Is This a Zombie? Vol. 1 TP (Manga)
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: March 2012
Price: $11.99
Creator: Sacchi, based on work by Shinichi Kimura
Format: 166 pgs.; B&W; Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-3162-1036-2
Age Rating: Mature
ICv2 Ratings: 1.5 Stars out of 5

The highlight of this disappointing manga was a cross-dressing zombie teenager with a chainsaw.  It's all downhill from there.  Some jokes weren't funny until you read the translation notes on the inside back cover.  Some weren't funny even then, because the translator often failed to find equivalent terms.  As an example, a character is referred to as a "magikewl girl," when in Japanese the phrase was "magically-outfitted girl," an actual joke and a better play on the "magical girl" phrase.

The plot is as awkward as the humor.  A high school student dies in an almost random incident, is brought back to semi-life by a cute necromancer, and then accidentally steals the powers of a "magikewl girl" before a vampire ninja mime shows up.  Well, she may not be a mime.  She could just be a disciple of the church of Harpo Marx, but by that point it doesn't matter.  The story is chaotic, and seems to exist for the purpose of setting up panty shots and cleavage shots in the artwork, most of them of a girl who is young enough to make the panels cringe worthy.  This book simply doesn't translate well to American humor or cultural standards.  The artwork is cute, the book's only redeeming point.

--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.