Remember when DEEN used to be good? They made Maison Ikkoku, Marimite, and the Kenshin OVAs. Nowadays however, DEEN adaptations are simply not of the same caliber. Fate/Stay Night was mediocre at best. Umineko was a disappointment considering Higurashi’s success. What do these shows have in common? They don’t know how to tell a coherent story.
Enter Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? which henceforth will be referred to as Korean Zombie Desk Car. The show, I’ll admit, had potential. Especially during the first half when the characters are being introduced. Then comes the sad realization that we’ve seen these same characters before: DFC tsundere, buxom oujo-sama, and silent kuudere. Then there is the plot, or lack thereof. An incoherent juxtaposition of several potential story lines that ultimately go nowhere. Oh wait, I get it. It’s supposed to be a slice of life that goes on forever, because he’s a zombie and therefore immortal. The scripting was cringe-worthy, even for a fanservice show. And who thought of vampire ninja maids and giant leather jacket wearing air whales? Some may argue its “creative.” I think its random, stupid, and a shitty attempt at surreal comedy.
The final episode was disappointing to say the least. There are only a few series who can pull of the penultimate episode plot resolution technique, or whatever you want to call it. Sometimes it works, such is the case with Arakawa Under the Bridge, and sometimes it doesn’t, as is the case with Korean Zombie Desk Car. The problem lies with the show’s execution. As soon as a show presents itself as non serious, it begins to lose its effect. Pure comedy shows are less affected by this. However, Korean Zombie Desk Car presents itself as a comedy-drama. As it result, it ends up failing to invoke either emotions of laughter or sadness, unless you count laughing at the ridiculous premise.
It all boils down to this. Korean Zombie Desk Car is a harem show where the MC is a zombie. Already its walking a dangerous line given the precedents. The show tries to pass itself off as a serious drama with the MC intent on finding his killer. However, there never is that sense of fear, even in dire situations. Good shows maintain its aura no matter the situational, whether serious or comedic. In one episode, the MC gets run over by a truck and flies some 50 feet into the air. No one turns to look, the driver doesn’t stop the truck nor does he do anything for that matter, and the MC just lies there until he is found by another character.
That’s when you can tell the show doesn’t take itself seriously; small comedic situations like the aforementioned when one can’t lampshade an explanation taking place within a show that is supposedly a “serious show.” It is not a satire, nor is it a deconstruction. It doesn’t subvert any of the contemporary tropes of which it employs. Nor does it codify any of the existing tropes in its genre besides the notion that shows such as this suck ass. It’s a show that exists, and thats it. It could be erased from history and not a single fuck would be given that day.
And that’s essentially what this show is. Mediocre. Not good enough to warrant any praise, yet not bad enough to warrant any severe criticism (at least not of Odin or Apocalypse Zero caliber). People will discuss it when the subs come out, post their various image macros, and move on. It’s entertainment right? What’s wrong with that? If the kids like it, so be it, its not hurting anyone.
WRONG. This is exactly the type of thing
killing jimmy-rustling the anime industry today. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Odin, despite being a terrible anime, contributed more to the industry than any of these 12-episode, fanservice, otaku-pandering, moe, harem, pre-pubescent girl showcasing titles that get pumped out by the masses. Odin was a wake-up call to Japanese directors and producers, essentially telling them what NOT to do. Odin came out in 1985. Guess what came out in 1986? Laputa, Area 88, Tezuka’s Phoenix movie, the second Barefoot Gen movie, and the first Fist of the North Star movie. You can bet that Miyazaki and company were looking at Odin when making these thinking, BETTER STAY AWAY FROM THAT SHIT.
Shows such as Korean Zombie Desk Car are cheap, they fail to tell a coherent story, and they still manage to outsell anything remotely good. Fanservice sells, and all these shows are hopping on the bandwagon, too scared to take risks. Then you get Madhouse who makes a masterpiece such as Tatami Galaxy which is outsold by K-ON and Endless Eight, shows who are familiar to fandom via association with the norm. No it was not the same in the old days, which may seem strange coming from someone born in 1992. Yet we can all agree that with the death of the OVA, came the death of experimentation.
Thus, in the current age of anime, the globalization of shows has led to the formation of a meta-franchise. In essense, this is the problem with anime today. The show is not the franchise, the genre is the franchise. Each one of these SAME OLD SHIT shows that manages to make a profit only add fuel to the fire. Instead of SHIT SON BETTER STAY AWAY FROM ODIN, its now WELL DAMN, QUEENS BLADE SOLD, LETS DO THAT AGAIN. Fuck Haruhi. Fuck Evangelion. I like those shows, but from an industry standpoint, they’re probably the worst things to happen to anime. Evangelion is a masterpiece, but damn those character archetypes. The term “premier girl” exists today solely because of Rei Ayanami.
And heres the kicker. Despite all the Korean Zombie Desk Car ranting I did, I still tuned in every week to watch the damn thing. I actually found this mildly entertaining. Have I succumbed to the moefaggotry? You bet I have. And its fucking disgusting. It really is a cancer. I can pinpoint exactly why I hate it, yet I keep watching it like a fucking hypocrite. I watched it for the dreadfully bland characters who just happen to fit the “genre-inspired” archetypes a little too well. I got my weekly HNNNGs despite the fact that I could have just rewatched Azumanga Daioh for the same effect. I raged, got trolled, and all it did was keep me watching.
And watch we will. All of us. Why? Because we’re all 5-year-olds who want ice cream instead of vegetables. And the majority of studios will feed us ice cream season after season, such bad parents these studios are. The current fandom today is not much different than fandom from 30 years ago. We are all equally impressionable kids, teens, or manchildren. There is a reason why old anime fans look down on the new stuff. Back then, shows were respectable. If you grew up in the 60s, you got to say, “when I was a kid, the popular thing was Tetsujin 28 and Astro Boy.” If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you got to say, “when I was a kid, the popular thing was Robotech, Gundam, Area 88, Giant Robo, Mazinger Z, and Getter Robo.” The current generation lacks these mainstream genre-defining shows. Oh wait we do, its called K-ON. I don’t hate K-ON, but someone explain to me why it literally outsells everything and anything.
You know what? I don’t care anymore. That is my
ultimate shitty revelation. It is not my place to dictate the opinion of the masses. Nor can I support any of my favorite shows monetarily given my broke status. Thus, I’m just going along for the ride. Embrace the moe, and see where it takes us.