Calamity of a Zombie Girl
The young members of the Occult Studies Club sneak into a university storeroom looking for supernatural treasures, but only find a pair of "mummies" in coffins- from one of which one of their number surreptitiously removes a jewel. It turns out that the "mummies" won't take this lying down, and, resuming an appearance of life, emerge from their coffins to recover the jewel (and to get some gruesome revenge in the process.)
I'll tell you right off the bat that the graphic violence here includes a dog's head being smashed in; a body divided in two (with entrails spilling out); and sibling cannibalism.
At THIS point, you might decide this is NOT for you, and that's OK. But as for me, I'm willing to sit through even a gorefest such as this if a few critical components are there- a dose of humanity; a sympathetic lead; and most of all a sense of humor. Trash exploitation shows like King's Game: The Animation lack all of these ameliorating features. I suppose the model of a splatter movie that IS redeemed by having ALL of these components is the cult-classic film Evil Dead 2.
Calamity of a Zombie Girl seems to have all these elements- humanity, sympathetic leads, sense of humor- and embodies them, interestingly, in its "monsters", the "zombie" girls (the singular "girl" really isn't correct, there are TWO of them, as I'll explain shortly.) The "normal" characters here range from one complete innocent (but, alas, a "redshirt"); through the Occult Studies Club members, who I thought the "zombie girls" were a LITTLE harsh with (sure, several of them are major jerks, but with one exception their role in taking the jewel was unintentional); all the way to a couple of REAL nasty "final bosses".
Along the way we get to know our "zombie girls" a bit better. They aren't really zombies in the conventional sense. The principal one is the daughter of a baron "from the Holy Roman Empire era" named Euphrosyne Studion. Infamously remembered from history class as "neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire", that smorgasbord of central European states was dissolved in 1806, so Euphrosyne has been around a while. It seems her dad used that magical jewel to make her immortal, so she's definitely got a good reason to want it back. (The parties that stole it desired it for the same reason, of course.) Euphrosyne's maid Alma was somehow also given the same gift of eternal life (so long as her Mistress had the stone), but the ladies' fortunes apparently tanked over the years, and they fell into the hands of descendants who viewed them as commodities to settle debts, with them finally ending up under a curse that made them LOOK dead. Euphrosyne is the talkative one; she sometimes seems a bit of an airhead, even though she seems to be able to instantly acquire languages and the ability to operate machines. She's also super-strong, and as a result kills one completely innocent party quite unintentionally. Alma, on the other hand, is quiet, serious, pragmatic, and utterly devoted to her Mistress. Alma DOES have one zombie-related ability: if she consumes someone's flesh she can (temporarily) take on their appearance. The show's humor mostly comes from when our leads run into some limitation of their physical forms- immortal does NOT necessarily mean indestructible- and have to improvise.
The show's tightly scripted; we do get to know some of the Occult Studies kids well enough to not feel THAT bad about their ultimate fates. There's a guy named Azuma, who might have been better off if he'd stuck to his story and not been moved by a woman's tearful pleas; a girl named Minagawa, whose kung fu is actually pretty good for someone who just learned it from a book; a goateed guy named Abe, who turns out to be simply craven; and the person who actually took the jewel, who exploited the club but is, in turn, a victim of exploitation by others. (I actually got something out of a second viewing that I missed the first time around; specifically, I wondered how one of the "final bosses" could have mistakenly killed what was obviously the "wrong" person, but on a second viewing I realized it was no "mistake" at all.) You don't normally expect a show like this to be very subtle, but there's quite a bit of deception and dirty dealings afoot here, almost none of it from our "zombie girls", who are actually pretty honest and straightforward, in their own way- albeit extremely murderous and unforgiving. Remember, for whom the bell tolls...
Like I said, NOT for everyone, but it's quite a few steps above shows like King's Game (or most slasher films, for that matter), in the areas of having some sympathetic characters (if more than a bit ruthless and cold-blooded; I couldn't quite bring myself to describe them as "endearing"), and in having some effective (if tasteless) sight gags. Please feel free to add a star if you happen to watch this on Halloween. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: ADULTS ONLY. For all the carnage mentioned at the beginning of this review (and some more that I forgot to mention), plus some fairly graphic nudity.
Version(s) Viewed: Streaming on Crunchyroll
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Calamity of a Zombie Girl © 2018 Ryo Ikehata, Gonzo/Stingray
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