You can always count on anime for bizarre plot ideas and strangely compelling stories and Undead Murder Farce is no exception. Streaming now on Crunchyroll, this mysterious series takes place in a world filled with fantastical creatures such as werewolves and vampires. In this world, a maid named Shizuku Hasei carries the disembodied but still living head of her mistress, Aya Rindo, in a golden cage, which she covers with a cloth. It is from this position that Aya is on a mission, attempting to locate her body, which has been stolen.
Undead Murder Farce is one of the strangest anime on Crunchyroll but also one of the best.
The aptly named Undead Murder Farce follows this odd pair as they meet up with Tsugaru Shunichi, a half-human, half-oni known as the Oni Slayer, who agrees to assist them on their quest. As the three embark on their journey across Europe to find Aya’s body, they also solve mysteries along the way. All the while, Aya only wants to die, and Tsugaru is seeking to extend his own life.
The anime is based on the original novel entitled Undead Girl Murder Farce, written by Yugo Aosaki, which was first published in December of 2015 and began a series that currently includes four books. A serialized manga adaptation illustrated by Haruka Tomoyama began publication in June of 2016 in Kodansha’s Monthly Shōnen Sirius, though it continued publication the following year in Nemesis and then on the website Comic Days in 2018. The manga has since been compiled into seven tankōbon volumes, three of which are print and four of which are digital.
The anime television series adaptation, now known as Undead Murder Farce, began airing on Fuji TV’s +Ultra programming block in July of 2023, concluding its run in September. Produced by Lapin Track, the series is directed by Mamoru Hatakeyama with character designs by Noriko Ito, who served as co-animation director with Naho Kazono. Having now moved to streaming, the series is expected to become known among a wider audience than it had reached previously.
Undead Murder Farce works together mystery, Japanese mythology, historical European figures, and gorgeous animation in a package that is far more than the sum of its parts.
Undead Murder Farce takes place in an alternate reality version of the 19th century, known as the Heian era in Japan. Aya, voiced by Tomoyo Kurasawa, is a young woman who is also a yōkai, or spirit entity and is beheaded by a mysterious assailant. All that is known of her attacker is that they are a half-demon entity from Britain, hence the decision to strike out across Europe in search of them. As a yōkai, Aya is not able to die, though she is also unable to heal herself from being decapitated by the half-demon.
The narrative thrust of Undead Murder Farce is Aya’s desire to reunite with her body and take revenge on the one who decapitated her. Tsugaru Shinuchi is a half-oni, an oni being another type of yōkai, who was previously a member of a Meiji Restoration-era oni extermination team that sought to destroy monsters across Japan. At that time, however, Tsugaru was human, having since been injected with oni blood by the same mysterious person who decapitated Aya.
In Undead Murder Farce, Taku Yashiro voices Tsugaru Shinuchi, who is now capable of killing oni and other spirits with his bare hands thanks to his oni blood. But he knows the oni blood will someday take over, completely overwhelming his human personality and turning him into a full oni. At that point, he expects to be killed by another hunter, such as himself.
Since Undead Murder Farce involves mystery and is set in the 19th century, expect appearances from Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper.
Makoto Koichi provides the voice for Shizuku Hasei, one of the most recognizable characters of Undead Murder Farce, the stern maid of Aya who looks after her head. She carries a bayoneted rifle with her that fires silver rounds, protection against mystical creatures like werewolves and others who are harmed or killed by silver. The trio’s travels through Europe bring them into contact with such legendary figures as Jack the Ripper, Aleister Crowley, and even Sherlock Holmes, along with his companion Dr. John Watson and his nemesis, Professor James Moriarty.
If this intriguing mix of Japanese animation, legendary European figures, mythology, and mystery appeals to you, you can stream Undead Murder Farce now on Crunchyroll.