Nowadays, zombies are all the rage, but did you know that there are different kinds of zombies? The Japanese anime genre is full of different types of zombies, ranging from mindless undead to intelligent zombies with personalities and motivations. It doesn’t matter if you want to see cute girls fighting off hordes of the undead or psychotic killers devouring human flesh; this list will satisfy your needs.
It’s not just about brains! Here are some great anime series where zombies take center stage:
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- The Empire of Corpses
- Sunday Without God
- Corpse Princess (Shikabane Hime)
- Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
- Highschool of the Dead
- Sankarea: Undying Love
- Is This a Zombie? (Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka)
- Hellsing Ultimate
- Tokyo Ghoul
- Zombieland Saga
- Gyo Tokyo Fish Attack
- Seoul Station
- Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic
- Mo Dao Zu Shi
- Shi Xiong
- Soul Eater
Initially, it is difficult to believe that this cute school anime is about zombies because the animation is so adorable. Though it shouldn’t come as a shock, Japan’s anime industry often deviates from Western trends in zombies. It’s hard not to like School-Live when you see cute school girls doing cute things and then learn that they are the only surviving members of their school in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. This popular anime depicts the struggle of a young school student to maintain some normalcy while trying to survive a zombie apocalypse.
The Empire of Corpses
Victor Frankenstein, a scientist from an alternate 18th-century England, has discovered a way to reanimate corpses. A new method of reanimating corpses was discovered after his creation was destroyed, which led to the use of reanimated corpses for manual labor in the 19th century. In contrast to Victor’s method, this newer method is unable to return the corpse’s soul to its body. Later, the British government asks a medical student to locate Frankenstein’s notes about reanimating a corpse with a soul. The Empire of Corpses has a unique plot and interesting characters, as well as ones inspired by historical and popular literary figures.
Sunday Without God
A mystery, supernatural, fantasy zombie anime about a world that God has abandoned, where humans can no longer procreate or die. But God left behind gravekeepers—beings with the ability to help the living dead find rest. Anyone who dies still exists without any signs of decay, but Ai is the protagonist helping an immortal gunslinger find the truth of their world so they can help the rest.
Corpse Princess (Shikabane Hime)
Makina Hoshimura, the titular character of Shikabane Hime, has also been transformed into a zombie. Despite the fact that she doesn’t consume brains or look like a zombie, she is definitely undead. After she is killed along with her family, she is reanimated, but first, she must kill 108 more revived corpses to join her family in heaven. By defeating the Seven Stars undead group, she hopes to avenge her family’s death. Makina is a cool female character who uses dual MAC-11 machine guns to destroy her enemies.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
With a steampunk setting, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is often compared to Attack on Titan, except the enemies are dead monsters called Kabane instead of giant, unfathomable creatures. The similarities between the two shows are due to the fact that the people of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress are protected from the Kabanes by fortress-like stations and walls. Among the stations is a steam locomotive seized by the Kabane. A young engineer named Ikoma refuses to give in to this ill fate and develops a weapon that can kill the Kabane, thus beginning his heroic journey.
Highschool of the Dead
The most famous zombie anime on record is High School of the Dead. This is largely due to its serious plot, exciting turn of events, and resemblance to Western TV shows and movies in the zombie genre that are popular today. Five high school students work together to escape their high school in the midst of a zombie outbreak. Fan service is at times excessive, but the gore makes up for it!
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Sankarea: Undying Love
Chihiro Furuya is fascinated by zombies and even wants to date a zombie girl. He makes a resurrection potion that accidentally gets consumed by Rea Sanka, who becomes his zombie girlfriend. Chihiro must now figure out how to deal with this unique dilemma as he tries to live life day-to-day with the unusual circumstances of having an undead relationship partner. It would be a sweet romantic comedy if it wasn’t for the zombie theme.
Is This a Zombie? (Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka)
Aside from being an anime series about zombies, this show is also a comedy that makes it stand out in this list of zombie anime. The show focuses on Ayumu, who is tragically murdered by a serial killer. He is resurrected by a cute necromancer, but again he is killed, then becomes a magical girl. Now we have a magical-girl-zombie-boy battling monsters and demons.
The Hellsing Ultimate OVA was produced after the original anime Hellsing was completed. It actually follows the manga better than the original anime. In this series, the supernatural horror element is infused with zombies. A number of supernatural monsters plague England, and the Hellsing Operation tries to control them. There is a main character named Abraham Van Helsing in the story. Additionally, the series consists of only ten episodes, so it wouldn’t take long for you to catch up.
