Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka – 10: Emo Imo Stradivarius Spaghetti
It’s been a week and a half since the 9.0 earthquake + tsunami + nuclear radiation triple threat that devastated Japan, but in this time they have got themselves sorted out enough to bring us the latest episode of Kore Zombie! The week of mourning is over, and the people of Japan are quick to get their lives back in order without much fuss or complaint, garnering admiration from people all over the world.
I think it’s been a few episodes coming now, but what strikes me as the biggest failings of this anime would be that it tries to have too much serious drama that is invariably incompatible to its nonsensical setting. The scenes go off on a tangent from one another, like for example, suddenly Seraphim is a violinist, who picks up the Stradivarius violin that Haruna mistook for spaghetti, which ends up being the background music for Ayumu’s meeting with the shopkeeper.
There are anime series that manage to blend slapstick humour and serious action and drama together well. Gintama is one such anime that blends and alternates the serious and slapstick moments with great effect. There are arcs in which it is focussed purely on character development or action sequences. Despite its nonsensical and anachronistic setting, the serious moments were well-scripted and with reason, such as to emphasize the importance of friendship, or to steer one away from bad influences. And within the episodes, there are humourous moments interspersed at cleverly designed intervals, such that it doesn’t throw the anime off-pace, but shows that it is still faithful to its comedic roots. The Yoshiwara Arc would be a good watch to illustrate my points (Episodes 139-146, Chapters 210-228).
So we’re left wondering what was the point of so much forced drama in the last few episodes of Kore Zombie. Most of the time it falls flat, as there was no prior character development for the viewer to relate to, and it leaves the viewers confused as to whether they should take the drama seriously, or laugh at the nonsensical foes that Ayumu and co. are pitted against. It’s like the producers put in many of the scenes as an afterthought, and not to actually move the plot forward. In Gintama, there are monumental enemies that are exceedingly powerful, and it would’ve probably cost Gintoki an arm and a leg to defeat them all. There are times when the viewer can almost feel the utter despair in the protagonist, but such feelings aren’t invoked when watching Kore Zombie. Of course, it may be unfair to pit these two animes together, as one anime has gone on for years, but the latter is but a 12-episode series. But wouldn’t the short series have a tighter plot then, since it has less to work with? Gintama remains an anime series that I can watch any random episode at any moment and still get a week’s worth of laughter from it.
But, one shining example of getting it right would be Episode 6, where Eu fights against Kyoko. Regardless of her motives or style of fighting, Kyoko was an utterly disturbing character. She’d kill to prolong her own life, and she’d use the collected lives as a resource to fight continuously against Eu. Not to mention unlocking her magical power, at the cost of burning off her skin and bones. It was something that viewers rarely see in anime, and her purpose was well-linked with the events of previous episodes, such as touching Ayumu’s forehead at the hospital, feigning care and concern, but in actual fact trying to wipe Ayumu’s memories. It’s quite a pity that I started blogging from Episode 6, which was at that point unbeknownst to many viewers, sort of the climax of the series. After that, despite encouraging signs in Episode 8, the series has lost its direction and gone downhill.
This episode does clear up a bit of the plot though. The shopkeeper is finally confirmed to be a zombie, and his dark aura indicating that he’s probably the “King of the Night “, the one manipulating Kyoko.
…actually that’s about it. The other point that’s not really worth mentioning is that Ayumu, being a zombie, is nigh immortal, and cannot be killed. Which renders the last scene pointless really. In an attempt to rope in some tear-jerking moments, Ayumu, Haruna, and Yuki are caught in a bomb situation. The bomb is basically a stuffed toy that jumps about peoples’ heads. There’s really not much thought that needs to be done: just put the bomb with Ayumu and get him to a safe distance where the bomb will detonate, and Ayumu would come out unscathed (Or heavily damaged, but nothing some glue cannot fix). So why put the cliffhanger at the end of the episode when it’s quite obvious what the outcome will be? That, case in point, is what stops it from being little more than just an enjoyable anime due to the cast. The plot trods along without much buildup, and when there is actually one, it’s resolved in a matter of minutes. Not to mention the various monsters that Ayumu is pitted against. They are little more than distractions, and some can’t even be taken seriously, like that giant bird that landed on Haruna in the previous episode. Hell, the shopkeeper is the most menacing opponent so far, but he just stands there and lets his ‘black aura’ do the work.
Well, this series has two (or was it three?) more episodes to save itself. Undoubtedly, the vibrant cast keeps the series afloat, but it doesn’t keep it sailing as (pardon the pun) the plot holes sink the ship. Give it a good conclusion please, as I’m failing to see what the point of the plot is.