「君の心にナイスバード SAGA」 (Kimi no Kokoro ni Nice Bird Saga)
“The Nice Bird Saga in Your Heart”
This week on Zombieland Saga, the narrative thankfully shifts away from the concert-heavy goals of the last couple episodes in favor of engraining their image into promoting Saga. It was Saki’s moment to shine as one of the members of Franchouchou who was a local that knew of the value of chicken yakiniku and the Gatalympics. Whereas past episodes showed her being cute for her mischievous streak, her adorable aspects in this episode came from how enthusiastic she is to visit her old favorite hang-out spot, the Drive-In Tori, and take part in the Gatalympics. The anime is especially keen on promoting Saga itself with both locales being real life places, and having the yakitori/chicken & rice restaurant and the famous mudflats competition be portrayed positively through Franchouchou’s experiences. Similarly, Saki’s own admiration for the two as a local Saga resident helps tie her into the narrative effectively by showing her as the girls’ tour guide into why yakitori and the Gatalympics hold a high level of significance for Saga. And with the president of Drive-In Tori himself showing up to be featured as well as real life footage of Drive-In Tori commercials and the Gatalympics, the anime is going all-out to help promote Saga itself.
It was also a fun episode for Tae antics as the girls had to work with her zombie-like behavior to make it through the Drive-In Tori commercial and the Gatalympics activities. The level of effort it took to make sure that she wasn’t trying to eat the mascot was hilarious as was the girls convincing her to make rooster noises instead of zombie growls. She ultimately did go back to trying to eat the mascot, but at that point, her hunger was lauded as truly encapsulating what it means to be a chicken. Seeing her compete along with the girls in the Gatalympics was funny as well with her performance getting her the first-place medal for the Tarzan swing. Yuugiri’s talents were impressive, but Tae turning out being the one to gather the most attention, even with a Drive-In Tori shirt, ended up being the funniest outcome.
Episode 05 also helps to progress some of its juicier plot points relating to the girls’ zombification a little further with how people are starting to recognize the girls from Franchochou. Specifically, it was a journalist duo that caught on quickly to one of the girls from the group who looks a bit too familiar. The most experienced of the two seem to have their sights set on Junko as someone he swears to have seen before. With how much the girls have questioned the logistics behind what got them into their circumstances and worked to avoid being outed as zombies, it wasn’t until now that the concern that people might actually recognize zombified forms of older famous idols. If anyone in the town was old enough to remember the past three decades, they would have a way to recognize almost everybody except Yuugiri. The only other characters who weren’t in the public spotlight is Saki, who was still a local that probably has people who remember her, Sakura, who was just getting started, and possibly Tae. Someone who follows pop music might easily recognize Ai, Junko, or Lily, and wonder why they could be a part of a band when they passed away years ago. There are times where Zombieland Saga likes to have fun with the girls performing and doing their idol business, but its points like the show’s acknowledgement of the girls still having to function in the real world as zombies that makes the anime’s premise all the more fascinating. Where learning about the circumstances behind their zombification and the cast’s previous lives ends up being the meatier part of an already satisfying anime, and it’s great to see this episode hint at what’s to come with every new revelation.