Step right up, step right up, one and all! It’s comedic, yet somehow slightly ecchi-feeling, manga time! Maybe you are sick of moe! Maybe this new half woman-half snake-like monster trend stuff just isn’t cutting it for you anymore! Well we’ve got a solution for you: zombie women! That’s right, the sexy and the dead combined for your reading pleasure, and you’ll find it all in Muroyoshi’s Shion of the Dead, running currently on Manga Box.
The plot overall could be mostly harmless. Everyday teenager Raimi Tsukasa is a good looking, sweet guy, who falls for his adorable, very busty classmate, Shion Shoji. Shion only comes with one item of baggage: she’s a zombie. He tries to flirt, and her guts falls out. He starts getting hot and bothered by her breasts, and a bone jots out of her neck killing the mojo. As long as Shion remembers to take her gas everyday, her mind stays intact and she won’t eat anyone, the key here being she has to remember to take it. Adding to the mix for her affections is the young and spunky girl Kaori, who also has an incredible crush on Shion, and will do anything to make sure Raimi and Shion never get together.
The first thing I’ll say is Shion of the Dead could be a lot worse than numerous images floating around out there would imply. In fact, if anything for ecchi-readers it’s all flirt and no pay off for them, providing plenty of shots of cleavage, and ladies bending over in tight shorts that somehow still give you everyday detail of the anatomy beneath them, but aside from all that build up, it never actually goes into the sex territory. Avoiding anything Go Nagai-like, one probably would get more from High School DxD than this. Just as it reaches the point it could go into a place of no return when things could get naughty, Muroyoshi’s saving grace comes in, and before any of the characters can get into position to get off, a blood filled, zombie-related gag will suddenly happen for a punch line: body parts fly off, scars mysteriously open and blood leaks, guts accidentally pour out of bodies, or maybe Shion forgets to take her gas and she goes full zombie and tries to eat our hero! These punch lines work incredibly well, and just when you are about to get creeped out and think the next page will take you into hentai land where you’ll never read this thing again, you laugh out loud unexpectedly at the sheer ridiculousness of whatever gory joke has been thrown.
Muroyoshi is also a great artist. Week after week, the manga looks great for the eye to behold. Nice style, clean, with good layouts. If anything, Muroyoshi is such a good artist that the amount of detail he puts into those fan service shots will make select readers not remotely interested in that sort of thing suddenly very uncomfortable. Luckily, as mentioned for those readers, the bloody punch line that normally comes after that shot negates any ill feeling. In terms of his gore drawings, they are there and very bloody, but the worst of the worst gore is done in an even more comical fashion as he censors his own work with mosaic bubbles, like some Japanese prime time TV show. So like we never get the sex, gore hounds will never get their full pay off here, either, creating both an interesting juxtaposition and execution of material content. A commentary on sex and violence in manga? Personal artist preference? The world may never know. Muroyoshi has been drawing since 2008, but none of his previous titles have seemed to be giant hits either here or there in Japan, however, Shion of the Dead being everywhere and for free on Manga Box may just change his luck.
Shion of the Dead is a title I started to read on a whim expecting I would hate it, and honestly, aside from my dislike of the fan service, I actually have become quite oddly smitten with this title, and can say it’s one of the better weeklies run on Manga Box at the current time.
Shion of the Dead can be found weekly on the Manga Box app, the official and free manga app available in Japan, USA, and China.