The Zombie Idols Who Captured Our Hearts
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Music, Comedy, Supernatural
- Airing Date : October 2018 – December 2018
- Studios : MAPPA
Zombieland Saga Introduction
Sakura Minamoto wants to be an idol more than anything else in the world. But on the day she sets out to audition for her favorite idol group, she is suddenly hit by a truck and killed. Ten years later, she wakes up as a zombie and an eccentric man named Kotaro tells her that she’s part of a new group of zombie idols that will save the Saga district from obscurity. Zombieland Saga tells the story of how Sakura and the other six girls (all from different eras and walks of life) adjust to their new lives and become the idols that they’re destined to be!
1. A Breath of Fresh Air for Both the Idol and Zombie Genres
Idols and zombies are far from original concepts; they’ve been done to death in anime and other media. So much so that it’s difficult to put a new spin on them that could capture a viewer’s attention. But by combining them together, Zombieland Saga manages to take the best that both genres have to offer and transforms them into something completely unexpected.
2. Hilarious One Minute, Dramatic the Next
This show is primarily a comedy, but there’s an undercurrent of sadness that runs under it all. The girls who died more recently see that their family and friends remain in Saga and still grieve for them. The perfectly timed jokes will have you smiling from ear to ear, but the rare dramatic moments where the girls confront the reality of their own deaths might even bring tears to your eyes.
3. Lovable Characters
Sakura, Saki, Ai, Junko, Yugiri, Lily, Tae, and their insane manager Kotaro are all fun and interesting characters who are easy to root for and fall in love with. They each have their funny and serious moments, complex personalities, and mysteries that we don’t quite figure out even by the end of the series. May the Best Girl wars begin!
4. Incredibly Catchy Songs
Like any good idol show, Zombieland Saga features catchy J-pop songs during the band’s performances. But it also delves into different genres for the fun of it, such as the second episode’s spontaneous rap battle or the Super Sentai-esque opening theme that pumps you up for some zombie idol action. No matter what kind of music you like, you’ll find something to suit your tastes here.
5. Makes You Want to Visit Saga
The relatively obscure Japanese prefecture of Saga is a real place, and this anime is doing a fantastic job of advertising for it. After seeing our favorite zombie girls enjoy the likes of Drive-In Tori and the Kashima Gatalympics, we’re ready to book our plane tickets to see the place for ourselves!
1. Incomplete Story Arcs
With only 12 episodes to explore eight different main heroes, somebody is bound to get the short end of the character development stick. Yugiri and Tae suffer the most from this, with their backstories and reasons for death still unknown at the end of the series. But hopefully, MAPPA will make a season 2 to sate our curiosity.
2. A Few Pacing Issues
The last couple of episodes focus on Sakura regaining her memories from life and realizing that everything she’s tried has ended in failure. Other characters like Junko and Ai had more interesting character arcs that followed a similar trajectory, but Sakura moping around when we could be seeing more zombie idol shenanigans gets old pretty fast.
3. Less Cheery Than Other Idol Shows
For idol anime fans, Zombieland Saga goes into darker territory than they may be used to in other shows. The focus on death and regrets doesn’t overshadow the lighter comedic fare and exciting performances, but it’s still a prominent element that idol purists might not care for.
4. Less Intense Than Other Zombie Shows
Zombie enthusiasts, on the other hand, could be disappointed by how little this anime resembles a traditional living dead narrative. There’s no apocalypse and nobody dies who isn’t already a zombie, so themes like collapsing society and the violent nature of the human soul aren’t explored here.
5. Very Unfortunate CG
It’s come to be expected that important performances in idol anime will be animated with CG. This works well for high budget established shows like Love Live, but Zombieland Saga doesn't have the clout to afford flawless 3D dancing scenes. The hand-drawn dances are beautiful enough to make up for it, but we’ll have to wait until season 2 for CG that’s even close to being on par with the pros.
Zombieland Saga had no right to be as amazing as it was. “Zombie idols” just sounds like some dumb idea of smashing two popular genres together to make a show that appeals to everyone, but... it actually worked. If you’re looking for an anime that’s truly innovative in a way that nobody would’ve expected, check this one out!
What did you think of our review? Did Zombieland Saga surprise you? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!