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Reiko the Zombie Shop

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Reiko the Zombie Shop (ゾンビ屋 れい子 Zombie-ya Reiko?) is a Japanese manga series by Rei Mikamoto, chronicling the exploits of Reiko Himezono, a teenage “zombie shop”, or a "...necromancer-for-hire employed by bereaved families to resurrect departed loved ones for a short time so that the dead may impart their final truths to the living.” Eleven tankoubon have been released by Bunkasha Comics. Six volumes have been released in English by Dark Horse Comics, translated by Michael Gombos. However, according to Dark Horse, the series' English publication has been discontinued.

Summary

Volume One

Reiko is introduced as a schoolgirl and a "zombie shop"; a professional necromancer who, for a substantial fee, reanimates the dead, for the purpose of obtaining information from them. This offers her an opportunity to work as a detective and solve murder cases by temporarily reviving the victim and asking them who killed them. In the introductory acts of the book, for instance, she resurrects a girl who committed suicide, who, unbeknownst to her mother, was being molested by her father. The zombified girl kills the father, and, in a black-humour twist common to the series, the mother pays Reiko double her prior fee to reanimate the father so she can torture him.

This volume mostly follows an unconnected episodic format, with each successive act or chapter being a recounting of a separate case. These include a jealous killing among her circle of friends, an obsessive biology teacher attempting to bring back a beloved student, a tussle with bank robbers, and a stint as an unusual bodyguard for a dying goth-rock star. However, acts not featuring Reiko begin to appear, which cut away to the exploits of teenage serial killer Saki Yurikawa. Driven by a fanatical desire to have a younger sister to care for, Yurikawa kidnaps young girls and tries to force them into a sisterly role, but they inevitably end up fearing and hating her, causing her to become enraged and murder them. In the final chapters, Reiko and Yurikawa's paths converge when Reiko is called in to a hospital by the police to revive one of Yurikawa's victims. The young zombie goes berserk and tracks down Yurikawa, who happens to be in the hospital at the time with another girl. Reiko and Yurikawa fight; Reiko is killed, but, having anticipated this, manages to zombify herself with a tape-recorded incantation. She defeats Yurikawa, but not before being reduced herself to only a severed head, apparently lifeless. Yurikawa eventually becomes her "contract" zombie as the series furthers.

Volume Two

After a chance confrontation between two opposing factions of necromancers, Reiko manages to attach her head to a freshly-killed body, returning her to non-zombie status. She joins forces with a group of young zombie summoners, Yuki and Rudoh, who oppose the more malevolent majority consisting of a cult of necromancers led by Reiko's elder sister Riruka, who seek "global zombification".

In this volume, a Pokémon-like element is introduced, whereby summoners each have a "faithful zombie" they can call forth to fight on their side. Reiko's faithful is a zombified (and significantly more scantily-clad) Yurikawa, now mindlessly and speechlessly bound to Reiko's will.

Along with the adversary Riruka, a new major ally is introduced in this volume - a mercenary named Jasmine, a somewhat vapid and heartless but talented fighter, who interrupts a climactic fight scene to offer her skills to the highest bidder. Reiko rejects her steep asking price, but saves her life, thereby indebting her to her cause.

The volume ends with Reiko and Jasmine fighting their way through Riruka's mansion, one of Riruka's assistants having tricked Reiko's summoner friends into killing one another.

