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Zombieland Saga – 12 (END)

「グッドモーニング アゲイン SAGA」 (Good Morning Again Saga)
“Good Morning Again Saga”

The last episode of Zombieland Saga focuses on the fight for Franchouchou to regain Sakura’s memories of her time with the group in time for their next big concert. However, with her past life’s depression hindering her ability to see anything other than the abysmal luck she had up until she was hit by a truck, it takes more than encouragement to get her back in the saddle.

For all intents and purposes, this is Sakura’s episode. Much like the episodes dedicated to Junko, Ai, Lily, and Saki, this one is primarily focused on the others girls having to return the favor for Sakura by encouraging her to face her own fears brought out from her baggage from her past life. Rather than it being the loved ones she left behind or a violent end that comes back to haunt her, it’s the fact that every step she’s taken to do something positive for herself has ended in failure. She isn’t able to fully align with the belief that she’s been able to excel as far as she has in Franchouchou until she’s 3/4ths into the concert, but once her current memories returned, she could finally experience the feeling of achieving success in one of her life-long goals.

The push for Sakura to be a part of the concert is thanks in part to the influence she’s had on the girls. While they’ve had a hard time reaching her, it’s THE LEGENDARY YAMADA TAE remembering when Sakura lectured her on following the beat of a song that inspired the rest of the girls to explain how much of their accomplishments came from the encouragement Sakura gave them along the way to do their best as idols. Yuugiri also finally landed a slap at the appropriate time as she pushed for Sakura to see that they would rather have bad luck on stage together than have good luck in a subpar concert without her. While the rest of the girls were equally inspired by Sakura’s commitment to the group, it was Ai and the same encouragement she gave to Sakura on television that helped Sakura put the effort into performing to her best abilities.

That being said, it could have been a far better episode in the sense of tying up many of the loose ends. Whereas some shows leave smaller threads behind that the show can tug on under the impression of getting a sequel, Zombieland Saga is banking entirely on the idea of a sequel coming to fruition based on the questions that have yet to be answered. With the revelation that Kotarou was Sakura’s classmate named Inui-kun, it opens up a can of worms as far as his intentions were. Him resurrecting Sakura to have her fulfill her dreams as an idol is a given, but how much did he know about Sakura to get the grasp that she wanted to be an idol? Did he resurrect her out of grief for a beloved classmate, or did the “ZLS” lettering on Sakura’s envelope mean that he had her killed specifically to have her be a zombie idol? Did the bartender teach him the ways of zombification? How is the bartender familiar with Yuugiri? What can the senior journalist do now that he’s piecing together that all of the girls passed away? Did anyone in Iron Frill recognize Ai? These are all questions I’d expect would be answered in a second cour or a second season, but if we’re treating the first season of Zombieland Saga as a standalone title, it is an agonizing feeling to know that so much of the lore is still a mystery that won’t be revealed up until we get the confirmation of something more concrete in the works.

Epilogue:

Final Impressions

Zombieland Saga, without a doubt, exceeded all expectations by being one of the finest shows this season. Instead of falling prey to the standard idol anime trappings or the tackiness of your average horror anime, it did an amazing job being its own thing and carving out a unique identity. It took full advantage of the idea behind melding the horror and idol genres together by capturing a story that doesn’t only strive to portray how funny it is to see zombies try to become pop idols, but also takes a deeper look into what it means to be brought back from the dead. Where the idols being zombies serves to intrinsically explore the regrets and memories left behind from a person’s past life, the search for purpose and meaning during a person’s second chance at living, and creates the resounding message of not living the life you have like you’re already in the ground.

The show also succeeds in having a wonderful cast with every member of Franchouchou having both purpose and personality. As their manager, Kotarou has all of the makings of a fun character with the eccentricities that Miyano Mamoru’s performance in Mad Scientist mode lends to his personality. Sakura has her dream of being an idol leading her to fuel her ambitions and bring the girls together, yet also needs some encouragement when she starts to doubt her abilities. Ai is the most experienced in contemporary idol culture, but still has learning of her own to do as she shapes up to be an admirable leader who faces the regrets of having her dreams snatched away right when she got famous and the overwhelming anxiety she has over lightning, thunder, and pokers. Junko finds herself in strange territory as she’s used to the solitary and formal efforts of a 1980’s pop star, but begins warming up to the group as she finds herself getting more comfortable being herself as she assimilates with Franchouchou. I absolutely adore Saki since she’s a rough and brash gangster whose role as the group’s leader causes her to mature quickly to the point of being more personable with the other girls and wanting to make sure that they feel comfortable with the decisions they make. Lily has such a powerful story with how her desire to always be herself made her a perfect fit for Franchouchou and the zombie life. And yet, it also forced her to face the pain of eternal life when it means having to see her dad mourn for her while being unable to reach out to him without blowing her cover as a zombie. Yuugiri is my second favorite as a dignified and refined courtesan who finds herself fascinated to discover all of the new wonders that the 21st century has to offer in spite of being 155 years old, and doesn’t hold back her feelings as she always has a well-intended slap on-hand to encourage her friends to give it their all. And who could forget THE LEGENDARY YAMADA TAE, the mysterious member who remains trapped in her zombie-like mindset complete with a gurgling speech pattern and head-chewing tendencies, yet is conscious enough to communicate and let her feelings out. Truly a nice bird.

Zombieland Saga is without a doubt one of the best original anime this season. Although the last episode did leave questions unanswered and the CG was distracting at times, every component of the show stuck the landing with grace. Its comedy is amplified by the dark physical humor that zombies bring to the table, its dramatic moments are surprisingly hard-hitting and heavily emotional in part to the girls being brought back to life in a world that laid them all to rest, the cast is as endearing as they are engaging to follow, and the musical tracks are pretty impressive for an idol anime. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for Zombieland Saga and what MAPPA, Avex Pictures, and CyGames have in mind for the next stage in Franchouchou’s plans to conquer Saga.

