Calamity of a Zombie Girl 01?/00?/Untitled? – Anime Review
Synopsis: On a university campus where most students are out for summer vacation, five students sneak into the library storage to look for treasure. What they find are two sets of female antique mummies from Italy. One of the members, Sayaka rips open one of the mummies and takes out a stone, empowering the mummies to have super strength and eternal life. Having stolen their “stone of life”, the two mummies awaken and ferociously attempt to retrieve what was once theirs. The only way for the students to escape this situation is to find a way to kill the zombie girls… but will they be able to survive? (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Before we talk about the ups and downs of Calamity’s content, let’s first start off with the confusing nature of this production. Calamity of a Zombie Girl began life as a short but sweet Light Novel series (2 volumes and another 2 volume follow up) back in 2012.An anime adaptation was announced shortly after in 2013, before going silent for five years, only to resurface mere months ago with announcement for a July 4th airing (Happy Independence Day?) What’s more troubling is the bizarre nature of this release, with no clear announcement as to exactly what this Zombie Girl anime is supposed to be: Is this first episode, clocking in at 80 minutes in length, a mere one off? Is this part of a short ONA ‘movie’ series? It’s entirely unclear, even Crunchyroll doesn’t know what to call it, as to what this release is and if there’s more to come. In the interest of simplicity, we’ll simply review this outing as a standalone affair. When looking at Zombie Girl like that, I can honestly say there’s a potentially interesting story here, buried beneath the weight of a troubled production, with both lackluster animation and hamfisted direction. Much of the visuals are rough, producing a series that never looks outright awful, but struggles to generate truly eye catching visuals. Even dynamic fight scenes that should feel weighty, powerful and mesmerizing, are instead sluggish and bland. In fact the only pleasure to be derived from the visuals is the sudden and abrupt brutality, where characters are dispatched with such gut-wrenching surprise and brutal mayhem that you can’t help but gasp with laughter. This penchant for sudden and extreme brutality gives the series a kind of ironic fun, its sole saving grace.
Linny: It’s nigh impossible to watch Calamity of a Zombie Girl with any sense of seriousness thanks to its very bizarre tone and execution. In one scene (pictured below), a young man, with his arm ripped completely off his body, is calling out to his classmate for help yet she breezes right past him because she is on the phone EVEN THOUGH their physical position/locations would make it impossible for her to miss the fact that he is bleeding profusely and is clearly in need of help.This show struggles to make most of its scenes seem natural and convincing with events occurring in the most contrived manner. On the plus side, that does make it perfect for anyone seeking a show to enjoy in an exclusively ironic manner, able to laugh and cheer at all the hamfisted dialogue, and performances. This show is all over the place, with characters often reacting to shocking things in the most quizzical ways such as when one of our zombie girls kills someone by pure accident, her facial expressions switches between shocked, embarrassed and annoyed making her come off as completely abnormal. Adding to this chaos is a soundtrack that will often clash with what’s onscreen, too intense and dramatic, making for an awkward contrast.
Tom: Euphrosyne Studion, our titular zombie girl, is blasé about everything, providing a wildly different kind of lead to your typical action horror so much so that the series borders upon outright comedy. That said, the series doesn’t exactly play to this angle, often begging to be taken seriously, with few other moments or elements lending to this far more natural, comedic tone. It doesn’t help that the rest of the cast is so painfully thin. We’re introduced early on to a band of occult club members, none of whom present anything resembling memorable and endearing personalities, making them instead feel like bland B-movie warm bodies for the slaughter (of which there is much thankfully.) There’s an almost B-movie charm about the proceedings, but that’s unfortunately hamstrung by incredibly slow portions of the narrative, which the story slows to a crawl and it takes forever for things to get going again. You could probably chop 20-30 minutes out of this 80 minute version and you’d only end up with a far tighter, and stronger presentation.
Linny: Calamity of a Zombie Girl is terrible at handling exposition. It decides to let us learn about the past of our two zombie girls and how they ended up in this situation by literally having them narrate their life story TO EACH OTHER for no apparent reason and despite the fact that they clearly experienced all of it together. Their bizarre life history conversation could still have worked had their dialogue been more colourful, maybe lamenting their condition in more emotional words rather than an almost factual narration of events. It’s also difficult to ascertain who we’re supposed to root for, as the zombie girls are initially depicted as heartless murderers, killing an elderly and innocent old man, and then the unwitting college kids. One could argue that this gives the show a unique edge but it also raises the potential of the viewer not really caring about the fate of anyone. The ambiguity lingers perhaps a tad too long, but is, thankfully addressed in true B movie style, as the outright villains of the piece are revealed to be as cliche as they come; the type that show how evil they are by killing off their ‘loved’ ones without so much as a moment’s hesitation.
Tom: For full disclosure’s sake, I was hopped up on NyQuil, battling a horrid cold while I watched this, and I mostly found myself enjoying what was here in the most ironic of ways. Zombie Girl borders on so bad it’s good, a trainwreck of poor animation, direction, and script that culminates in a tale of laughable horror. In the light of a clear head however, Zombie Girl is perhaps too slow and lengthy to say it’s even a must watch in even that ironic reading. That said, if you’re looking for a trainwreck five years in the making, Calamity of a Zombie Girl is an 80 minute feature that won’t disappoint, failing at near every turn.
Linny: As someone who was ALSO battling a cold but not hopped up on NyQuil while watching this, I struggle to recommend it even as an ‘ironic’ watch. While its bizarre violence does make for some chuckles, the story shows clear signs of wanting to be taken seriously, making its failures all the more evident. With shoddy animation and even sloppier execution, the 80 minute run time is just not worth it even when you factor in the possible enjoyment as a B grade movie.
Calamity of a Zombie Girl is available for streaming via Crunchyroll