「No Zombie No Idol Saga」 (No Zombie No Idol Saga)
“No Zombie No Idol Saga”
Our latest Zombieland Saga takes the girls back to their idol work as they prep up for their biggest concert yet at Arpino, the same stage that Sakura vaguely remembers Ai performing on back when she was alive. And Sakura’s sentimentality towards this notion is what ends up fueling this episode’s conflict where she becomes disillusioned by her team members for taking a trip to Mount Tenzan too lightly. While it doesn’t have the level of gravitas or emotional pull as the last four episodes, Sakura’s plight, Kotarou grappling with his management style, and the last few minutes come together to create an interesting episode.
A majority of the episode is spent on the turmoil going on with Sakura where she wants to take her performance as seriously as she can. However, being stuck in the forest and spending days on setting up a camp to stay comfortable is wasting her time and investment into the performance itself. It might have been a roundabout way for Kotarou to get the girls together, but it wouldn’t be something she would have caught onto when she doesn’t see it as an ideal way for her to practice her routine with everyone else.
Much of the responsibility to get the girls together falls on Kotarou, but the episode shows that he’s having difficulty expressing the abstract ideas he has in mind for them. Whereas he was trying to get the girls to “climb the mountains from within,” he was clearly losing Sakura by purposefully having the girls find the details on what they need to do on their own. It is fascinating to see how he acts more mature and has more clarity when Yuugiri speaks with him regarding what he should do about doing more to help Sakura.
Overall, the episode in itself served mostly to reinforce the band’s unity as a group by throwing a wrench in Sakura’s perception of her role or place in Franchouchou. Although it was very funny to have Yuugiri slap Kotarou only to reiterate exactly what he was telling her, it would have been nice to see more of Yuugiri. It was a high expectation I set on myself with the preview, but I was anticipating writing on why I really love Yuugiri as I did with Saki and Junko. It could’ve been more exciting throughout the episode, but it did have the benefit of having the biggest bomb-drop in its final moments as Sakura remembers her past. With van-kun visiting Sakura once again, she has to face an even larger cluster of memories from her childhood up to her demise. It’ll be awesome to see how this all pans out next time around as she starts to piece together her connection with Ai, how she kicked the bucket, and what her home life was like.