Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Another World's Zombie Apocalypse Is Not My Problem!
Having decided to stay in Grantz, Mizuha is coming around to the idea that this other world's zombie apocalypse is, in fact, her problem – despite having basically saved the kingdom, zombies still pop up every now and then. That, it turns out, is because she's only saved one kingdom; zombies are still lurching around out there in neighboring countries. Cia's dad isn't thrilled with the idea of Mizuha saving those other lands, but when bird zombies start to show up, Mizuha feels like she has no choice – and besides, now she's got a catgirl archer friend to help. What could go wrong?
She should have known it would come to this.
Erstwhile Japanese high school girl Mizuha, who in the previous volume was randomly selected by another world's goddess and isekaied away to become the priestess of purification, has in fact mostly saved the kingdom of Grantz from its little zombie problem. There are still zombified animals roaming around the countryside along with the odd human, but things seem to be going well. The title of the series, however, isn't Another Country's Zombie Apocalypse is Not My Problem, but Another World's Zombie Apocalypse is Not My Problem, and as we all know, worlds tend to come with multiple nations, fantasy or otherwise. That means that Mizuha's work is far from done, no matter how she may feel about it.
That's the opening gambit of the unexpected second volume of Haru Yayari's fantasy-horror-comedy, and it's a pretty good one. It certainly makes a lot of sense, because the world was sketched out in the first book, so Yayari is essentially just filling that sketch in. That we're getting it at all, however, is at least in part due to the popularity of the first volume convincing the author that there was more story to be told, and the afterword implies that her overseas readership definitely had a hand in that. If you've ever doubted the efficacy of voting with your wallet, this proves that wanting to see more by buying what you like really does make a difference.
Mizuha's new world being a fantasy-horror hybrid does leave plenty of room for expansion. Zombies were really the only unusual creatures (aside from gods) in the first book, and Yayari takes this opportunity to change that. In the early chapters, Mizuha, Lex, and the rest of their zombie purification team go out to purify animals that have coalesced into a giant fleshy zombie Mizuha calls a “boneless ham.” This quickly leads to the discovery (for Mizuha at least) of a race of demi-humans: the cat-eared-and-tailed Lucors. Mizuha is unutterably delighted to meet them, especially Nady, a Lucor around her age. In part this is specifically because Nady is a catgirl, but it's also because prior to Nady's arrival in the story, Mizuha has primarily interacted with men, with the much-younger princess Cia being her primary girl friend. Nady gives Mizuha an opportunity to form a friendship with a young woman her own age, and that's appealing even beyond Nady's cute kitty ears. That Nady is looked down upon by her fellow Lucors and thus has a very low opinion of herself just gives Mizuha even more of a reason to want to be her friend.
Once the Lucors are introduced, things really do take a turn for the more classically fantasy, albeit with a stopover in Daphne du Maurier (or Alfred Hitchcock, if you prefer the film) Land with the advent of a vicious bird zombie. Soon after that, Mizuha is kidnapped by a citizen of another country who wants her to save his zombie family, which leads to her encounter with a zombie dragon. Since the dragon surprises even those who are native to this other world, Mizuha realizes that there's something strange going on, and Yayari's set up proves top-notch here. The answer to the mystery of the dragon is essentially right in front of us, waiting only to be proven by Mizuha laying hands on it and de-zombifying it – let's just say that the introduction of the Lucors is a bit of a red herring when it comes to the solution to the dragon issue.
Because of the dragon, as well as a harrowing journey through a mine, this volume does feel tenser than the first. There's definitely an increase in political tensions, as Cia's father isn't sure he wants to share “Grantz's” priestess with other countries, particularly those that haven't historically been good neighbors. Mizuha doesn't see herself as strictly bound to any one nation for all that she stumbled upon Grantz first and has a knight from there, Lex, as her personal protector, and Lex's actions also suggest that he'd side with Mizuha over the king he initially swore fealty to. (Part of that is almost certainly romantic, although that plotline remains a bit underdeveloped.) As far as Mizuha is concerned, she agreed to stay because the people of the world, not the country, needed her zombie-cleansing powers, and she's not entirely pleased with the way that the king seeks to fetter her. But the action scenes are also more fraught this time around, with more powerful foes and a bit less humor as Mizuha does her best to purify the zombies. They are more frightening, yes, but now we have the added factor of knowing and caring about the characters more; when Mizuha or Lex is in danger, we as readers are more concerned than when we had just met them.
Another World’s Zombie Apocalypse Is Not My Problem!'s second volume leaves enough room for a third entry, should Yayari be inclined to write one. Mizuha's still probably the world's least enthusiastic zombie exterminator, still bitterly embarrassed by references to her “holy spit” and mortified that she has to spit on things to purify them (she should just be happy the story sticks to spit for bodily fluids), and still not entirely sure she made the right choice. But she's also more comfortable in her role and fond of her friends in this new world, and she's determined to do what she has to. As of right now, this is her problem – and damned if she's not going to solve it, one stinky zombie at a time.
Overall : B+
Story : B+
Art : C
+ Expansion of the world opens up story possibilities, a little more fraught than the first volume.
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