Zombie Loan is a manga and 11-Episode Anime series by Peach-Pit. The manga was serialized in Monthly G Fantasy from 2002 to 2011, and the anime adaptation aired in 2007.
Michiru Kita is an orphaned girl living with her aunt and uncle. She is pretty much normal other than the fact that she possesses "Shinigami Eyes", meaning that, without her glasses, she can see rings around people's necks that show how much time they have before dying.
One day, she meets Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana, two survivors of a horrible bus accident in the middle of a Zombie Hunt, and learns the horrible truth about them — they're already dead, and only alive through a "Z Loan" that they seek to pay off by hunting Zombies who are alive illegally. Michiru ends up unceremoniously dragged along in exchange for her life and the use of her eyes to find the already dead.
Provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Chika's mom left him alone at home to live with another man, resulting in him nearly starving to death.
- Age Without Youth: Lao Ye attempted an incomplete immortality ritual on himself, result in this. By the time the story starts, he's nothing more than a withered husk on life support.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Let's see. Shito, Chika, Zen and Yomi have all shown an interest in Michiru, who doesn't notice. Koyomi has a crush on Shito and Aso, who both don't notice.
- Better as Friends: Michiru and Aso after one date decides to break up.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Michiru is one of the nicest characters around. But when Carmella tried to hurt her and her friends, she snapped and easily crushed Carmella's core.
- Blind Without 'Em: Subverted, Michiru can actually see fairly well without her glasses, she just doesn't like seeing the rings around people's necks.
- Brand X: Koyomi is known to get drunk on "Fantan", a sound-alike soda to a real brand. There's also a card game called "Umo".
- Broken Ace: Shiba is a cool, handsome, friendly and highly intellectual person. But he became so bored with his monotonous life that he committed suicide and would come head to head against his best friend Chika.
- Contrived Coincidence: Actually becomes a plot point. Michiru has a knack for always showing up in the right place at the right time and developing just the right powers and abilities for their current situation. This makes a lot more sense once it's revealed that she's the Singularity, a living Reality Warper and time/space paradox.
- Cruel Mercy: When Chika finally gets the chance to kill Hakka, he doesn't, because that's what he wanted all along.
- Demonic Possession: Yomi briefly possesses Michiru after the latter went into her Heroic BSoD and to get them out of the warping space from collapsing and taking them with it.
- Diabolus ex Machina: So Shito manages to save a rather woobie-ish golem girl from her creator, who saw her as nothing more than a defective failure. Now she's gonna go back with him to Z-Loan and get cared for by people who won't abuse her, right? Cue said creator's assistant shooting her in the head out of nowhere, saying that she was just another monster to be dealt with.
- Dysfunction Junction: Pretty much everyone living in the dorms. Michiru lost her parents at a young age and we find out those aren't really her parents. Shito is a living corpse, trying to save his mother. Chika suffered from Parental Abandonment as his mother went to live with another man, resulting in him nearly starving to death in his own home. Koyomi's family had Yomi sealed inside of her to please Yomi, and that didn't work as well as they thought it did, they locked Koyomi inside the house.
- Forbidden Fruit: An interesting case. The little servant boy tells Michiru when entering the entrance to the spirit world, she mustn't look back. However, Yomi, the one that Michiru is looking for, tells her to turn around. Not knowing whether to trust the boy or Yomi's voice, Michiru does turn around, only to find that the little servant boy standing creepily behind her, wanting to eat her.
- Golem: In chapters 21-27 and episodes 8-11, Doctor (he prefers "Rabbi") Yoshizumi, inspired by the golems of lore, has set out to create his own taking the Frankenstein approach by using human body parts. His ultimate goal is to give humanity immortality, but his time cutting up corpses and zombies has corrupted this ideal badly. Yoshizumi has three golems to his name, all soulless and incapable of speech: a hulking executioner, a scrawny girl, and Phalanx, his perfect golem and therefore one gifted with a name. It's a collection of limbs that Yoshizumi eventually fuses with. Before then, Yoshizumi abducts Shito to get the Corpse Release Spell from Xu Fu to stabilize the golems, as at his current level of research he needs to inject them every so often with a cell-maintaining drug. During his captivity, Shito bonds with the golem girl. During an all out assault to save Shito, the executioner dies from lack of the drug, the Yoshizumi fusion is poisoned by his remorseful assistant, and said assistant shoots the girl as final cleanup. Shito is enraged, but can't do more than give her a burial. It's implied he named her "Inochi" ("Life").
- Grand Theft Me: Lao Ye takes over Shito's body.
- Important Haircut: Michiru loses both of her braids symbolically in the second and third episodes. It represents her turning over of a new leaf.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zarame, despite his gruffness and insults, is actually quite protective over Michiru.
- Killed Off for Real: Koyomi is killed by Lao Ye as part of the ritual to transfer his soul to Shito, and when Yomi tries to save them both, Koyomi chooses to pass on instead once it becomes clear that Yomi can only save one of them. Bekkou makes it clear afterwards that there's no bringing back someone who passed on of their own free will.
- The Mafia: Shito's the heir to a powerful Chinese mafia syndicate.
- Man, I Feel Like a Woman : An interesting case, where Yomi had taken possession of Michiru's body briefly and wanted to "play with her for a bit".
- Meido: In one story arc, Michiru and Koyomi end up buying maid outfits and blending in with the Otaku gathered for an offline meeting.
- Mind Screw: In the most recent manga chapters Michiru has to dive into Chika's subconscious mind a la Pensieve Flashback, but something goes wrong and his younger self is able to see and interact with her, making the conversation that originally happened in his mind part of his reality in the past making the whole situation into a bit of a Timey-Wimey Ball. When his teenager self showed up, all bets were off.
- #1 Dime: Shito's comb, which had belonged to his mother.
- Otaku: A group of Otaku following a serial murderer's "virtual murders" feature prominently in one episode (complete with Nerd Glasses on all of them).
- Rage Against the Heavens: Hakka is tired of being a cog in a machine, only existing to maintain the Akashic Records, so he plots to kill himself to go against his purpose, while doing as much damage as possible.
- Reset Button: Hit at the end of the manga, starting the series over again (though with Hakka imprisoned so he can't enact his plan,) with some characters like Michiru, Bekkou and Yuuta remembering the previous loop.
- Ret-Gone: It's eventually revealed that Ferrymen like Bekkou have the ability to erase anything that contradicts the Akashic Records from existence (like zombies, and restoring anything the zombies interact with.) The reason they don't just do this all the time instead of bothering with hiring legal zombies to take care of the illegal ones is because it's a Godzilla Threshold-style ability, and is very messy and doesn't fix everything. Z and A-Loan eventually get erased, and end up in reality's recycle bin (It Makes Sense in Context,) where they have to find a way to escape before they're deleted permanently.
- Skinship Grope: Koyomi's "other" personality Yomi has a definite fondness for groping Michiru's breasts.
- Thanatos Gambit: The entire plot of the manga was a scheme by Hakka to kill himself. Unfortunately, he doesn't care if all of creation goes down with him.
- Unwanted Harem: Not so much unwanted as unnoticed, as Michiru has garnered the affections of Shito, Chika, Zen, and Yomi but is oblivious to it. She has also been shipteased with Shiba a little.
- Verbal Tic: Koume has a tendency to draaaaag out random words in a sentence.
- The Virus: When it's discovered that a new breed of Zombie can create other Zombies by killing normal humans, it's a problem.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Koume will never let Z-Loan forget that they got her fired from her train conductor job.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Shito promises the golem girl that he will take care of her, teach her how to speak and send her to school like a normal person. She gets killed by Yoshizumi's assistant the next page.