「リトルパラッポ SAGA」 (Ritoru Parappo SAGA)
“Little Bodda Bope SAGA”
Zombie Land Saga Revenge’s fifth episode gives Lily the spotlight when she signs up to compete in “Japanese Got Performance”. But while a certain awful music mogul doesn’t show up, we’re introduced to child prodigy Light Oozora, whose stark differences make the competition interesting and reflective.
Much like some of this season’s adversarial characters, Light has a lot to offer as a character that re-affirms her mindset as a performer and a zombie frozen in time. Light starts off a little rough as your stereotypical primadonna celebrity who mistreats his manager and looks at his competition as if they are nothing to him. Instead of having an overbearing yet loving stage dad, he’s spoiled rotten to the point where fame gets to his head and dictates how he behaves around others.
But one key difference that Light has with Lily is what humanizes him; his ambition for what’s to come. Light’s cynical mentality causes him to see his current fame as a fleeting moment that could be snatched away from him just as easily if he’s unable to adapt once he loses his charm as a child actor. He deliberately aims for the dream of making it on Broadway because he knows all too well that growing up means he’ll lose all of his current cultural currency if he remains a child star as adulthood rears its ugly head. It gives him the mind-set that childhood is merely a phase that he intends to conquer by the time he’s old enough to take on leading roles in musicals and hone his talents beyond the charm he’s been coasting off of all this time.
If he can cultivate any talents that could benefit him in the future, he can easily transfer those talents into a sustainable long-term career that won’t end as soon as his voice cracks or his first pimple surfaces. It’s a tragic character trait where he’s desperate to do whatever he can to evolve as an artist and not strike out before puberty because it’s not like he hasn’t already solidified in his mind that his job is shallow, miserable, and only fulfilling as a means of dunking on the audience while grinding biscuits in your manager’s face.
For Lily, it’s difficult to hear how Light is desperate to set goals beyond his child star status because of how she processed getting older while she was alive. As opposed to Light’s desperation to move to the next phase of his career as an actor, Lily was terrified of aging because of how much she wanted to preserve the self-image she had at her apex.
The innocent charm that Light is trying his best to break out of was an image Lily coveted as the purest expression of both her gender identity and her talents. Because of this, she can’t help but have some sense of admiration for the resolve that Light has to aspire for the future as she tries cheering him up after he felt struck and humbled by Lily’s performance. Despite the limitations Light placed on himself as a performer by lacking the spirited energy Lily carried as a cheery idol, Lily was able to sympathize with Light because of the amount of pressure that’s placed on both of them as fellow child stars who are frightened about whether their livelihood would be able to last once they hit adulthood.
It’s a very introspective take from Lily to try to cheer up Light by praising his future ambitions knowing how her excitement for the future stems from being a zombie who no longer has to fear signs of aging. Rather than the tearful realization that being a zombie means having to give up the future you would have wanted like with Saki, Lily’s acceptance of being undead gives her a more confident platform to give sound advice about looking forward to the kind of future you would be proud of for yourself and those who surround you.
On a less serious note, it was a lot of fun to see Lily have a good time with this episode’s material. With so many episodes starting with Kotaro jumping at the chalkboard to scream at everyone, it was hilarious to see Lily take full charge of the announcement that she’ll be competing on national TV while Kotaro meekly makes his way towards the seats for the rest of Franchouchou.
Lily’s enthusiasm and idealistic attitude are also infectious, but her rendition of her parents’ favorite song “Life” was really what sold it as a wonderful performance. It was worrying to see that Light ended up using the same song, but what she did with an otherwise soft ballad was awesome. Giving it a poppier instrumental backing and adding in peppy scatting in between the lyrics as she danced about was just what it needed to become a viral hit and give us an overall delightful song.
It might not have been as emotionally devastating or heartfelt as Lily’s episode in Season 01, but it is a nice episode to show us how far she’s come since then. But above all else, it expresses how entertaining of a character Lily is when she’s performing as an actress and an idol. Much like the episode with Junko, it helps us understand where Lily comes from personally as an idol, but does so in a way where we see the enthusiasm and joy she brings to the stage as she enjoys entertaining audiences in Saga and across the nation.