Zombie Loan Volume 1
By Peach Pit
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen
Michiru Kita’s a weak-spirited girl who has a hard time saying what’s on her mind. One day, she notices mysterious, ring-like markings around the necks of two of her classmates, Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana-two boys who miraculously survived a horrible accident six months ago. Michiru, possessing the rare ability to see these rings, knows that they warn of impending death. Thinking that, perhaps, she can do something to save her classmates’ lives, she approaches them…but it seems the boys have already make a different kind of deal and garnered themselves a heavy debt.
Shinigami eyes, black rings that appear around necks that foretell of impending death, zombies that eat human flesh, two hot guys, one with a sword and the other with a gun, that hunt the zombies and release their souls. Sounds like an exciting story, right? Too bad this volume didn’t play out that way.
Michiru is the girl with the shinigami eyes. She can see the ring that starts out a light gray, but gradually gets black as the time of the person’s death approaches. She feels she’s been cursed with this ability, and the glasses she wears, as well as correcting her sight, also keeps her from seeing the rings. Enter Chika and Shito, the two hot boys that survived a train accident, and who have the rings around their necks. When they learn of Michiru’s ability, they get her to work for them, finding zombies, so they can pay off their debt.
Michiru is an unlikely heroine at the beginning. She mousy, easily bossed around, and just goes through the motions of life without really living. She lets her friends push her around, and she lives with an aunt and uncle that don’t want her, but do want a chuck of her inheritance (which implies that there’s quite a bit). She’s dragged into helping Chika and Shito, not because she really wants to, but mostly because they tell her she has too. She is wussy, whinny and annoying for most of the volume. I think we are supposed to be sympathetic toward her, but she just comes off as pathetic. It isn’t until the end with the confrontation with the zombie that’s been killing girls from her school that Michiru shows some initiative.
Zombie Loan has all the makings of a great action manga; cute girl, hot guys and zombie hunting action. The characters are fun and relatively likable. Chika and Shito make some great team, and give the volume some much needed comedy when they bicker (which they do constantly). Even Michiru, once she grows a backbone doesn’t seem so bad. There is just too much time dwelt on Michiru’s pointless life. Two-thirds of the book is spent just following Michiru though her dull, listless life. It’s not exciting when she finally stands up for herself; it’s more of a relief that you won’t be subjected to any more of “zombie Michiru”. The only other complain I have about this volume is the sloppy notes at the end. There are references to pages at the end, with no reference made at the panel. And one panel has a reference with no note at the end. This is a simple editing error that should have been easily corrected and doesn’t reflect well on Yen Press.
All in all though, complaints aside, I did enjoy the volume. It took its own sweet time getting there, but by the end, I was interested in seeing more of these characters and this story. I’m going to give it one more volume to redeem itself. If the action ramps up from here on out, this could shape up to be an entertaining action series.