and ‘over the top’ approach to everything, whether it be the story, the animation or the comical jokes, nothing seems be memorable. For instance Seraphim continuously calls Ayumu a maggot (in different styles), even when he hasn’t done anything, and because it happens so often it quickly becomes tiresome. But this is just one of the many comical flaws within the series, as at first these outbursts are comical and fun but after a while it’s just boring.

In regards to the story being half-arsed, it’s because topics move along at such high speeds – with some topics disappearing as soon as they have been brought up. For instance Mael Storm’s Ninja Team has a secret machine that is randomly destroyed with no investigation or explanation into who destroyed it, there is also the backstory of the main bad guy, Yoruno, who after several years of trying to be killed decides to cause havoc for Yu’s (the necromancer) friends. This backstory of their previous relationship is not fully explained or illustrated, so when the final battle does occur it doesn’t seem to have any real meaning, when it should. It’s the same for the encounter with Kyoko, who happens to be a friend of Ayumu’s best friend Orito, this friendship with Kyoko just pops-up out of nowhere and it’s not explained how Yoruno possessed Kyoko or for what reason. Furthermore when she is defeated she disappears and never makes another appearance (or mentioned) for the rest of the show, which considering she is a friend of Orito seems a bit odd.

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It’s also worth noting that while the series is 13 episodes long, only 11 of used for the main story, with the remaining two episodes being used as pure fan-service, as well as a slight build up to the second season.

Extras:

Keeping up the trend with recent anime releases, the UK release of “Is this a Zombie?” features a variety of extra content, with two English cast commentaries on disc 1 as well as text less songs and trailers on disc 2.

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Disc 1:

  • Episode 3 Commentary with Tyler Walker (Line Producer), Austin Tindle (voice of Ayumu) and Anthony Bowling (voice of Orito)
  • Episode 7 Commentary with Tyler Walker (Line Producer), Morgan Garrett (Voice of Sera) and Jad Saxton (voice of Haruna)

The first disc Contains both English Cast Commentaries, both of which provide an insight into how the English Dub for the series was produced, however while the Episode 7 commentary provides a decent amount of insight into the dubbing process (such as Auditions and Vocal Talent) the Episode 3 commentary just has the actors discussing what is taking place on screen rather than an explanation into how voices were produced and their personal take on what’s happening. This aside both commentaries are entertaining but the Episode 7 Commentary provides a far better insight into the Dubbing production.

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Disc 2:

  • English Language Trailer
  • Text less opening video
  • Text less closing video
  • Trailers

The second disc features the English language trailer for Is This a Zombie? (which is just as funny to watch as the series itself) as well as the text less opening and closing videos for the show. In regards to the songs, the opening is Tonight by Iori Nomizu while the ending is Watashi wa Classmate Desu by Rie Yamaguchi with manzo. Finally to round off the second disc we have trailers for Majikoi-Oh! Samurai Girls, Mayo Chiki and Waiting in the Summer – all of which are just the opening songs portrayed as trailers.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9×2
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:45:37 (Disc 1), 2:23:47 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448Kbps (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 224Kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Is this a Zombie is a series that cannot be filed under a certain category or genre and it certainly goes over the top, for instance it has mahou shoujo (Magical Girl), Harem, Comedic, Moe and slice of life style elements combined with a small amount of bloody violent battles against the Megalo. While the series features a portion of graphic violence the series is more on the ‘harem’ and ‘echhi’ side, with Ayumu (or his friend orito) often thinking perverse things about the girls. The series itself also seems to be split into mini-story arcs, with around 3 episodes per story-arc, with the first few episodes being used to introduce the characters and then the next 3 episodes showcasing a different story arc, such as Megalo, Kyoko and Yourno segments of the series. While the story is slightly different its animation, comedy, and acting all remain constant and unique throughout the show.

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The style of the series, such as the mix of Zombies, Magical Girls and Vampires, is not the only unusual part of the series, as the English Dub, which is provided by FUNimation, uses newish voice actors all of which portray their characters role rather perfectly, especially Austin Tindle who provides a very low-toned (emo styled) voice of Ayumu that perks up during fight scenes. In regards to the audio itself, it has been presented in 5.1 Surround (as per usual) for the English Audio track in addition to the Japanese Stereo audio track which has Yellow removable subtitles. It’s also worth noting that the visuals of the show are clear and vivid with a noticable distinction between dark and bright scenes.

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Personally I was expecting much more from Is This a Zombie, such as a zombified cross-dressing version of Madoka Magica whereby we see Ayumu defeat demons (Megalo’s) in order to protect the world with the help of Ninjas, but instead we are treated to a zombie cross-dresser filled with sexual innuendoes as well as a half-arsed approach to storytelling that leaves viewers unentertained, bored and wanting more. Saying that if you enjoy shows that have little plot, is fun and different to others then is this a zombie might be just right for you.

Score: review-stars-2

Is This a Zombie – Season 1 will be available on DVD from the 15th July 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

One Response to DVD Review: Is This a Zombie – The Complete Series

  1. Pingback: Is This a Zombie? – The Complete Series (Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack) Unboxing | AnimeBlurayUK

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