Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"It's all good.
"I am a hero."
If I had to sum this up in one sentence it would be... "Mentally ill, second-rate manga creator prone to hallucinations finds himself caught up in the zombie apocalypse.'
If I had to sum it up in two sentences, my second would be... "I loved it."
Hideo Suzuki is many things, but a hero he is not. Yet, at least. As he neatly observes as his life starts sliding even further out of control than he believed possible... "How can I be a hero when I'm not even the main character in my own life?"
It's just such a lack of characterisation that various editors and sub-editors and sub-sub-editors in the cut-throat world of manga publishing have accused him of, whilst endlessly turning down his latest pitch. Even his one brief hit floundered spectacularly after the second meandering volume for precisely those reasons. He had his fans, including his girlfriend Tetsuko, who works as a manga assistant. Sadly, being a studio assistant is all the manga work Hideo can get now too.
Poor old Hideo's tormented to sanity-testing levels by a number of things on a near-continuous basis, but not least these: his lack of success, his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend (an up-and-coming superhot manga creator who ironically is the one person who thinks Hideo's work is utterly brilliant), whether his girlfriend and said superhot creator might still be having a little something on the side, plus his hallucinations of various odd characters who pop up and start conversations with him at seemingly random moments.
So when the decaying faeces really starts hitting the proverbial fan and his newly zombiefied girlfriend attacks Hideo whilst he's letting himself into her apartment, he's actually convinced he's merely having a serious mental meltdown! Eventually it becomes apparent even to him, if not to the rest of the manga studio holed up frantically trying to make the next ridiculous deadline, that that the end of the world is nigh. Cue a comedy chase across town (comedy value for viewers only) that's ended by possibly one of the finest zombie decapitations I have ever seen, caused by the undercarriage of a crashing jumbo jet!
Oh, I think Hideo might just have unwittingly become the lead character in something. Just not any sort of story you would ever want to star in...
This is such a peculiarly brilliant mash-up mix taking, as it does, the complete piss out of the whole frenetic manga industry treadmill and all its attendant emotionally maladjusted and downright antisocial members, and scaring the bejeebers, or whatever the equivalent Japanese colloquialism is, out of us all while it is at it. For make no mistake, these zombies are horrific, far more akin to Junji Ito-style distorted, bloated, twisted terrors than shambling WALKING DEAD.
So I guess if I had to sum it up in three sentences my third would, as unlikely as it seems, be... "It's BAKUMAN meets UZAMAKI..."