Zombies have long been a staple of the horror movie genre here in the west, with the current and most familiar version of the undead coming from George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Consequently, such series as Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead act to pay continued homage to the maestro of the modern zombie.
Japanese horror, with their own rich and creepy folklore, have not embraced zombies quite to the same extent. However, there are still a handful of titles from Japan that focus on the monsters, offering a unique spin on the creatures through cultural and societal differences. Shambling about with this in mind, here is a look at the best Manga series, according to My Anime List, that feature the iconic undead.
10 Zombie Cherry by Shouko Konami (Rating 6.94)
Facing nerves and worries that she is going to be sick for her first date, a girl takes a large dose of medication meant to restore cells. Unfortunately, this drug was not meant to be used in that manner (always follow instructions) and the young girl is transformed into a zombie.
Zombie Cherry is a wonderfully adorable romantic series, heightened with a healthy dose of comedy. The series is a bit too short-lived and rushed to leave a lasting impression, but this also makes it a quick fun read. Short and sweet, this series has enough quirks to let it sneak onto this list.
9 Cradle of Monsters by Kei Sanbe (Rating 7.19)
Stuck on a nightmarish cruise, young Makato Ayukawa find the boat she was on capsized and stuck in the ruins of a cruise ship. To make matters worse, many of the crew and passengers have transformed into zombies and are hunting down any survivors.
Within the zombie genre, surprisingly, horror manga is a less popular way to bring zombies into the series. With this in mind, Cradle of Monsters is one of the few exceptions on this list. A strong entry in the horror genre, the mix of 'zombie' and 'trapped on a ship' makes for an engaging and claustrophobic tale of survival. A great series for the manga fans who came here looking for a macabre experience.
8 Reiko the Zombie Shop by Rei Mikamoto (Rating 7.21)
The sleepy town of Shiraike has been shaken by a serial murderer on the loose. When a new stranger enters their town with the ability to raise the dead, the townsfolk hire the titular Reiko to raise the dead to learn the truth behind what is happening.
Courtesy of Dark Hose Manga, Reiko the Zombie Shop pays homage to the slasher genre, with a focus on a killer and his bloody vengeance. Additionally, the series has a strong visual presence within the detailed approach of mangaka Rei Mikamoto. Overall, the series offers a passionate take on both manga and horror of '80s and '90s making it one of the more unique entries on this list.
7 Resident Evil: Marhawa Desire by Capcom & Naoki Serizawa (Rating 7.31)
The Resident Evil series is arguably the most popular horror franchise in videogame history, with the Capcom owned title crossing into many different mediums both in the west and east. As a result, the franchise has also been given the manga treatment on a few occasions.
What makes this release from Viz Media stand out from the other tie-ins, is offering an engaging narrative in canon, taking place just before Resident Evil 6. This series may not stand out as the best manga has to offer, but certainly acts as a real treat for fans of the R.E. franchise, which is reflected in the high rating.
6 Is this a Zombie? by Shinichi Kimura and Sacchi (Rating 7.55)
Based off of the popular light novel series, and late adapted into an anime, Is This a Zombie? is an awkward romance tale steeped in perverse comedy. Additionally, the series carries a cute visual style that compliments the humor.
The tale of boy meets girl, boy dies, boy resurrected by a girl to help him fight hordes of monsters may not be the most original story (An odd, yet true, realization). However, the background of light novel does allow for some depth that makes this Yen Press title a comedic standout.
5 Fort of Apocalypse by Yuu Kuraishi and Kazu Inabe Rating 7.60
Wrongfully convicted of murder, Yoshiaki Maeda finds himself in a youth detention center in a constant power flux. Unfortunately for the inmates matters only become worse when the zombie apocalypse begins to spill into their prison, creating a constant struggle for survival against both humankind and the undead.
Fort of Apocalypse, which was tragically cut short, thrived on balancing the regular zombie tropes with some innovative approach to the evolution of the undead. Additionally, the art on the actual monsters was really pronounced giving a strong visual presence. Sadly canned before the series could properly finish, the series is still a fun ride and a worthy addition to the list.
4 Highschool of the dead by Daisuke & Shouji Satou Rating (7.69)
Highschool of the Dead proved to be a cult hit on release, with many westerns checking it out for it's unrelenting action and animated characters. The manga, while not as popular, the manga added a lot of depth to the narrative and some additional style that many felt where lacking from the anime series.
Regardless, the story of a diverse group of students struggling to survive when the zombie apocalypse spills over into their school has proven to be one of the most beloved takes on the genre. In addition, Yen Press also released the series in both omnibus editions as well as full-color hardcover, giving it a notable presentation for collectors.
3 Zombie 100: 100 Things I Want to do Before I Become a Zombie by Haro Aso & Koutarou Takata Rating 7.71
Traumatized by years of working an unfulfilling position, Akira has reached his breaking point both physically and mentally. However, this changes when zombies take over and the disgruntled company man is given a chance to forge his own path.
A solid comedy that switches to a more serious drama in the later volumes, Zombie 100 is as fun as its title is long. Given the series is still in its infancy, it is difficult to say how the story will evolve, but for now, it is proving to be a favorite among fans landing in the number 3 spot.
2 I Am Hero by Kengo Hanaza (Rating 7.79)
Not just among the best in the zombie genre, but I Am Hero is easily one of the best horror manga of all time. The story of a lovable loser turned hero, plays great within the zombie genre. Additionally, the series has a strong visual approach and touches of surrealism that make for an engrossing and unique experience.
Currently available in Omnibus form from Dark Horse Manga, the stand-out horror series has been given the respect it deserves.
1 School-Live! 8.06
Cute girls, doing cute things, while trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, has proved to be a winning formula in School-Live!. To say the success is just in the novelty of approach would be a misstep since the series does boast a memorable cast of characters and good comedic flow sprinkled with strong horror elements.
Don't let the cute veneer ruin this otherwise well rounded and engaging series. School-Live! is certainly deserved of landing the number one spot in this list.