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Friendly Zombie

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They don't want brains. Just some friends.

Gretchen: But you're a zombie.
Sawyer: Sure I'm a zombie, but I still got a heart.
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While zombies come in all sorts and types, one thing they typically share in common is a hunger for human flesh. They can't be reasoned with and the only way to put a stop to these walking corpses is to put a hole in their head. But it turns out, not all zombies are like that. Sometimes a state of undeath has not been accompanied by Horror Hunger.

A specific form of Our Zombies Are Different. These zombies are typically intelligent enough to have rationality and emotions, remaining as Inhuman Humans, and often will have avoided experiencing a Loss of Identity that their more mindless cousins are subjected to. This in turn makes them capable of being benign and friendly. Though that isn't to say the more stereotypical mindless zombies can't be harmless in some cases.

Such instances are very likely to be an Attractive Zombie; after all, Beauty = Goodness and it would be a lot easier to make friends with something that didn't thoroughly repulse you.

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If this is the result of a Zombie Infectee who succumbed to their condition then this is And Then John Was a Zombie. The inclusion of such a character in a cast may be an instance of Everything's Deader with Zombies.

May overlap with Revenant Zombie, though while these zombies are intelligent they are not necessarily benign. Furthermore, another distinction is that Revenant Zombies typically avoid the cliché of rotting and falling apart, while this is a very widespread occurrence for Friendly Zombies due to Rule of Funny.

For the trope applied to different supernatural species, see Friendly Ghost, Friendly Skeleton, and Friendly Neighborhood Vampire.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Daily Life with Monster Girl:
    • As a secondary character, there's Zombina, a zombie monster girl who's also a ninja and a member of M.O.N. She had the mission of capturing Rachnera, but eventually failed thanks to Kimihito; she also has a crush on him and gets a couple of dates with him.
    • Yuuhi Hajime is a normal girl who had a terminal illness and lost her desire to live and make friends. To "save" her, Lala gets one of Zombina's teeth and infects her into becoming a zombie. After dying and being zombified, Yuuhi becomes happy that she is finally free from having to worry about the disease and now she can make friends and enjoy her (un)life again.
    • Zombina's rival Shiishii is a Jiangshinote  who kidnapped Kimihito when he was on a date with Zombina in order to marry him so she can stay in Japan as a resident. Despite of that, she's not a bad monster at all and she's a Yaoi Fangirl, as is Zombina (this actually a pun, as "rotten girl" is slang in Japan for women with this particular interest...).
  • Is This a Zombie?: Ayumu Aikawa, is a recently turned zombie. However being reanimated hasn't seemed to have had an effect on his personality in the slightest, remaining a Nice Guy who is a slightly snarky Chick Magnet with his own Supporting Harem. He himself even questions whether it would be right to call himself a zombie as he's almost completely lacking in the stereotypical traits.
  • Bruno Buccelatti from Part 5 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, who is accidentally turned into a Revenant Zombie thanks to some odd Stand powers and his own determination. Personality wise he is pretty much identical to before his zombification, though he's no longer capable of healing and slowly decays over the course of the story.
  • Zombieman from One-Punch Man teters on the gray area on whether he counts as a zombie at all, at best falling under an Artificial Zombie. Nonetheless he is a superhero and a force for good.
  • The main cast of Zombie Land Saga are an idol group composed of zombie girls. While they initially behaved very much like stereotypical shambling, biting zombies, after being awakened they regain their humanity and act just like they did back when they were alive. Sakura in particular is a Nice Girl zombie who serves as The Heart of the group and looks out for her friends. The problem is while the girls don't act like stereotypical zombies, the general populace still thinks of them as such and will scream in fear or shoot on sight if they ever appear in public without makeup on.
  • Kodama Himegami from Maken-ki! is really a reanimated corpse made from parts of another, and also just so happens to be one of the main heroes, and a powerful one at that.

