Tokyo Zombie

July 30, 2008

For some reason, I just did not think that I would like this book.  I think it’s because I did not like the heta-uma stories that I read in the underground volumes I read not too long ago and thought the story would be a lot more nonsensical than it actually was.  It has a cohesive plot, which was all it needed to win me over.

I wound up liking it a lot, actually.  It was funny, but it wasn’t specifically making jokes like Shaun of the Dead, which is a comparison made on the back cover.  The jokes in here consist of things like… having a cage of people jumping up and down that inexplicably powers a generator for the rich.  It’s not so much overt humor as it is surreal.  It does this all the way through, though the part with the generators was probably my favorite of the jokes.  I wanna say it tones itself down after the beginning, but it’s hard to make a case for a story about zombie invasion toning itself down.

The plot is… well, basically, zombies take over.  There’s a mountain called Black Fuji where everyone dumps their dead bodies (rather nonchalantly, I might add, and sometimes the bodies aren’t quite dead until they are buried up to their necks and have their heads kicked off), and the dead bodies all come back to life.  To be bitten by one means turning into a zombie yourself.  Two blue-collar kind of guys are introduced who are sort of the main characters, but they get… er, separated not too far into the story.  The story jumps ahead several years where it’s revealed that everyone now lives in a compound where the rich live their lives much like they did before the attack and the poor are kept as slaves.  As an amusement for the rich, the slaves are often pitted against zombies in arena-style combat.  Then our main characters re-enter the story.

I actually liked the art a lot.  I thought it would take some getting used to, but it wound up suiting the story quite well.  It’s a bit different from some of the other heta-uma art I’ve seen, and the story differs by actually having a beginning, middle, and end and being very coherent.  And I actually like zombie stories quite a bit.  In fact, this one made me think of Land of the Dead, which also has a sealed-in society, the rich getting condos, stuff like that.  I’m still waiting for the best thing from that movie, the fact that zombies have to stop what they’re doing to watch fireworks, to show up elsewhere.

So yeah, I liked this quite a bit.  Its a good zombie story with a great sense of humor.  It’s got violence and martial arts and zombie fights and pig surfing, and that’s about all I can ask for in a manga.