Awesome / Zombie Land Saga
These aren't your typical mindless zombies. These are Full-Blown Zombie Divas, and they deserve your respect!
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Episode 2 - I ♥ Hip Hop Saga
Episode 3 - Warming Dead Saga
- Kotaro is once again mocking the zombies at the beginning of the episode and Saki gut-punches him hard enough for his shades to fall off. It says a lot about how much of his shit she won't take.
Episode 5 - The Nice Bird Saga In Your Heart
- Kotaro is again on the receiving end of Saki's annoyance in Episode 5, this time with a baseball that she throws into his leg HARD after he goes too far. Later, Kotaro smacks Ai over the head with a baguette, and she in turn disarms Kotaro (with alarming efficiency), knocks him off balance and snaps the baguette clean off his jaw. That iron frill has an iron will.
- Kotaro gets his own moment of awesome in the Kashima Gatalympics, managing to bike through the mud course without getting a scrap of dirt on his suit—and popping a wheely at the end. What makes this even more impressive is that the bikes in the actual Gatalympics have no brakes and the track ends in the mud, meaning they're designed so people wind up getting Covered in Mud whether they win or lose.
- The Legendary Yamada Tae proves her worth, earning first place in the rope swinging event!
Episode 6 - Because It's Sentimental Saga
- While still tragic, Ai's death via a massive lightning strike in the middle of a concert is a truly epic way to die.
Saki: (after hearing Ai's story) Holy crap, girl That's actually legendary!
Episode 7 - But It's Zombiemental Saga
- After getting hit with a truck by Kotaro (by accident), Junko finally lets go of the trauma and stands up on her own while having a Badass Boast.
- During their performance at the Saga Rock Festival, the stage gets hit by lightning in the middle of their performance, destroying almost the entire stage in the process while also electrifying the girls, giving them an unnatural glow that somehow also lets them fire laser beams from their fingers and autotune their voices. Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds.
Episode 8 - Go Go Neverland Saga
- Though it turned out to be unnecessary, Saki kicking a man with more muscle than a body builder five times her size across the room is undeniably badass.
Episode 9 - Though My Life May Have Ended Once by Some Twist of Fate I Have Risen, and If Song and Dance Are to Be My Fate, Then Carrying the Memories of My Comrades in My Heart As I Sally Forth Shall Be My Saga
- Nearly the entirety of Episode 9 is just Saki proving that she really is every bit as badass as she built herself up to be early on. Gangsters in the present seem to be able to pick up on, and are overwhelmed by, her danger level via sheer, primal instinct.
- We start off the episode with a flashback to her biker gang days, where she's casually chatting with fellow gang member Reiko. She boasts that neither she nor her tamagotchi will die and we zoom out to the pure carnage of the last fight with their rival gang, broken bats and bent crowbars amongst a crowd of groaning people on the ground.
- Back in the present, Saki sees Maria surrounded by rival bikers. Her immediate reaction is to open the door of a moving van in highway traffic and roll out down a hill. She gets back up, snaps her head into place, and strolls calmly past a girl with a chainsaw to the two biker gang leaders to defuse the situation with one well placed glare.
- The finale is just one grand crescendo of awesome for the girl. She manages to pull off a Big Entrance on a child's bike, bamboozles and terrifies everyone into letting her take Maria's place in the chicken challenge (on Reiko's motorcycle, no less!), bursts through the railing at crazy speeds, and casually climbs out of an explosion almost identical to the one that killed her. Even getting slugged by her old friend doesn't faze her; she just uses the chance to get Maria to respect her mother, and spins the impressed reactions of the rival gang to make them into new fans of Franchouchou. Kotaro, master of awesomeness himself, looks on the scene with pride.
- Reiko herself pulls one hell of a big entrance on her old motorbike, popping wheelies and skidding to a stop in front of the biker gang. And then she punches Saki after her Unflinching Walk, chewing her out for risking her life. Anger Born of Worry it might be, but it is one fiery anger indeed. No wonder she and Saki ran the gang
- The performance at the end is rad as hell! The girls rock some sweet new hairstyles and bozosoku gear. The song is rife with biker-themed lyrics, quite different from their usual idol flair. It feels like this is when Saki's personality truly shines through her music. Franchouchou proves once again that they are as versatile as they were in the beginning, a fact that the metalheads cheer upon.
Episode 10 - No Zombie No Life Saga
- All being civilized, teenage girls, it's pretty awesome when Yugiri, Lily, Junko and Ai all prove to be quite capable of fending for themselves in a wilderness survival situation. Yugiri handles foraging for flora/mushrooms (though admits some might be toxic to humans), Lily expertly creates a bonfire (possibly without a lighter or other source of fire), while Junko and Ai somehow craft functioning fishing and hunting gear from scratch, Minecraft-style. Ai's feat in particular, coupled with decent technique and Super Senses, comes across as hilariously improbable (yet awesome.)
- And then Tae solos a hulking boar with her face.
Episode 11 - One-of-a-Kind Saga
- Ai's Wise Beyond Their Years tendency continues. She is the first to accurately deduce the likely meaning of Sakura's sudden change in behavior, and in a later flashback, delivers an insightful Determinator message to her fans in an interview that just so happened to have been the first spark of Sakura's dream of becoming an idol.
- Kotaro scores a pinpoint headshot on Policeman A with Romero, pitching from dozens of meters away, in the dark, with his shades still on.
Episode 12 - Good Morning Again Saga
- We learn that not only did Junko adequately fix the door Kotaro kicked down in Episode 7 but reinforced it such that Tae can't break it down. Pretty crafty girl there.
- When Tae can't break down the door to reach Sakura, it's the first time she's shown to be truly angry after getting fed up with Sakura constantly pushing her and the other girls away. She then proceeds to burst through the attic window and drag Sakura downstairs by the head, with her teeth.
- A few very effective instances of Tough Love from the group's Team Mom and Team Dad show up that prove to be extremely pivotal both in rousing Sakura from her inaction, and spurring her back to her feet when the stage at Arpino collapses due to bad weather. Each instance counts equally as awesome and heartwarming.
- First, co-Team Mom Yugiri's Get A Hold Of Yourself Man slap was finally aimed at someone genuinely in despair, and while it was far from a perfect solution, her words contributed greatly to restoring Sakura's motivation. Also, what a slap it was! It's likely that nothing short of Truck-kun itself has ever hit Sakura harder!
- In the same vein we have Ai. In the previous episode, Ai was the only one of the girls who chose not to leave the bedroom and pester Sakura late at night, a gentle treatment she continued for most of this episode having indicated that she believed Sakura would come around on her own. Finally resuming her usual Team Dad role when her passivity proved not to be working, she sternly reaffirms the very words that roused Sakura's spirits in life and makes several additional points that at last cause Sakura's guard to visibly drop. When Sakura begins viewing the mirror cracking in front of her as vindication of her defeatism, the group gives her yet another collective Rousing Speech that ends again with Ai's words causing Sakura to tighten her grip in determination. Sakura seems to really have faith in that girl.
- A small one for Saki as well. When the mirror cracks and Sakura's mood begins to turn, she is the first to respond by punching it. As more cracks spread and Saki grins, the message is clear; no matter what fate throws at them, they'll take it and make it their own.
Saki: Now who's got bad luck?
- A record setting snowfall descends on Saga right as the girls are to take the stage at Arpino. It's heavy enough to cause parts of the building, most importantly the stage, to collapse on the girls, who keep the show going strong even with the stage falling apart around them.
- Ai even looks to have somehow known that the floor beneath her was moments away from giving out; she merely leans in with a smile and subtle "back away" motion to a group of girls who were practically hugging the stage and just holds an epic note until it caves in.
- The stage finally completely collapses, taking the whole band and sound system down with it. The audience is stunned and clearly worried for the girls' safety but suddenly a Slow Clap can be heard from Kotaro in the background. Soon after, Ai, noticeably struggling, forces herself back to her feet to carry on singing, and one by one the other girls follow suit, climaxing with Sakura's big She's Back moment as she sings the title of the song itself (if you're listening to the subbed version, that is); rising once more, seen in the page image above.
- This concert will be even more legendary in-universe: as far as everyone else knows, Franchouchou are just normal people who happen to be amazing idol singers. Half a building suddenly falls on top of them, and then they get back up and keep singing.
- One that might have gone unnoticed by many is that "Yomigaere", the first song Franchouchou performs in the concert, is the song they were supposed to perform in Episode 2 before it got derailed into Saki and Sakura's rap battle. It really goes to show how far these girls have come.
Episode 4 - Pure-Hearted Electric Saga
- The concert near the end has some cool moments:
- The Legendary Yamada Tae can play the drum set so well, she's even the opening act! We saw some brief moments of her practicing with a smaller drum, but never anything of this level!
- Following Tae's beats, we see Junko rocking out with Kotaro's electric guitar. While Kotaro did give her his own "axe", it's still unexpected because the previous episode gave us a flashback of her playing a calm song with an acoustic guitar. Even the two Metalhead fans in the audience are surprised at the girls performing rock.
- After smashing Kotaro's guitar, Junko takes advantage of an exposed electric wire and electrifies herself and her bandmates, leading to them performing an epic remix of "Mezame Returner (Electric Ver.)"
- The episode ends with the members of Iron Frill admitting that Franchouchou's performance was probably the most memorable part of their tour, and that the group is one to watch out for.
Episode 5 - Little Bodda Bope Saga
- In the few minutes it takes Light to finish singing, Lily manages to almost completely change her routine for the final. While still technically the same song, Lily changes the tone to be much lighter while adding some improvised Scat calling to jazz it up. And even though Light won, he felt his victory was hollow, because her ability to improvise that new arrangement in such a short time is something he never could've done and afterward, Lily's version was so catchy that it instantly caught on with many fans, of all ages.
- In a more minor moment beforehand, Light mentions that if she keeps up her "cute" act, people will think it's sad in two years. Without any change in her cheerful tone or smile, Lily counters that it's the same for him too, which gets under Light's skin.
Episode 6 - Walking Bet Saga
- When at the boat race, Tae put in a bet without any thought as to who/why, as you might expect. At the end though, after Maria's rival gang leader Misa pulls off a legendary move to win, Maria looks at Tae's ticket to see her results. It turns out that Tae bet on Misa, who had the odds massively stacked against her because of previous repeat failures and won 20 million yen! Franchouchou can finally get out of their debt, thanks to the Legendary Tae Yamada!
Episode 8 - Saga Incident, Part I
- Yugiri proves that she knows her stuff as a legendary courtesan, not just in her professional skills, but also in being able to take care of herself. The moment she seemed about to be run over by a speeding cart, with Kichi trying to save her, she dodged out of the way (causing Kichi to fall into the river) and made it look effortless - and later when she senses a presence sneaking up on her, she instantly attempts to stab the "intruder" with chopsticks, which turns out to be Itou (who to his credit, caught the stab on his folding fan without batting an eye).
Episode 9 - Saga Incident, Part II
Episode 11 - All It Takes Is For You To Be There Saga
- Kotaro and the bartender's bar are swamped by a tidal wave, yet by sheer luck, it only swallows up the place enough to keep a modest air pocket near the ceiling. Kotaro manages to get his old friend above water on a floating frame, yet he doesn't have as much luck, as we later see him submerged in water from the neck down while holding onto a ceiling beam and they've been stuck in that flooded bar for three days, without food or sleep most likely. The one to save them is Policeman A.
Kotaro: I'm not dying here
- Then as if that weren't enough, after getting his old friend some help, Kotaro runs all over Saga trying to locate Franchouchou. He doesn't care about, or even notice the effort it would take to continue after such an ordeal; Kotaro is getting to his girls, come hell or literal high water.
Episode 12 - The Greatest SAGA In History
- While at the stadium, Takeo Go takes a giant piece of stone debris roughly the same size as himself, and throws it away from a doorway just so people can get in easier and he's not even tired from this feat. Given his construction worker hat, then and later while rebuilding a new mansion for Franchouchou, the man's muscular frame isn't just for show!
- Thanks to the combined efforts of Kotaro, various celebrities like Iron Frill, and more, Franchouchou's revenge concert at EPS is virtually sold out, with people absolutely packed into the stands and the field.
- Tourism in the Saga prefecture actually experienced a rise during the anime's run, with the real-life Franchouchou house (Karatsu City Historical Folk Museum) drawing in a thousand visitors in a single day - more than triple the staff's expectations!
- The fact it came out of nowhere to become one of the most popular anime of Fall The week the Vol. 1 Blu-ray went on sale in Japan, it sold about copies, easily putting it ahead of the other Fall anime Blu-rays released alongside it, with SSSS.GRIDMAN in second place at about copies.
"Best Of" Album
- This album was created not just for the sole purpose of showcasing every song Franchouchou performs in the first season, but also includes a whopping 2 new exclusive songs ("Saga Jihen", a song that focuses on Yugiri; and "Sensei! ALIVE Sensation", which is now considered as Sakura's theme), as well as 2 other songs ("Kagayaite", an awesome Bollywood-esque song made for their collaboration with Curry Meshi, a Japanese brand; and a new version of "To My Dearest" based upon the piano version that Kotaro played in Episode 8) as well. Considering the people behind this show are expanding to new horizons, these new songs are a real treat for the fans.
