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Manga / Reiko the Zombie Shop

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"Oh Satan, Lord of Demons, hear our prayer! Awaken the truths that lie swallowed in this sleeping one! Grant us your majestic power! Breathe life into death, if only for a moment's breath!"
Reiko Himezono.

Reiko the Zombie Shop (Zombie-ya Reiko) is a horror manga by Rei Mikamoto, which ran in the josei horror magazine Horror M from 1998 to 2004. It focuses on Reiko Himezono, a Necromancer for hire who will raise the dead for a price.

The first volume of the series contained stories which followed a standard episodic plot formula: Reiko is hired by someone to use her powers to resurrect someone who has just died, and when Reiko does just that she steps back and watches as the personal drama between the living and deceased plays out. Reiko never lets her personal feelings get in the way of her duties as a necromancer, and always charges for her services, even to people she considers friends. She's seen enough to be quite savvy when it comes to dealing with the undead, and always warns her clients that when their loved ones come back they could be unstable. The zombies do indeed turn out to be quite Ax-Crazy, although they retain their intelligence and their memories long enough to hunt down the person responsible for their suffering.

Along the way, Reiko encounters Saki Yurikawa, a teenage serial killer who hunts after little girls to be her new "little sister", and Reiko's long missing twin sister Riruka, who is also a necromancer and plans to use her powers for world domination. Yurikawa, totally deranged and unsymapthetic, debuted in two one-shot stories, Dead Sister, which originally had nothing to do with Reiko until the last chapter of the first volume, where Reiko is called in to help the police.

The second volume marks a shift from zombie horror to an action horror movie feel when Reiko and Riruka are reunited, and Riruka sets out to keep Reiko from interfering with her plans for total world conquest. While the battle between Reiko and Riruka takes up the bulk of the series, some of the stories did revisit to Reiko's career as a necromancer, and also featured numerous one-shot stories that had nothing to do with any of the main characters.

