It’s October…and well I’m basic so, you know…Zombies…To be fair, I had picked out Zombieland Saga as an interesting series for the season regardless of certain pumpkin themed holidays, so I gave it a go, and here we are!

I asked my friend Crow to share this fun trip with me. I had been looking for a project to do with Crow for some time now because I love his writing. Crow and I haven’t collaborated before but it’s almost like we did on Grandcrest Senki. We were both watching this series and reading each other’s posts for it and I must say, I ended up enjoying that show a lot more for the company! If you guys are not familiar with ( all I can say is: You’re Welcome!

Hard to go wrong with choosing a Zombie series for the Fall. But a Zombie series featuring… idols? That almost sounds like it should implode on principle! How’s it work in practice?

Zombiland 4th wall
no one at home either1

My first impressions of the show were a series of vague linkenings to other series. Obviously the very first scenes reminded me of School Live, the house itself made me feel like I was watching a Guillermo del Toro movie, while he overall impact was something like the original FLCL. I’m throwing a lot of random names around – did you get anything from it?

If the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth shows up, I’m dropping the show… Well, I’d at least wrong a strongly worked Tweet in protest. It can’t be an idol show without some performance or dancing, right? How’d that work out?

The GooD:

Right off the bat, I thought that the animation in the series was pretty great! It hit me that Zombies are in fact the perfect monster to animate since slow jagged animation looks perfect in that context!

Any particular part of the animation jump out at you?

I quite loved the opening credits with the stop motion multi angle take of the car hitting Sakura. The ragdoll physical involved were just fun to watch. I also liked her original awakening in Zombie house with all the other girls shuffling around the room. It was such a classic Zombie scene and the mouvements were on point.

How about you?

The truck was so splendidly unexpected that I couldn’t help but like the rest of the OP! And you’re right about the multi-angle take of the vehicle hitting her — it’s like the animators were delighting in how far away they were from our expectations!

it really started off with a bang!

The costumes are also really fun since all the girls are from different periods.

Oh, I hadn’t noticed that — another benefit of collaboration! Looking back on it now, that was a fun detail.

For some reason, I was drawn to that downpour scene. It had something special about it. The rain sound was really authentic and we rarely see quite such heavy rain. I actually cuddled up under a blanket.

It did have a special quality — and it gave a lot of oomph to Sakura’s realization of… Or is that giving too much away? You do spoilers, don’t you?

I do, do them!!!

…Then the rain gave a lot of oomph to Sakura’s realization that she was a zombie! I felt terrible for the poor girl!

Zombieland rain
don’t you hate it when you find out you’re a Zombie?

I really like the time leap. The fact that she’s been dead for 10 years opens up a lot of interesting narrative possibilities.

Good point! Koutarou’s more than a little sketchy, isn’t he? I wonder what he did to “awaken” Sakura?

Anything else jump out at you as particularly interesting?

Well, having just finished Steins;Gate 0 and still being a little emotional about it, that band name gave me a little thrill. Not only is Death Musume (name pending) fantastically lame but the obvious Phone Microwave (name subject to change) joke was clearly written just for me.

I think I read a post somewhere where the writer actually fessed up to that.

Also, the ED was really great….and I need a zombie puppy plushie right now!

Zombieland puppy zombie
he has a Zombie puppy…..

The BaD:

The designs are good but relatively pared down. Now this isn’t an issue for me, in fact I even liked it, but if it’s meant to be competing with CGDCT shows, it’s a bit too simplistic, wouldn’t you say?

Compared to something like Release the Spyce, yeah. Much more detail than Radiant, though I’m not sure that’s a great comparison…

I am really enjoying the conceit of having the straight man (and only sane one) of the series be a teenage, zombie idol girl. Somehow the clash of all these concepts just made it work and stopped the series in fun camp instead of plain annoyingly stupid. This said it’s a schtick with a very limited shelf life. It’s likely to get old by week 3 unless they inject some other humour into it.

Yeah, that will definitely get old. Though I could stand watching Romero tear into dried squid some more!

I was amazed Sakura was so calm when she tried to explain why shoving them on stage with no rehearsal or even instruments was such a bad idea. And wasn’t the death metal scene was just fantastic? So off the wall and unexpected… And it also had a little hint of something more going on with Sakura…

Zombieland Saga1
a reasonable question…

I feel like I’ve been using the expression absurdist humour too much lately (my favourite type of humour), so I’m just going to call it ridiculous in a good way!

I think “absurdist” works just fine here!

Thanks Crow! The thing about absurdist humour is that it’s incredibly hit or miss. Not only with individual audience members but every single joke is a gamble. Making it work in the context of a continuous storyline is going to be a big challenge. What do you think?

