As far as speculating upcoming anime goes, Zombie Land Saga was undoubtedly a wild card. For a while, there was just not a whole lot information surrounding this anime and when something concrete finally did arrive, it was on the cusp of Summer 2018. I think what stuns me more though is that interest did start brewing shortly after, especially once Crunchyroll obtained simulcast rights and hyped it up a little on social media.
Then again, if you heard what this anime is about, you’d at least want to give a try. Sakura Minamoto (Kaede Hondo in probably one of her funniest performances yet) is a young teenage girl aspiring to be an idol. Unfortunately, fate is cruel and right before her audition, she gets hit by a truck. Fast forward ten years later, Sakura discovers she is now a zombie. The one who reanimated her, Koutarou (Mamoru Miyano), is a manic producer who plans on having her and a bunch of other zombie girls become idols to save the Saga Prefecture (oh, now I get why it’s called Zombie Land Saga). Looks like Sakura gets to fulfill her dream after all!…kind of…maybe? Regardless, with a premise like that, how can you not be curious about it?
While watching, questions obviously arise. How did Koutarou reanimate these girls? Why is Sakura one of them if there is nothing special about her compared to the others? What exactly in Saga needs to be saved? Why send these zombies to a metal concert if they’re idols? Why send them if most of them haven’t re-awakened their senses? Why have zombies in the first place? Why exactly is Tae considered legendary? Who pitch this anime and did he or she get a raise?
All I know is that I, as a matter of fact, really enjoyed this anime. Every single bit of it. Sakura getting hit by a truck at the start of the episode was a hilariously abrupt halt to the seemingly cutesy tone the first minute was going for. The reveal that she is a zombie is actually very well-directed. Her confusion plays off greatly with Koutarou’s eccentrics. The concert scene is amazing in how deliberately botched it is; just a lot of manic head bobbing with Sakura going “screw it”, screaming at the top of her lungs to the metal music. Maybe there’s a hidden message in this show. I can’t help but find the girls being zombies a bit on the nose given how over-saturated idol anime is and how overworked real ones are. But meaning or not, the madness is evident and just going along with it is so much fun.
Part of me does question the longevity of Zombie Land Saga. A concept such as “idols but they’re zombies” could easily wear thin after one or two episodes unless you get super creative. A potential counter might be what the other girls have to offer. I know I just jokingly asked why Sakura was picked to become a zombie but clearly, her function is to be the normal one. Everyone else, seem to have rather elaborate backgrounds including a biker and a courtesan. Even Tae’s vague legendary status is indicative to that. If most, if not all, the characters have something compelling to share than maybe this anime can last a whole cour.
Skepticism aside, I must admit that this anime’s zaniness does make me want to watch more. This is easily one of the finer premieres to have aired this Fall season and it’s making me curious in some way, it’s clear doing its job.
ED: “Hikari e” by the cast of Zombie Land Saga
What an awfully warm ending theme for a show this zany…
Thanks for reading!
Zombie Land Saga is officially available on Crunchyroll.
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