Zombie-Loan

The Boring Info The Characters The Terms The Songs The Opinion
Michiru
Shito
Chika
Bekkō
Dark Rings
Shinigami Eyes
Zombies
The Contract
Ookami no Nodo
Chain Ringu


The Animoo

Zombie-LoanKita Michiru is a young girl with an extraordinary gift; she possesses “Shinigami Eyes” which allows her to see rings around the necks of people, a sign of their impending death. Ever since she first saw these rings on the necks of here parents, shortly before their death, she has hated her gift and worn glasses which subdued her ability.

One faithful day while at school and running lunch-time errands, she trips over a hand (though she does not realize what it is) and has her first encounter with the two most popular boys in school, Tachibana Shito and Akatsuki Chika. Being in a rush, she never realises that she forgot to pick up one of the sandwiches she dropped, which is later dropped off by the two boys, while Michiru is sitting with her friends. Her friends, curious of why the boys seem to know Michiru, tell her the amazing story of the boy’s survival in a car crash, when she gets confused of them being referred to as “A” and “B”. As punishment for seemingly not paying attention, one of the girls takes off Michiru’s glasses, which is when she accidentally notices the dark rings around the necks of Chika and Shito and faints as a result.

When she wakes up at the school infirmary, she hurries on home, only to run into Chika yet again, while still on school grounds. She decides to follow him to a graveyard where she discovers the ghastly truth about the two…


The Boring Info

The anime is 11 episodes long and is based on the manga of the same name by PEACH-PIT (Banri Sendo and Shibuko Ebara). Episodes 12 and 13 have been made, but were only featured on DVD.
The anime was supposed to be 20 episodes long, but for odd reasons I’m unaware of, it just stopped.
The manga is published by Enix, and the anime was sponsored by Square Enix who also made a Zombie-Loan game.


The Characters

In snack-sized bits. Click names to see character images.
Kita Michiru – Michiru is a girl with the special ability to see dark rings around the necks of people thanks to her “Shinigami Eyes”. She’s hates this ability and usually wears glasses that subdues it (very Tōno Shiki, if you ask me). Ever since the death of her parents, she has lived (unhappily) with her uncle and her uncle’s wife. She is initially completely lacking confidence and an ability to stand up for herself , often running errands for her “friends” because of her inability to say “no”, a bad habit that actually doesn’t change all that much throughout the storyline, though she does grow a little backbone. She is indirectly bound by contract to help Tachibana and Akatsuki, which is a major plot point. Because of this, they regard her kind of like their property. The anime ended long before her role and character was expanded.

Tachibana Shito – Tachibana is a person of Chinese descent. He is nicknamed Shounen A/A-kun (Boy A), because when he was young, he was involved in a car crash, but because of his (apparent) young age, the newspaper covering the story referred to him as Shounen A, rather than his real name. While he seems as a very kind and approachable person, this is but an act. In reality, has has little to no emotions, save for contempt. It was believed that he died at the same time as Akatsuki, but it is later revealed that he was never alive to begin with, but rather somewhere in-between life and death. His mother, who was a zombie, carried him for 7 years before finally giving birth to him, after which he was raised by the Xu Fu mafia to be the “perfect monster”. His state of existence is best “explained” (or not) as “by being a zombie, he must be dead, but having been born, he must be alive“. When “complete” (see character section Bekkō), he is able to summon a revolver and bullets using his ectoplasm. He has however noted that this is a complex and taxing process, compared to Akatsuki’s. He can use this gun to guide defeated souls to Hell.

Akatsuki Chika – Akatsuki is a young boy who died in a car crash alongside Tachibana. He is nicknamed Shounen B/B-kun for the same reasons Tachibana is nicknamed Shounen A. Akatsuki is Tachibana’s complete opposite, being rather hotheaded, but generally in touch with his emotions, as he often cares and worries for his friends. He has a father and sister who are still alive, though he no longer lives with them. He notes that he doesn’t care about his father (who is a cross-dresser), but he worries about his sister (who is actually more interested in texting with friends than her brother). He is able to summon a katana when complete, and can use it to guide defeated souls to Heaven. He can be called greedy, though his greed is derived from his desire to pay back his loan so he can become alive again because he fears that his heart will become cold and that he will be unable to feel (more on this in The Contract).

Bekkō – Bekkō, also called Watashimori (the Ferryman), is the manager or Z-Loan, and as such can be described as the “contract giver”. He is responsible for Akatsuki and Tachibana being “incomplete”, as they seemingly lost the right hands in the car crash, which Bekkō then mixed up (giving Shito’s to Chika and Chika’s to Shito), when they signed the contract. This means that in everyday life, Tachibana has Akatsuki’s right hand and vica versa, however they can quite literally give each-other a hand in order to become complete and summon weapons to aid them in battle. Bekkō notes that their contract is also slightly different because of his mix-up, it being a “shared” loan, because they are forced to work together. Bekkō is often depicted as extremely stingy and money fixated, however, he is quite generous when it comes to burials and condolence money of the zombies and people that the Zombie-Loan has come in contact with.


The Terms

Dark Rings
Dark Rings, also called “Black Rings” or simply “Rings”, are rings that first appear around a persons neck when death is but a short time away (usually a couple of days). When first marked, the ring is a shade of gray, but as death draws closer the ring darkens until completely black, which is when the Shinigami (Death God/The Grim Reaper) comes to “collect”. Zombies have jet black rings, which is how Michiru is able to recognize them. I believe it was noted at one point, that the ring serves as a marker for the Shinigami’s scythe (kinda like how a plastic surgeon marks where s/he is going to cut/lift/whatever, I suppose).