- Saga Jihen is notably the most well-known addition to this album, as we finally have a theme for Yugiri, who was never been able to get her own focused song in Season 1. The song has Yugiri performing a jazzy song that is reminiscent of those fast-paced big-band/jazz songs from the early s (such as "Zoot Suit Riot" and "Sing, Sing, Sing" for example), as she sings about awaiting for that special someone in the depths of hell (which fits for her personality, as she is a temptress in a way). She even manages to pull off an amazing scat solo in the bridge!
- The album also includes a music video to go in tandem with this song. And it includes a whole array of dancing from Franchouchou, which also includes them twerking! And Yugiri manages to slap Sakura in the face during the music video. For no reason at all!
Franchouchou (Sakura Minamoto) | The Living & Others - Major Characters | Gaiden Characters
open/close all foldersCharacters with a notably exceeding amount of screen time or who play a major role in the series plot
Click to see their pageThe supporting cast, comprised of many recurring extras, and friends and family of the main cast.
Introduced in Zombie Land Saga
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E02
"Yo yo yo mic check!"
- Abhorrent Admirer: In their first appearance they try to hit on three of the girls, not realizing they're all minors or that they're zombies.
- The Cameo: They appear in a dance competition in Revenge.
- Gratuitous Rap: Have no problem rapping in public at inopportune times.
Voiced by: Seiko Tamura
!!!First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E04
- The Bus Came Back: She returns in Revenge as the judge of a dance competition. Tae manages to freak her out once again.
- Cool Old Lady: Her interactions with Kotaro are quite pleasant, and she seems genuinely interested in helping to support a local idol group.
- Trauma Button: Ever since her encounter with the zombie girls, even though she experienced Trauma-Induced Amnesia about the incident, anything that reminds her of the incident, such as Tae crawling around upside down again (albeit this time in makeup), will cause her to freak out.
- Trauma Conga Line: Her experience with Franchouchou at the inn.
- First she discovers Sakura's disembodied head floating in the hot springs.
- Then Saki and Junko emerge looking like swamp monsters, with water gushing out of their mouths.
- Lily flickers into her view in a dark hallway, followed by Tae who crab walks around her like a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl.
- She and Ai scream hysterically at each other, Ai looking inadvertently more terrifying to her.
- She pleads for help from Yugiri, who turns around creepily to reveal her zombie features.
- And finally Saki and Sakura slips on a dropped medicinal patch, causing to slide down the hall into the poor woman, right as the screen fades to white.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Played for Laughs. The girls consecutively run into her through a dark inn with their makeup off which terrifies her to the point of her memory from the past day regressing.
Voiced by: Kenji Chikano (Japanese), Kyle Phillips (English)
!!!First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E05
Saki: "We're standing in the presence of greatness!"The mascot of Drive-In Tori, a real-life fried chicken chain in Saga Prefecture.
- Ambiguously Human: His appearance and proportions are a little too uncanny for a person in a costume, and his face a little too emotive for a mask.
- The Bus Came Back: He returns in Revenge as the reigning champion of Saga's local dance competition.
- Butt-Monkey: Tae — mistaking him for a real chicken — constantly chases him, trying to bite him.
- The Faceless: His face under the costume is never shown.
- Mascot with Attitude: Very slick and classy if a bit goofy, flippantly dancing at random intervals and loving to show off to his audience.
- Moonwalk Dance: Pulls this off a couple of timess
- Plucky Comic Relief: Possibly the goofiest resident in Saga, being a person in a chicken suit that does nothing but dance.
- Shout-Out: He seems to love Michael Jackson's dancing, performing several of his moves.
- The Speechless: Only makes the occasional chicken noise.
- Worthy Opponent: Accepts a challenge to a Dance Off with Tae in Revenge. Hes a very good sport in spite of her not signing up before hand.
Voiced by:Ryohei Kimura (Japanese), Aaron Dismuke (English) Okoba's photographer co-worker who covers Franchouchou's events alongside him.
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E05
- Accidental Truth: He makes an offhand joke to Okoba about Franchouchou being zombies, explaining their resemblance to deceased people. This helps Okoba clue in to their true nature.
- Agent Scully: The Scully to Okoba's Agent Mulder. While Okoba thinks something strange is going on with Franchouchou — with many of its members resembling dead celbrities — Inubashiri shrugs it off as all of them being doppelgangers and stresses not to worry about it. Okoba is, of course, actually onto something.
Ironically, Inubashiri's joke about Franchouchou being zombies is what lets Okaba piece everything together about Franchouchou's true nature after seeing Tae's head pop off.
- Flat Character: He hasn't had as much development as Okoba, mostly acting as a commentator to the latter's research into Franchouchou.
- Those Two Guys: He and Okoba are introduced as this, being the journalists assigned to learn more about Franchouchou.Though Okoba slowly gains more characterization and plot-relevance over him.
Voiced by:Tsuyoshi Koyama (Japanese), Christopher Sabat (English)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E08
Lily's father, who was devastated by the loss of his only child, only to see her back from the dead years later.
- Beard of Sorrow: He's grown out his facial hair in the wake of Lily's death.
- Doesn't Know Their Own Child: While he loved his daughter a lot, he was oblivious to many of her problems shortly before she died. He didn't realize Lily didn't care much about her acting career and only wanted to spend quality time with him like they used to. He also didn't have a clear idea of what made her so upset about growing body hair. He tried to calm her down by telling her that's part of growing up, but he couldn't understand Lily didn't want to grow up because it meant developing a male body that would conflict with her female identity, continuing to call her "Masao" in private even long after she died.
- Doting Parent: Flashbacks show that he was incredibly doting towards Lily, who herself seemed very happy living with him back when she was still alive. He even immediately quit his job and became Lily's manager when she expressed interest in performing within the television industry, doing his best to make sure that her career was a success. However, he became a bit too engrossed in her career and failed to notice the accumulating stress that she was gathering until it was too late.
- Establishing Character Moment: In his first scene in Episode 8, he walks out of his office when his coworkers put on the TV and is troubled after seeing a cheerful young girl playing nearby. All this shows how much the death of his child affected him.
- Face of a Thug: He's a huge, hulking man with a scar across his left eye, and when he first appears at Franchouchou's photo session, Saki assumes that he must be a loan shark who's trying to collect debts from Kotaro. In reality, he's only there because he thinks Lily's an Identical Stranger who looks like his daughter, and he's a good person deep down.
- Gentle Giant: Despite his gargantuan size and intimidating appearance, he's really amicable to others and generally a quiet and reserved man.
- Manly Tears: He does this upon watching Franchouchou's concert in Episode 8; he remembers the time with Lily and finally manages to move past it.
- Meaningful Name: The kanji for his name literally translate to 'War Man Grand', befitting a thuggish-looking, cartoonishly huge man and keeping with the theme of Lily's birth name.
- The Mourning After: The loss of his wife and daughter sends him into deep sorrow. Even after 7 years he is a melancholic and reserved man who cannot even stay in a room with a TV on because of its association with Lily. He could've stayed that way forever, but thanks to his daughter's resurrection and a concert the girls made for him, he finally finds peace and moves on with his life.
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: He still hasn't gotten over Lily's death after seven years, unable to watch the TV he so loved anymore because of its relation to the whole ordeal. He regrets his words and actions in her final moments, and can't find closure because of that. Thankfully Lily has returned to life, but because she is a zombie she cannot say goodbye to him directly. So Franchouchou pulls off a concert with a new song specifically targeted for him, with Lily thanking Takeo for all the time they had together and telling that she still loves him. This finally allows him to move on, and he even starts watching TV again. Even though Lily can't confirm that she's actually his daughter, it's clear that Takeo has finally found peace within himself.
- Open-Minded Parent: Zigzagged. While it was clear that he was accepting of Lily's gender choice, he would still call her "Masao" rather than her preferred name, and he also severely underestimated her concerns and worries in relation to her gender identity. During their final pre-mortem conversation, while Lily was distressed over the fact that she was growing body hair, Takeo did his best to assure her that it wasn't a big deal and tried to get her to accept that she was growing up. While it was clear he had good intentions, he ultimately didn't quite comprehend just how devastating the ordeal was for Lily, and the conversation ended up turning into a massive regret that haunted him for years to come.
- Outliving One's Offspring: He was devastated by Lily's death, and still hasn't gotten over it after seven years.
- Parents as People: He loved Lily very much, but after he became her manager and her acting career took off, he became more focused on his daughter's career than her well-being. Years later, it's clear that he regrets being so neglectful.
- Parting Words Regret: He seems to deeply regret how his last words to Lily were him being dismissive over Lily being distressed over growing body hair, due to her being trans and not wanting to go through puberty.
- Punched Across the Room: Takes a kick to the head from lb Saki that somehow had enough power to both do this and knock him out instantly.
- Scars Are Forever: In the present day, he has a noticeable scar across his left eye. After Lily died, during a Blink-and-You-Miss-It moment right before he trashed the television in his house, you can see him actually clawing his own face and creating said scar in despair from the loss of Lily.
- Screen Shake: He's so massive he causes this whenever he walks.
- Stage Dad: A sympathetic example. Once Lily became a rising child star, Takeo became engrossed in his daughter's career. Unlike other examples, he wasn't fame hungry; he was so proud of Lily's talent that he tried his best to make her a successful actress. Unfortunately, he began to neglect Lily's wellbeing along the way, to the point Lily accused him of only caring about how she looked in TV. After Lily died, Takeo realized how his obsession with her success damaged their relationship and came to regret it all. Once Lily sees her father did love her and learned the error of his ways, she forgives him.
- Tears of Remorse: He cries hard in the aftermath of Lily's death, clearly blaming himself for overworking her.
- Tiny-Headed Behemoth: Jesus.◊
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: A flashback shows that Lily's mother was a lot more attractive than he was. It's pretty obvious who Lily got her cute looks from.
- When He Smiles: He looks rather kindly when happy. Especially so once he finds some peace with his grief.
Reiko Amabuki (née Kirishima)
Voiced by: Komina Matsushita (Japanese), Colleen Clinkenbeard (English)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E05 (Cameo), Zombie Land Saga E09 (Major Appearance)
The former leader of Dorami, and Saki's best friend from when she was still alive. Now a regular housewife, she worries about her daughter Maria's rebellious behavior.
- Affectionate Nickname: Maria refers to her as mama, though shes embarrassed to call her this in front of others.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: For all her past bravado as an ex-biker, she simply begs for Korosuke and Dorami to stop fighting, knowing it will put her daughter in harm's way.
- Ambiguous Situation: Her husband doesnt appear save for a Freeze-Frame Bonus when she reminisces on her daughters pre-school years.
- Anger Born of Worry: After Saki repeats the stunt that killed her, Reiko punches her in the face and yells at her for being an idiot, still having painful memories of her death.
- Apologizes a Lot: Reiko is quick to apologize, even when Maria's the one at fault. Maria tells Reiko that this tendency is one of the things that annoys her most about her mother.
- Badass Normal: She could match a human Saki in terms of strength and combat prowess. Even in the present she can still deliver a killer hook on the latter.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Like Saki said to Maria, just because she became a law-abiding housewife does not mean she lost her biker chops.
- Biker Babe: She was one back when she was the boss of Dorami. Though she's now a regular housewife, she's still kept her old motorcycle and hasn't lost her skills at riding it.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Before her proper introduction in Episode 9, she makes an appearance in Episode 5 in Saki's flashback to her old biker gang days.
- Former Teen Rebel: She used to be the boss of Saki's biker gang, but now she's an ordinary housewife. However, there are still traces of the old delinquent in her, since she still has her old motorcycle and slips back into harsh speech when she's truly angry.
- Good Parents: She and her daughter had a very loving relationship early on. And even when they're both at odds, everything Reiko does is for Maria's sake, including standing up to Dorami's rivals.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Even back when she was the leader of Dorami, she told Saki she wanted to eventually settle down and have a normal life, since her parents were divorced and she didn't want her own children to deal with that.
- Lovely Angels: With Saki as co-captains of Dorami.
- Mama Bear: She's willing to intervene in a biker conflict to save her daughter.
- Motherly Side Plait: She wears her hair this way in the present day, showing how she's now a regular wife and mother.
- Multicolored Hair: She used to have red and blue streaks in her hair back when she was the boss of Dorami.
- One-Woman Army: She and Saki could take down scores of delinquents and rival bikers together, sometimes with little to no scratches.
- Rebuilt Pedestal: Initially, her daughter Maria views her as a spineless weakling since she's no longer the biker she used to be. However, when Reiko confronts Saki after she drives her motorcycle off a cliff, she proves to Maria that just because she's no longer a gang boss doesn't mean she's weak.
- Retired Badass: She left the biker life to settle down, marrying her husband and having a daughter together.
