Zombie Land Saga (Fall 2018) – Saga of the Living Dead

Zombie, a genre it redefines a horror genre. When hearing about zombies, the first thing we think of is video games. Besides video games, you also think about “The Walking Dead”. Yeah, in an era where vampires and myth horror came, George A. Romero created a new genre in the media. But, we just keep seeing this genre, or sub-genre, as an endless cycle. It repeats over and over again. Horror, especially zombies, didn’t have any limit. And hearing the word zombie just once, we only think again if we witness the same story. But, what about idols?

Idol, like zombies, is a genre in itself different from music. You can say idol is also a not music genre at all. But, when it comes to an idol, it’s just about music. I had an obsession with the idol genre three years ago since I watched “Love Live!”. I thought that idols were nothing more than a culture. It’s just not everything we always come for instances of other genres. Idol, not only Japan but also Korean, it’s just part of pop culture. However, people have this kind of obsession with them not even knowing what’s special about idols.

When hearing the first and last time the words “zombie” and “idol”, both of them aren’t far from common cliches. Plus, combining the two words is inseparable from the most ridiculous and stupidest thing ever. And that’s what comes in my mind when I hear “Zombie Land Saga”. I first know this anime because of the internet. But, I always think that this show is about an idol but for a metalhead. The first thing I felt when watching the first and second episodes is just mind-blowing. How can you headbang with music sung by seven young zombie girls? Also, how can you head into it when two zombies rap on stage?

Honestly, “Zombie Land Saga” isn’t just a horror show about zombies except the seven to the final episode. It’s a little bit depressing when we talk about the final arc. This show suggests the entire nutshell into just one opening of the episode. One word that comes out of my mouth is weird. I can also say that this show satirizes many Japanese idols including metal or rock bands. It makes sense at all. This show is also mocking the cute girls doing cute things from the first to the last. However, the real concept isn’t just mocking with everything, but what MAPPA comes with this show is its content.

Zombie, to me, isn’t really scary at all. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen it a lot in various media. But, zombies are just zombies. Nothing more than that. Not because of their design or something but because of how the protagonist has to fight to survive. Takes “Resident Evil” for example where the game will “end” when you run out of ammo. Today, we have a zombie genre with many subtexts such as criticizing humankind, the world, and the government. But, “Zombie Land Saga” never does things like that. Instead, this show does it in reverse. It’s to be a part of the entertainment on the sidelines of the genres.

“Zombie Land Saga” is so self-aware to itself. They are mocking meta and mocking the audience. The first episode introduces Kaede Hondo as Sakura Minamoto. She ends up dead as a zombie when a truck hits her. I originally thought that this would be what genre idols often introduce. The main protagonist dreams she wants to be an idol just because she has a dreamy idol. Ahead of the story goes, she would later go up on stage and both concerts together. But, the show plays a metal song as an opening if you don’t watch anime like that.

Sakura, after realizing that she had become a zombie, finally lost to the world of “fantasy”. She back to life as an undead. It doesn’t take time when she also meets with other zombie friends. But, what distinguishes her and her friends is that they are still not awake. Mamoru Miyano as Koutarou Tatsumi tried to form an idol group to save Saga. And the only way is to train them so they can create an idol group. They name themselves as Fran Chou Chou.

A show like this usually can’t last long especially when you live in this internet age. However, the show is not a failure. It becomes a meme in a good way. A lot of people recreates the rap scene and replaced it with another song. What makes “Zombie Land Saga” is unique that they come uniquely but still colorful. This show has its personality.

It doesn’t seem cheap off or another shows that have introduced the genre as the same thing. Besides Sakura, who came from the millennial generation, there are lots of zombies who came from other generations. There is Saki as a malevolent character who is a tough act to everybody. She is also a former motorcycle gang leader. There is Ai, a former idol who must accept the fact that she died pathetically. Introduced Lily as a former idol too, Junko as well, Tae, and Yagiri from the Sengoku era I guess.

What makes me care about all these characters is their past relationships, the people they have left, and the present. The show probably starts absurdly but it’s quite discussing a tragedy, move on, and reality. Most of the characters have to meet the close people they care about. But, it’s “Zombie Land Saga” so how can the show uniquely tell this as well? When it comes to how most of them die silly, it’s just funny but hard to laugh sometimes.

Yeah, the show gets emotional sometimes and you get various kinds of plot twists as well. As an idol show, they also need process, hard training, adaptation, and motivation to survive in Saga. As an anime comedy too, the show has many unique gags. Most of the gags didn’t separate from playing with zombies themselves. For example, they have to disguise themselves as humans in general. They also have to accept the fact that they have died in a silly way. They try to take advantage of the situation in many instances. This is our comic relief, Tae Yamada, regardless we never know how her past was.

The show is consistent when it comes to comedy. It’s hilarious how the characters are self-aware of their intentions. It’s a hard thing when combining horror, idol, comedy, and parody at the same time. But, the show works well and makes it possible. After all, “Zombie Land Saga” also has many catchy songs; unlike another cheap-off of idol anime in general. As an anime about zombies, the song catches and throws you in a twist. You’re in the middle various kinds of moments. It’s like you are part of two metalheads in this show. They accept these zombies as they are.

“Zombie Land Saga” didn’t have to be in the green zone yet can redefine two genres simultaneously. It’s mocking with everything. This anime satirizes the industry music, metal band, and combining all of them in absurd humor. Yeah, most of the time when I hear deathcore band, it’s just amazing. However, when they released a new album, it just became mellow and pop. This show makes fun of those types of bands. It has colorful characters, colorful artwork, and not something you can come up with an anime idol.

4 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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