Zombies are cool. Whether you see them in movies, anime, or manga, zombie stories are always exciting. Over the years, there have been tons of zombie manga released covering a wide array of genres ranging from gory survival stories to comedies. To honor some of these great zombie manga, we are going to be looking at three zombie manga that would make fantastic anime.
3. Igai: The Play Dead/Alive (Hour of the Zombie)
- Authors: Saimura, Tsukasa
- Genres: Horror, Seinen
- Volumes: 9
- Published: January 2014 - May 2018
Akira was living an ordinary life along with his childhood friend and crush Kurumi, and his best friend Umezawa. Unfortunately, their everyday life gets thrown for a loop when their classmates start turning into flesh-eating monsters. Akira watches as Kurumi and Umezawa end up getting bitten and transform into zombies. With the school falling apart around him Akira is at a loss for what to do, but then suddenly all of the zombified students revert back to normal. All of the students are able to find a momentary in the schoolyard, but how long will the peace last?
While Igai: The Play Dead/Alive may not have the most original set up, this story is still one that would make a fantastic anime. The twist with the characters switching between their zombie and regular selves is great and really helps set this manga apart from some of the other popular zombie manga and anime. Watching as the humans and zombies fight for survival while also helping each other makes for some really interesting moments. Igai: The Play Dead/Alive provides us with the gore and survival elements you would expect from a zombie story, along with a dark and enthralling mystery that unravels surrounding the zombie outbreak.
2. 8LDK: Kabanesha no Ou (KoLD8: King of the Living Dead)
- Authors: Pageratta
- Genres: Horror, Shounen
- Volumes: 3
- Published: 2018 to 2019
After the world suffered a zombie outbreak, the entirety of Japan was overrun in only a month. Despite the zombie invasion, Eito Hasaba, and his family have managed to survive and currently find themselves heading towards a special guaranteed settlement called a sector. Shortly after arriving, Eito is stabbed and thrown out of the sector where he is bitten by a zombie. Thankfully, Eito was saved by a doctor named Rei Ushirome, who turned Eito into the King of Zombies. With his newfound powers, Eito sets out to fight against the corrupt humans that cost him his life.
8LDK: Kabanesha no Ou brings shounen action into the world of zombies. Different from most zombie stories, the manga uses Eito as a zombie leading anti-hero. Getting to see the brain dead zombies as the good guys is a welcome twist that really makes the story interesting. The manga has come of the blood and guts you would expect from a zombie manga, but also brings in all the great aspects of a shonen manga, with tons of action and a bit of comedy.
1. Ikitemasu ka? Honda-kun (Honda, Are You Alive?)
- Authors: Tonogai, Yoshiki
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, Shounen
- Volumes: 3
- Published: July 2016 - February 2018
While hanging out in their classroom, Honda confesses to Arisu. While Arisu is flattered, there is just one problem, the world has been overrun by zombies. Although Honda gets rejected, he still decides to hang out with Arisu to keep her safe. Together Arisu and Honda explore the zombie-infested world, while still making the most out of their lives.
The furthest thing from what you would picture a zombie manga to be, Ikitemasu ka? Honda-kun is a light-hearted romantic comedy. Overall the story is great, with Arisu's air-headed moments providing a lot of comedy and Honda's mysterious connection to the zombie outbreak. While there isn't any typical zombie moments in the series, the zombies still get plenty of screen time. Seeing a cute heartwarming romance unfold in the middle of a zombie outbreak is too good to not be in an anime.
That is it for our list. Each of these manga brings a unique twist to the zombie genre and each one of them would make a great anime. Which of these mangas would you like to see as an anime? Are there any other zombie manga you think should be an anime? Let us know in the comments.
There aren’t many zombie survival anime. In fact, there really is only one: Highschool of the Dead. Even that one is more fan service than great story-telling. But, it is the only one of its genre. So, it reigns as number 1. Its closest competition is the Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack. As you can tell from the title it isn’t even about zombies. But, this OVA proves that (as funny as it sounds) people trying to survive an attack (of any kind) can actually be terrifying and engaging if done correctly. But, there is hope. There is some good source material available.
Highschool of the Dead Trailer
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2010 - Sep. 2010
Let’s briefly go over three zombie survival mangas that deserve an anime adaptation.
I Am a Hero
I Am a Hero has an unlikely protagonist: Hideo Suzuki, a 31 year old mangaka assistant. He is struggling in his professional career and has a strained relationship with his girlfriend. Not to mention, it appears that Hideo has a few mental problems. This manga does an excellent job of introducing the zombie outbreak gradually. Far too often, animes, manga, and even western productions such as Hollywood movies and TV shows, jump right into the middle of the action. They either portray an epidemic that is almost instantly worldwide and broadcasted as a global threat through the media outlets. A more realistic approach would involve confusion on a smaller scale. People aren’t sure what exactly is happening, so local governments are scrambling to make sense of everything. I Am a Hero takes our unlikely hero and uses him in a more realistic approach in order to produce a psychological thriller that is something the anime world desperately needs.
Apocalypse no Toride
Apocalypse no Toride has a very simple but effective plot. Maeda Yoshiaki is a boy who is falsely imprisoned, in a juvenile reformatory, for murder. Cell Four consists of four young men including Maeda. The story revolves around these four boys. As the outside world is attacked by a zombie outbreak, the zombies make their way inside of the reformatory and the viewer follows the efforts of Cell Four. This manga is more straightforward in its narrative because researchers actually study the virus that caused the epidemic and there seems to be an actual “antagonist” to the plot. As opposed to I Am a Hero where the main dilemma is survival. Even though, some characters undergo changes and are granted supernatural abilities, this would still be a welcome addition to the under-represented zombie survival anime genre.
Mahou Shoujo of the End
Mahou Shoujo of the End is the more non-traditional zombie apocalypse out of the three. While there are zombie-like creatures in this manga, the more dangerous creatures are the malicious magical girls. There are different types of magical girls and each uses a different power to kill people and resurrect their bodies into zombie slaves. Kogami Kii and Tsukune are typical students who are witnesses to their classmates being slaughtered by one of these magical girls. The heart of the story still revolves around how these two are able to withstand this terrible attack. Don’t let the unique villains deter you from the core concept. Survival is still the key. It’s not like it’s a battle of evil magic girls versus good magic girls.
Each of the three mangas listed above has it’s own unique take on zombies. Which is exactly what anime needs. It would be pointless to take three very similar stories and create anime versions for the sake of building up a genre. But, I think these three are unique and compelling enough that they deserve to be adapted into anime. Along with Highschool of the Dead that would bring us to a grand total of four zombie survival anime! Still a very low number. That might have something to do with the japanese view of the deceased. They are treated with much more reverence than in western culture. It is a very taboo subject. So, anime studios aren’t fighting each other to make the next big zombie anime. However, that could be covered in its own article.