- Still Got It: Despite many years retired from biking and preoccupied with raising a rebellious teenage daughter, Reiko showed that she still knows how to ride her motorcycle.
- Tragic Keepsake: She still has Saki's old Tamagotchi, entrusted to her on the night the latter died.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her hair is purple. Though she used to have red and blue streaks back when she was part of Dorami, that seems to have just been hair dye.
Voiced by:Aoi Koga (Japanese), Madeleine Morris (English)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E09
- Biker Babe: She really wants to be one like her mother, but her gang only consists of her and two other girls, and her girly pink sticker-covered scooter doesn't exactly inspire this image.
- Boisterous Weakling: She talks a big game during a confrontation with Misa, but her voice trembles the entire time, and Saki comments afterwards that Misa would've beaten the tar out of Maria if they had actually come to blows. Given Saki's past combat experience, it's safe to say she accurately judged who was the more dangerous of the two.
- Bullying a Dragon: She makes a bad move trying to pick a fight with Saki, who is not even a little intimidated by her. If anything, Saki gives her a cold "Don't pick fights you're not ready for." Unfortunately, this advice falls on deaf ears, since she subsequently attempts to pick a fight with Misa, another biker delinquent who is way above her level.
- The Cameo: She attends Franchouchou concerts frequently and can be seen as a member of the audience.
- Failed a Spot Check: She somehow misses Okoba following them back to the girls' mansion, despite him literally right behind her not even trying to hide. Although she may be on a lookout for thieves after Tae's unexpected win and fortune.
- Fangirl: Of Saki as Number 2, in no small part thanks to her badassery in Episode 9. She begins regularly attending Franchouchou concerts with Mikigawa and Sayama, being seen in the audience at multiple points.
- Friendly Rival: She and Misa start off as bitter rivals before slowly easing into this thanks to Saki convincing them to settle their differences. Maria later cheers for Misa during the latters boat race in Revenge.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: She tries her best to become the same biker gang captain her mom was before, as Maria feels her mom lost her nerve. She has a hard time pulling that off when the most her gang has are girly scooters covered in stickers and only two other members who know they're not cut out for it. Saki has to prove her point about knowing her limits by surviving a bike stunt that Misa wouldn't dare pull.
- Miles Gloriosus: Tries to be a tough-talking biker like her mother in the past, but she's quite inept and in over her head doing so.
- Nom de Mom: She goes by her mom's maiden name, Kirishima. Uniquely for this trope, she rejects her mother's married name because she hates what her mom has become, and would rather take after the badass Biker Babe she used to be. It's plot-relevant too, as her using her mother's name is how Saki realizes she's Reiko's daughter.
- Odd Friendship: Shes on pretty good terms with Tae of all people, helping her out at her grocery job and escorting her home after doing errands. Though she doesnt appreciate Tae chewing on her hair.
- Ominous Walk: Parodied to hell. She and her gang do this to look threatening to Sakura and Lily, but all it does is make them look silly.
- Running Gag: Tae chewing on her Odango Hair.
- Took a Level in Kindness: By her second appearance, she's much friendlier towards Franchouchou and her rivals in Korosuke. She's also taken her mother's concerns for her safety to heart and has been working to take Dorami in a direction outside of its biker gang roots.
- Tsundere: A familial variation. She gets shy whenever she talks about her mother positively in public.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: She once had a healthy relationship with her mom when she was younger, but it all fell to pieces when she discovered Reiko's background. It's implied she dragged her two friends along to be part of her gang, but they're too nice about it.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Despite acting as a tough and surly Japanese Delinquent, she draws the line at harming grade schoolers and lets Lily off the hook when threatening her and Sakura.
Mikigawa & Sayama
Mikigawa Voiced by: Rina Honnizumi (Japanese), Alexis Tipton (English)
!!!Sayama Voiced by:Azumi Waki (Japanese), Terri Doty (English)
!!!First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E09
Mikigawa(Left with the freckles) and Sayama(Right with the glasses)Maria's friends who join her as members of Dorami, though they are reluctant to keep it going.
- The Cameo: They attend Franchouchou concerts frequently and can be seen as members of the audience.
- Fangirl: Of Saki as Number 2, in no small part thanks to her badassery in Episode 9. They begin regularly attending Franchouchou concerts with Maria, being seen in the audience at multiple points.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: They're much more savvy than Maria when it comes to picking fights, as they immediately recognize the girls of Franchouchou shouldn't be trifled with.
- Only Sane Man: For Dorami. They realize how in over their heads they all are and consider quitting biking all together. Unfortunately their captain, Maria, has no intention of quitting herself.
- Satellite Character: Don't have a ton of development outside of being Maria's friends.
- Sensing You Are Outmatched: They can tell picking a fight with Saki would be a terrible idea, and the two cower in fear when they're surrounded by Korosuke.
- Those Two Girls: Always depicted as a pair.
Introduced in Zombie Land Saga Revenge
Voiced by: Kozue Saito
!!!First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga Revenge E 01
- Cool Old Lady: Is quite kind to Ai and her friends, offering them a spot at a nearby shelter after their mansion collapses.
- Early-Bird Cameo: She's introduced in the first episode of Revenge at Ai's part-time job. She then gets a bigger role in episode 11, helping with the relief efforts after the storm.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: She works at a dried squid factory with Ai, and also helps provide food at the relief shelter.
- Locked Out of the Loop: She helps out Franchouchou through episode 11, all while being completely unaware that they're zombies or that the names they give are fake.
- Unfazed Everyman: She's completely indifferent or unfazed by Tae and her zombie-like behavior, including being bitten on the head."Oh my, well aren't you a hungry little dear!."
-Machiko happily receiving Tae's Bite of Affection
Voiced by: Hakuryu (Japanese), Tony Oliver (English)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga Revenge E 02
A veteran musician and actor from Saga prefecture, host of the radio show So Saga Can Be Saga. He was a big inspiration to Saki during her living days.
- Adam Westing: White Ryu is based on his actor, Hakuryu ("Haku" meaning "White"), a real actor and musician from Saga. Here he's playing an exaggerated version of himself — he probably doesn't ride everywhere on the hood of a s Cadillac convertible, for instance.
- Back for the Finale: He attends and helps promote Franchouchou's relief concert in the season finale.
- But Now I Must Go: He leaves Saga to explore the open road, but not before handing off the reins of his show to Saki.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He's an odd fellow for sure. He talks about Saga like it's a living creature, and he's introduced riding atop the hood of his car instead of the seats.
"Sorry for the holdup. The wind blowing down from Kyogatake gave me pause."
- Cool Old Guy: He's getting on in years (probably somewhere in his 50s or 60s), but he manages to maintain his rock star demeanor.
- Delinquent Hair: He has a massive pompadour that sticks out at least two feet. Though in his old age it now sags in front of his head, obscuring his face.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: In his youth where he was an icon of virile masculinity, his large pompadour stood erect. Now in his lethargic old age, it lies flaccid.
- Ice-Cream Koan: Fond of giving elaborate speeches about freedom that nobody but Saki understands.
- Image Song: Do You Hate Windy Days. A soothing rock song about overcoming the struggles the world throws at you. Saki performs a more energetic cover at the next Franchouchou concert.
- Jailbait Wait: He turns down Saki's confession, but tells her to meet him again once she's grown into a young woman. Played with in that a) while Saki is physically still a teenager, she's actually around 40 if you take her birth year into account, and b) Saki, being a zombie, can never age beyond her teens, something that causes her significant grief once it sinks in.
- Passing the Torch: After meeting with Franchouchou (especially Saki), he decides the girls will be the perfect successors to host his radio show.
- Silver Fox: Has aged pretty well all things considered, though his floppy pompadour somewhat detracts from this.
- Wandering the Earth: In the last scene with him, he's riding with his driver through what looks like Route
Voiced by:Minami Takayama (Japanese), Steph Garrett (English)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga Revenge E 05
A child actor who enters the same talent show as Lily.
- Ambition Is Evil: He desires to get as much fame as possible so that, once he grows out of being a child actor, he'll be able to enter Broadway easily.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Behind the scenes, he's an extremely conceited Spoiled Brat, but he actually is a good performer. As shown when during his juggling act, he intentionally screws up to net some sympathy, and then immediately saves his performance while shouting his Catchphrase.
- Back for the Finale: Attends Franchouchou's second EFS concert.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Like Lily, he acts very cutesy and nice in front of others. Behind the scenes though, he's a complete Spoiled Brat.
- Casting Gag: Played by the voice of Conan Edogawa (a.k.a. Shinichi Kudo), another character who uses a veneer of childhood innocence to his advantage.
- Expy: He's blatantly based on Light Yagami, having the same given name (though this Light's name is written in katakana instead of kanji), looking like a younger version of him, being almost as arrogant and manipulative, and even using his famous "Just as planned!" line.
- Foil: Serves as one to Lily; they're both popular child performers who have English words as given names and family names with a stellar theme (Hoshikawa means "star river" while Oozora means "big sky"), but their personalities and their approaches to their careers are different. While Lily's cutesy, childish stage presence is her true personality, Light's is a calculated facade that hides his true nature, and while Lily will remain a child forever much to her delight, Light accepts that he won't be a child forever and is already planning the next stage of his career.
- Friendly Rival: By the end of his debut, he and Lily part on decent terms. He even offers to collaborate with her in the event that they meet again. He attends and helps promote Franchouchou's relief concert in the season finale.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: He acts sweet and polite towards his fans and in front of an audience, but behind the scenes he's a smug brat who verbally and physically abuses his manager.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Light wins the competition, but ultimately feels he lost in the long run since Lily's song was both heartfelt and a routine she came up with on the fly to boot. This knocks his ego down a few pegs but Lily assures him he's a good entertainer and that Light should continue to learn and improve as he continues his career path.
- Smug Snake: Behind the scenes, he's a Spoiled Brat who thinks he'll win the show in a landslide, and takes the time to taunt Lily after learning they're doing the same song. This changes after he sees Lily's improvised performance, with him actually looking unsure that he would win and realizing that he still has some ways to go.
Voiced by:Kana Hanazawa (Japanese), Cherami Leigh (English)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga Revenge E 01 (Cameo), Zombie Land Saga Revenge E07 (Major Appearance)
A clumsy, average high school girl who happens to be a big fan of Franchouchouand accidentally stumbles upon their biggest secret.
- Ascended Fangirl: Becomes the honorary eighth member (though 7th in name) in episode 7 of Revenge.
- Back for the Finale: She rallies her friends and classmates to attend Franchouchou's second EFS concert.
- Blind Without 'Em: She has very poor vision without her glasses.
- Buxom Is Better: She has a pretty large chest, even bigger than Yugiri.
- Catchphrase: Any time she comes up with an idea - and/or her "Franchouchou sense" tingles - she shouts "ding!"/"ka-ching!" very loudly while pointing her index finger upwards.
- Chekhov's Gunman: She shows up in several audience shots throughout Revenge, several of which get shown in more detail to show that yes, she really was there all those timesnote Specifically the EFS disaster in episode 1 (bottom right corner), Saki's show at Geils in episode 2's end credits (during the song's intro), and the opening act at Saga Arena in episode 4 (back center, before the encore). In Episode 1, she can also be seen during the mid-fighting slow-motion shots mid-concert..
- Color-Coded Characters: During her brief stint as a Franchouchou member, she's assigned the color green.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: She's extremely clumsy and quite impulsive. But once she works past those flaws, she's able to perform on the same level as her idols, Franchouchou.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Maimai is very enthusiastic, but not very coordinated, rivaling even Sakura in terms of clumsiness.
- Determinator: Quite fitting for a Franchouchou member. Despite spending several hours practicing without getting the routine right, Maimai refuses to call it a day, an attitude that endears her to Ai.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Shows up all the way in the first episode of Revenge, she then goes on to become a major character in episode 7.
- Fangirl: She's a big fan of Franchouchou, especially Sakura. The two have a lot in common, and Sakura inspires her to become an idol herself one day.
- Fantastically Indifferent: Franchouchou being zombies doesn't seem to phase her even a little.
- Foil: Acts as one to Sakura. They're both clumsy, yet enthusiastic and determined to succeed, and Maimai looks up to Sakura and Franchouchou the same way Sakura once looked up to Ai and Iron Frill. The difference, of course, is that Maimai is still alive: her motivation is simply to live her life to the fullest, while Sakura's motivation (and that of the other zombies) is to make up for the fact that their lives got cut short and they were never able to fulfil their potential.
- Genki Girl: Possibly even more than Sakura and the members of Franchouchou.
- Guest-Star Party Member: She graduates Franchouchou in the same episode she joins them in, because she feels like Franchouchou is so special because they still fight to live on and shine brightly even after death, whereas she wants to live her life to the fullest before she can feel like she's reached their level.
- Nice Girl: Endearingly sweet and friendly. She's also incredibly accepting of Franchouchou being The Undead, something that would've triggered a more terrified response from other characters. Unsurprisingly she bonds quickly with Sakura.
