Zombieland Saga (Zombie Land Saga) takes place in the prefecture of Saga, a relatively unpublicized area of Japan on the island of Kyushu, home to about 800,000 people and – in the anime, anyway – seven zombie idols whose performances are destined to make it a household name. As sort of a cross-promotion for tourism, many of the locations and events in this anime actually exist in real life: Drive-In Tori, the Kashima Gatalympics, and Arpino Stadium are just a few you can see in the first season. Today, we’ll take a closer look at five real-life Saga locations featured in the second season, Zombieland Saga: Revenge!
1. Ekimae Fudousan Stadium (Ekimae Real Estate Stadium)
The first episode of Zombieland Saga: Revenge shows that Kotaro booked the girls for a concert at the near 25,000-seat Ekimae Fudousan Stadium (or EFS, for short) without realizing that they weren’t anywhere near popular enough to sell out such a huge venue. It’s also the place where Ai died in 2008, back when it was called the Best Amenity Stadium. The location in real life is home to the professional soccer club Sagan Tosu and is also occasionally used for rugby and concerts. We hope that Franchouchou can get their revenge here at the end of the season!
2. Boat Race Karatsu
Episode 6, which follows Tae as she runs errands around town all by her adorable self, features several real Saga locations like the Kyushu Electric Power Company and the Super Morinaga Karatsu Store. The most interesting (and lucrative), though, is Boat Race Karatsu: one of 24 aquatic arenas in Japan where patrons bet on high-speed hydroplane boat races. Gambling is usually illegal under Japanese law, but there are four “public sports” that permit it: horse racing, bicycle racing, motorcycle racing, and boat racing. Luckily, Tae happens to sneeze ink on the betting card in such a way that she ends up winning 20 million yen and clearing Franchouchou’s debt! Oh, and she wins some onions at a dancing competition, as well.
3. Saga Castle
Yuugiri’s backstory starts in episode 8 and shows us what Saga looked like back in the Meiji era. The most prominent area is Saga Castle, a multi-building compound and surrounding castle town which has stood since the early 1600s. This is despite suffering several devastating fires over the years, including one during the Saga Rebellion of 1874 that saw a group of samurai clash with the government over the encroaching Westernization that threatened their way of life. In this way, Saga Castle represents the struggle of the prefecture’s citizens to preserve their culture, as both Kiichi and Kotaro try to do in their respective times.
4. Hasuike Park
Close by to Saga Castle is Hasuike Park, featuring traditional stone bridges, cherry blossom trees, and a large pond that Kiichi accidentally falls into right when he first meets Yuugiri in episode 8. This beautiful location serves as an introduction to the “Saga Incident” characters and even lets us see some fun lookalikes of the other Franchouchou girls in Meiji-era garb. We wish we could visit that park someday!
5. Nikita Shrine
The legend of Xu Fu (Jofuku in Japanese) is integral to Saga’s culture and is worthy of an in-depth look all on its own, but the gist is that a real-life Chinese alchemist named Xu Fu who was searching for the elixir of eternal life eventually settled down in Saga and found what he was looking for there. His story lives on at the Nikita Shrine, next to which grows a juniper tree that’s rumored to be up to 2200 years old. The Zombieland Saga character Jofuku is shown to live at this shrine in episode 8, seemingly confirming what fans were speculating since his very first appearance – he’s the real Xu Fu.
There’s also the Yotoku Inari Shrine from episode 3, Saga Arena Stadium from episode 4 (which won’t actually be completed until 2022), the Chikugo River Lift Bridge used in the Saga Jihen music video, and many more. But what other Saga locations do you recognize in Zombieland Saga: Revenge? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!