Zombies and Halloween are the perfect combinations! While largely seen as an American thing, Japan is home to some great zombie stories. These anime and manga range from horror to comedy, but they star our favorite undead creatures.
1. I am a Hero
I am a Hero is one of the greatest zombie stories of all-time, regardless of medium or country of origin. The story follows the disappointing life of 35-year-old manga assistant Hideo who finds new meaning while surviving a zombie outbreak. While the main character is an otaku, I am a Hero isn’t a trope-filled wish fulfillment story and instead uses zombies and societies breakdown as social commentary.
2. School-Live! (Gakkou Gurashi!)
If you can look past the cute art and slice of life moments, then you’ll discover that School-Live! has a lot in common with Dawn of the Dead. Dread, mystery, and gore are prevalent in this terrifying survival story with a few twists up it’s sleeve.
3. Highschool of the Dead
Highschool of the Dead is a high-octane series the blends creepy zombies, exploitative fanservice, and the degradation of society. It has a little bit of everything, but newer fans may be wary due to the lack of an ending.
4. Hellsing Ultimate
Zombies don’t have to be scary! Hellsing Ultimate is a fun, over-the-top action series that pits Alucard against Nazis, zombies, and werewolves as he tries to prevent the rise of the Third Reich. It’s a schlocky good time!
Could you ever fall in love with a zombie? It’s a crazy kink for protagonist Chihiro, but the series uses the zombie spin to breathe new life into the rom-com genre.
6. Reiko the Zombie Shop
Reiko the Zombie Shop is a josei comedy-horror series with a lot of emotion. Reiko is a necromancer who resurrects the dead so grieving families can learn the final thoughts of the deceased.
7. Sunday Without God (Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi)
If you love the idea of zombies, but dislike horror, then Sunday Without God is for you. God abandons humanity, which causes people to become zombies following death. Gravekeepers go around putting them to rest in this psychological drama that gives new life to the genre.
8. Is This a Zombie? (Kore wa Zombie desu ka?)
If you love zombies, but really hate horror and psychological, then Is This a Zombie? is for you. It’s an action-comedy-ecchi-harem that revolves around a zombie guy, vampire ninjas, a powerful necromancer, and a failed magical girl. You’ll laugh at the crazy antics the cast gets into.
9. Life is Dead
Life is Dead is a really different take on zombies! The “zombie” virus is an STD and it gradually converts the infected into a flesh eater. It’s basically a form of AIDS. If may look crass, but Life is Dead has a lot of heart as we see the protagonist’s final days as a human.
10. Fort of Apocalypse (Apocalypse no Toride)
Fort of Apocalypse is a “blockbuster” styled action zombie tale. It follows a juvie inmates trying to survive as a zombie outbreak occurs in their prison. The action hits hard and fast, which will leave you dreaming of an anime adaptation!
Space zombies! Biomega centers around a space plague that infects the Earth (the literal planet), and zombifies much of life. It’s one of Nihei’s earlier manga, so don’t expect a lot of fans and just enjoy the insane twists! Biomega is pretty much a good Resident Evil manga.
12. Cradle of Monsters (Mouryou no Yurikago)
Zombies and cruise ships are a scary combo! Mouryou no Yurikago takes place on a capsized sunken ship, and the survivors are trying to find a way to escape while fighting off zombies. It’s a fight for survival against zombies and insanity as everyone slowly becomes overwhelmed with dread as they trapped at sea.