- Secret-Keeper: She discovers that the members of Franchouchou are zombies, but promises to keep it a secret.
- Token Human: She's the only living human to perform as a member of Franchouchou.
- Unfortunate Name: It's a borderline Catchphrase for her to state that she's well aware how strange and ridiculous her name sounds, followed by insisting it is indeed her real name.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: She's one of the few characters on the show who doesn't freak out on seeing the members of Franchouchou out of their make-up (mostly because she doesn't have her glasses on and can't get a good look at them at first).
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01 (Cameo), Zombie Land Saga Revenge E 03 (Major Appearance)
From left to right: Yui, Hikari, Shiori, Julia, and Makoto
A legendary Idol Group that's been around for over a decade through different iterations. Ai was the original star of the group before her untimely and tragic death. The newest iteration featuring Shiori as their star is now touring in Saga.
- The Ace: They're considered one of the best idol groups out there. Franchouchou being asked to perform their opening act is considered a huge deal.
- Ambiguous Situation: None of Ai's group mates have been properly introduced save for some voiceless appearances in flashbacks. It's unknown where they are ten years later and how they were affected by Ai's death.
- Costume Evolution: The outfits the present Iron Frill wear are noticeably different from the ones of Ai's time. Ai's wore midriff-less tops with black vests and plaid skirts. The current iteration wears red cardigan vests with puffy red skirts and black accents.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Their presence is felt all the way back in the first episode when Sakura is dancing along to one of their singles. They have several small appearances before finally joining the main plot in Revenge.
- Genki Girl: Makoto is a bubbly Rose-Haired Sweetie. She happily answers questions at interviews and enjoys taking in the surroundings of the girls' venues.
- The Heavy: Of Revenge as idol business-wise, they become Franchouchou's biggest threat. Subverted in the second season finale when they showed up at their concert to support them.
- The Lancer: Yui helps level out Shiori's more competitive behavior. She tries to convince her not to get hung up on recruiting "No.3", realizing she's doing it out of her admiration of Ai Mizuno. She also playfully snarks at Shiori after Ai turns down her offer..
- The Psycho Rangers: An idol example, as they are this to Franchouchou.
- The Rival: In Revenge, Shiori publicly declares Franchouchou to be the group's greatest competition.
- Token Minority: Julia has an English name, hinting that she might have non-Japanese ancestory.
Dorami Biker Gang
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E02 (Cameo), Zombie Land Saga E09 (Major Appearance)
An all-female biker gang from Saga prefecture. With Saki and Reiko at the lead, they conquered Kyushu, toppling any rival biker gangs that got in their way. The gang has faded in and out of existence ever since Saki's death. Reiko's daughter Maria has attempted to revive the gang.
Korosuke Biker Gang
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E09Dorami's longtime rivals who still seek to crush them to this day. Currently lead by Misa, "the Fallen Angel".
Sagako Busters (Unmarked Spoilers)
The Sagako Busters
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga Gaiden Ch 01
From left to right: Yuko Hyodo, Tae Yamada, Anna Shuri, Hanako Hakase
"Giving our lives for the sake of Saga's prosperity, a select unit of beauties!"
-Tae formally introducing the Busters.
A group of demon hunters from The '80s, led by a living Tae Yamada.
See the Gaiden page for more information on its members.
- Amazon Brigade: An all-female group of demon hunters. This is until Yuko is incapacitated and substituted for by her brother, Eikichi.
- Ambiguous Situation: What became of them is unclear. Tae died some time around the period that Gaiden takes place, but the others had never been mentioned before in the anime.
- Demon Slaying: They hunt "Sagako", demons manifested by the curse of Saga.
- Expy: A pretty blatant one to the Ghostbusters, being a group of everyday folks who hunt supernatural entities at night. They even wear the same kind of baggy full-bodied uniform.
- Instant Sedation: Upon meeting Eikichi, they hold a rag to his face to sedate him and then drag him back to their hideout.
- Living a Double Life: They keep demon hunting a nighttime routine while working other jobs at day.
- Proud Beauty: How they market themselves, calling each other "ultimate beauties".
- "Super Sentai" Stance: Tae's formal introduction of the group utilizes this, with the three remaining members posing dramatically.
- Who You Gonna Call?: A group run by mostly women with separate day jobs, with no known benefactors outside of Jofuku and no known sponsors.
Voiced by:Mamoru Miyano
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga Revenge E08
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Yugiri assists him after he falls into a nearby river. She later takes interest in his goal of restoring Saga.
- Butt-Monkey: Whether it's being shoved around on the streets or taken advantage of by friends, nothing seems to go right for the poor guy.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Passes out after downing a cup of sake.
- Crush Blush: Boy does he go red when Yugiri is around.
- Determinator: Everyone around him seems indifferent or opposes his efforts to restore Saga, to the point of getting in trouble with law enforcement. He keeps trying regardless.
- Disappeared Dad: His father was killed in the Saga rebellion. Jofuku took him in not long after.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Nothing but polite and courteous towards the center of his affection.
- Foregone Conclusion: Saga was eventually restored, meaning Kiichi's dream was eventually fulfilled. It's also clear that any relationship he'd have with Yugiri would be cuttragically short.
- Gone Horribly Right: His efforts to make Saga reinstated as a prefecture unintentionally sparks a rebellion, leading to his followers dying at Itou's hands, Itou letting himself die in his fight with Yugiri, and Yugiri herself being executed after accepting the responsibility and punishment for Itou's death and the rebellion.
- Happily Adopted: He's living with his adopted grandfather Jofuku, who took him in after the death of his father.
- Implied Love Interest: While it's never explicit if Yugiri reciprocates his feelings, there are a lot of hints that seem to confirm it. The two play out a lot of other tragic romance tropes like Star-Crossed Lovers and Lost Lenore, and "Saga Jihen" which plays at the end of her arc is framed as a song of yearning.
- Lost Lenore: To Yugiri, being long dead by the story's present. Ironically it works both ways since she died before him originally.
- Meet Cute: As revealed in Episode 8 of ''Revenge'', the pinwheel Yugiri purchased just happened to fall on Kiichi's feet. When he picks it up, their eyes meet and he immediately falls in love with her.
- Posthumous Character: He'd be long dead by the story's present, having been alive more than a century before.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Tries and fails to convince his friend Itou that there's nothing going on between him and Yugiri.
- Significant Double Casting: He's played by Mamoru Miyano, the voice of Kotaro. However, the relation between the two is unclear, aside from both of them being young men acquainted with Jofuku and wanting to revive Saga.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Yugiri sacrifices herself to save him, meaning the two would be forever kept from being together. And now that she's a zombie, and Kiichi has long since passed himself, the two are still kept apart by death.
- Tragic Keepsake: The comb Kiichi gifts to Yugiri is the same one she uses in the present story.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: He is completely genuine in his pursuit or bringing Saga back. Unfortunately, this bites him in the ass horribly when he unwittingly sparks an armed rebellion, leading to the deaths of his followers, his close friend Itou, and Yugiri, the woman he loves.
Seijiro Itou (Unmarked Spoilers)
Voiced By: Kki Uchiyama
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga Revenge E08
- All There in the Script: His full name is known only in the credits; he's addressed solely by his family name in the show itself.
- Ambiguously Evil: Has many moments that frame him in quite a sinister tone.
- Yugiri almost incapacitates him when he walks into her house uninvited. He has nothing but a stern look on his face as he blocks her hit with a fan.
- At the end of his debut, he's seen passing off a note to an informant on the streets.
- It's finally revealed that he's a government agent sent to subdue any attempts at an armed rebellion. He does so by killing a group of rebel samurai.
- Anti-Villain: He wants to prevent another war from breaking out between the people of Saga and the Japanese government, and is willing to kill for that to happen.
- Big Bad Friend: Kiichi's best friend who's revealed to be a government assassin.
- Broken Pedestal: Kiichi is heartbroken when Itou betrays him.
- Face Death with Dignity: He passes on content with his demise, knowing that he can never take back the things he did to his friend and the people of Saga.
- False Friend: Double Subverted. He's the only one who seems to tolerate Kiichi, playfully teasing him and humoring his dream to restore Saga. But for a while it's unknown how genuine this is, due to being in Saga to eliminate any insurgents. He eventually almost kills Kiichi if not for Yugiri's intervention. As he dies though, it's clear that he did see in something Kiichi's dream after all, and dies with the regret of betraying his friend.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Of the anime itself as his antagonistic actions against Saga and Yugiri in life was what shaped the prefecture to the way it is in the present day and led to the latter's beheading prior to her resurrection a couple centuries later.
- I Let You Win: He lets Yugiri cut him down in their duel.
Alternative Title(s):Zombie Land Saga The LivingSours: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/ZombieLandSagaTheLivingAndOthers
Anime / Zombie Land Saga
Idolhood is realized in the face of death.note From left to right (bottom row): Tae Yamada, Yugiri, Ai Mizuno, Sakura Minamoto, Saki Nikaido, Junko Konno, and Lily Hoshikawa
No, we WILL live our dreams!
Is that despair? Or is it hope?
Our reanimated bodies are pulsing with courage, even though we don't have a pulse!
Becausethisis our saga!"
— Sakura Minamoto, opening narration for Season 1note Don't worry, the premise is sillier than it sounds.
Sakura Minamoto is your typical Japanese schoolgirl who dreams of one day becoming an Idol Singer. She wakes up one sunny morning, listens to her favorite song, gets her idol application paperwork together, steps out the front door, and promptly meets the business end of a speeding truck.
The next thing she knows, Sakura awakens in an abandoned mansion in Saga Prefecture with no memory of who she is or how she got there. She quickly discovers six zombie girls from different eras of Japan's history lurking in the mansion, all gathered together by a shifty, shades-wearing stranger named Kotaro Tatsumi, who informs Sakura that she has been dead for ten years, and is now a zombie herself. But for what purpose has Kotaro brought these rotting, flesh-craving beauties back from the grave?
Why, to form a regional idol group that will save Saga from fading into obscurity, of course! What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Zombie Land Saga () is an original anime collaboration between Cygames and Avex Pictures, and animated by MAPPA. Marketed as a seemingly run-of-the-mill zombie horror series, its plot was kept heavily under wraps until its premiere on October 4, , which revealed it to be an off-the-walls Horror Comedy with a biting yet loving satire of the Japanese idol industry. The series is currently licensed by Crunchyroll and Funimation.
Its second season, titled Zombie Land Saga Revenge (or Zombie Land Saga R, for short), was announced back in , and premiered on April 8, Set just a few months after the first season, it follows the idols' efforts at getting back on their feet from one Epic Fail of a bomb right on the heels of a smash performance that left them with a multi-million yen debt.
A movie following on from Revenge was announced in October
A web manga adaptation that focuses on Kotaro's side of the story up until Season Two began its run in October and ended in May A manga anthology was released in April A spinoff manga titled Zombie Land Saga Gaiden: The First Zombie began in May , focusing on the backstory of Tae Yamada/Number Zero.
A Japanese stage play adaptation titled Zombie Land Saga: Stage de Doon! was announced on October 19, , with its own original cast as Franchouchou rather than the anime voice actors. It was set for a short run in March , but was initially cancelled, due to the COVID pandemic. It was subsequently brought back from the dead, with the play running in September of
Has no relation to the similarly named movie Zombieland, although the makers are aware of the similar name and eventually cross-promoted the movie's sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap.
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Tropes, COME ON!
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: CGI models are sometimes used during the girls' idol dances.
- This is noticeable early on during their proper idol numbers in episodes 3 and 4.
- In their Episode 7 performance, the girls' models are in CG, but they don't look that different from their hand-drawn versions. The CGI visuals become clear after lightning strikes the stage and gives the girls a blue aura around each of them.
- Revenge shows that this trope is still in effect, although the 3D models' faces are much more expressive this time around, as seen when the camera focuses on Sakura singing near the end of episode 1.
- Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: One of the many zombie abilities the girls have.
- Tae briefly demonstrates this after crashing into a wall in the first episode, having to reassemble her bones after the impact. The rest of the girls later demonstrate the ability to headbang so hard their necks dislocate.
- Saki goes tumbling down a hill in episode 9, causing her head to rotate a full one-eighty degrees. She has to readjust it so she doesn't freak out onlookers.
- Accidental Public Confession:
- Subverted in Episode 2. Sakura blurts out the fact that they're zombies on stage in front of an entire audience while scolding Saki for almost blowing their cover, but the fact that their argument gradually transitions into a rap battle, with Kotaro and the other girls providing a beat and music, convinces the crowd it's just another part of their performance.
- Narrowly averted in Episode 7, when Saki introduces herself at Saga Rock as having "lived and died in Saga". One verbal backspace later, and nobody in the audience seems to have noticed.
- Narrowly averted again in Episode 11 of Revenge. While assuring the workers at the disaster shelter that they don't mind helping out, Sakura notes that they don't get tired, since they're zombies. Again, one verbal backspace later, she managed to get away with it.
