Zombie-Loan Volume One is “OT” for older teens. After reading this first volume, I would agree with this rating.

Zombie-Loan Volume One
Written by: Peach-Pit
Publisher: Square Enix
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: October 17, 2007

The main character of Zombie-Loan is a girl named Michiru Kita, and she has a hard time saying what’s on her mind. Because of this, others use her to their advantage. One day, while running an errand to buy bread for a group of girls in her class, she runs into two of her classmates, Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana. She drops the bread, and one gets left behind. In the classroom, Chika hands it to Michiru. Michiru learns that these two particular boys are “miracle survivors” of an overpass collapse that took place six months prior to the start of the manga. After seeing something that surprises her, Michiru collapses in the classroom.

When Michiru awakens, she’s in the health room. When she leaves the school, it’s dark out. She takes a shortcut and finds a graveyard on the campus grounds. As she goes through, she bumps into Chika, and he demands payment for helping her with the bread earlier. When she doesn’t have any money, he tells her to pay him 500 yen tomorrow. As Michiru heads on her way, Shito comes to the graveyard. Michiru sees the strange thing again, which is a black ring around Chika and Shito’s necks. Because of her parents’ deaths, she knows this is a sign that someone is about to die. She also sees the two of them switching hands.

When Michiru is discovered, she tells them about seeing the black rings around their necks before she runs off. The next day, the two boys tell Michiru that she will become their gofer because of her ability to see the black rings. It comes out during this volume that Chika and Shito are actually undead, and they kill people with the black rings in order to earn the money they need to pay back the loan for becoming undead.

Admittedly, I’m personally not a big fan of zombie stories; however, I decided to give this volume a chance. Unfortunately, by the time I finished reading this volume, it didn’t leave much of an impression on me. It didn’t help that by the end of the volume, I could never quite connect with any of the characters as much as I hoped I would.

I don’t think that Zombie-Loan is necessarily a bad story or a bad concept, because in this volume, Peach-Pit did seem to accomplish what they wanted to do with the story in this volume. My main problem, I think, is the fact that I’m not much into stories about zombies and the undead in the first place, and I just couldn’t quite overcome that preference.

Just prior to reading Zombie-Loan, I read the first volume of another Peach-Pit manga series, Shugo Chara! From reading these two volumes, I can say with certainty that Zombie-Loan is not the type of series I would have expected to come from the same mangaka behind a manga series such as Shugo Chara! Not only is this true of the story and the tone of the story, but even the art is drastically different. While Shugo Chara! has a light and simple feel to it, Zombie-Loan is much darker and utilizes a lot more shadows and night scenes. These two manga series are just as different as night and day. Even though I may not have enjoyed Zombie-Loan very much, I will give Peach-Pit credit for proving that they can create more than just one kind of manga series.

If you enjoy horror or supernatural stories, or enjoy reading stories with zombies, then you might be interested in checking out Zombie-Loan.