Review

by Theron Martin,

Calamity of a Zombie Girl

ONA

Synopsis:
Calamity of a Zombie Girl
One night during summer break at Sankan University, a quintet of undergrad students infiltrate the library in search of treasure, with a bit of help from one of the professors. They instead find the mummified corpses of two young women, but the magic stone within the body of one of them is what one of the students was actually secretly looking for. In the wake of the stone being removed, Euprosyne Studion and her servant Alma awaken from their century-long slumber and seek the return of the stone. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, the slaughter commences as an unholy battle erupts across the campus of the nearly-deserted university.
Review:

Calamity of the Zombie Girl has a bit of a weird history coming to anime form. The original light novel series was published in two volumes in 2012 (with a two-volume sequel later that year), and an anime adaptation was announced at about the same time. Nothing more was heard about the project until it suddenly resurfaced again in April 2018, with an announcement that it would be an ONA collaboration by studios Gonzo and Stingray. This has led to jokes that the production got mummified much like the main heroine did, but also like the heroine, it's now awake in all its 79-minute-long glory.

And that should be taken cynically, as nothing about this production actually qualifies as glorious. In fact, this is the kind of inglorious shlock where one character can get his arm severed at the shoulder, run around with blood spurting out of the stump, and yet never act like he's actually in shock or pain. It's also the kind of show where another character who gets her head severed after getting it caught in a basketball hoop decides that super-gluing it back on is the way to go – and it works! While those are some of the prime examples of how astoundingly stupid this production can be, they are far from the only ones.

As that suggests, the production is quite the gorefest – or at least it desperately tries to be, anyway. The extent of its gruesomely graphic content isn't quite in a league with something like, say, Corpse Party, primarily because the direction here approaches all of the gore with a very blasé attitude instead of the horrifying spirit of the former title; as a result, the shortcomings of Zombie Girl are more in the intensity that the scenes fail to convey. However, if you're after countless depictions of mangled/severed bodies and general savagery, you may have found what you're looking for. Since all of the splattered brains, severed heads, and innards aren't enough on their own to accentuate that this is an “older audiences” title, it also throws in some nudity and panty flashes for good measure. Granted, the two uses of nudity aren't entirely frivolous, as they actually make storytelling sense for the situations, and it's not like horror-wannabe tales don't have a long and healthy tradition of incorporating nudity. Still, its first appearance feels incongruous with what the production has done to that point.

The story is wholly basic horror movie fare: several college students accidentally awaken something while being someplace they shouldn't be and doing something they shouldn't be doing. This results in them having to struggle for their lives when the super-strong immortal Euphrosyne and her shape-changing maid come looking for it, while an utterly unprincipled professor seeks to capitalize on Euprosyne's stone for his own unholy and incestuous reasons. (Yes, the production goes there, too, just to amp the attempt at shock value further.) Very little of this is actually as disturbing as it's supposed to be, in part because the somewhat airheaded Euphrosyne has a much too casual attitude about everything until she winds up locked in battle with her ultimate foe towards the end. Even then, scenes where she's running around with her detached head are far more comical than scary because even that doesn't faze her much. Naturally there's some cheating going on here, too, because cheating = death in horror movies is a long-established element. Any real sense of backstory is also very limited; I get the sense that this project was intended entirely for those familiar with the novels.

About the only things that the production actually does right are some of the finishing moves. Easily the coolest and most satisfying scenes in the whole production involve the way Euphrosyne finishes off her ultimate foe, but at least one or two of the other death scenes have some gruesomely cool factor as well, and the sound effects only enhance that. A handful of action scenes at least try to liven things up, but their design and choreography are more ambitious than the animation quality and budget can actually support. Character design and execution is thoroughly uninspired, except for the long-term injury the Euphrosyne takes near the end and how she tried to disguise it at the end. The musical score at least tries to ramp up the intensity, but it isn't much more successful than the visuals.

If there is a good story to be found here then this is not the way to do it. The production as a whole might be good enough for fans of gore or low-grade horror movies, but I cannot recommend it to any other audience.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall (sub) : C-
Story : D
Animation : C+
Art : C
Music : C+

+ Some good death scenes.
Many aspects of the story are brain-numbingly stupid, mediocre production values.

Director: Hideaki Iwami
Series Composition: Kenichi Kanemaki
Music: Kou Otani
Original creator: Ryō Ikehata
Original Character Design: Hagane Tsurugi
Character Design: Junichi Takaoka
Art Director: Shin Watanabe
Chief Animation Director: Junichi Takaoka
Animation Director:
Yuji Hosogoe
Takeshi Kusaka
Norimoto Tokura
Art design: Masayo Kobayashi
Sound Director: Akira Noguchi
Producer: Katsuya Iwamoto

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