- Actor Allusion: In Episode 9 Tae chews on Maria's odango hair/Girlish Pigtails combo. Tae's voice actress is Kotono Mitsuishi, whose breakout role of Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon also wore a near-identical hairstyle combination.
- Adaptation Expansion: The manga version expands a few story elements, such as the group's first concert, which reveals that it had to be cancelled due to the pre-awakened girls attacking the crowd, and Kotaro getting a sponsorship from Drive-in Tori.
- Adult Fear:
- Sakura dies mere moments after she runs out the door for school, and her last words are her calling out to whoever's in her house like any perfectly ordinary day.
- Lily's backstory death reveals this: She had a bad argument with her father to the point of shutting herself in her room. She then discovered she was growing a piece of facial hair, and the shock led to her dying of a heart attack. By the time her father managed to barge into her room, she was already dead. Years later, he's still devastated by her death and he's even sworn off watching TV.
- Reiko, the former leader of Saki's biker gang Dorami, is now a regular housewife who's dealing with her rebellious daughter Maria wanting to keep Dorami going. This is already worrying enough for her, but it gets even worse when Maria is challenged to a game of chicken by a rival gang on the slopes of Kagamiyama where Saki fell off a ledge to her death 21 years ago.
- Most of the girls died in their teens and within living memory. Leaving out Saki, who doesn't seem to have blood relatives, Yugiri, who died over a century ago, and Tae, who is already a young adult, there's a good chance that Sakura, Ai and Junko have relatives who are no less grieving for them as much as Takeo, Lily's father, and Reiko, Saki's friend in life. Considering his apparent history with Sakura, it's likely that Kotaro, too, has mourned for her.
- Affectionate Parody: The show certainly takes a few not-so-subtle jabs at the Japanese idol industry, such as long work hours and the emphasis on idols having to be "pure". Kotaro is also a blatant parody of abusive managers. All that said, the show still mostly frames idols in a positive light and puts forth the idea that performing and working together in a group can be a good experience.invoked
- Aliens in Cardiff: Saga Prefecture isn't exactly what you would call well known or a popular fictional setting, being one of the more obscure prefectures in Japan (besides its porcelain-making industry), yet here it is at the center of a zombie idol story. Its obscurity is in part why Kotaro resurrected the girls to form an idol group, because he wants to change that.
- Alien Invasion: What appears to happen in The Stinger of Revenge Episode A massive UFO appears out of nowhere and unleashes a catastrophic laser strike on a remote town.
- All Drummers Are Animals: In S2 Episode 4, Franchouchou's rock-inspired opening number opens with an epic drum solo played by Tae, the most feral and ferocious of the zombie girls.
- All Part of the Show: When Tae's head comes flying off in Episode 2, Sakura insists it's all just a special effect designed for the show. Strangely enough, the audience buys it, even as one of them feeds squid to Tae's removed head. Later, when Sakura and Saki start arguing onstage, it segues into a rap battle while Kotaro and the other girls provide beatboxing and background music to disguise it as part of their performance.
- All There in the Manual:
- The official website includes certain details about the characters that aren't stated in the anime, including the exact dates of most of the girls' deaths sans Tae (Sakura's full profile was absent until after Episode 11). It also presents episode summaries in the form of diary entries written by Kotaro, providing little tidbits for each episode such as his decision to change the idol group's name because he wanted to push it in a more suitable direction.
- The names of Iron Frill members, whether it's from Ai's or the current generation, comes with the first BD that the insert songs and in-universe CD covers come with.
- Alternate Character Reading: Saki prefers to write in showy kanji, though when she writes the girls' suggestions for the group's name, she gets the meanings a bit wrong. She writes "Jeanne d'Arc" as "Wicked Rage Void Slackers" () and "Franchouchou" as "Rotten Chaos Stank Gang" (), at which point the girls just ask her to stop using kanji.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Drive-in Tori, the fried chicken restaurant the girls help promote in Episode 5, is a real-life restaurant, and the jingle they perform is the actual song. The same goes for the Kashima Gatalympics in the same episode.
- Amusing Injuries: Being zombies, injuries such as removed limbs and broken necks are easily fixed.
- Animation Bump:
- The girls' performance in Episode 7 is much more smoothly done and well synchronized, especially when compared to Episodes 3 and 4.
- The scene in Episode 9 where Maria and her two friends try to intimidate Sakura, Lily and Tae by doing an Ominous Walk towards them is animated rather fluidly.
- Revenge shows off a well-synchronized hand-drawn choreography in some dance sequences beginning in Episode 2's Franchouchou performance in the ending credit and in Episode 3 with Iron Frills' "Nope!!!!!" music video.
- Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: How the zombies are depicted changes on how they're perceived by whoever sees them. Amongst each other, the zombies look like normal girls, albeit with greenish-blue skin and the occasional bandages or Scary Stitches. This is also the appearance they maintain when Maimai sees them without makeup, as she doesnt mind that theyre zombies. However, when people are frightened by their appearance—including each other when they realize their makeup washed off in public—their putrefied complexions, sunken features, and bulging red eyes become apparent, reminding the viewer that they're still walking corpses.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Kotaro gives one to Ai and Junko by pointing out the irony that both of them are professional idols who won't even make an effort to practice for their guerrilla performance, unlike the rest of the girls who try to give their best even though they weren't idols in the first place. He later ends his statement with this:
"A zombie that doesn't dance is just a regular zombie. Those girls are trying to live. Are you just going to carry on rotting?"
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Zig-Zagged. When taken all on its own, the final name of the zombies' idol group, "Franchouchou" (pronounced "FRAN-shoo-shoo"), doesn't really mean anything apart from containing the cutesy French word chouchou. When spoken in Japanese, however, it's pronounced similarly to furanshuu, which fittingly means "smell of decay".
- Aspect Ratio Switch: In episode 3 of Revenge when Junko plays the guitar on the roof while singing, the aspect ratio shrinks from to and the color palette becomes more muted, reflecting how Junko is from an earlier time period when aspect ratios on television were smaller.
- Attractive Zombie: Zig-zagged. Before regaining their consciousness, the zombie girls have sunken, bulging eyes and contorted faces that make them look quite monstrous. However, they become reasonably more attractive after regaining their rational thought. The makeup is capable of hiding it, but without it, everyone else besides Maimai usually sees them as monsters.
- Baguette Beatdown: Following the success of Drive-In Tori's advertisement shoot, Kotaro makes his morning greeting as a stereotypical Frenchman carrying a baguette, which he uses to smack Ai in the head for snarking about it. Ai immediately retaliates by grabbing the baguette from his hand and clobbering him with it so hard it knocks him to the ground and breaks the baguette.
- Bait-and-Switch Character Intro: At the very beginning, Sakura is introduced as the plucky young protagonist who is excited to try out for an idol audition and barely a minute into the first episode, she's killed by a truck. The death metal theme kicks in, further indicating to the audience that the show will not be a straightforward idol series.
- Bait-and-Switch Credits:
- The first opening theme, "Adabana Necromancy", wouldn't sound out-of-place for a tokusatsu, and certain parts of the accompanying visuals, as well as the single CD cover, show the girls acting as a sentai team. Nothing sentai-related happens in the show at all.
- The beginning of "Adabana Necromancy" also has a subtle bait-and-switch, with the first couple of seconds having dark, disturbing zombie imagery. When it zooms in on a zombie's face, the intro decides to rewind everything from that point a la VHS tape rewinding, which segues into the actual intro featuring absurd colorful zombie imagery.
- Battle Rapping: In Episode 2, Sakura and Saki's on-stage argument segues into a rap battle, with Kotaro and the other girls providing backing music and beatboxing to disguise it as part of the performance.
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- Sakura gets her dream of becoming an Idol Singer midway through the first episode. It's just that she has to go through getting killed and brought back as a zombie first, and even then, she's thrust into the spotlight with zero experience and no preparation whatsoever. She doesn't even remember wanting to be one.
- When Lily was still alive, she desired to never grow up out of fear of developing a masculine body. She got her wish by dying and becoming a zombie, which means she can't go back to her father.
- When rousing Junko out of a funk caused by some troubling events in Revenge episode 4, Kotaro specifically uses the metaphor of her "smashing everything" to break free of her current emotional shackles. Unfortunately for him, Junko took that a bit too literally by smashing his guitar she borrowed after performing a rock song, which leaves him in utter shock. He makes the girls spend the concert aftermath glueing it back together.
- Big Blackout: Wipes out the entire electrical grid in Saga during Revenge episode 10, halting Okoba's exposé of the truth about Franchouchou and causing Xu Fu to become ill.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- In Episode 1, the Japanese "Zombie Land Saga Project" text shown when Kotaro flips the other side of the blackboard◊ is actually written upside-down.
- The final, settled-upon name of the idols' group, Franchouchou, is meant to sound cute while also subtly evoking the image of zombies. To achieve this, its transliteration contains the French word chouchou (a very childish term of endearment), while its Japanese name sounds similar to the words furan and shuu, which mean "decomposition" and "stench", respectively.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Zig-zagged; Light Oozura from "Little Bodda Bope Saga" is introduced as a friendly Cheerful Child, but he's quickly shown in private to be a bossy and ambitious prima donna. However, he's also a Graceful Loser, as while he wins the regionals for Japanese Got Performance he acknowledges that Lily's improvised performance made it a close race.
- Bittersweet Ending: Episode 8 ends with Lily being unable to fully reveal herself to, let alone reunite with, her father Takeo, who likewise remains unaware that "Number 6" is his long-dead, now-zombified daughter, lest Franchouchou blow their cover. Nevertheless, they part ways at peace with themselves: Lily contents herself with the knowledge that Takeo dearly loved her and deeply regretted overworking her to death, and that she still loves him back in spite of their unfortunate history; as for Takeo, Lily and her friends (including Kotaro) compose a special number obliquely directed at him at a street gig, expressing Lily's love and forgiveness, allowing him to finally move on with his life after wallowing in self-loathing for the last seven years. Sakura subsequently notes in Episode 10 that Takeo has started coming to Franchouchou's shows, which has given Lily a lot more energy, and he's in the audience at their concert in Episode
- Revenge episode 12 ends with Franchouchou pulling off a successful show at the EFSand then aliens show up to obliterate a small farm town in some remote part of Saga.
- Black Comedy: The anime has shades of this.
- Bland-Name Product:
- In a somewhat blink-and-you-miss-it moment when Kotaro opens his laptop's browser, his homepage◊ displays "Yafooo!!".
- Hisanaka Pharmaceutical, which Kotaro attracted as a potential sponsor for Franchouchou in Episode 4, is based on Hisamitsu, a real-life Saga-based pharmaceutical company. In particular, their "Saganship Z" dermal patches are based on Salonpas, their most famous brand.
- In Episode 6, a search engine showing news on Ai's death shows a website called Ukipppdia, likely referencing Wikipedia. The search engine itself uses Google's typeface.
- Another from Episode 6: Franchouchou's official website, described by Ai as "so lame you'll want to die. Even if we're zombies already", is so old-fashioned looking it looks almost like it came straight out of the s. Appropriately enough, the website is hosted on "Geocitys".
- In Episode 3 of Revenge, Ai and Junko separately use the computer to visit the "MyTube" and "Cookle" websites.
- In Episode 4 of Revenge, Iron Frill center Shiori proclaims Franchouchou their rival on Kukkiri, a nod to NTV morning show Sukkiri. Arguably overlaps with Lost in Translation, as without the name reference its easy to assume shes pandering to the local audience of a Saga-based show rather than saying so on national television.
- In Episode 5 of Revenge, Lily tries out for Japanese Got Performance, a reality Talent Show rather blatantly based on America's Got Talent and Britain's Got Talent.
- Bloodless Carnage:
- The scenes where Sakura gets hit by a truck in slow motion, and is later shot straight through the chest by a terrified police officer, play out with no blood or gore whatsoever.
- Ditto when Junko is hit by a van in Episode 7: she does get splattered with mud, but there's no blood or any other visible injuries.
- Whenever the girls lose a limb or head, the part in question just pops off like a doll's.
- Averted in Revenge Episode 9, when Itou slaughters a rebellion and bleeds them to death.
- However, Itou's death in the same episode has him falling to the ground, but has no blood spilling from him.
- The scenes where Sakura gets hit by a truck in slow motion, and is later shot straight through the chest by a terrified police officer, play out with no blood or gore whatsoever.
- Episode 1 begins and ends on a shot of a bird flying in the sky, as a counterpoint to the massive upheaval Sakura goes through during the episode.
- Taken Up to Eleven in the first episode of its second season, where it starts and ends with the exact same shot of the bird flying through the sky.
- The eighth episode begins with a man later revealed to be Lily's father, walking out of his workplace to eat by himself after his coworkers turn on the TV. At the end of the episode, he watches Franchouchou's commercial with his coworkers, having come to terms with Lily's death
- Episode 1 is "Good Morning Saga," while Episode 12 is "Good Morning Again Saga." The first storyline of the series is Sakura dying and losing her memories of her life, while the end of the season involves her regaining her memories of her life, and (temporarily) losing her memories of her time as a zombie.