Shinigami Eyes
Shinigami Eyes are named after their purpose, which is to see Dark Rings, an ability that only the Shinigami, and people with eyes like his, possess. The power of these eyes can apparently be subdued (evident from the glasses Michiru wears), but exactly how is never explained. EDIT: Recently (December 2009) it was revealed that what Michiru has is in fact NOT Shinigami Eyes, but it hasn’t been explained what they are.

Zombies
There are apparently two types of zombies. “Natural” zombies, that exist because they “couldn’t completely die, so they’re wandering through life“. They have no distinct emotions, ability to reason or control their desires nor a will of their own. Then there are zombies that exist thanks to an extremely strong emotion of their’s (hate, jealousy, love, desire, etc.). These zombies all have a signed contract, in one way or another.

The Contract
The contract is what allows a person to become a zombie. It is more of a loan than a contract though, hence the title “Zombie-Loan“. I’m unsure of how exactly this process works, but it seems that just after death, those with strong enough emotions and potential are given the choice of “living” once again by taking on a loan which they must pay off (usually by killing rogue zombies, though there seem to be alternative ways) in order to live as normal human beings, rather than zombies. Initially, only the Ferryman could make the contracts, but during the storyline, it is revealed that another organization is doing the same, though the series ended before it was fully explained. Tachibana has noted that one can use loop holes in the contract in order to gain eternal youth (though not immortality, as one can still be “killed” if sustaining enough damage or if collected by the Shinigami). He notes that the contract has a 1-year deadline, but can be renewed if one is able to pay an insanely high renewal fee (as he puts it). However, living as a zombie has it’s consequences, and in time, a zombies senses and ability to feel diminishes, turning them cold and emotionless.


The Songs

Ookami no Nodo

I… I honestly do not what to think of this song. Wikipedia calls the song “Wolf’s Throat“, though I think “Voice of the Wolf” or “Cry of the Wolf/Wolf’s Cry” would be more accurate, considering the lyrics. It is performed and written by The Birthday. It kind of reminds me of late 80s to mid 90s punk rock, though that is probably kind of inaccurate. It’s not really all that good, but the music makes me feel kinda nostalgic, so it’s bearable until the singing starts (which I find very annoying…).

The animation seems to have somewhat random moments in the sequence, but they are actually minor story references that you just won’t get until you’ve watched part of the series, like Akatsuki’s and Tachibana’s chains, the trading of hands, and Tachibana’s mother’s comb. It also features all the “good” guys and girls, as well as the Shinigami.


Chain Ringu

Chain Ringu (Chain Ring) is written and performed by Mucc. The music is kick ass-tastic and way familiar, but the singing is annoying. The lead singer is clearly talented, but he kinda “vibrates” his voice (it has an actual word, I just forgot it) a lot in the chorus, which just gets under my skin, because it sounds like he’s trying to imitate a sheep while singing. He also “breaks” the rhythm by delaying the last word in the regular stanza, making it sound slightly off. However, I doubt this will be a problem for normal people, so y’all might enjoy the song very much. The part leading up to the chorus and the “-ei yeah” endings are particularly enjoyable.

The animation is like a showcase (or rather, a group portrait) of all the “good guys”, followed by what I supposed would be the “bad guys”, however, the anime didn’t get far enough to confirm my assumption.


The Opinion

I rather enjoyed Zombie-Loan, and I am quite saddened that it didn’t air past the eleventh episode. For an anime dealing exclusively with death, it had a surprisingly light-hearted way of going about it. It would sometimes switch from something rather serious and into a completely silly situation drawn in a childlike form, which is kind of like chibi-drawing, but how a 5-year-old would do it (if you get my meaning). The thing is though, it does it successfully. Because of the laid back way I sit while watching anime, I almost fell out my chair on several occasions because I was laughing so damn hard, and I especially enjoyed the sudden changes in tone, because of how well performed they were.

But like I said, it also has a serious aspect. And while it has some of the tired old stereotypes (a protagonist with power s/he either doesn’t want to use, or doesn’t know how to use, and who is a bit of a doofus, a protagonist with a dark past and a gazillion-billion secrets that get unveiled slowly, a protagonist who’s the complete opposite personality wise, a couple of onsen lesbo fan service scenes (I imagine some of you woke up on that one), a dark syndicate that suddenly appears out of thin air, etc., etc., it does something I haven’t seen any other anime do. Note that I said “something I haven’t seen any other anime do“, which doesn’t mean it’s never happened before. Anywho, it deals with what goes on AFTER the zombie hack’n’slashing. You actually get to see them attend funerals of the zombies they’ve killed and guided, they pay tribute to the families, even of killers, and it gives you a kind of all-round closure of the events that had occurred earlier on. Other anime usually just want you to accept that a bunch of people died, and neglect that they had families who cared and so on.

So in conclusion, it’s a short anime that ends a bit pre-maturely, but it is definitely worth a watch. It’s light-heartedness will have you laughing your ass off, if you’re into silly humor, and the serious parts make you want to see the next episode, because you actually get to care about what happens next or because you want to hear the next gold nugget of “philosophical wisdom”.

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