「グッドモーニングリターンズ SAGA」 (Guddo Mooningu Ritaanzu SAGA)
“Good Morning Returns SAGA”
When Zombie Land Saga came out in late 2018, its mixture of oddball humor, zombie horror, and poignant drama gave the world an amusing examination of what it means to be alive, even if it’s your second chance. And with Zombie Land Saga’s second opportunity to roam the earth, it helps to re-examine where the girls are at this point and how Kotaro needs to whip himself back up into shape if he wants Franchouchou to make a comeback.
I figured there’d be a deeper plot thread carried over from the last season to anchor Season 02, but Franchouchou going into debt works as well. It was funny that the decision that sank them was the overambitious idea to book the Ekimae Fudosan Stadium for a massive concert that only ended up housing the band’s smaller cult following.
At the same time, it did limit the impact of the first episode to have a majority of it focused around getting Kotaro to sober up. Even on paper, it’s one of those ideas that default to circular arguments where Kotaro refuses to hear any of the girls’ pleas for help and shuts them down until way later in the episode where he’s willing to come around and reflect on the impact his coaching has had on the girls.
There is a silver lining to having Kotaro being drunk most of the time as it gives Miyano Mamoru more time to riff. His and Ricco Fajardo’s performances as Kotaro stood out the most even back when Zombie Land Saga first aired for leaning into the tenacity and callousness that embodied the character. Understandably, adding alcohol to the equation ends up giving us a Miyano performance that brings back fond memories of Okabe Rintaro’s delusions of grandeur or Light Yagami’s big breakdown.
One promising thread that I hope is explored as this season goes forward is the girls getting jobs. Many of them have been able to carry regular jobs within a short span of time such as construction, manufacturing, dairy farming, and milk delivery. But while they are having a good time having regular jobs, there is also the underlying tension of concealing their zombie forms, something that’s initially rough without Kotaro’s makeup skills. It’s actually a cool feature in this episode that their human makeup is shoddier and has a porcelain doll feel to it because the girls have to wing it in the booth. The next episode focuses on a local celebrity that Saki knows and loves, so it should be neat to see if this next episode tackles the girls having to navigate the public sphere while they continue disguising themselves as living humans.