    Comic Books 
  • Dead Girl from X-Force is a mutant whose power is to return from death as a Revenant Zombie. She's not only friendly but also a superhero who protects her friends and even starts a romantic relationship with one of her teammates.
  • Played with in Marvel Zombies. While most zombies are flesh-eating monsters, they retain their intelligence and are able to act rationally so long as they keep their Horror Hunger in check. Certain zombies also possess altruistic qualities such as Zombie Spider-Man who constantly has My God, What Have I Done? moments and eventually turned on his fellow zombies to side with the humans, while Zombie Colonel America still retains a degree of honor and promises to let survivors die painlessly first.
  • Arcana Comics's hero Kade was the prophesied hero who would free the world from the demon Apollyon. When word of the prophecy reached Apollyon, he had every boy born under the Black Sun a.k.a Eye of God (a special eclipse) killed. Kade's mother was murdered during this period and baby Kade died from exposure. But the supernatural energies of the Black Sun had re-animated Kade's body and trapped his soul inside of it. So growing up for 21 years, Kade never realized he's actually dead, just that he doesn't feel any physical sensation. Kade would later the Black Sun has made him the champion against evil and as an undead, he won't age and will only die if killed with violence. Kade learns to repress his rage at his lack of sensation, as well he's grown kinder to others.
  • Lori Lovecraft: Horatio, one of the hosts/caretakers at Voodoo Mansion, is a decent blue-collar guy who just happens to be dead (but still mobile). He has a healthy and loving (if a wee bit odd) relationship with his human girlfriend Zelda, and his worse habit (apart from the occasional body part falling off if he isn't paying attention) is that he is obsessed with pro sports.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Emily is the titular Corpse Bride, a living corpse, who is also a sweet and kind girl. She's also in love with Victor and takes him to the Afterlife to have a wild honeymoon. In fact, the dead in general are pretty friendly and fun-loving, ironically being much more full of life than the very boring and dour living: even characters like Mayhew the sickly and unhappy coachman and Finis's grandfather who was every bit as bitter as he become much more happy and cheerful people once they've passed on.
  • Played with in Hotel Transylvania. Drac has zombie staff running the hotel and performing tasks such as moving luggage or serving food. While they are relatively harmless, they are still pretty slow and dimwitted like standard zombies. Though human guests can rest assured that they will never be attacked by them during their stay.
  • Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island: While the zombies on the island aren't necessarily intelligent and are certainly scary, they aren't trying to hurt the gang, they're just trying to warn them to leave the island and escape the real villains.
  • Wreck-It Ralph features a zombie (based on Cyril zombies from The House of the Dead) who attends the Bad-Anon. While he's a pretty stereotypical dimwitted, shambling zombie, he's in all other aspects a nice and friendly guy.
    Zombie: Labels no make you happy. Good! Bad! Errr! You must love you.
  • In Paranorman, this is a twist with Judge Hopkins and the other zombies of the jurors who sentenced Agatha to die. They aren’t evil and don’t want to harm humans- far from it. They simply want the curse Agatha placed upon them to be dispelled so they can properly get to the afterlife.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Hocus Pocus, Billy, the zombie with his mouth sewn shut, is benevolent. Given that Winnifred murdered him, she shouldn't have been surprised that he turned on her immediately after she raised him, but he also goes out of his way to help the protagonists. Danni even calls him a "good zombie" at one point.
  • Z-O-M-B-I-E-S: The premise of the movie is that humans and zombies live together in a segregated society, with zombies as a secondary class. Despite being undead, the zombies are pretty much the same as humans with more strength and speed. The zombie characters in the film are all pretty nice, with their worst actions happening as a result of being mistreated by the human characters.
  • When Good Ghouls Go Bad. Uncle Fred dies at the beginning of the movie, but comes back later as a zombie, still retaining the personality with none of that pesky hunger for flesh or brains. Later on the zombies that had been seemingly attacking the residents of the city turn out to be actually friendly and only gathering the townsfolk to help expose the real villain who had lied about a "curse" that the townspeople were so scared of that they had banned Halloween for 25 years.

