Having not seen the 1st season before watching this, a few episodes in I asked myself "what the hell am I watching???" That is essentially Is This a Zombie? of the Dead in a nutshell. A completely random series that focuses primarily in standalone episodes that shows the daily life of Ayumu living with his 3 female roommates.
For those not familiar with Is This a Zombie, Ayumu is an estranged teenager who is murdered by a serial killer. He is resurrected by Eucliwood (or Eu for short), and he comes back as a "Zombie", using his second chance to try and track down who murdered him. Since his resurrection he now lives with Eu, and a couple others he has met over the course of the series; Haruna, a Magiclad girl whose magic was taken by Ayumu, forcing her to stay with him and lastly we have Seraphim, a Vampire Ninja who wants to be Eu's servant.
The series can really be split into 2 different sections. Episodes 1-6 are all standalone episodes. They focus on establishing the characters further and give us some solid brief moments character of character development. In episodes 7-10, We get to know more about Chris (who made a foreshadowing appearance at the end of season 1 and early on in this season.)Chris is a cute unsuspecting school nurse who turns out to be the strongest magical garment girl in existence. While I initially started off enjoying her arc, she ends up being a pretty disappointing villain overall (if you could even call her a villain in the traditional sense.) She ends up only appearing in I believe 3 episodes, and wasn't nearly developed enough to become a formidable foe for Ayumu and friends. My biggest problem with the storyline is (slight spoiler) it's suddenly dropped with no resolution, stuff like that annoys me to no end. At the end they do set up for season 3, so maybe they were saving more of her for that.
Seeing how the season is pretty much cleaved in half, I'll review it as such. Is This a Zombie? is definitely at it's strongest in the fist half of the season when they're focusing solely on Ayumu's home life, and the dynamic between him and each girl. The standalone episodes 1-6 and OVA's 0 and 11 were fantastic, I enjoyed the 1st half of the series immensely. There were alot of funny moments while also mixing in a bit of drama to ground the characters. My favorite episode is a good example of this... Eu gets sick and Ayumu tries everything to get her feeling better, it was a really sweet and endearing episode with the right dose of comedy mixed in.
- All of the characters. They really meshed well together and I would like another season to see them again!
- The animation. Such a beautiful piece of work, it looks absolutely fantastic!
- Chris. An underdeveloped villain who all we really know about is that she's the strongest Magical Garment girl in existence. Makes her case worse when she just leaves.
- 2nd half brought the season down. They should have really just stuck to what they knew worked.
Video and Audio
My favorite part about watching Is This a Zombie? was the animation. It was stunning. The animation looks beautiful and really pops in key scenes (the action and transformation scenes in particular.) The colors are vibrant and crisp.
For audio, we have 2 choices. 1. English 5.1 dub track or 2. Japanese stereo. As always, I watched the English dub track, and it sounds fantastic.
In terms of extra's, we get our typical from FUNimation.
- Episode 1 video commentary with Austin Tindle, Cherami Leigh, Jad Saxton, and Morgan Garrett.
- Episode 4 commentary with Brittney Karbowski, Morgan Garrett, Caitlin Glass, and Anthony Bouling.
- Episode 10 commentary with Austin Tindle, Jad Saxton, and Jerry Jewell.
- Textless Opening and Closing songs
- The U.S. Trailer for the show.
- Standard FUNi trailers.
The Series also comes with a great limited edition art box.
At the end of the day, I really don't know what to think of Is This a Zombie? of the Dead, It's a wacky comedy that is all over the road. I both enjoyed it and disliked it at the same time. If you're a fan of Tenchi Muyo with a mix of something like FLCL and vampires, this should be right up your alley. LIGHTLY RECOMMENDED.