If you don’t care what makes a zombie, Tokyo Ghoul is for you. As the story unfolds, it follows the journey of Ken Kaneki, an 18-year-old college student. He is saved from near-death by an organ transplant taken from a ghoul after a near-death accident. By undergoing the transplant, he becomes a human-ghoul hybrid who must now eat human flesh to survive. Ken must find a way to preserve his humanity while keeping his newfound status as a ghoul hidden. In contrast to regular flesh-eating zombies, ghouls attempt to live a normal life in society, making the audience sympathize with them and sometimes taking their side.
The anime isn’t your typical idol-themed anime. As Sakura Minamoto, the protagonist of the series, is an undead female idol, it does have some elements from the idol genre.
Incorporating zombies into the plot opens up an entirely new world of zombie idols in just a few episodes. Even though I am not sure how much admiration you would give to zombie idols, given their rotting corpses and all. Overall, though, it’s a pretty entertaining show.
Gyo Tokyo Fish Attack
Based on the horror manga of the same name by Junji Ito, GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack is a 75-minute OVA (original video animation). It appears that instead of human corpses haunting Tokyo, undead fish with diseases that are also transmitted to humans are attacking. In the midst of all of this chaos, a girl named Kaori sets out to find her missing boyfriend. A more bizarre aspect of this anime is that the zombie fish have metal legs so they can walk on land. That’s a whole lot of NOPE!
If you like Train to Busan and the complexities of a zombie apocalypse story, then this series is for you. Even if it’s not your favorite style or genre, I promise that there will be some elements in here that make up for its lack of originality. You might even enjoy how unpredictable the ending was!
The anime series Gungrave, based on the third-person shooter Gungrave, follows the path towards revenge taken by the main character. The series’ lead character, Brandon Heat, was formerly a human named Brandon Heat who, after being murdered by his best friend and mafia partner, was brought back to life as an almost invincible zombie-like creature. Now he lives for the revenge of his best friend who betrayed him while killing fellow undead on the side.
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Zombie-Loan is an anime that starts out as a typical shonen. In the beginning, you will see Chika and Shito fighting together against zombies with their Shinigami eyes. It’s very entertaining! However, this show quickly turns into one of those slow-paced slice-of-life shows which ends before anything significant happens. As this is an anime adaptation of the manga, it makes sense to support the creator by reading the source material if you want to know what happens next.
Tokkou is a zombie anime that doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. The anime series has a lot of gore, so this show isn’t for kids. But perhaps the reason why it’s not popular lies in its animation style and plot: Tokkou contains cute guys slaying rotting zombies around town with curses being thrown here and there along the way to saving humanity from becoming monsters themselves.
Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic
Black Butler features a lot of demons and is a terrific watch. However, that doesn’t really fit this list. Unless we consider the 2017 film “Book of the Atlantic”. Now it’s an anime about zombies. Fans of Black Butler should not miss this film. We get more opportunities to droll over Sebastien, and Grell, in an unexpected twist, was a great addition to the series. The show is still worth checking out, even if you didn’t enjoy the original series. What more could you ask for when you’ve got demon butlers, grim reapers, and zombies?
Mo Dao Zu Shi
This show was a masterpiece. It is so well polished, the story is incredibly detailed, and the world makes sense as a whole. Zombies are involved in this unusual plot, but it’s not your traditional zombie apocalypse with hordes of undead chasing after people to eat their brains; black magic also plays an important role in this drama too!
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As well as maintaining the zombie formula, it also deviates from it completely. This series offers a real zombie apocalypse, which is good. But it can knock you out of your comfort zone because the show is so sarcastic and critical. It seems there is a zombie who likes paper money and does not care about brains, and kids are dressed as giraffes.
While Soul Eater is not purely about zombies, zombies are present in the series. Based on the manga of the same name, the anime follows the teams at the Death Weapon Meister Academy. Weapons masters and weapons that can shapeshift into human-like forms form the teams. It is required that they collect 99 evil souls and one witch, in that order, to make a death scythe that pleases the Shinigami master of the academy.
That’s it, zombie fans! We hope you found a new favorite zombie anime to binge-watch. Let us know in the comments below which one is your favorite and if we missed any of your favorite undead.