Life is simple for Kurume Tarou: he does his best to spend as little energy as possible on anything, let alone love, traumatized by his mother's obsession in making him do all sorts of activities during his childhood. Alas, one day he is hit on the head by a baseball during a PE class, leaving him with a severe concussion.
When he wakes up at the infirmary, he is welcomed by a pink-haired, cheerful, well-endowed and scantily clad girl who's seemingly floating in the air. Not only that, he starts to see similar "ghosts" around countless boys, and finds out that they are fantasized versions of the first girl they loved. And Eve represents Tarou's own first love. The very same day, a New Transfer Student arrives: Ibusuki Ririto, who is supposed to be the basis for Eve except for the fact he's actually a guy.
Not helping Tarou's case is the fact that while usually unconscious, the "first love zombies" are not always harmless. And also that Ibusuki seems to hold a mysterious grudge against him. The poor Tarou will have to struggle to understand the first love zombies and settle his relationship with Ibusuki, so that he can get back his precious energy-saving lifestyle. Since one way of erasing the zombies is to fullfil the person's first love, Tarou reluctantly decides to play matchmaker for the people around him.
Drawn by Minenami Ryou (his second series after the seinen Himegoto - Juukyuusai no Seifuku), Hatsukoi Zombie is a romantic comedy that ran in Weekly Shonen Sunday from November 2015 to March 2019.
Not to be confused with Hatsukoi Limited.
Hatsukoi Zombie provides example of:
- Betty and Veronica: Ebino as the Betty, Ibusuki as the Veronica, and Eve as the Third-Option Love Interest for Tarou.
- The Corruption: First Love Zombies with masters that have been heartbroken or disillusioned by their first loves will turn into Heartbreak Zombies instead, complete with a sort of Evil Costume Switch. If left unchecked, the Heartbreak Zombie could possess some actual threat to the health of her master.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Being the product of a male's imagination, a first love zombie will transform into a malevolent heartbreak zombie if the "original" shows any kind of attraction for someone else other than her creator. This is caused by her owner's feelings of resentment and jealousy, warping his imagination to a darker form.
- Dark Horse Victory: During the election chapters, the heated one-on-one battle between Misao and Koigaura's campaigns comes to an end with the presidential pick being... Hiroki Hatatsu of class 2-1. As it turns out, making an honest campaign instead of relying on and pandering to hormone-induced fanboys/girls is a winning strategy.
- Dramatic Irony: Any time the cast laments that Ibusuki would be great if "he" was born a girl, since the whole premise hinges on her disguising herself.
- Exotic Eye Designs: Noa's irises are flower-shaped, for some reason. Kinda fits with her cheerful and carefree personality.
- Funny Afro: Tarou's hair is occasionally grabbed, deformed (or used as a flowerbed) by irritated people.
- Generation Xerox: It turns out that Tarou's grandfather can see first love zombies too, and had a similar situation to Tarou with his zombie Kyouko. However, unlike Tarou, he decided that he loved Kyouko more, and wanted her to be with him for the rest of his life.
- Ladykiller in Love: Koigaura, one of the handsomest and more popular boys in school, ends up falling head over heels for Ibusuki in the brief time he got into the presidential campaign. He doesn't want to fully admit it though, since if he does, he admits he fell in love with a "boy". Oddly enough he already has an inkling that Ibusuki is female anyway.
- Monster of the Week: Seems to be the formula so far, each arc focusing on a peculiar First Love Zombie or related matter.
- Morton's Fork: Tarou falling in love with either of his love interests bodes unpleasant for Eve, due to her FLZ nature. If he and Ibusuki get together, Eve disappears entirely, and at this point both Tarou and Ibusuki treat Eve as her own person and don't want that to happen. However, if he falls in love with someone else or reciprocated Ebino's feelings, Eve goes into a coma, and will stay that way if they remain together.
- Ms. Fanservice: Eve and Ebino serve as the bulk of it in the feminine sense, with both being beautiful, curvaceous girls.
- School Idol:
- Ebino Mei, Tarou's childhood friend, a Statuesque Stunner Academic Athlete with a very generous bosom.
- Even moreso, second year student Shubuai Misawo, called the "first love killer" for the sheer number of boys who crush on her, and who turns out to have a few screws loose.
- Of course, Ibusuki also plays this role, but she comes in the "school prince" variety.
- School Play: The traditional Romeo and Juliet with a twist. Male students (and Ibusuki) and female students take turns playing the titular couple.
- Shipper on Deck: One of Tarou & Ririto childhood friend wanted to ship both of them together. Aside from shipping Tarou & Ririto (and wanting Ririto to become a girl again), Ririto's grandfather is very okay with shipping Ririto & Ebino.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Tarou's grandfather only ever had eyes for Kyouko, his First Love Zombie. Sure he got married eventually, but it was arranged and he never really loved that woman as much as he did Kyouko, and he finds ways to still enjoy his time with her despite the obvious physical hurdle in their companionship.
- Theme Naming: All the main characters are named after famous towns or districts.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: During the school play, Ebino runs into Ibusuki just as she was changing.
- Where It All Began: The final chapter has Ibusuki and Tarou return to the pre school classroom where they met and parted from, triggering Eve's birth in the first place.