    Literature 
  • Dead City: The Type 1 zombies act like living humans and just want to live normal lives. Taken Up to Eleven with Molly's mom who completely retains her human personality after becoming a zombie (and continues working for Omega), and Natalie, who becomes a zombie in Dark Days.
  • The Discworld has its zombies. Who are not in the least interested in eating brains or indeed any other bodily part. In the main they retain sentience and awareness: Wizard Windle Poons comes back and finds that the haze and fog of senility has blown away and he can think clearly and rationally for the first time in six decades. He also says "I think I could perhaps metabolise a bit of alcohol" as an answer to the diet thing. Reg Shoe died as a political activist and comes back equally fired with radicalism. Mentioning the brains thing is his Berserk Button. Both forge friendships and are capable of working alongside humans for the common good.
  • The Heroes of Olympus has Jules Albert, the zombie of a former race car driver and Nico de Angelo's personal chauffeur. Nico got him as a birthday present from his father Hades.
  • The Protagonist of Warm Bodies (the book as well The Movie) is a zombie who ate Julie's boyfriend and absorbs his memories and feelings, getting a Heel–Face Turn by falling in love with this girl and protecting her from other zombies. And somehow, his "love" is requited by Julie.
  • Several characters in the Xanth series happen to be zombies, and are altogether good and friendly people, even the ones who are stuck in an advanced state of decay. As typical for Xanth, some of them have A Day in the Limelight and perform heroic deeds.
  • From a short story called Humane Killer, Sir Leonard is a boisterous, marijuana-addicted zombie whose body parts have a difficult time staying attached for long, all Played for Laughs and parody. He stands out as a harmless clown next to the much more dangerous characters he interacts with.
  • In Generation Dead by Daniel Waters, all the zombie teens are like that; they have the same personality they had in life (especially the high-functional ones), and just want to lead normal teenagers' lives.
  • In Bone Song by John Meaney, the main character's boss and lover Laura Steele is a beautiful zombie task force commander who does the best for society and catches dangerous criminals.
  • Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. has many a zombie dig out of their grave and just go back to trying to live. Including Dan himself. Brains is seen as more like a drug and alcohol addiction, in that zombies who become addicted to eating brains end up with their lives destroyed and end up on the streets, resembling movie zombies.
  • Detective Styx isn't really very friendly, just ask his family. And the rest of the police force. But, he decides, maybe he can become a better person with the second chance he is given, when the killer he has been hunting traps him, kills him, and he awakens having been dumped in a beach hut as a Revenant Zombie.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Z Nation, there are the Talkers, who have been turned into zombies but have retained their intelligence. As long as they are plied with "bizkits", they retain their personality, so those who were sociable before being turned will remain sociable afterwards. Of course, if they run out of bizkits, that's a different story.
  • Every Witch Way: Andi had hacked her favorite zombie video game to get a zombie ally by the name of Phillip. This zombie would be brought to reality by Emma's magic, and he quickly became Andi's boyfriend. Though he did have a tendency to bite, it was only when startled by bright light. Though forced back into the game, he eventually returned in a future episode.
  • Being Human: "Type 4"s are the supernatural beings closest to zombies, created when a person dies but something blocks the soul's transition to the afterlife and it remains bound to their corpse. Though they're dead enough for their internal organs to have stopped functioning, they retain their intelligence and personality from being alive, and the most prominent Type 4 character, Sasha, builds a strong friendship with the main cast before her body completely decays and she's able to enter the afterlife properly.
  • Liv Moore from iZombie became a zombie after getting infected through a scratch. Although she has an urge to eat brains, once her hunger is kept in check, she's able to behave like a normal civilized human. In fact she gets her brains from the corpses that come into the morgue specifically so she won't go all monster-movie zombie and start harvesting from living victims. She also takes advantage of the side-effect of her brain-eating (a Psychic Powers-esque ability to see the victims' last memories) to solve their murders. and even assists in forensic cases.
  • Rotgut from Ace Lightning. While he is allied with the villains, he's still a far-cry from the standard monstrous zombies. For the most he's a Laughably Evil Minion with an F in Evil and has little interest in partaking in the other villains' Evil Plans. He always politely greets humans and is dismayed when they run away in terror, enjoys singing folk songs, and at one time approached someone because he wanted a hug. He also believes Chuck to be his good friend due to the boy calling him "dude", even though Chuck has other ideas.
  • Parodied in You're Skitting Me, in the reoccurring sketch "Zombie Kids", featuring two teenaged zombie boys. They are intelligent zombies and enjoy typical teenage activities like watching movies, but are also interested in eating brains. However they won't attack people on sight and can be talked out of any hostility. In fact most humans treat their hunger for brains as being standard teenage behavior rather than anything life threatening.
  • Koyomi from Kamen Rider Wizard is more aloof than friendly, but she clearly has no desire to eat anyone. Reanimated before the start of the series, she provides useful aid to the rest of the cast.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Starfinder: The undead planet of Eox is populated almost entirely by Friendly Zombies. There are ghouls, vampires, and liches on Eox, but the vast majority of Eox's population are called corpsefolk, formerly living beings granted undeath near the end of their natural lives. "Friendly" might not be the right word, as they are still evil beings animated by negative energy, but Eoxians are citizens of the Pact Worlds and have relatively normal dealings with the Pact Worlds' other races.

    Toys 
  • Monster High: There was a minority of zombie characters in the first few years of the toyline. Ghoulia Yelps and Slo Mo were not the best speakers but they were very smart and kind supporting characters when they were around. And then there was the Zombiecorn Neighthan Rot. He was half Zombie, half Unicorn.

