Everyday Life with Monster Girls- Zombies
Let’s face it: Everyday Life with Monster Girls is an echi harem comedy, which is a genre of anime I tend to stay away from. Not to mention many of the monsters in Everyday Life with Monster Girls are human-animal combinations of varying degrees; essentially, they are chimeras, which I have previously discussed here. There are, however, still a few monsters that I will be able to examine: zombies, cyclops, ogres, and harpies. So, without further ado, here are the monster girls of Everyday Life with Monster Girls.
Zombies, or the living dead, are dead that are brought back to life through a variety of means. The term zombie comes from Haiti, where it refers to reanimated corpses, brought back to life by witches. The word zombie first appears in the English language in 1819 and is of West African origin, which is also thought to be where the Haitian tradition of zombies originated. Either way, the living dead have captivated audiences since the early 20th century. There were even some scientists who went so far as to study the biology and chemistry behind zombies. One such scientist, an ethnobotanist by the name of Wade Davis, even published an article and two books on the subject.
The Serpent and the Rainbow
Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie
Davis focused on how drugs, toxins, and psychological disorders could cause a person to enter into a zombie-like state. A major criticism of his work was that the drugs he used would not cause a person to exhibit a stereotypical stiffened gait. Also left unsaid was just how dangerous some of the drugs he used were, including Datura and tetradotoxin. Datura is a popular suicide drug in certain parts of the world. Tetradotoxin, on the other hand, is the toxin found in puffer fish, which gives the fish its unique taste it. It also has a lethal dose 25 times smaller than that of cyanide, another extremely lethal drug.
The Real Zombies
I will freely admit that I lack the ability to fully delve into using chemicals to induce a zombie-like state. Mr. Davis was not entirely wrong in thinking that psychological disorders are involved in zombies. There is a rare psychological disorder known as Cotard’s syndrome, or Cotard’s delusion, where people believe that they are dead, while still very much alive. As my dad has said, “Where do you dig up this stuff?” Well, in this case it is my students, who asked about it one year around Halloween, and delighted in finding something I had not heard of before. It was first described in the 1880’s by Jules Cotard, a French neurologist.
There have only been a handful of cases of this extremely unique condition, so not much is known about it. Despite the lack of reported cases, what is known is that Cotard’s syndrome involves damage to the fusiform gyrus in the temporal lobe, and again the exact function of this section of the brain is still under study. What is known is that the fusiform gyrus contains a number of neural pathways involved in recognition.
The syndrome is also associated with damage to the parietal lobe, which integrates sensory information.
It is still unknown what causes the damage to the specific areas of the brain leading to Cotard’s syndrome, but infections that cause brain inflammation, such as Lyme disease, are thought to be involved. Also, preexisting psychological disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and psychosis have been seen in individuals with Cotard’s delusion.
As to the delusion itself, the individuals affected by it think that they are dead, when all evidence points otherwise. This includes a reduced emotional response to stimuli, and a feeling of being trapped. This feeling of being trapped in the afterlife, purgatory, or in the living world, can drive affected individuals to try and commit suicide as a way to escape. On the bright side, psychotherapy and medications can help some individuals slowly recover over time. Some cases report lingering side effects of Cotard’s syndrome, which are thought to be related to the conditions that caused the syndrome in the first place.
It is my own humble opinion that while the zombies depicted in fiction are impossible, there is some scientific basis for the zombie myth. The first of course is Cotard’s syndrome, the second is a variety of psychotropic drugs, and the third is waking from a coma. A coma is a unique state of unconsciousness in which a person could appear dead to individuals lacking modern medical and scientific understanding. In fact, comas and other states of extremely depressed brain activity, along with Taphophobia (the fear of being buried alive), led to the creation of safety coffins, which were popular in the 1800s. Safety coffins include a method of alerting individuals that you have been buried alive, as seen below.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more monster girls from Everyday Lives of Monster Girls. Please leave any comments or questions below.