Reiko the Zombie Shop provides examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: Anyone who isn't Reiko has very slim chances of making it out of any given story arc alive and/or intact. Even Reiko herself isn't least until she got better.
  • Ax-Crazy: It would be easier to generate a list of characters who don't qualify.
  • Back from the Dead: Reiko herself notably fulfills this trope at the end of the first book.
    • Honestly all of the zombies qualify.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Women routinely get scarred, dismembered and slaughtered, not to mention inevitably displaying rotting flesh when their corpses are brought back to life.
    • Played straight with Reiko and her sister, Rurika. Despite them getting beheaded and taking a bullet to the skull, respectively.
  • Body Horror: Almost all of the zombies. Later on in the series there are bullets that turn one in ten people into shape-shifting monstrosities.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. Jasmine Mendosa is the only major black character in the series, and one of the only ones to survive for more than a few volumes.
  • Boss Subtitles: For every summoned zombie.
  • Break the Cutie: Mayo Tohdoh in volume two. When we meet her she's in a wheelchair, but still a cheerful, upbeat child. Then she witnesses her brother Yuki turn traitor and kill their friend Rudoh on the promise that one of Rurika's henchmen can fix Mayo's legs. And then Rurika goes back on the deal and has Yuki killed. When Reiko finds her Mayo is a full blown Stepford Smiler and cheerfully tells Reiko what happened.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Reiko has to do this to her friends, Emiko and Azusa, in the second volume. Well, Emiko anyway. Azusa wasn't so lucky.
  • Cain and Abel: Among the Himezono twins, Reiko is the good one (sort of) purely using her necromancer powers for business, while Riruka is the pure evil one that would much rather conquer the world with hers.
  • Came Back Wrong: Most of the early stories deal with Reiko summoning up murder victims and the unjustly killed, who inevitably come back Ax-Crazy. Later on the zombies tend to be under a Zombie Shop's control and act like summoned monsters, some of which seem to retain their old personalities. This is averted personality-wise with Reiko herself, despite certain... physical issues.
  • Crapsack World: With all the immoral and morally ambiguous people, the world is bad enough without zombies being summoned and allowed to run amok.
  • Cut Short: Dark Horse's English release, which goes up to volume 6. Want to finish the rest? It'd be best to know a foreign language or two.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: While she is amoral, Reiko is an ethical businesswoman who is quite willing to fight to save the world.
  • Death of a Child: Brutally enforced with Saki Yurikawa's intended victims, all of whom are cute little girls around age 5 or so who end up being brutally butchered to death. Saki also kills adults and teenagers, but only if they get in the way of her attempts to find a "little sister."
    • One of Camillia's victims is a mother cradling her baby girl. The first thing she does upon hijacking her body is strangle the baby to death.
  • The Determinator: Any zombie that is brought back and has unfinished business will not stop until they've personally avenged the wrongs done unto them, no matter how much damage they get.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Riruka.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: One of the one-shot stories, The Hair Check Massacre, involves a teacher killing three girls because their hair was longer than the school dress code allows. Of course, she also blames them for an accident which left her disfigured, caused her unborn baby to be stillborn, followed by her fiance leaving her. While this may be a subversion, it might've helped if the teacher hadn't lost her temper when one of the girls made a joke about her sex life. She grabbed the girl, forced her against a bookcase, and that caused a large jar to fall off and hit the teacher on the head. Besides, she murdered the girls so she could scalp them and use their hair for wigs.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Happens to Saki Yurikawa in nasty fashion.
  • Emotionless Girl: Reiko herself. If she displays any expression other than a neutral one, it usually means that something has gone seriously wrong.
  • Evil Twin: Reiko's twin sister, Rurika, has black hair and crazy eyes and wants to turn the world into an empire of the undead under her control.
  • Fanservice Pack: As a result of needing a new body by necessity, Reiko is much bustier from the second volume onwards.
  • Fiery Redhead: Averted with Reiko, who doesn't display an easily-provoked temper.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Chikuro, to a fault. As such, it's pretty telling that she manages to befriend Riruka (of all people), who protects her in return and becomes a summoned zombie after her death.
  • Genre Shift: Volume one is a straightforwards horror anthology. Volume two and onwards is...basically a gorier Jojos Bizarre Adventure with zombie Stands.
  • Gorn: Yup.
  • Greed: Reiko's primary motivation early in the series.
  • Hollywood Acid: Used as a weapon by Saki Yurikawa against zombie Reiko.
  • Killed Off for Real: Happens quite often. Later volumes drive the point home by punctuating certain character's demises with "Name of character: Dead", to show that, yes, they are definitely dead.
  • Kill the Cutie: Oh god...
    • The first major arc involved Child Killer Saki Yurikawa, and we were not spared the details of her crimes.
    • Poor Azusa also meets this fate. Being possessed by a zombie whose summoner made it so whatever damage he receives is also inflicted on Azusa. This forces Reiko to cut down the summoner...taking Azusa with him
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A staple in the first volume. There's always a chance that if someone has committed some crime or atrocity, and Reiko is in their vicinity, that person will inevitably be torn apart by psychotic zombies.
  • Losing Your Head: The protagonist had to get a new body in the second volume.
  • Made of Plasticine: Many cases, but especially Saki's first on-panel victim. She cleaves through his skull with a one-handed swing of a kitchen knife.
  • Mama Bear:
    • The woman in the very first story hired Reiko to resurrect her daughter to find out why she committed suicide. When the daughter reveals she killed herself because her father sexually abused her (and then tears him in half), the woman pays Reiko a bonus to resurrect her husband's severed head so she can exact some more Laser-Guided Karma on him.
