Cover Image: Undead Unluck, Vol. 2

Undead Unluck, Vol. 2

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Member Reviews

We get a little more world building here and the idea of the quests and rules and uma are somewhat tantalizing, but it can't make up for the art that becomes unclear during action scenes (a problem for an action comic) and the whiplash nature of the narrative (too many reveals come too fast with too little development).
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Last month, VIZ Media unveiled a new series via its Shonen Jump imprint: Undead Unluck. And, I’m gonna be honest, the first volume was a roller-coaster romp that I like but still felt weird even if I couldn’t pin down why. Last volume, we met Fuuko Izumo, whose power is Unluck. To put it simply, if she touches someone, they die by a burst of unluck. The perfect partner for her? Andy, a guy who is, well, Undead. Having been running for their lives from a government agency, in Undead Unluck Volume 2, we get the chance to see them develop their friendship a little more and face new challenges.

Undead Unluck Volume 2 is created, written, and illustrated by Yoshifumi Tozuka, published and localized in English by VIZ Media via the manga publisher’s Shonen Jump imprint – which means that individual chapters also run via the app of the same name. Additionally, this volume is translated by David Evelyn and features touch-up art and lettering by Michelle Pang. This volume also features chapters eight through 16, making each chapter speed by, like other shonen titles.

In this volume, Fuuko and Andy are sick of being targeted and decide that they would rather be the hunters than the hunted. So, the unlucky pair set their sights on joining the ten-member Union. Eliminating those already in the seats to take the spots for themselves. But to snag the second seat they need, they continue their fight to defeat their would-be assailant, Unchange – who, you guessed it, has the power to keep things from well, changing. Having just used a skin-to-skin touch to launch Andy’s head towards Gina, bursting through her unchange barrier and bring his unluck with him too.

Once the pair have made it into the organization, it only gets harder as a new cast of characters with unique powers makes their way into the story. And while each of them brings an interesting dynamic in comparison to Andy and Fuuko, they don’t hold attention in any way.


 
The most exciting thing about Undead Unluck is the exposition provided around different powers. You see, each power operates by a set of rules. For starters, Fuuko’s Unluck works to push the plot along with its restrictions. While any touch will set off a burst of unluck and harm the person touching Fuuko, it’s the emotion behind the touch, the duration of it, and the person doing it that sets the strength of the unluck. While this is used to put Andy and Fuuko in action situations, it’s also used to push their kinda romantic relationship as well and add an echi-lite component to the humor as well.

This is where Undead Unluck is going to be hit or miss for readers. I was hoping that this volume would build on the echi-esque humor of the first by leaning all the way in (alá Food Wars), but instead, the volume hovers between embracing what it is and telling an action-packed story with more than a handful of darker elements. And that’s where the series teeters and stands the chance to lose readers, especially with how young the characters look.

Overall, Undead Unluck Volume 2 has a lot to offer, but I’m finding it hard to stick with it. While strong leads are important, every person outside of Andy and Fuuko have little to no presence, and I’m still not at ease with the situations Fuuko finds herself in – even though we were told she is 18 in the first volume. That said, the art in this volume is extremely fun to watch in the back half, thanks to the kaiju sized-battle that happens. So, while I find myself wavering on keeping up with the series, I’m sure it’ll find a solid base.
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This felt less repetitive than the first book, but I'm still not as in love with it as I would like to be.
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Undead Unluck Volume Two dives deeper into the world that the characters inhabit in this series.

Undead Unluck Volume Two
Written by: Yoshifumi Tozuka
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 6, 2021

The volume opens by continuing the fight between Gina and Andy that began at the end of the previous volume… but the fight concludes before the end of the first chapter. While the resolution came quickly, the impact of Gina’s death plays an important role on Fuuko as the story moves forward.

Shortly after this, both Andy and Fuuko are whisked away to Union’s headquarters, and this is the point where both Fuuko and the reader start learning more about Union, as well as the various concepts that make up the series. It starts with a talking book called “Apocalypse,” which gives Union quests to carry out. If they succeed in a mission, they get a reward… but if they don’t succeed, there are penalties. Why am I not surprised to find out that another name for the book called Apocalypse is “the book of revelations”? Union’s ultimately goal is to kill the creator, the being that lives on the other side of the book. But it’s at this point that we see the impact of Gina’s death starting to come through Fuuko, because Gina had hoped to change the system. Of course, Fuuko has no success with speaking out, but I get the feeling she’s going to continue fighting to change the system.