    Video Games 
  • Breath of Death VII features plenty of zombies acting as friendly NPCs and one even joining your party as an ally.
  • Hsien-Ko of Darkstalkers is a friendly Chinese Vampire who generally acts optimistic and will try to have friendly conversation with everyone she meets.
  • Rottytops and her zombie family from Shantae are this to a degree, being a loving family. Rotty starts out more villainous, but becomes much friendlier over time and eventually considers Shantae to be her closest friend. By the time of Half-Genie Hero, she's a 100% good, if mischievous, character who just wants to help Shantae out.
  • Downplayed by ghouls in the Fallout universe, humans who have been mutated into zombie-like creatures through exposure to radiation. Some of them are feral and behave like regular zombies, attacking humans on sight, while others have retained their intelligence and are capable of co-existing with other sentient creatures... but are just as likely to be Deadpan Snarking Jerkasses as regular humans are. A notable exception is Harold, who shows up in the first three games. He's a ghoul who has a plant growing out of his head, but he's as extroverted and friendly as they can be. A genuinely friendly guy who's always joking and having a laugh.
  • Squigly from Skull Girls was reanimated as a result of the return of the Skull Heart. It's only thanks to her parasite Leviathan that she didn't fall into the undead horde the Skull Girl usually resurrects. She quickly became best friends with Filia (despite their rivalry), and is a really nice girl... as long as you're not a member of the Medicci family.
  • Rebuild features multiple friendly zombies. There's The Rotten, an entire faction of zombies who haven't lost their higher brain functions that can be allied with. Several events also allow you to recruit intelligent zombies into your own band of survivors, and said survivors can even train their leadership and pick related perks to become very outgoing and popular in your fort.
  • Planescape: Torment has a whole city full of non-hostile undead (though the Ghouls are non-hostile only because they've been threatened into not attacking the living), but special mention goes to Stale Mary, the leader of the zombies, who's one of the nicest characters in the game (at least once you figure out how to understand her).
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has Frimelda, a powerful Paladin known throughout the land for her powerful swordplay. You meet her when she has been changed into a zombie. While her movement is slowed and her speech is slurred, the zombified Frimelda is still an overall nice person and she eventually does get cured of her zombification.
  • There's a gang of zombies in Final Fantasy XIV known as the "Dead Gentlemen", which take after Hildibrand's fashion sense and mannerisms because they thought he was a zombie at first. The group never attack anyone and aside from occasionally hungering for flesh and brains, the dapper zombies are quite friendly. There's also a Running Gag where one zombie was hoping to find company in some of the dungeons you conquered previously, only to be disappointed when he finds out you already killed all the undead in there.

    Web Comics 
  • Penelope Mortinez from Violet Zombie is snarky and mischievous, but beautiful and kind-hearted.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: One of the features of Plague Zombie monsters is that their approach can be revealed via Evil-Detecting Cat. One chapter has a Plague Zombie whose mind has retained many of its human capacities, and among other things doesn't elicit any reaction at all from the crew's cat.
  • No End: This has been shown to be possible for people bitten by zombies. However, the comic's world also has a policy of shooting people as soon as they are bitten, so the phenomenon is unknown of thanks to those who are subject to it having every interest in hiding it.
  • Zombies in Undead Friend are made from making contracts with ghosts in place of a virus, so they completely retain who they are in their new forms.
  • "Friendly" might be stretching it a bit, but Doctor Mittelmind in Girl Genius is for the most part helpful towards protagonist Agatha when their paths cross, and keeps his own "ghost" at the metaphorical controls of his (re-re-)reanimated corpse via the comic's trademarked Mad Science.

    Web Videos 
  • In Acquisitions Incorporated season 4, Wil Wheaton has to play an audience-selected minion named Stinky the Rotting Zombie: a friendly undead with rudimentary intelligence who follows the Player Party around and attacks people they tell it to attack.

    Western Animation 
  • Sawyer from Camp Lakebottom, is one of the camp counselors and an all round Nice Guy who plays with the kids. While he does snack on brains, which he keeps refrigerated in a fridge, he makes it a strict rule to never harm the campers. His mother on the other hand is a stereotypical brain eating zombie who wants to make her son follow in her path.
  • Mantha from Casper's Scare School is a young zombie girl with a loving zombie family. She's one of Casper's best friends and generally a Nice Girl.
  • Blanche from Gravedale High is identified as a zombie and is quite friendly. In fact outside of a couple of references to her being undead, she acts like a typical rich girl/Southern belle.
  • Doug from Scream Street is a laid-back Surfer Dude zombie who is good friends with Luke and often hangs out with him.
  • Maggot and Fungus from Zombie Hotel are pretty much indistinguishable from normal humans in terms of behavior. They have loving parents, attend a human school, sleep in proper beds, and are best friends with a human named Sam.
  • Randall from Ugly Americans is the protagonist's zombie roommate. He's irresponsible and snarky, but otherwise friendly. His Horror Hunger is Played for Laughs, coming across more like a recovering alcoholic struggling to maintain sobriety (even down to having a sponsor), and he can usually keep it in check by eating fake human flesh substitute.
  • The "Night of the Living Fred" segments of Toonsylvania feature the Deadmans, a family of zombies. They act like an ordinary family, other than the fact that they're decomposing sentient corpses that have a tendency to fall apart.

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