    • Also from the first volume is news reporter Junko Kamikui, who goes absolutely ballistic when she finds Saki crouching over her daughters severed remains.
    • The fourth volume has a woman who takes it upon herself to murder the terrorists responsible for her daughter's death a year beforehand.
    • An incredibly twisted example occurs in the fifth volume with Dr. Akiyama, the woman who looked after Midori Yurikawa once Midori awoke from her coma. After Akiyama's daughter Natsumi was killed by triggering Midori's Trauma Button, Akiyama apparently tried to kill herself. To make matters worse, it turned out Midori had the same blood type and Reiko convinced her to help the doctor to somewhat atone for Natsumi's death. Unfortunately, the whole thing was a Batman Gambit Akiyama pulled so she could brutally murder Midori as revenge for Natsumi's death. She even commits suicide right afterwards because she can't stand having Midori's "tainted blood" in her body. What makes this situation more gruesome is the doctor had previously tried to act as a Parental Substitute to Midori, but Natsumi's death drove her over the edge.
  • Monster of the Week: Summoner of the week, in this case. In keeping with the "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure with the horror elements jacked up vibe established after the Genre Shift, most chapters have Reiko and her companions battling an enemy summoner with their own villainous quirks.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Roses Killmister. She's technically just a flunky, but she does her best to justify the trope.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Monster of the Week Tanii bears a resemblance to Dani Filth
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Reiko feels this way regarding Midori Yurikawa, Saki Yurikawa's little sister whom she put into a coma when they were younger. Specifically because both Reiko and Midori had to deal with monstrous sisters with Reiko realizing she could've ended up the same way Midori did had things gone differently. Which is what brings Reiko to tears when she unwittingly allows Midori to get killed by an insane Dr. Akiyama as revenge for the death of her daughter Natsumi, as she genuinely wanted to help Midori even though Natsumi was also her friend.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Reiko's infamous for being a calm and collected woman. But while she does have a tendency to be very cold, she is not heartless. So if something manages to upset her, you can tell things are beyond bad.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Reiko summons zombies by casting a spell that raises everything in earshot. The raised zombies usually retain their intelligence, and have heightened strength and speed. They are also completely nuts unless Reiko keeps them under control.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Quite a fair share of these to go around. Yuki and Rudoh are the first notable examples. They befriend Reiko and form a team of sorts that only becomes more complete when Jasmine is introduced...then are cruelly killed off within 15 minutes of entering Riruka's mansion.
  • Sailor Fuku: Reiko's standard outfit.
  • Satan: Reiko's zombie-raising chant, quoted above, calls on Satan himself. We have yet to meet the fellow.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Riruka orchestrated the deaths of her's and Reiko's parents when she was just a child.
  • Shoot the Hostage: This is what Reiko ultimately has to do to Azusa. She claims that she never saw her as a friend and would cut her down to get to her target, but it's clear she was not pleased sacrificing Azusa's life and the last panel of the chapter shows her crying for the first time in the manga.
  • Sinister Sweet Tooth: Serial child murderer Saki Yurikawa is shown to have a fondness for ice cream.
  • Slasher Smile: Used to show that someone has gone crazy. No matter what their personality was beforehand.
  • Summoning Ritual: Reiko's chant, and the pentagram on her hand, are required to raise the dead.
  • Taking You with Me: Having lost Sinner's Nightmare, Tracy decides on breaking a spare vial of poison, which would quickly spread and kill everything within a small radius, including herself. Too bad Yuki was already looking for an excuse to kill her.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: A dark example happens in the first volume, when Reiko is asked by a science teacher to help him finish cloning a student he was in love with. The teacher explains the girl hung herself because he misunderstood how she felt and wouldn't leave her alone, and he'd been trying to revive her because of how guilty he felt. Well, it turns out he forgot to mention the girl killed herself because she was also pregnant (and it's very likely she got pregnant because he raped her). And since he lied to Reiko about the circumstances behind the girl's death, that was a breach of contract and Reiko leaves him at the mercy of the girl and her zombie fetus.
  • Teen Pregnancy: An early chapter features Reiko being asked by a teacher to help him resurrect a student who committed suicide. As it turns out, the girl killed herself because the teacher got her pregnant, and a zombie-like fetus bursts from her stomach and attacks the guy. Reiko doesn't help him because he lied about why the girl died, which served as a breach of contract since he didn't give Reiko all the details when she was hired.
  • Tranquil Fury: Every zombie that Reiko summons, which has died a violent and painful death, while come back completely Ax-Crazy if the person responsible for their suffering is in the vicinity. Reiko, when she is killed by Saki Yurikawa and resurrected by way of a Batman Gambit, is completely and utterly calm as she hunts after Yurikawa.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Natsumi Akiyama fucked up big time when she triggered Midori Yurikawa's Trauma Button by beating her up the way Saki used to when they were little. Midori ripped her apart, and it drove her mother insane. The whole thing just got worse from there, up to Midori dying in Reiko's arms as Natsumi's mom slit her own throat after killing her.
  • World of Buxom: The vast majority of girls above puberty happen to be stacked.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Saki Yurikawa. A deranged Serial Killer that targets children. First kidnapping them or luring them into her house by pretending to be a Cool Big Sis...and then violently killing them when they become even slightly uncomfortable when her facade starts to crack.
    • Then there's Camillia. Dear god...