ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Undead Unluck,’ Volume 1

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Undead Unluck Volume 1

Undead Unluck Volume 1 is the debut volume for the series created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Yoshifumi Tozuka. The volume is published and localized in English by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint and features translation by David Evelyn with touch-up art and lettering provided by Michelle Pang.

Shonen manga is a wild ride. What a lot of people miss is that “shonen manga,” which has come to be defined by Naruto and My Hero Academia, is really just a demographic for an audience and not specifically a genre. This fact allows titles like Undead Unluck to come out of nowhere and bring superpowers, nudity, body horror, a lot of blood, and a lot of ecchi-lite comedy too.

This off-the-walls story starts when an unlucky girl, Fuuko Izumo, meets an undead guy when she tries to take her own life and follows the pure chaos that ensues afterward. For her part, Fuuko is tired of inadvertently killing people with her special ability, Unluck. But when she meets Andy, a man who longs for death but can’t die, she finds a reason to live, which is to give him the death he’s been longing for. However, when the pair discovers a secret organization is hunting them, it puts Andy’s burial plans on hold.

The catch in all of this? Well, her Unluck is triggered by touch. This poses more than a few problems for Fuuko, who just really wants is a passionate romance like the one in her favorite shojo manga. Unfortunately, her Unluck ability makes that impossible. But with Andy able to touch her, die, and come back, the door is open for romance—or just a lot of heavy petting that can result in weaponized Unluck to fight the government agents trying to capture the pair.

So, Undead Unluck Volume 1 is a trip, and to be honest, I don’t know if it’s a good one or just a romp that hits in a couple of chapters that carries the weight of missing the mark in the others. On the one hand, the unique art style makes Fuuko look extremely young, and on the other, it works really well in the giant scenes of death and dismemberment. Sometimes the sex jokes land, and I can’t help but become an Andy fan, but on the next page, I’m wondering why his head is now between Fuuko’s boobs.

That said, the way the world of Undead Unluck Volume 1 works is fascinating, and Izumo wastes no time outlining how powers work. Specifically the power to negate things—negate weight, movement, light. It all holds to some pretty satisfying rules that allow the people that Andy and Fuuko fight to be extremely powerful but not over-powered. The power scale and the way each one has a weakness once spotted is an element that leans into action shonen hard, and it works.

Overall though, Undead Unluck Volume 1 is a lot. If you’re not into ecchi-elements and humor or violence, skip this title. If you’re looking for a roller coaster of violence and kinda-romance with a lot of “oh no, a boob touch” moments, pick this one up on day one.

Undead Unluck Volume 1 is available wherever books are sold on May 4, 2021.

Undead Unluck Volume 1 
3.5

TL;DR

Undead Unluck Volume 1 is a lot. If you’re not into ecchi-elements and humor or violence, skip this title. If you’re looking for a roller coaster of violence and kinda-romance with a lot of “oh no, a boob touch” moments, pick this one up on day one.