09 Apr, 2008

Zombie Fairy, Vol. 1

By: Ken Haley

By Daisuke Torii
CMX, 192 pp.
Rating: Teen

zombiefairy.jpgWhile taking a mysterious Chinese coffin to be appraised on a TV show, Aoto’s life takes a turn for the weird. The appraisers open the coffin to reveal a young girl inside. Unfortunately for everyone, she wakes up in a less-than-happy mood. Chaos ensues, the studio is thrashed, and the next thing you know she’s living with Aoto and his family! And things just get more complicated from there…

It’s a cute and fairly silly story. How many people let complete strangers live with them without paying rent, let alone one that you find inside an ancient Chinese coffin and who periodically tries to kill you? Still, there’s something oddly enjoyable and endearing about the whole thing. Most of the story focuses on the mystery of Chun Ai, how she got into that coffin, who she is, and why she has no memory. Thankfully, shortly after she moves in with the Aoto’s family, the Hozukis, a very old friend of hers, Lin Fa, arrives to help fill in some of the blanks.

One of the big surprises for me was the lack of perversion on Aoto’s part. I’ve just gotten so used to the male leads in shonen series being lecherous that encountering one that wasn’t felt like a breath of fresh air. No, the resident perv in this book is played by his elderly grandfather, and it really only happens once. I still would have liked to have seen the grandmother smack him for it, but hey. Just about all of the characters are one-note; there’s not a whole lot of fleshing out going on here: grandpa’s a perv, Aoto’s dad is kind of sensible, etc. Even the three main characters, Aoto, Chun Ai, and Lin Fa, are rather direct and uncomplicated. It is a short single volume so there’s not a whole lot of room for fleshing them out, plus it’s kind of nice to have some clear cut motivations and characters for once. The lack of angst or moral posturing was fantastic as well; there’s too much of that going around right now.

The artwork is a bit difficult to describe. It’s not quite as polished or slick looking as most of the manga out there, but it’s still pretty good and fits perfectly with the light hearted story. It’s not a flash heavy style, and it’s not the most ornate or beautiful artwork I’ve seen, but when the story calls for more elaborate designs and moments of flash it works quite nicely. The panel-to-panel flow is very easy to follow which means the few action sequences we get are clearly told. All in all, it’s a solid looking book.

The story ends in a rather open-ended fashion. It’s to be expected I suppose, and there’s a short note from the Daisuke at the end mentioning that whether it continues is dependent on the fan response. Judging from the short introduction on the inside cover, it would appear that it never did. Still, Zombie Fairy is a light, enjoyable single-volume read.

Volume one of Zombie Fairy is available now.

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