Fresh from their battles with demonic Megalos and the sinister King of the Night, the undead Ayumu Aikawa and his friends are back for a whole new set of adventures in season two, Is This A Zombie? Of the Dead. With the new season comes a new set of circumstances that make this set of episodes much more entertaining than the previous installment. In a departure from the first season, the action is scaled back in favor of more “daily life”-themed stories. With his social life already on the ropes, will Ayumu finally have the chance to live a balanced life, free from the judgment of his peers?
No, not really.
Ayumu’s problems begin when a Megalo demon—similar to the creature that appeared in the first episode of the previous season—attacks the school. The battle plays out much as it did before and Ayumu calls upon his skills as a Sailor Moon-style Magical Garment Girl. Ayumu must battle the monster and his own embarrassment as the student body is shocked to see him wearing a cute, frilly girl costume. During the fight, Ayumu’s magical chainsaw Mystletainn shatters, taking away his ability to erase people’s memories and dooming him to the life of an outcast, as those around him snap photos and spread the word that Ayumu Aikawa is a cross-dressing pervert. Much to his surprise, however, his wardrobe choices turn him into a celebrity. Ayumu decides to ride out his newfound fame until the chainsaw can be repaired, suffering constant attention from doe-eyed girls and the mischievous eye of Sarasvati, the leader of Seraphim’s vampire ninja clan who also moonlights as a pop singer.
Now that Ayumu’s powers have been scaled back so significantly, there is little for him or his friends to do in the name of fighting evil. Instead, the characters go about their day-to-day lives, participating in various activities during which Ayumu is constantly reprimanded for perceived slights. While he succeeds in continuing friendly relationships with Haruna, the original Magical Garment Girl; Eucliwood Hellscythe, the necromancer who brought him back to life after he was murdered; and the vampire ninja Seraphim, this season is when Yuki finally gets the chance to come into her own as a character. Introduced late in the previous season, Yuki, a vampire ninja from a different clan than Seraphim, has a much larger role in Ayumu’s life because of a misunderstanding that turned them into a married couple. Their union won’t be officially recognized unless Ayumu agrees, so Yuki spends most of her time trying to win his lifelong love. For me, the highlight of this season is Kyoko, the psychopath responsible for Ayumu’s death, who returns in an attempt to fight off a new threat. A woman dangling over the precipice between sanity and lunacy, I fell in love with Kyoko this season. Her crazy face is both hilarious and unsettling, especially when she’s engaged in normal activities.
Ayumu’s life is pretty busy with the rigors of becoming an overnight celebrity, dodging stalkers, and living with three unpredictable women. His only safe harbor is the school’s science lab, where he has an encounter with a mysterious girl in a white Lolita outfit. She is always in a drunken state, and when she’s not dispensing words of wisdom and clarity, she literally vomits rainbows. Ayumu believes her to be a figment of his imagination and confides in the woman, giving himself a comfortable place to hide from the madness of his life. Miss Fairy, as he affectionately calls her, soon reveals herself to be much more important than some drunken lout. Unfortunately, the story’s twists lead to an odd, messy ending that doesn’t jive with the season’s “play the day away” tone. The finale ends with a basket full of loose ends and the issues that stem from the existence of Miss Fairy are left painfully unresolved, despite their gravity.
Is This A Zombie? Of the Dead is bookended by two OVA (Original Video Animation) specials that have no bearing on the main story. OVAs give the cast a chance to let their hair down and enjoy various sideline activities, and given the playful tone of the season, these specials fit in very well. In “Yes, Thank You For The Encore,” the gang visits a waterpark and engages in all the hijinks that would be expected in this scenario. “Yes, It Fits My Size” is pure fanservice: Ayumu accidentally drinks an invisibility potion and infiltrates the Girls Physical Fitness Test in search of a magical stone that Haruna sold to another student. Both OVAs are fun pieces of fluff entertainment, but their inclusion results in a short, ten-episode arc for the main story. While the last two episodes significantly raise the stakes, the show boils down to a final episode that seems out of place and head-scratchingly nonsensical.
As a season, Is This A Zombie? Of the Dead is much more fun than its predecessor. It doesn’t have as much action, but the show’s playful sense of humor is more prominent. The group’s antics are considerably goofier, and with the addition of Ayumu’s perverted friend Orito, there’s almost always something funny going on. The female characters have a much sexier presence this season and tend to be in various stages of undress. However, since Ayumu’s role as a Magical Garment Girl has been diminished, there have been fewer pejorative uses of the word “tranny,” which unnerved me in the last season. Despite my concerns about the season’s ending, I had a great time watching Is This A Zombie? Of the Dead.
Is This A Zombie? Of the Dead: The Complete 2nd Season & OVAs
directed by Takaomi Kanasaki
300 minutes, Number of Discs: 2, DVD
Company Age Rating: 17+
Related to: Is This A Zombie? by Shinichi Kimura and Sacchi