Zombie Loan was one of Yen Press’ premiere titles when started in 2008. I read the first two volumes back when they came out, but didn’t find a reason to continue reading it. So three years and 7 volumes later, has it gotten any better?

[Warning: May Contain Spoilers]

Zombie Loan Volume 9

By Peach-Pit ♦ Yen Press ♦ Older Teen ♦ Supernatural/Action

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Chika and Shito quit Z-Loan and travel to Hong Kong so Shito can take care of some unfinished business with the Xu Fu. Michiru goes with Koyomi to her family’s estate to try to save Yomi, Koyomi’s more violent other half. But to do so, requires her to travel to the gate to the afterlife, alone.

Having missed the intervening 7 volumes did leave me with some questions, but not enough to keep me from picking up what was going on. Most of this volume is dedicated to Shito and his past with the Xu Fu. We learn about his mother and how he was born, and why he is different from other zombies. Meanwhile, Michiru meets Koyomi’s family, and finds out why she left them and what Yomi really is. The volume ends with Michiru confronting the darkest parts of the consciousness that makes up Yomi.

I’m always interested in characters origins, so I enjoyed seeing Shito’s, despite it’s tragic and mostly cliché, nature. It explains a lot about who he is and why he has a contract at Z-Loan. Peach Pit also does a good job of balancing this darker story with lighter moments. Chika seems captivated by Hong Kong and goes tourist on Shito for some very funny moments. And he ‘s not disappointed when the bullets start flying. It just enhances his experience. Michiru and Koyomi’s have is spent with mostly exposition, as Koyomi confesses something to Michiru, which is usually a warning of things to come, that isn’t always good. Michiru has improved greatly from the first two volumes, as she has the sense to not be caught by Koyomi’s relatives, and  inititive to go search for Yomi herself. This is a much better Michiru that I actually liked reading.

Overall, this was a good volume of Zombie Loan. It moved the Xu Fu plot along, explaining the background of the organization and it’s relationship to Shito. But it’s not over yet, as Xu Fu’s reach extends out to Koyomi’s family, and it seems that more than Yomi needs rescuing. I was actually looking forward to the next volume by the end, though I’m not sold enough to want to pick up the intervening volumes. It’s a good hour read.

Zombie Loan Volume 11

By Peach-Pit ♦ Yen Press ♦ Older Teen ♦ Supernatural/Action

Rating: ★★★☆☆

The Xu Fu arc comes to an end in this volume as Shito is taken over by Lao Ye, the head of the Xu Fu. It’s up to Chika, Shuuji and Toko, along with the surprise arrival of Michiru to save their friend and stop Lao Ye for good. And then after a short respite, it’s the start of a new arc as the Wheel of Fortune Committee, or W.F.C. decides there are too many “contradictions” and in order to preserve their Akashic Record must erase all zombies, illegal or otherwise.

The end of the Xu Fu arc brings a lot of changes for the hunters at Z-Loan. While Yomi is rescued and returned to Koyomi’s body, Koyomi’s spirit is the one to move on. Shuuji and the others of A-Loan get a second lease on life (so to speak) with Z-Loan and join the hunters. Michiru proves to not be useless again as she uses her Zombie Eyes power to help Chika free Shito of Lao Ye’s hold for good. The biggest change though is to Shito, who loses the women he loves, but doesn’t lose his will to live. He is changed by everything that has happened to him recently, and it’s a change for the good.  And things (mostly) go back to normal for the next arc, though Koyomi’s loss is still felt by Shito, Chika and Michiru. The revelation of a possible traitor in the midst of Z-Loan, if true was set up very well, but I’ve learned never to take things like that on face value, especially when they are a volume ending revelation.

I like this volume of Zombie Loan as well, but it still isn’t enough to make me want to read it regularly. The change in Shito’s attitude is done well, making it more subtle and not a complete 180° of the character, making the change believable. While Koyomi is gone, Yomi has control of her body, keeping the story’s T & A character intact, and now with a clueless nature that has him taking his shirt off in school to ask Michiru how to unhook a bra. The new arc could be interesting, depending on if ARRC is still around to cause trouble for the WFO, or if it’s going to be Z-Loan fighting the WFO to get Bekko and Michiru back. The latter wouldn’t really be interesting. While the characters of are likable enough now, and the story is entertaining enough to kill and hour or so, just not enough to be a must read.

 

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