Zombie Maria by Atsushi Nakayama

atsushi-nakayama horror horror-manga manga

The Zombie Maria is about two characters - Misao and the titular Maria. Misao is introduced at the very start as he is attempting to hang himself in a nearby, off-limits forest. He is about to go through with it, when he is approached by what he assumes is a monster. This “monster” is in fact a zombie, and her name is Maria.

Instead of being a typical mindless flesh-eating zombie, she is instead fully in control of her thoughts and actions, and actually stops the boy Misao from committing suicide. What is interesting to me, is the fact that the Zombie Maria is as scared by the fact that Misao is committing suicide as he is of coming face to face with the undead.

As the story progresses through its fifty five pages, Misao attempts more times to commit suicide. However, Maria wont let him. She instead does her best to instil in him the value of human life. Through their encounters they start to become friends and later discover that their paths just may have crossed before.

A Zombie with a lot of heart

The Zombie Maria was a story I stumbled upon on Facebook. I had never before heard of it, or its artist, but I’m glad that I did. Although Maria is an undead zombie, she is the character who values life the most. When she is trying to frighten Misao, it’s all done out of love and her desire to keep him alive.

This love and protection that Maria holds over Misao is endearing. Not only that, but it meant that this story’s ending caught me off-guard. When I learnt just how these two characters knew each other before this, it made for a weird mixture of feelings of both sad and uplifting. Sad through the unveiling of Maria’s story, but uplifting for the legacy that she ultimately leaves behind.

This story packed quite a bit in the way of morality and messages to the reader in its short span. Lessons of being honest and trustworthy with your friends. Of also valuing the delicate lives of both yourself and those we hold dear.

In Summary

I love The Zombie Maria. It was one of those rare gems that show themselves every once in a while. The story is quick to read through and the artwork has a friendly manga-face feel to it. But every now and again, typically when Maria is scaring Misao, Atsushi Nakayama pulls no punches in depicting her as the scariest of undead.