Characters

  • Reiko Himezono: Reiko is the main character of the manga. She is a "Zombie Shop," a necromancer-for-hire who brings the dead back to life, for a price. Reiko manages to keep her business ethics and her personal feelings separate, following out her contracts with her clients word by word. If by any chance her client has violated his end of the bargain, such as skimping on the bill or keeping any details about her job secret, she voids the contract and leaves them to the mess they've made. Reiko is very down-to-earth and miserly, being almost always driven by money. She even goes as far as to charge her friend for a job. In the first volume, when she becomes hired by a famous rock star named Shilaw to re-animate him on stage if anything should happen, he offers to pay her over 3,000,000 yen, and she hopes throughout the story that he does die so she can collect the money. She is reduced to a severed head by the end of the first volume due to Saki Yurikawa, but her head is then attached to the body of a recently killed teenage girl.
  • Saki Yurikawa: Introduced in the first volume's side-stories, titled Dead Sister, Saki is a teenaged serial killer, a homicidal maniac who forces young girls to be her "little sister", and then brutally murders them when they refuse. When she was younger her original little sister, Midori, died. It's not stated if she herself committed the act, or if Midori's death is what turned her into a psychopath. Since then, she's murdered over thirty young girls, and others who have gotten in her way. Saki meets her demise when she crosses paths with Reiko who, even reduced to a severed head, manages to kill Saki by summoning the souls of the people she's killed. From that point in the series, Saki serves the role as Reiko's faithful zombie, silently following Reiko's orders.
  • Riruka Himezono: Riruka is Reiko's psychotic and megalomaniacal twin sister, introduced in the second volume. While Riruka appears to have an unlimited number of zombies at her disposal, Holy Mithras is the only one that is given a name. Riruka dreams of ruling the world with a zombie army at her command, but the one thorn in her side has been her sister. Her backstory was given in the third volume. Since she was a child, Riruka had taken great pleasure in causing fear in her sister, and used her summoning powers on small animals which she butchered and sewed together. Her parents, who had given both girls equal love and attention, considered sending Riruka away and chose Reiko to be the Zombie Shop's successor, so Riruka orchestrated their death in an airplane crash using a zombified rat hidden in their luggage. Reiko and Riruka were then sent to separate orphanages and didn't see one another for years. During Riruka's time in an orphanage, her abilities caught the eye of a group of summoners, whom quickly fell under her control as she began dreaming of world conquest. It is also revealed that she was shot in the head by a shell of fate and was made into a zombie slave at some point. However, because she was looking in the mirror prior to being shot, Riruka retained her free will and brutally mutilated her servant Shiroko as punishment for her betrayal. The Shell of Fate granted Riruka immense superhuman strength, impressive regeneration abilities, and the ability to resist pain, even when her body was destroyed by gunfire. While possessing the shell of fate, Riruka was also capable of producing a series of lethal tentacles that she could use to impale her enemies on. A notable trait about Riruka is that despite her knowledge of summoning and her incredible power, she is shown to be illiterate and completely uneducated without her summoning powers, much to the annoyance of her assistant Shiroko.
  • Shiroko: A slightly masculine woman who acts as the assistant of Riruka. After obtaining the shells of fate, she attempted to use them to make Riruka a zombie slave. However, since Riruka was looking in a hand mirror prior to being shot, Riruka retained her free will and using her newly acquired superhuman strength, brutally tore Shiroko's leg off. Just as Shiroko was about to be finished off by her master, Shiroko was gunned down by a member of a militant group while Riruka survived the shooting.
  • Jasmine Mendosa: A friend of Reiko, and the self-proclaimed "Beautiful Mercenary." Her faithful zombie is Victory Katana. She is introduced in the second volume when she helps Reiko, Yuki, Rudoh, and Mayo against Suipin and her four compatriots during the bus ride to Riruka's mansion. Jasmine is the only survivor of the events that occurred in Riruka's mansion besides Reiko, and has since joined her on other adventures later on in the series.
  • Yuki Tohdoh: A friend of Reiko's, and the elder brother of Mayo Tohdoh. His faithful zombie is Jack Guns. Yuki was originally a friend of Ryoka Amano (along with Rudoh Mishima) before Reiko grafted her head onto Ryoka's body. When he was younger, he took his sister Mayo's doll and ran across a busy street with it. When Mayo attempted to give chase, her legs were torn apart by an oncoming car, and she was permanently crippled. This experience has haunted Yuki for his entire life, and was revealed during the second volume when Sinner's Nightmare (the faithful zombie of Riruka's servant Tracy), spat its non-lethal venom onto the protagonists. Ultimately, Yuki was eviscerated with a claymore by Dr. Zero, one of Riruka's most trusted servants.
  • Mayo Todoh: A friend of Reiko's, and the younger sister of Yuki Todoh. Her faithful zombie (revealed to exist at the end of the Riruka's mansion arc) is Eddie, King of Aces. Mayo is paraplegic, as a result of her legs being torn apart by an oncoming car after attempting to cross the street to get her doll back from her brother Yuki, who had taken it as a prank. Ultimately, Mayo was disemboweled by Riruka.
  • Rudoh Mishima: A friend of Reiko's. His faithful zombie is General Robin Davis. He was originally the friend of both Ryoka Amano and Yuki Todoh. Yuki dislikes his "friends die, so keep going" attitude. Ultimately, he is shot dead by Dr. Zero, a high-ranking servant of Riruka.
  • Ryoka Amano: A summoner and friend of Yuki and Rudoh. Her faithful zombie is Rickhart Heidrich. Her origins are never explained, as she is abruptly introduced at the beginning of volume two and soon thereafter is beheaded. However, later on, Ryoka's head is zombified by Reiko, and she appears to help battle in Riruka's mansion with Rickhart.
  • Star Collector: A flamboyant, foul-mouthed summoner with the ability to steal the summoning powers of other summoners. He does this for no other reason other than for pleasure, yet admits he is afraid of people taking revenge on him. He manages to steal the powers of Reiko and Riruka, but was forced to return the summoning powers of the former in order to forge an alliance with her. However, this alliance is soon short lived after he was shot in the head by an assailant from a militant group, much to Reiko's surprise. After his death, it is unclear whether or not the summoning powers he had stolen returned back to their respective owners.

Zombies

  • Saki Yurikawa: The faithful zombie of Reiko. In life, Saki was a serial murderer, known for slaying 29 young girls in the small town of Shiraike. Eventually this garnered her the nickname "The Shiraike Slasher." She fights with a jagged-edged knife, and wears a tight-fitting T-shirt and shorts, as well as a leather jacket.
  • Victory Katana: The faithful zombie of Jasmine. It is unknown what the zombie did during its life, but in death it serves Jasmine by providing her with a large array of melee weapons that Jasmine can use to defend herself. Victory Katana appears as a short masculine figure wearing what appears to be a poncho and a gas mask, with a huge backpack full of weapons on its back.
  • Jack Guns: The faithful zombie of Yuki. In life, Jack was an outlaw in the old west who was ambushed and killed by the local sheriff during a train robbery. He carries a large wooden crucifix on his back and fights with two pistols.
  • Eddie, King of Aces: The faithful zombie of Mayo. In life, Eddie was a World War II pilot who fought in the Battle of Great Britain, his heart coincidentally stopping as his plain was overpowered by several German pilots. In death, Eddie appears only once, piloting his plane the Supermarine Spitfire. He wears only military fatigues.
  • General Robin Davis: The faithful zombie of Rudoh. In life, Robin was a knight who fought and died during the Wars of the Roses in 1455. In death, he defends Rudoh with a large claymore. He wears a suit of shining armor.
  • Rickhart Heidrich: The faithful zombie of Ryoka. In life, Rickhart was a soldier in the armored division of Nazi Germany who was killed in 1941 by friendly fire during the Invasion of the Soviet Union. In death, he protects Ryoka with a random hail of gunfire from a machine gun. Rickhart has a large hole in his face, and wears military fatigues.

External links

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