December 20, 2018 at 3:29 pm
20 comments »
  • December 20, 2018 at 4:48 pmRenaSayers

    A second season PLEASE! I really enjoyed this story a lot!

    • December 22, 2018 at 7:33 amLyfe

      It’s the biggest hit of the season to date in terms of sales, so we should see a second season. I’m actually kinda shocked by how well its doing.

  • December 20, 2018 at 6:01 pmqwert

    It’ll be a real shame if this never gets a second season to wrap everything up.

    I haven’t cared this much about the characters of an idol anime since Chihaya’s arc from the original Idolmaster anime.

  • December 20, 2018 at 6:17 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    One of the best anime of the season.

    And no mention on how it seemed like the gods themselves were trying to screw Franchouchou over during their concert with EVERYTHING breaking, collapsing, shattering, etc. around them? XD

    • December 27, 2018 at 7:36 pmChoya

      It is crazy and funny how Sakura’s bad luck had only reached meteoric levels of unlucky when she became aware of how bad her luck was in her past life. Where her bad luck had never directly affected her or the group until she only retained her worst memories.

  • December 20, 2018 at 6:50 pmregid

    As much as I want a 2nd season, I think it’s best for Zombieland Saga to conclude as it is.

    I have feeling they’ll ruin this epic anime once they give a sequel.

  • December 20, 2018 at 6:56 pmJeffers

    this and RELEASE THE SPYCE (RTS) definitely exceeded expectations. both this 2 anime is what i consider as the hidden gems of this season.

    if awards is to be given, i am giving it zombieland saga (then special mention RTS). who would thought they will be a superb anime as the story progresses? those who dropped this and release the spyce in under 3 episodes are shame. they missed two great anime. so anyway here’s a toast to having a season 2.

    PS so glad that they didnt used the “hikari e” ED song because that would hit right in the feels man. a great anime ending then a song of goodbye? nah just cant take it.

  • December 20, 2018 at 9:33 pmqwert

    The show’s twitter is hinting that the girls will still be “active”… that could mean anything from new media adaptations to single releases to who knows what though, but at the least they’re not just gonna drop things with the anime over.

  • December 20, 2018 at 11:09 pmOne Pinch Man

    https://randomc.net/image/Zombieland%20Saga/Zombieland%20Saga%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2036.jpg
    That can’t be the end. We haven’t got Tae and Yugiri episode.

    • December 27, 2018 at 7:37 pmChoya

      One reason I’d be pumped up for another season would be to at least get a Yuugiri episode or one to give Tae more to work with.

  • December 21, 2018 at 8:36 amCroos

  • December 21, 2018 at 9:42 amHenrietta Brix

    https://randomc.net/image/Zombieland%20Saga/Zombieland%20Saga%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2009.jpg
    No one… NO ONE MAKES YAMADA TAE CRY AND NOT PAY FOR IT!

    https://randomc.net/image/Zombieland%20Saga/Zombieland%20Saga%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2022.jpg
    It was at this moment that Inui realised that he had to protecc that smile

  • December 21, 2018 at 10:05 amZJZJ

    Surprisingly one of my most enjoyed shows. Start was hilarious – then progressed to idol-focused which felt a tad less interesting in eps 3/4 – but it definitely picked up near the middle and got me invested in all the characters. The drama was played out funnily and not overbearingly, while still getting me to cheer for the characters. In any other show it might have felt draggy (even as it was necessary) to have everyone try to get Sakura’s motivation back for a whole episode, but this pulls it off with humour and good interactions from the cast.
    And it still ends up being heartwarming! Definitely felt like I was cheering them on along with the audience in the final performance.

  • December 21, 2018 at 12:45 pmTarage

    Tae tries SO GOD DAMN HARD.

    She is the best zombie.

    • December 27, 2018 at 7:41 pmChoya

      I absolutely love how Tae is more than happy to indulge in her zombie antics like chewing everything around her, yet also has a deep enough conscious to remember when Sakura taught her dance moves and took them to heart to the point where she wanted her to know how much it inspired her to have learned the routine.

  • December 21, 2018 at 2:57 pmDavid

    I had intended to skip this at the start of the season. Another idol anime; meh. But the zombie bit had me just curious enough to check on it, and the opening just clicked.

    My only disappointment was that the devolved from the varied musical styles they started with back into the cliche j-pop idol music. I basically skipped through all the songs they performed for the last half of the season, though I did pay attention to their crash-finale in this episode, for the lyrics.

    Overall, a fun series, and I’d definitely watch a second season to get answers to the various questions they left open.

    Yamada Tae: Best Zombie. Saki: Best Girl. Lily: Best Josou. Kotarou: Best Crazy.

    Would probably put it in my top 10 for the year, though it won’t make the top 5 (annoying limit on the RandomC poll).

  • December 22, 2018 at 2:23 amjohn

    another mysterious character that looks like Jesus/God interpretation, i wouldn’t mind second season or a spinoff where he’s actually the villain from is set on taking over the world via zombie apocalypse

  • December 22, 2018 at 7:26 amLyfe

    The first volume of this series on blu ray is currently the number one best seller on Amazon Japan. The second volume is ranked number four and the third volume number eight. I guess we have a contender for the biggest hit in terms of sales of the season lol.

    • December 25, 2018 at 1:45 pmLyfe

      First Blu Ray volume – 12,640 sold(As of Dec 23, it was released Dec 21 and still topping charts everywhere).

  • December 26, 2018 at 5:27 amalphheim

    Mappa/Avex should give us Zombieland Saga The Movie!
    I want to see Franchouchou international concert where they sing Adabana Necromancy!