I have a sneaking suspicion the writers are up to this. I mean, they’re the ones who sent Sakura flying in the air during the OP, and they’re the ones who had Ai leap screaming into the crowd before the music even started!

With all of this praise, did anything disappoint you? Besides not having plushie dog merchandise ready before airing the first episode, that is…

Well funny you ask:

Zombiland awakening
don’t worry girls, you can always eat the bad guys

The UglY:

Is it just me or did that police officer have a generic anime perv voice?

It’s not just you. I immediately thought of the poor policeman in Monster Musume who had the misfortune of walking into the warehouse where Rachnera was questioning Darling-kun. Same kind of vibe.

It was honestly the creepiest thing all episode.

The episode was being kind of shady about the talent of metal musicians.

On the plus side, it takes some strong vocal cords not to shatter after even one of those screams! Saki, Ai, and even Sakura kept it up for the whole song! My throat hurt on their behalf…

Didn’t the concert scene go on maybe a smidge too long there. Sure the tiny girls headbanging was a fun visual but eventually you got the joke….

Maybe, but I was too busy laughing to notice!

Zombeland metal
that’s quite a shirt…

As you can probably tell, I actually loved the first episode. I like comedies a lot and tend to go easy on them but I do think there’s potential for some harmless good times here, and that’s a plus in my book. What are you feelings Crow?

My wife doesn’t like anime (well, not that she’ll admit). I asked her to watch the death metal scene, and she laughed — literally out loud! So not only did I love it, but my wife who doesn’t like anime liked it, too!

Moral of the story: Band managers are really scary! Also: Zombieland Saga rocks! Strong first episode, can’t wait to see more.

zombiland sad zombie
doesn’t this image make you think of this:


43 thoughts

  1. Cool collaboration. I was amazed by how much I ended up enjoying this first episode. I’m a little worried about the premise getting tired pretty quick but I’m hopeful they’ve thought about what they are going to do with it so fingers crossed for a good follow up episode.

    1. I share your reticence but I’m an optimist. Considering both you and Raist (avowed comedy dislikers) enjoy this, I’m pretty amazed!

      1. I think it is the fan of bad horror coming out in me. Its the kind of comedy I enjoy (okay, girl gets hit by truck makes me laugh…).

  2. The show ended up more fun than I thought it would be after the opening. Wasn’t sure what was going on, then she got hit by truck, and I thought it couldn’t get anymore generic, rolling my eyes, but then opening came on and I liked that. The show was going back and forth like that for me, but at some point I adjusted and then I was having fun. I really loved the ending, with the soothing song and pretty pictures.

    “Death Musume (name pending)” is very likely a voice actor joke; it is Mamoru Miyano saying the line after all. (Voice actor jokes a pretty common in anime; I get about 10 % of them. Most of the time others point them out.)

      1. But it being a voice actor joke doesn’t preclude it being made for you personally! It just means that Miyano is on it and appreciates your support.

        (Also, something that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but which I just noticed: I said, I get about 10 % of voice actor jokes. I picked that number because it was an easy target and sounded small. But only shortly after hitting submit, it dawned on me that I would have to recognise 1 in 10 voice actor jokes. That’s way too high. 0.1 %, 1 in 1000, is way more likely. I’m now interested in how the people get emotionally attached to numbers, and how percentage differs from fractions. Never thought about this before.)

  3. Wonderful post. This being a comedy I was pretty amazed that I ended up liking it, but that’s probably because A: it featured zombies, and B: it featured Death Metal, both things that I like very much. So, this one I will definitely continue to follow despite it being a comedy. (And that headbanging scene was just hilarious 😂😂)

  4. To me, this episode was dominated by one thing, and not in a good way: Too much Mamoru Miyano. As I said on Matt’s post as well (just so everyone knows I’m repeating myself), it’s about 500% too much. I felt as beat up as Sakura did after his long-winded ranting.

    I’m hoping, and thinking, that the rest of the show will be significantly different, now that the zombies have all awakened. And that’s good, because zombies being zombies are boring. We’ll see what direction it goes in from here.

    1. I have a feeling it’s not likely to get any better for you. Even with the awakening, this seems like a pretty fluffy and superficial story. If you didn’t like ep 1, I would be surprised to see you like the rest. But you never know!

      1. I’m not sure. I do know that they’ve really been promoting Miyano’s involvement in the show, but with 3 times as many characters in the rest of the show compared to this first episode, if that cuts down the rants from Kotaro to 1/4 to 1/2 as much as this one, especially the longer ones that seem to go on and on, I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that. I think the same kind of involvement that Miyano had in a show like Gatchaman Crowds would be just fine. We’ll see if there is a change from the first episode.

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