By tumour baby
Zombie Loan is a summer 2007 anime produced by Xebec. It is based on a manga made by Peach-pit that ran from 2002 to 2011. It had 11 episodes and a special that only took up maybe less than half of the plotline of the original manga series.
Zombie Loan is a paranormal anime that stars Michiru Kita, an orphaned girl who can see rings around the necks of people near death. She blames herself for not being able to warn or save her parents whose rings she noticed just before they left the house and got caught up in a car accident. After this, she recluses herself to her small set of friends and basically becomes the gofer of the group. She wears glasses to prevent herself from being able to see the rings around people. Her life changes when she encounters two boys whose rings are pure black – indicating that both of them were dead. It turns out that these two boys work for a company called Z-loan where they kill off zombies and other such creatures as their payment in staying alive.
The characters in this anime have tremendous character growth despite the short number of episodes.
From her quiet and pushover personality, Michiru learns to fight back and to stand by what she believes in. She also learns how to make use of her power and how not to be afraid of her own abilities anymore. Our other two main characters, Chika and Shito start the show hating each other completely. As we go on, they start to trust each other and Michiru and persevere despite all the hardships. They also have complex backstories that explain their motivations and why they are the way they are. The side characters are also very interesting by themselves and how they react to the main characters – but none of them are given any backstory to work with and only of them seem to have great importance to the mysteries being unravelled in the anime.
The concept of zombies or shinigami is nothing new in anime. However, the twist in Zombie Loan is that the zombies in this case, fight other zombies in order to stay alive. The concept is quite interesting and was executed really nicely and explores the theme of life and death and what it really means to live. It also focuses a lot on its characters, showcasing different struggles that they partake. However, there is no overall story arc that neatly ties up the story nor explains how the whole Z-loan agency came to be. The special also gives more questions rather than tie up any loose ends. This may be a result from ending while the manga was still ongoing, but it could still arguably have been modified to suit an 11-episode series.
Zombie Loan’s opening is hard metal that mostly consist of random beats trying to sync with some action scenes. The opening doesn’t really introduce any of the characters and all you really get out of it is the feeling that a lot of bad stuff goes on in this series (which is right).
The ending is also rock music but gives more of the feeling that fate is playing with the characters than simple gore. You also get to see all the characters, including the villains. The beats are the fastest during that scene, which may symbolize how confronting with them is the climax of the story.
Voice acting: 9/10
The voice-acting in Zombie Loan is well carried out. You have Kenichi Suzumura as Chika who always has a distinct voice for each character he plays. He is able to keep up with Chika’s mood shifts and wild personality. You have Houko Kuwashima who is able to capture Michiru’s transition from being a soft-spoken pushover to becoming a person of her own. And you have Takahiro Sakurai who is able to portray Shito’s dark humour and his angst very well. Overall, Zombie Loan’s choice of seiyuu was well done.
Zombie Loan is an old anime and doesn’t have the best graphics by today’s standards. However back then, the transition scenes were done smoothly, especially during the action scenes which had a lot of flare and gore. The switches between the real animation and the stick figure ones during funny moments were nicely executed. There were no awkward long moments of a single scene with change of dialogue only. There are some parts where the art was lacking, such as some characters having no noses or the like, but overall, the animation was a lot better than average.
Personal enjoyment: 8/10 (not included in final rating)
I thought that the manga was a lot more confusing than the anime despite having an overarching arc. The anime still seemed conclusive and satisfying despite being very open-ended. I personally really enjoyed watching Zombie-Loan despite not being a fan of the paranormal. I also highly enjoyed the characters, especially Michiru and her growth throughout the whole show.I also adore the connections she makes with the other characters and how they have all influenced each other.
Overall rating: 7.9/10