Zombies have been a hot theme in multiple media for decades now. The idea of a horde of undead chasing humans to eat our flesh is somehow terrifying, but also alluring at the same time. Even now, more manga still opt to use this tried and tested idea. Anything that’s rehashed countless times ought to lose its charm sooner or later. To avoid that, something fresh must be added to old formulas. One such element is giving the zombies themselves a cool twist. Here are five manga who did just that.
5. Mouryou no Yurikago (Cradle of Monsters)
- Authors: Kei Sanbe
- Genres: 6
- Volumes: Action, Drama, Horror, Mystery
- Published: April 2010 – August 2012
To start off our list, we have Cradle of Monsters. Starting off soft, Cradle of Monsters’ zombies are like a powered-up version of the ones we know. People get infected after their wounds get into contact with an infected’s bodily fluid, and the result is a terrifying monster. The zombies in this manga have intense regeneration ability and great bloodlust. They are also not just crazed undead. They have superhuman strength and can even adeptly use weapons, making them more terrifying than normal.
4. Apocalypse no Toride (Fort of Apocalypse)
- Authors: Yuu Kuraishi, Kazu Inabe
- Genres: 10
- Volumes: Action, Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
- Published: September 2011 – August 2015
The zombies in Apocalypse no Toride start off as the typical zombies. However, things quickly change a few chapters in. By then, the zombies start to show their moves. They are very agile and possess strength that’s more than what humans should have. This isn’t the highlight of it. There are also zombie dogs, which are abominations of human zombies into dog forms. Despite how stupid they look, they are far superior to their anthropomorphic counterparts. The star of this series, however, is the leader of the zombies that has three irises. It can command the zombies, while also showing off it’s cool eyes.
3. I Am a Hero
- Authors: Kengo Hanazawa
- Genres: 22
- Volumes: Drama, Horror
- Published: April 2009 – February 2017
The zombies in I Am a Hero are freaky, to say the least. Unlike the typical zombies that show decay in a matter of hours, I Am a Hero’s zombies look a bit more human. Instead of decaying, all their veins become visible. Even though their intelligence is close to nil, they somehow remember their last activity and continue to do it. That may sound a trivial addition, but it plays a very important factor later on. The zombies that used to be talented humans become some sort of superpowered zombies. There’s even a case of one being able to jump from one building to another. The highlight, however, is that there are zombies who somehow gain immunity from being turned into an undead.
- Authors: Mitsuru Hattori
- Genres: 11
- Volumes: Comedy, Horror, Romance, Supernatural
- Published: December 2009 – November 2014
Unlike the other manga in this list, Sankarea has quite a peculiar take on zombies. Instead of an undead that hunts humans, the zombie here is a plausible romantic partner. Actually, she is a romantic partner. The protagonist is a simp for anything undead. In fact, he isn’t into typical humans. He’s only attracted to human zombies. Don’t get the wrong idea, he’s not the one who killed the female lead. In an attempt to kill herself, the female lead drank the concoction that ought to reanimate a corpse, which only turned her into a pretty zombie after she died from an accident.
1. Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress)
- Authors: Shiro Yoshida
- Genres: 4
- Volumes: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Supernatural
- Published: May 2016 – November 2018
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress has given zombies more than just a power up. It’s probably not an exaggeration that this manga has revamped the entire idea altogether. The zombies, or Kabane in the series, retain their infectious bites. After mutating, however, they become ruthless monsters. Their skins harden and turn gray, and their only weakness is their glowing hearts. As obvious as their hearts may seem, it’s hard to actually destroy it. It’s covered in a steel cage, and normal weapons won’t be able to penetrate it. Worst of all is that these creatures retain enough intelligence to use tools and even ambush.
Zombies are always a crowd favorite. It’s not just because it’s cool and terrifying, but also because it has a long history. It shines the brightest during the Halloween season, and as that season is slowly creeping in, zombies are going to crawl out of their graves too. Hopefully, our little list has given you some options to pick zombie manga that incorporate both old and new elements.