A palimpsest of tragedy plays out before our eyes: a snowscape of post-apocalyptic desolation; young lovers who breathe their first shared breath and their last; an engine bursting into flames and a fuselage consumed; a crying child. The images come thick and fast in a montage of endings. And then…Fuko Izumo closes the tankoban volume with a satisfied sigh. Nothing like a good manga right before…you jump off a bridge? Wait, what?! Unfortunately for her plans though, Fuko took too long savoring the melodrama of that angsty tale and before she knows it, she’s rescued by a muscular man clad almost solely in a toothy grin—the One Piece type though, not the pervy type, so it’s ok. She protests his intervention, warning him that he’ll pay a price for touching her as she bears a deadly disease. And no sooner has she been dropped to safety away from the ledge she had been so perilously tipping over moments earlier, than a huge chunk of said bridge spontaneously separates from its housing and down plummets her rescuer. As she huddles, wracked with guilt, his head suddenly pops back up and over the railing and rolls to a stop near her like a rogue volleyball. You see, these two have powers: hers is unluck—dooming anyone and everyone who touches her to lose every remaining thread of luck weaving through their lifelines and die immediately of some utterly random fluke; and his is undead—basically, the dude cannot die, not for over a hundred years now! She’s the one who may be able to make his dream of finally dying come true; while he’s the first person in a very, very long time who has touched her and not lived to regret it, or died for that matter. Are they a match made in anime heaven? It remains to be seen! But wait, who’s that shady-looking guy with the facial scar and the creepy kind of smile that does not bode well for our derpy protagonists?!
This episode contains the single best reaction to a zombie that I have ever seen—and that’s saying something! Better yet, the laughs keep on coming as the humor hits a steady beat throughout the episode, yet without reducing this to a gag series. Because it sure ain’t that! Instead, there is drama and pathos here too, conveyed powerfully through the score and even more so through the sheer beauty of the animation—the framing, lighting, and color design speak just as eloquently as the lively dialogue and splashy action sequences that studio david production (of JoJo fame) is so well known for. Think Heavenly Delusion meets Zom 100, with the occasional brief explosion of Dragon Ball Z thrown into the mix (like when Andy the undead “uncorks” his brain so that he can fight with the full force of 100 years worth of memories on his side!). Every single frame oozes with style. Added to that, is the sheer creativity of the superpowers. Now, the ability to kill at a touch or take any assault and live to see another day may sound like pretty standard powers, but the way they are wielded here is so inventive! Andy the undead can deploy his blood and body parts like projectiles, turning them into a source of propulsion like a gory rocket pack. Meanwhile, Fuka unleashes her unluck like an exacting, yet reluctant scientist who has paid the price for her ghastly experiments. He is all instinct, while she is instinct contained and suppressed, released only in dire circumstances. Fuka and Andy, yin and yang. Their dynamic is electric and reminds me of Kiruko and Maru in the aforementioned Tengoku Daimakyo, but with added romantic tension. Also, Andy is definitely a keeper: When Fuka finds herself hurtling toward the ground after having slipped off a skyscraper (will this be a theme with her? maybe…), he manages to catch not only her but her manga too. A man of culture, I see. And I will keep on seeing, because I have a feeling that this is going to be one of my most anticipated series each week this season! Nice work, david production!
Undead Unluck is available for streaming on Hulu.