ZOMBIE LAND SAGA is an twelve-episode anime television series produced by Cygames in collaboration with Avex Pictures. The studio that animated it was MAPPA. The director is Munehisa Sakai, and the writer is Shigeru Murakoshi.
The anime aired during the autumn 2018 anime season, and is available to watch on Crunchyroll.ZOMBIE LAND SAGA begins much like many other anime shows, but it doesn’t take it very long before it is defying expectations. To go into detail about exactly how that happens would be spoiling things, but the events that happen are most certainly played for laughs.
It’s really sudden and actually fairly dark, but those two things combine to make up for some excellent humour. Arguably, ZOMBIE LAND SAGA‘s first two episodes are its best, as that is where the show tends to subvert the usual idol stuff you might expect from anime.However, it’s from the third episode onwards where ZOMBIE LAND SAGA settles into being a more typical idol show, though it still deconstructs a few of the typical tropes as it does so.
The impact of the first two episodes is lost, but as the show goes on, it proves that it is a perfectly competent idol show. For the most part, each character gets their turn in the spotlight which explores their history and how they ended up with Franchouchou. Unfortunately, twelve episodes doesn’t give enough time for all the girls to get their moments; Tae and Yugiri’s pasts are never really explored.Whilst each of the girls are compelling in their own ways, their manager Kotaro Tatsumi is a more polarising character. He is a large ham who chews the scenery in pretty much every scene he appears in, and tends to treat the girls a bit unfairly. For some, that over the top delivery of his may be a source of great amusement, whilst others may just find it annoying – further exacerbated with the way he talks to the girls. However, Kotaro doesn’t always go unanswered, so it is not like he gets away with being a jerk all the time.As you would expect from an idol anime, the girls put on shows. These shows are done in CG, and look fairly decent. The songs are all pretty good as well, though it will depend entirely upon the viewer as to which songs they will most remember. They all happen to have astonishingly appropriate lyrics for what has happened, which also helps them to tie in to the development of the characters.Whilst there seems to be a little less comedy as the show progresses, it actually has very compelling character arcs for the girls who do get their moment to shine. There are some genuinely emotional stories being told, and that keeps thing interesting.
There are some genuinely fun moments in later episodes, but nothing really ever matches the sheer hilarity offered to the audience from the first and second episodes.
ZOMBIE LAND SAGA may be another idol show, but the approach it takes to the genre certainly makes it stand out.
Come for the headbanging and rap battle, stay for the compelling character arcs that follow. It doesn’t quite manage to recapture the brilliance of its first two episodes, but ZOMBIE LAND SAGA is still a solid show.