This volume focuses a lot on Shen, one of the members of Union. This includes introducing Andy and Fuuko, along with the audience, to Shen’s subordinate, Mui. A lot of focus is placed on Shen and developing his character, because he is assigned to accompany both Andy and Fuuko on a quest. Before they can start on their quest, they are attacked by a being called the Garment Uma, which latches onto a person’s body and transforms into the garments that the person most desires… but once the uma bewitches the wearer of the garments, all hell breaks loose. There’s an amusing sequence that happens here, especially when the being ends up on Andy. The being is offended by Andy’s desired undergarments and refers to it as a tall order. But Andy is able to turn the uma into his servant, and he ends up with clothes that are appropriate for a member of Union.

Fuuko, Andy, and Shen are given a mission to find a corpse wandering around the streets of New York. While the trio heads to the United States, they don’t go to New York right away. Instead, they go to an area in rural Nevada called Longing. According to the in-story universe, a lot of cowboy movies are filmed in the area. They are trying to find a uma called Spoil, who has the ability to turn people into zombies if they come within a certain range. At this point, most of the rest of the story takes place in Longing. If the trio is successful in this mission, the reward is supposed to be a clue that will help Andy to finally die.

When they make it to the town, there are a lot of zombies trying to keep them from coming in. But Andy has no problem plowing through them with the vehicle that he’s driving. But among the zombies, he finds one that hasn’t totally lost her mind. The woman says she’ll tell them where Spoil is if Andy marries her. Andy follows through, although there’s technically no minister around, so it’s not a legal marriage. But the almost zombie woman is satisfied with what Andy does for her that she fulfills her end of the bargain.

The remainder of the volume sees Andy and Shen fighting against Spoil. When it looks like Spoil is going to defeat our protagonists, Shen takes out the card that’s embedded in Andy’s forehead. I’d noticed this odd detail previously and had wondered why he had that card there. Well, it turns out this keeps Andy’s power in check. When the card is pulled, Andy goes through a transformation and obtains godly power. He also goes through a physical transformation, which reminded me suspiciously of the Super Saiyan powerup from the Dragon Ball franchise. The big difference, though, is that Andy’s hair changes from a light color to black. However, unlike Super Saiyan, Andy’s transformation changes him into a completely different person. Shen refers to him as a god named Vichtor, but the transformed Andy insists he’s a human named Victor. In this form, though, he is a threat to Fuuko. This wasn’t a twist that I saw coming. And the volume ends without this issue being resolved.

One thing I was happy to see was that Andy wasn’t groping at Fuuko like he did in the previous volume. In fact, I can’t remember a single instance of that happening. I’m glad to see that this doesn’t appear to be a running gag that will span over the entire series.

And I have to say that the tone of this series took a slight change in direction that I hadn’t been expecting. The first volume felt like it was setting the story up to be a comedy with some supernatural elements. While there was still some humor in this volume, it felt like it had been dialed back quite a bit to make room for a slightly darker tone.

After being unsure about Undead Unluck after reading the first volume, I’m glad I gave the second volume a chance. I found myself genuinely becoming interested in what was happening to Fuuko and Andy, and the ending of the volume really makes me want to read Volume Three in order to find out what’s going to happen next.
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Fuuko Izumi, nicknamed Unluck, has the power of unluck. Anyone who touches her skin-to-skin dies. In the last volume, she meets the immortal Undead and promptly names him Andy. They decide to team up. In Undead Unluck Vol 2, the duo finds a group of fellow negators. But to join, they must prove their abilities to the other members. Six quests are presented to the team. Undead selects the most difficult one for himself, Unluck and current member, Mr. Shen. They must capture Uma Spoil, who is leading a legion of zombies in New York City.

Wow, you definitely get your money’s worth with this compilation. There are nine chapters included. There are a bunch of new abilities and weapons too. The action is non-stop. Spoil’s artwork is awesome! He looks like a one-eyed mecha-batman.

I highly recommend Undead Unluck Vol 2. It’s even better than Vol 1. 5 stars and a favorite!

Thanks to VIZ Media and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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