There are some shows (especially in Anime) where every now and then a few episodes into a series you'll find yourself asking "what the hell am I watching???" That describes Is This a Zombie? in a nutshell. Is This a Zombie? is a completely random series that focuses primarily in standalone episodes that shows the daily life of Ayumu living with his 3 female roommates, while maintaining his secret life as a member of the undead fighting to protect the city.
The story of Is This A Zombie? revolves around the life of teenager Ayamu (voiced by Austin Tindle.) Ayamu is your typical average teen, who abruptly has his entire world turned upside down. One day as he is o his way home, Ayamu is suddenly and swiftly murdered... and then he wakes up, completely fine. Thankfully for Ayamu, he had made friends with a mysterious woman named Eucliwood (or Eu for short), who uses her abilities as a Necromancer (the ability to communicate with the deceased through black magic) to revive Ayamu from the dead with the forced stipulations that she live with him and he cook all of the food.
Depsite being a Zombie, Ayamu tries to adjust to his new lifestyle of not only being apart of the undead, but as a forced bodyguard to Eu, until he encounters Haruna (voiced by Jad Saxton), a magical garment girl, battling against a demon referred to as a Megalo in a cemetery. After getting in the middle of the fight, Ayamu is unintentionally sliced in half by Haruna's chainsaw, which somehow causes all of Haruna's powers to transfer over resulting in him becoming a Magical Garment Girl in the process. Due to these recent events, Haruna decides to live with Ayumu until her powers return, while he in the meantime is handed the daunting task of defending the city from the various threats while wearing Haruna's pink dress.
To add to the pressures of being a member of the undead, a Garment girl and living with Eu and Haruna... a mysterious, busty and extremely condescending woman named Seraphim (voiced by Morgan Garrett) shows up on their doorstep seeking Eucliwood's help on behalf of her village. After initial refusal to be Eu's bodyguard/servant, Sera challenges Ayamu to a fight, consistently referring to him as a maggot, promising to concede to him if he defeats her. Suffice it to say, Sera moves in despite her disgust toward Ayamu.
Throughout these first 12 episodes (and one OVA), the series remains largely episodic with just a bit of plot advancing the overall story. The main plotlines outside of Ayamu and his relationship with the female cast, is him tracking down who was responsible for his murder, this storyline eventually results in a big payoff that leads to the best material the series has to offer. Once the killer is revealed, that leads into our other semi main storyline in this first season... we're introduced to the enigmatic King of the Night (voiced by Eric Vale in S1, and J. Michael Tatum in S2), who appears to have a personal history with Eucliwood.
Is This A Zombie? falls into that category of being a show that honestly has a little bit of everything for everyone and will appeal to just about any anime fan. The series almost never takes itself seriously (outside one or two episodes), there's tons of hilarious, over the top comedy. Is This A Zombie never really classifies what it wants to be, but that's the point of a story like this, there are elements of Slice of Life, Harem, Comedy, and Horror, which the series likes to play up the tropes of every genre.
+ A varied cast of characters who mesh well together.
+ How well the show balances Humor, drama, horror, slice of life and harem all at the same time.
+ The dub talent are terrifically cast in their respective roles.
- The comedy can be a bit hit or miss.
- A little bit more of the actual plot would have been nice as that was some of the best material these 13 episodes had to offer.
Video and Audio:
The visuals for Is This a Zombie? are pretty solid throughout. The series features an array of strong and bold colors with vivid detail. The only negative I found in the series, is the basic character designs. Outside Eu, nothing makes them really stand out.
For this release we're given two audio options, the first is a TrueHD 5.1 English Dolby track, the other is a TrueHD Japanese track. I sampled both tracks, and while I might give the edge to the Japanese track in terms of performances, I ended up watching the series in English, with it's terrific dub work. The soundtrack on the series for the most part is a bit forgettable, and the dialogue is crisp and clean throughout. No audible dropouts or distortions were present on the set.
- Episode 03 commentary with the ADR director for the series, Tyler Walker. Along with him are the voice actors for Ayamu and Orito, Austin Tindle and Anthony Bouling, respectively.
- Episode 07 commentary with the ADR director for the series, Tyler Walker. Along with him are the voice actors for Haruna and Seraphim, Jad Saxton and Morgan Garrett, respectively.
- Textless opening and closing theme songs.
- Trailer for the English dub.
- Standard FUNimation trailers.
As I said earlier, Is This a Zombie? has a bit of everything for everyone. Some might be turned off by the fan service or the over the top comedy, but I think it all fit perfectly in the overall scope of this series. For me the show was a bit of a "sleeper", as in I didn't expect much from it. Thankfully it turned out to be quite a fun show overall with a solid plot to carry it. Consider the first season recommended.