- Continuing the above, Episode 1 of S2 is "Good Morning Returns Saga," and sees Kotaro having a Heroic BSoD.
- Episode 1 begins and ends on a shot of a bird flying in the sky, as a counterpoint to the massive upheaval Sakura goes through during the episode.
- Both Sides Have a Point: Episode 6 marks a rift forming between Ai and Junko over their conflicting views on how the idol industry should work based on what was normal in their respective times: for Junko, it means putting herself at arm's length from the public so she may present her ideal self that she wants her admirers to strive towards; for Ai, it means forging close relationships with her fans and using their support to propel herself forward. Unfortunately, their mutual inability or refusal to understand each other due to their own deeply rooted issues—Junko's feelings that her efforts were rendered meaningless, and Ai's unwillingness to accept her own premature death—keeps them from seeing eye-to-eye. The trope itself is also discussed when the other girls try convincing them to bury the hatchet.
Ai: I don't see how any of what I said was wrong.
Yugiri: There are plenty of fights that start because both sides have a good point.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Episode 3, while Lily is giving her idea for their idol group name, a visual accompanies her imagination showing all the girls looking like Lily. Sakura appears to be able to see the visual and asks where the rest of them were.
- Brick Joke:
- In Episode 3, when Yugiri mentions that as zombies they're supposed to stink, the girls immediately sniff themselves to discover if they have a foul stench for being zombies. Odor is briefly brought up again the next episode, and the girls immediately react by smelling their bodies.
- In Episode 11, an amnesiac Sakura stumbles into the room where the rest of the girls are sleeping without their makeup, and grabs the fireplace poker to defend herself. Ai immediately panics, covers her head and dives for cover, apparently remembering the time when Sakura impaled the same poker through her skull back in Episode 1.
- Also crossed with Bookends; in their first real concert in Episode 2, Sakura attempts to sing "Yomigaere" and fails because of the others' uncooperative antics. In Episode 12, the song almost fails to be sung again, but this time, the one who is being uncooperative is Sakura. It's only when Sakura successfully sings it that she completes her Character Arc.
- Brutal Honesty: In Episode 3, when Junko explains that she prefers solo performances over groups, Kotaro immediately calls her a "loner".
- In Episode 10, Sakura gets hit by a truck again, triggering the exact same pose she and Junko had when they got hit by vehicles in previous episodes. Where the first time killed her, kicking off the whole show, this time restores her memories of her past life but at the expense of her current memories.
- In Episode 12, Tae attempts to jog Sakura's memory of her time with the group by reenacting their dance for "Drive-in Tori", doing her rooster-crow pose, and bringing her a magazine article showcasing Franchouchou's success.
- Also from Episode 12, Sakura locks herself in a room to mope, which is the same room Junko barricaded herself in during Episode 7. Tae is unable to break the door down, as Junko explains she had reinforced it after Kotaro previously kicked it down simply to reach out to her, and instructed her to repair it.
- In the first episode of Revenge, Franchouchou held their anniversary concert at Geils Live House where they first performed. Also, Tae's headbanging in the staff room is in the same manner as she does from the first episode.
- In Episode 4 of Revenge, Junko electrocutes Franchouchou with a cable in order to re-enact their lightning-powered concert from Season 1, complete with the same unnatural glow, auto-tune, and ability to fire lasers from their fingertips. The two metalhead fans even remark, "Here we go again!" when they realize what's happening.
- Revenge episode 6 has a ton during Tae's shopping trip: Maria and her friends, plus Misa, the Korosuke group, and the elderly Kashima folks from episode 9, the PR manager of Saganship Z from "Warming Dead Saga", the rapping dudes from "I ♥ Hip Hop Saga", and Cocco-kun from "Nice Bird Saga In Your Heart". Sakura also looks both ways before crossing the street, indicating shes finally learned her lesson about road safety.
- Revenge episode 7 has a few: Maimais introduction echoes Sakuras in episode 1 of Season 1, complete with death metal scream at her death fakeout, and her role as a super fan who wants to join Franchouchou echoes Sakura wanting to try out for Iron Frill. Maimai also appeared in audience cameos in various concerts prior to her day in the limelight.
- Call-Forward: In the Gaiden manga, the Saga Sagako Busters are based out of the house where Franchouchou end up living, and there's a cameo from the high school versions of the Metalheads, who're schoolmates of Eikichi, the male lead.
- Cassandra Truth:
- When Ai and Junko attempt to leave in Episode 2, Sakura tries to stop them, telling them about how she tried the same and got shot by a policeman for her efforts. They refuse to believe her until they also get shot at by the same policeman.
- In Episode 11 of Revenge, Franchouchou's true appearance is exposed during a performance at the disaster shelter, and Saki, seeing no other option, confesses that the group are zombies and apologizes for the deception. Fortunately, their audience is mostly young children, who insist that Franchouchou can't be zombies because they're not scary. In the end, Franchouchou are able to pass off their appearance as "zombie makeup" and go ahead with the concert, and nobody seems any the wiser that they really are zombies.
- Casting Gag:
- Celebrity Crush: In "Saga of an Almost-Broken Radio", the girls suspect that Saki might have a bit of a crush on White Ryu, a former rock star and host of the radio show So Saga Can Be Saga. This is seemingly confirmed when Saki confesses she loves White Ryu as he's leaving near the end of the episode.
- Cerebus Syndrome:
- Episode 6 of S1 marks a tonal shift in the series as episodes begin focusing less on comedy and more on how the girls died, and how seriously they and those they knew in life were affected by their deaths note such as Ai and Junko struggling with their place in a world that had changed drastically (more so for Junko) since their deaths, Lily's complicated relationship with her father Takeo, Saki getting involved again in her old gang's troubles, and the other girls struggling to repay the kindness Sakura showed them when the latter falls into a deep depression (after coming face-to-face with her troubled pre-mortem memories).
- S2 mainly continues the trend set by S1, but takes another level at the end when it's revealed that Saga is under a massive curse, which kills anyone who could bring fame to the prefecture. All the girls died to this curse, and were brought back by Kotaro to try and get around it, since they can't die again - after subtle machinations have failed, the curse outright ravages Saga with a massive storm and flood and when even that fails in the finale, a UFO shows up in The Stinger and destroys an unknown location in Saga.
- Color-Coded Characters: Just like real idol groups, the girls are marketed with assigned colours (which makes it easy to cheer for your favourite at live events with the voice actresses if you've got an idol penlight): yellow for Lily, red for Yugiri, white/grey/lavender for Junko, blue for Ai, orange for Saki, pink for Sakura, and black/purple for Tae. Maimai uses green (like her eyes) during her guest appearance.
- Continuity Cavalcade:
- For Franchouchou's concert in Episode 12, seen among the audience are their two metalhead fanboys from way back in Episode 1, Sakura's high-school friends (and the daughter of one of them), Takeo (Lily's father), Reiko (Saki's old friend) and her daughter Maria as well as her friends, Misa and her fellow Korosuke bikers, and Okoba and Inubashiri. During the credits sequence, the members of the current incarnation of Iron Frill and Kotaro's bartender acquaintance are also seen.
- A number of characters from previous episodes show up in episode 6 of Revenge, including Maria, her friends, and the elderly Kashima dance group from episode 9, the PR manager of Saganship Z from "Warming Dead Saga", the rapping dudes from "I ♥ Hip Hop Saga", and Cocco-kun from "Nice Bird Saga In Your Heart".
- Continuity Nod:
- In Episode 7, Kotaro throws Saki a megaphone for introducing Franchouchou in Saga Rock, since she is the group's leader. This brings to mind the death metal scene from the first episode where Saki starts the screamo performance by picking up and shouting into the same megaphone.
- In Episode 1 of Revenge, Franchouchou decides to do an anniversary performance at Geils Live House, the venue where they first performed in the very first episode of the series.
- Convenient Photograph: Downplayed Trope. Okoba finds photos of all of Franchouhcou's members when they were alive, piecing together that they must have all been revived somehow. It's not until he catches video of Tae's head coming off that he suspects they're zombies.
- Covered in Mud: This happens to all the girls in the second half of Episode 5 during the Kashima Gatalympics, which revolves around people falling into mud. This proves problematic to them on two fronts, as a.) they're wearing T-shirts to promote their group, which does them no favors when their logos are hidden, and b.) washing themselves off just washes their human makeup off with it. Subverted with Kotaro, who avoids falling into the mud despite all the girls spitefully hoping he would.
- Crazy Enough to Work: The show revels in this trope on every level. It was advertised as a straight horror, but quickly transitions into a bombastic Horror Comedy. Kotaro's big plan to save Saga with an idol group isn't too unreasonable, but having the performers be the undead really puts a mad spin on it, and all the girls are convinced from the start that it's doomed to fail. However, thanks to Kotaro and the girls' quick improvisations, they always manage to wow the audience one way or another.
- Cross-Referenced Titles:
- Episodes 6 and 7 are titled "Because It's Sentimental SAGA" and "But It's Zombiemental SAGA".
- The first and last episodes of the season are called "Good Morning SAGA" and "Good Morning Again SAGA".
- Cryptic Background Reference: In Episode 11, Kotaro is at a bar, having a conversation with the bartender, who is fully aware of Kotaro's Zombie Land Saga Project, briefly confuses Saga with Hizen Province, and has a history with Yugiri, apparently as far back as her living days. Kotaro ribs him about always talking about the good old days, to which he says, "That's rich, coming from you." A potential clue is provided by the bar's name, New Jofuku, "Jofuku" being the Japanese name of Xu Fu, a legendary court sorcerer of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of a unified China, who never returned from his quest for an elixir of immortality. The bartender is confirmed to be Jofuku in the credits of Revenge Episode 8, and confirmed to be immortal and tied to Saga in Revenge Episode
- Curse: As of Revenge Episode 10, we learn that Saga is under one thats lasted a very long time. The curse is known to cause those who would bring Saga fame to die before their time, often through tragic accidentsand is likely connected to the Sagako demons of Gaiden. Apparently, the curse will come to a head when the Reiwa era begins, jeopardizing Sagas future and causing people to forget about it. Kotaros solution to trying to stop the curse is to revive people the curse killed as zombies, forming a single legendary idol group to bring Saga unforgettable fame. At the end of the episode, the curses final form triggers: a massive flood and blackout, causing widespread destruction.
- Dare to Be Badass: Sakura's rap in Episode 2 turns into this towards Ai and Junko, who are in the middle of a Heroic BSoD. She also points it to the audience of elders, encouraging them to be more productive members of society.
- A Day in the Limelight: Episode 6 of Revenge, "Walking Bet Saga", is the first episode to focus on the enigmatic Tae Yamada. Episode 7 of Revenge focuses on Maimai, a super fan who cameoed in audiences in prior episodes and who joins Franchouchou for the episode after learning their secret. Episodes 8 and 9 of Revenge ("The Saga Incident, Parts 1 and 2") focus on Yugiri.
- The Dead Can Dance: The girls can dance just fine as sentient idols, but when they hear death metal as mindless zombies, they instinctively begin to headbang like crazy. Tae as a shambling zombie tries to imitate Sakura's idol dance, but the best she can manage is to wave her arms above her head. Tae's dance moves do improve later, but she's mostly imitating others and gets distracted from time to time.
- Death Metal: The very first performance (then-)Death Musume puts on is at a death metal concert, where the girls simply scream into microphones while banging their heads so hard their broken necks dislocate.
- Decon-Recon Switch:
- The anime's premise is clearly a satire on the Japanese idol industry, with its long work hours, repetitive content, mental and physical stress, and a lifestyle very difficult to adapt into. This translates into the main characters being zombies, which is about as on-the-nose as anyone can get with metaphors. That being said, the anime also shows that the idol industry can be a place of genuine fulfillment for everyone involved, as long as everyone—from the fans, to the producers, to the idols themselves—remains respectful of one another.
- The anime has pointed things to say about the idol industry's concern with having its stars maintain a public image of "purity", firstly by having its idols be corpses, which are about as impure as you can get, then by forcing them to hide the truth about themselves lest they risk alienation. However, it also allows the anime to make a stand for inclusion with Yugiri and Lily, neither of whom would normally be accepted as idols by the industry—the former having been a High-Class Call Girl, the latter a transgender girl—but who are valued bandmates to the other members of Franchouchou, and whom Kotaro recruited anyways despite their background.invoked
- Episode 8 shows how the entertainment industry can wreck a performer's life, overstressing them and ruining their relationships, but also how it can be a source of support for them and a way to find catharsis.
- Deus Angst Machina: Every goal Sakura ever had in life, fate snatched from her. She mastered her lines for a school play in third grade and then missed the play because she came down with mumps. She trained for a relay race until she was the fastest runner in her school, and then pulled a muscle during the opening ceremony—three years in a row. She spent her middle school years studying to get into the high school of her choice, but was delayed on the day of the placement exam by an improbable number of little old ladies needing assistance. Then when she made up her mind to audition to be an idol, she was hit by a truck and killed right as she left her house to post the audition paperwork. Then she achieved success as an idol after her death, but before a performance that would make or break her future, she was hit by a very similar truck, restoring her memories of failure at the cost of her memories of success.
