4.014 out of 5 from 164 votes
Encased by trees that are used to make grave markers, Sotoba is a village thought to be surrounded by death - a fact that soon literally becomes the case. One summer, a series of mysterious and untimely fatalities begins to plague the small rural town. With a higher than normal mortality rate for the time of year and each cause of passing remaining unknown, Toshio, the local doctor, and Seishin the temple’s vice chief monk become suspicious and take it upon themselves to investigate. However, as the deaths begin to pile up, more people begin to wonder just what is behind this sudden epidemic; could it have anything to do with the bizarre Kirishiki family that recently moved to the village?
Although they start off slowly (and I mean reeeeally slowly), once they get going and the protagonists FINALLY figure out what the hell is going on, I am a Hero and Shiki are engrossing horror stories filled with all sorts of carnage and the undead.
Inside an abandoned tank on a weed-infested riverbed live hot-headed Velveteen and neurotic Mandala: two teens who usually amuse themselves by setting things on fire or trying to play Donkey Kong on a pager. The only other human around is their supervisor, a half-naked man who spends his days gunning down the imps and other oddities that lurk on the banks. These three are tasked with looking after this riverside, where the souls of the dead are forwarded, but due to a clerical error the dead have become prone to reviving and indiscriminately attacking anything around them. As the bodies pile up, the girls' home is no longer safe, and they must take up arms to defend themselves!
Velveteen and Mandala and I Am a Hero aren't your run-of-the-mill zombie apocalypse stories. Both feature protagonists who aren't psychologically sound, and the casts of each are far from cliché, which provides much of each's entertainment value.
(Not for the faint of heart)