- Diabolus ex Machina: As of Revenge Episode 10, we learn that Saga is under a Curse that causes these, causing those who would otherwise bring Saga fame and fortune to die before their time, with the beginning of the Reiwa era leading to a disaster that causes Saga to be forgotten. Happens at the end of the episode as well: the curse strikes earlier than expected, and a massive flood causes widespread destruction across Saga the day before Franchouchous revenge concert.
- Weirdly, this also doubles as a Deus ex Machina: Ookoba was seconds away from publishing an article that would have exposed Franchouchou's true nature when the flood hit, knocking out the power and preventing him from doing so.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune:
- The opening and ending themes are sung by the idols' voice actresses (minus Kotono Mitsuishi, who voices Tae, since Tae can't really sing). Heck, even Kotaro's VA does the male back-up vocals for the first season's OP.
- This also applies to the (uncut) dub version, albeit the male back-up vocals from the Japanese version are retained for the dubbed S1 OP.
- Don't Try This at Home: On occasion, the series will give out warnings against doing dangerous things the characters have the luxury of doing because they're undead, such as feeding dried squid to dogs, or using dermal patches without prescription (which counts as practicing medicine).
- Double-Meaning Title: The "Saga" in the anime's title refers to Saga Prefecture in Kyushu, which the main characters are trying to revitalize, as well as the story being a "saga" of how the girls aim to become successful idols despite being zombies.
- Drool Deluge:
- In Episode 4, Saki and Junko rise out from the hot spring with water coming out of their mouths like a waterfall.
- In Episode 12, this presages Tae going berserk with rage over her inability to shake Sakura out of her depression.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole:
- In Episode 2, Saki mumbling about an "old fart" is actually her talking about a Tamagotchi; a more precise translation would be "Next time, (she) won't get an Oyajitchi." Oyajitchi is an adult Tamagotchi that you'll get if you raise it well enough but without proper discipline, and Saki always got this one according to her character sheet. It actually serves as a foreshadowing to the implication in Episode 9 that she had no life except for her delinquency prior to Franchouchou, thus was incapable of raising an upstanding Tamagotchi.
- The official English translations incorrectly label Saki as the overall captain and leader of the all-female biker gang Dorami, when the Japanese script specifies her as captain of the gang's special attack unit. This translation is contradicted when the gang's actual boss, Reiko Kirishima, is formally introduced in Episode 9, and her daughter Maria tries to succeed her.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Maimai can be seen in multiple audience shots prior to her appearance in Episode 7 of Revenge. Also lampshaded, as flashbacks to those shots are shown when shes introduced to Franchouchou.
- Eat the Camera: In episode 5, the camera zooms in on Saki's mouth as she scolds the other girls for having never eaten at Drive-In Tori.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: Because the world absolutely needed Japanese Idol Singers that happened to be undead.
- Evolving Credits: For Episode 11, the opening gives vocal noises for the zombies, Kotaro's silly hijinks, and the girls' footsteps as they head to their afterlife on stage.
- Face-Revealing Turn: When the frightened sponsor runs away from the rest of the zombie girls, she sees Yugiri in the hallway and asks for her help. Yugiri calmly responds and turns her head, revealing her zombified face.
- Fan Disservice: When Sakura, Saki, and Junko are bathing, they try to hide from the company president sponsoring them until she comes across Sakura's naked back (with her bottom only conveniently covered by bandages). While Saki has a sarashi covering her breasts, Junko doesn't seem to wear anything to cover even with Censor Steam. Note that they're not wearing makeup, and Sakura's head is detached from her body by accident.
- First-Episode Twist: The first seven minutes play out like a Slice of Life-turned-Survival Horror anime that opens with the death of the main heroine and ends with her discovering she's become a zombie. Then Kotaro Tatsumi appears and announces he's going to turn the undead heroine and the other zombies in the mansion into an Idol Singer group, revealing the whole show to be a Horror Comedy idol series.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: In Episode 10, Ai gives this helpful advice to Sakura, a few seconds before the latter gets hit by a truck again.
"Be careful around traffic."
- Flashback: The first half of Revenge Episode 10 jumps back to explore what happened with the EFS concert.
- Flashback Echo:
- Reiko has a Type 3 example in Episode 9, where "Number 2" mentions a phrase which was also spoken by Saki in their biker gang days. Reiko then has a brief flashback of her friend, visually identifies a resemblance to the stranger and shouts Saki's name, which the latter ignores. After all, Saki and "Number 2" are one and the same.
- A Type 2 variant is shown in Episode 12, as Kotaro listens to the weather report warning of heavy snow on the day of Franchouchou's Arpino concert and flashes back to when he was a student named "Inui", handing over a CD dropped by Sakura. A close-up later and the student's face is superimposed with Kotaro's as the scene cuts to the present. Notably, the CD is a single of Iron Frill's "Fantastic Lovers", the song Sakura was listening to just before she died.
- In the first episode before the girls wake up, the way each of them shamble around the room foreshadow their final actions in life.
- Saki walks around the room with her arms stretched forward. She died riding her motorcyle.
- Ai keeps trying to walk to the center of the room. She died when she walked out onto center stage during her final show.
- Junko grips the bars and presses her face against them. She most likely kept looking out the window as her plane crashed.
- Yugiri hangs her head low and presses it against the wall. She was executed by beheading.
- Tae keeps appearing on and off-screen without performing any specific actions, which references how her life and death haven't even been hinted at.
- While taking a break from late-night practicing in Episode 3, Tae, Lily, Saki, and Sakura are on a merry-go-round that the former keeps repeatedly speeding up. Sakura is so focused on her internal thoughts that she completely fails to notice this - or the others jumping off - until long after she's flung away by Tae's sudden stop, hinting at her Fatal Flaw.
- The seeds for Ai and Junko's argument in Episode 6 are shown throughout the previous episodes. While both of them consider Kotaro's idea of zombie idols to be insane, they usually bring up different reasons: Ai generally brings up how the other five are all untrained and the amount of work needed to be an idol, showing her professionalism; while Junko brings up the audience's desires, which hints at her belief that an idol must be perfect to their fans.
- In Episode 4, Lily freezes in shock when she realizes the gang is about to visit the hot springs. Four episodes later, it is discovered that she is a transgender girl, and thus implicitly fears revealing the truth about her body.
- After "Number 6's" resemblance to "Lily Hoshikawa" is noticed (unsurprisingly by her actual father), Ai states that this incident of being recognized could happen to any of them, but especially herself and Junko since they were famous too. The Stinger at the end of the season finale shows Okoba quizzically comparing photos of "Number 3", "Number 4" and "Number 6" to old photos of Ai, Junko, and Lily, respectively. He continues to piece together their identities at the ends of Episodes 6 and 7 of Revenge, managing to identify everyone except Yugiri (who was born in an era hed have no access to detailed records of).
- The last song Franchouchou is seen singing in Revenge mentions travelers and a covered sky, which is appropriate for the UFO seen in The Stinger.
- In the first episode before the girls wake up, the way each of them shamble around the room foreshadow their final actions in life.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- Episode 6 has a couple during Ai's search on the internet. Such as detailing the aftermath of her death.
- During the "Tokkou Dance", Ai doesn't fully stretch out her pointing finger upwards unlike the rest of the group (As seen at the mark of this video). This means that she still holds a trauma of how she died.
- When Kotaro is giving Junko a pep talk in the fourth episode of Revenge, you can spot some mannequin heads with wigs resembling the hairstyles of Saki and Ai.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: While Sakura is pitying herself as being bad luck after regaining her memory, Ai tells her that doesn't make her any different from the rest of the group. They're all zombies, and they all died in ways that are just as unlucky if not more unlikely than hers.
- Friendly Zombie: While the girls behave like your typical mindless zombies at first, after regaining their intelligence they act no different than ordinary teenagers.
- Funny Background Event:
- Episode 1 is filled with shots of the zombies shambling around and bumping into/walking up against walls in the background.
- When Yugiri starts playing her shamisen during the rap battle in Episode 2, Tae's disembodied arm can be seen drumming to the beat next to her.
- In Season 2 Episode 1, the first scene inside the Franchouchou mansion has Tae's headless body walking around while her head is chomping on Sakura's hair.
- Game of Chicken: Saki died in such a game: she and a rival biker both sped towards the edge of a cliff, with the first to brake being the loser—Saki "won" the game by driving off the cliff entirely. In Episode 9, Maria, the daughter of her (now-retired) fellow Dorami biker Reiko, gets caught up in the exact same scenario, leading Saki to intervene and take her place: this time, she's already dead, so she's not afraid of the consequences should she crash.
- Gainax Ending: Specifically a Gainax Stinger; the end of season two marks the sudden appearance of a UFO blasting a city, ala Independence Day.
- Gender Reveal: Episode 8 marks Franchouchou's discovery that Lily Hoshikawa, the Token Mini-Moe of the group, is a transgender girl born with the masculine name Masao Go. The other girls' reactions range from bewilderment to (in Saki's case) amusement, but they ultimately accept that she is still "Lily" regardless, while Kotaro himself knew the truth and was unperturbed all along.
- Genre Mashup: Zombie Land Saga is predominantly an idol comedy series with zombie horror and various non-pop musical genres such as death metal and rap thrown into the mix. There's also a little local tourism thrown in with the "saving Saga" angle Kotaro planned.
- Genre Roulette:
- As noted under Genre Mashup, Franchouchou have an impressively versatile repertoire. Exemplified by their performance at Saga Arena in Episode 4 of Revenge: their opening number is a Nu Metal song (albeit with considerably more upbeat lyrics than most examples of the genre), followed swiftly by the AutoTuned version of "Mezame Returner" in all its electropop glory.
- The series itself starts getting into this with the second half of Revenge, going from idol comedy to somber Period Piece to disaster story.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man:
- Parodied. Yugiri slaps Sakura in Episode 3 when she believes that the latter was about to say that they should give up on becoming an idol group, giving her a stern Rousing Speech on what they should do next. In actuality, Sakura was about to say exactly what Yugiri told her, but Yugiri and everyone else cut her off before she could say anything further.
- Yugiri does it again in Episode 10, this time slapping Kotaro when she thinks he said he doesn't believe Sakura can sort out her current problems, telling him not to be so weak-minded and to have faith in Sakura. In actuality, Kotaro said he does have faith in Sakura, but was pointing out it wasn't going to be easy.
- Finally in Episode 12 Yugiri slaps Sakura when she refuses to listen to the group's pleas, and despite Sakura still being upset with them all, after the slap their words finally seem to reach her a little bit more.
- Tae of all people in the same episode had attempted it earlier. Culminating in her finally getting fed up, breaking into the room Sakura had locked herself away in and dragging her back to the dance studio with her teeth.
- Ghost Amnesia: Sakura doesn't remember much of her original life, which starts coming back to her in fragments after she performs for the first time. This becomes her primary motivator for continuing to perform.
- A Glass in the Hand: In episode 1 of Revenge, Kotaro grips his glass of liquor so hard it shatters as the bartender badgers him into going back to support Franchouchou.
- Gratuitous English:
- Kotaro is chock-full of it, notably his habit of cuing the backing music for Franchouchou's performances by shouting "MUSIC! COME ON!". Expect at least one of his lines in each episode to be said in full English.
- In episode 5 of Revenge, Lily performs on a Talent Show called Japanese Got Performance. Her main rival is Light Oozura, a child acting prodigy whose catchphrase is an English "Never give up!"
- Gross-Up Close-Up: Whenever people are scared of the zombies, they're portrayed with much more detail than usual. Episodes 1 and 4 are particularly notable examples.
- Guest-Star Party Member: In Revenge, Maimai acts as this to Franchouchou. Shes a super fan who joins for Episode 7 as Number 7 after falling unconscious in front of Kotaro in a way that made him think she was deadand then upon waking up at the mansion, taking the reveal that her favorite idols are zombies in stride. After Sakura explains what Franchouchou is about, however, she decides that its best to live out her life first, with her final song at the only place she sings at being a reprise of the season 1 end credits theme. Notably, its left open for her to come back if she ever dies for real.
- Hand Wave: When Sakura asks how she became a zombie in the first place, Kotaro gives this simple answer:
Kotaro: Come on. Haven't you seen a zombie movie before?
Sakura: I have, for the record.
Kotaro: Well there you go, then.
- Happy Ending Override: The first season ends on a high note, with Franchouchou having a successful show at Arpino and setting forth on the path to become wildly successful idols. Then the first episode of Revenge starts with the girls recovering from a slump after their last show only attracted fans to a venue that seated 30,, which sent Kotaro into an alcohol-fueled Heroic BSoD and forced the girls to get part-time jobs.
- He's Back!: Near the end of episode 1 of Revenge, Kotaro rushes to the venue where Franchouchou is performing and encourages them to sing their encore, even if him and the Metalheads are the only ones who want to hear it (and his stubbornness results in an all-out brawl breaking out). The next morning, Kotaro is back in his old outfit and haircut (though still bruised and scratched-up) and doing Franchouchou's morning meetings as his usual bossy and boisterous self.
- Historical Domain Character: Jofuku/Xu Fu, a Chinese alchemist who went to Japan in search of an elixir of immortality and never returned. Here, he's immortal, bound to Saga, and capable of raising the dead.
- Hit Stop: In Episode 1, when Sakura gets hit by the truck, Episode 5, when Saki and Ai hit back at Kotaro, and Episode 10, when Yugiri slaps Kotaro and Sakura gets hit by a truck again. On other occasions, such as Yugiri's slaps in Episodes 3 and 12, and Junko getting hit by Franchouchou's van in Episode 7, the slowdown is around the impact, rather than the impact itself, for much the same effect.
- Horror Comedy: After Episode 1's doublegenre fakeout, the overall series transitions into an absurd Idol Singer parody, with much of the humor stemming from the fact that it's an otherwise normal idol anime where said idols are the undead trying to hide among the living. The horror aspect occasionally picks back up whenever the girls are outed as zombies in public.
- Hot Springs Episode: Episode 4 features Franchouchou performing at a hot spring for their first sponsored performance, after which Sakura, Saki, and Junko decide to sneak into the springs for a soak despite the risk of blowing their cover. Hilarity Ensues when Sakura's head falls off and is found along with her decapitated body in the water by their sponsor.
- How We Got Here: S2 Episode 1 begins with the girls' current situation, then flashes back to explain how they got there. Franchouchou managed to become a hit for quite some time, but their next venture into a larger stadium only filled people against the 30, total seating capacity, incurring them a huge debt, so they're all working at part-time jobs to pay it off.
- Identical Grandson: In Part 1 of "The Saga Incident", which takes place in Meiji-era Saga, several women look almost exactly like the other members of Franchouchou (including a vendor who looks like Sakura, and a noblewoman who looks like Tae).
- Identical Stranger: An Invoked Trope on the part of Kotaro. Due to being zombies, the girls are all documented as long having died, so he has them only be referred to as numbers so no one tries to look them up and finds out they died. The subversion comes in however with the fact that, of the girls, three of them were former celebrities, and one was a Saga native. Both Lily and Saki are recognized by people they knew when alive, their father and best friend respectively, and noted to act identical, the only thing stopping them from confirming they're one and the same being the idea they've been dead. Intrepid Reporter Okoba meanwhile first notices when he spots Junko, then slowly pieces together that something is up, culminating in the first seasons stinger having him making connections between Franchouchou and the (thought to be) deceased Ai, Junko, and Lily. As of Episode 7 of Revenge, hes managed to piece together Tae, Saki, and Sakuras past identities.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode ends with "SAGA", at least in the original Japanese.
- Idol Singer: The seven main girls have all been revived by Kotaro to form a regional idol group, though only Ai and Junko have any experience as idols from when they were alive. The show as a whole tends to satirize idol anime and the idol industry in general.
- Inelegant Blubbering:
- Internal Homage:
- In Episode 7, Junko gets hit by a vehicle in the same manner as Sakura's case from the first episode. Both have the exact similar pose when they are flung into the air; the difference is that Junko is rammed by Kotaro's van while Sakura is rammed by a truck.
- S1 and S2 both have their first episode begin and end on a shot of a bird flying in the sky.
- The opening of Episode 7 of Revengeriffs on the opening of S1 Episode 1, hitting similar beats: S1 E1 begins with a bird flying in the sky as Iron Frill sing "FANTASTIC LOVERS" and Sakura introduces herself in her internal monologue, moments before there's a sudden swerve as she runs out into the road and gets hit by a truck, while Revenge Episode 7 begins with a bird flying in the sky as Maimai sings "Mezame Returner" while introducing herself in her internal monologue, moments before there's a sudden swerve as she slips on Kotaro's soap and hits her head on the bathhouse floor, in a speeded-up version of Sakura's death except it's a fake-out, and it turns out Maimai didn't actually die, Kotaro just panicked and assumed she had.
- Additionally, after Maimai declares her departure from Franchouchou, they begin singing "Hikari e", the ending song from Season 1.
- Irony: Kotaro points out how ironic it is that a human like him has to break down a barricade to get to a zombie like Junko.
- Joke and Receive: In Episode 6 of Revenge, one of reporter Okoba's colleagues jokes that Franchouchou could be a collection of the living dead rather than the bunch of celebrity lookalikes he thinks they are. At the end of the episode, Okoba sees Tae's head come off, realizing that Franchouchou are the living dead.
- Jump Scare: Tae is introduced through one in which she lunges at Sakura through a window, though she is visible mere moments before she crashes through the glass.
- Lampshade Hanging: In Episode 4, the girls briefly discuss their confusion at how Kotaro was able to resurrect them, especially since bodies in Japan are usually cremated. Then they acknowledge that they'll never get a straight answer out of him.
Saki: Hey, don't sweat the small stuff.
- Light-Flicker Teleportation: Near the end of the fourth episode, Lily suddenly appears to the sponsor in a hallway with flickering lights, and she gets closer to the latter almost instantly every time the lights blink out.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: A regular human can die by being struck by lightning. Zombies? It AutoTunes their voice and enables them to shoot Frickin' Laser Beams out of their fingers.
- Likes Clark Kent, Hates Superman: Policeman A hits on Yugiri when she's working, unaware she's one of the zombies he despises.
- Line-of-Sight Name: How the girls name their group "Franchouchou". Sakura tries to come up with group names having "Fran" as the first syllable, then Tae sneezes in the background after playing with the pen marker, letting out "achoo-choo". Lily then combines the two, and the rest is history.
- Living Relic: "Living" being in lieu of a better term as they are undead, a handful of Franchouchou's members hail from different eras of Japan's history: Saki comes from the mid-to-late 90s when Tamagotchi was all the rage, Junko represents the late Showa period (the s) where idol groups had yet to hit their stride, and Yugiri represents the era between the end of the shogunate and the Meiji Restoration (the midth century). Meanwhile, Sakura, Ai, and Lily hail from the late s and early s. Tae is from , and her story will be revealed in the Gaiden manga.
- Logo Joke: Season 2's OP sequence ends with the "Animated by MAPPA" credit being exaggerated in the form of the actualMAPPA logo (alongside the 'animated by' credit) being integrated onto the background of the last (and as a technical Bookends to the whole sequence, first) shot of the opening.
- Long Title: Episode 9's title is ridiculously long: "Though My Life May Have Ended Once By Some Twist of Fate I Have Risen, and If Song and Dance Are to Be My Fate, Then Carrying the Memories of My Comrades In My Heart As I Sally Forth Shall Be My SAGA". Saki lampshades it in the preview.
- Look Both Ways: Sakura's demise right in the beginning of the show. She wakes up one sunny morning, listens to her favorite song, gets her idol application paperwork together, steps out the front door, and promptly meets the business end of a speeding truck.
- Loophole Abuse:
- In Episode 9, Kotaro lectures Saki with the rule that they can only interact with regular humans when they're doing idol business. When Saki leaves to try and save her old friend's daughter from certain death, she not only abides to the rule against violence, she makes her actions into idol business by turning it into a "captain-for-a-day" publicity stunt, taking Maria's place in the contest and using that to not only save the girl and help repair her relationship with her mother, but also promote Franchouchou, therefore not breaking the rule.
- In Revenge Episode 10, we learn Saga is under a curse that causes those that would bring Saga fame to die before their time, and at the beginning of the Reiwa era will cause it to become forgotten entirely. Kotaros plan to counter the curse is to revive people the curse has already killed as zombies, making a single, unforgettable idol group to save Saga that the curse cant kill again.
- Losing Your Head: The girls can survive having their heads detached, being zombies and all. During Revenge, this happening to Tae is what clues off the Intrepid Reporter that his colleagues joking theory about Franchouchou being undead might actually be the case.
- Lost in Translation:
- Kotaro says the girls have green faces in Gratuitous English, though they are really a grayish blue.
- In "Pure-Hearted Electric SAGA", Junko stumbles onto the beach and wails about Ai. Policeman A then strolls out and says she must be having love troubles. The pun is that "Ai" means "love" in Japanese, but it's lost in English.
- Masquerade: Kotaro tries to keep the girls' true nature as zombies a secret from the public using top-of-the-line makeup to pass them off as living people. Their detachable body parts, and the fact the makeup washes off easily, make this a little difficult, though. As of Revenge, at least two people outside Franchouchou know about their secreta super fan who took it in stride (and even joined Franchouchou for an episode), and an Intrepid Reporter who is currently looking into Franchouchous past identities.
- Mathematician's Answer: Sakura's pressing question about how she and the others became zombies to begin with is met by Kotaro with the vague answer of "It's just like in the movies," followed by the insistence that zombies don't really need any more explanation than that.
- Meet Cute: As revealed in Episode 8 of Revenge, Yugiri's pinwheel just happened to fall on Kiichi's feet. When he picks it up, their eyes meet and he immediately falls in love with her.
- Metalhead: The zombies instinctively turn into these when exposed to Death Metal music in Episode 1. They turn out to be popular among an audience of real metalheads, as their inhuman shrieking and dislocated necks allow them to scream-sing and head-bang like no one else, at least until they try devouring the crowd.
- Mic Drop: Sakura ends their second stage performance by spiking the thing.
- Mirror Reveal: This is how Sakura discovers she was a zombie all along in the first episode, after she attempts to escape the mansion and the rain washes off the makeup that makes her look human.
- Mistakes Are Not the End of the World: This is a Wham Line for Sakura whenever Ai says this, as she realizes that maybe being massively unlucky is okay.
- Mood Whiplash:
- Just as Sakura is about to leave for school in "Good Morning Saga", a truck hits her. When she regains consciousness, she's in a strange room with zombies.
- In "But It's Zombiemental Saga", Junko has a dramatic She's Back moment and runs in front of Kotaro's van in the middle of the road to stop him, only for him to comically run her over.
- In "Saga of an Almost-Broken Radio", Saki cries over her thwarted crush on White Ryu and the fact she might never find someone else (especially because she's a zombie now). Then Sakura starts crying because Saki's sad, and Sakura cries so hard her body starts to dry out.
- Monkey Morality Pose: During the credits of episode 9 of Revenge, Yugiri's three dance students do this pose while dancing in front of statues of the Three Wise Monkeys.
- Murphy's Law: Most of Franchouchou's ventures never go according to plan, often having anything that can go wrong actually going wrong. Eventually Sakura tries to back out of the group after regaining her memories and believing herself to be the source of the group's misfortune, but the group convinces her to stay by reminding her that they are a whole group of unfortunates for having all died young. This resulted in their following concert in episode 12 taking the cake, with a heavy snowstorm breaking into the concert hall and the entire stage crashing down onto them, but despite this they persevered and managed to pull off a stellar performance.
- Inverted for the most part by Tae in Revenge, where despite being the most obviously zombielike of the bunch she somehow manages to get the teams groceries, meet up with a number of Season 1 side characters without issues, and even win 20 million yen from a boat race betting ticket she sneezed random ink onto, erasing Franchouchous debts entirely. She even manages to avoid tipping off the reporter trailing her despite doing things like eating from her familys ancestral graveuntil her head comes off at the very end, but even that was mainly due to Sakura accidentally tripping than anything Tae did.
- In Episode 10 of Revenge, Saga's curse leads to a massive natural disaster before Franchouchou's revenge concert. Then in The Stinger of Episode 12, despite the revenge concert going great, a UFO appears out of nowhere and blasts a remote location in Saga.
- Mythology Gag: In Episode 1 of Revenge, when Sakura narrates what happened after their Arpino concert, she mentions that Franchouchou managed to have a hit CD album (and it also gets shown on-screen). That CD album actually exists; it's the ZOMBIE LAND SAGA Franchouchou The Best album that was released on November 27,
- Never Trust a Trailer: Most of the show's promotional material before its release advertises it as a straight-up horror series about seven girls whose ordinary lives are shattered by a Zombie Apocalypse. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who correctly guessed it to actually be an Idol Singer-themed Horror Comedy where the girls are the zombies. Youtubers who have watched Episode 1 for the first time are shocked and surprised upon discovering the real theme of this anime halfway through the episode.
Youtuber: So you're telling me that this anime is actually an idol anime?!
- Ninja Zombie Pirate Robot: Cross-time Zombie Idol Singers.
- Not Growing Up Sucks: Downplayed in episode 2 of Revenge, when Saki starts crying as it sinks in that there are things she'll miss out on because she can no longer physically age.
- Number of the Beast:
- In Episode 4, when they're to be performing in a hot spring inn, the girls' room is Room and their performance is at 6 PM.
- At the start of Episode 6, a group of local journalists are looking up Franchouchou's homepage, and the counter at the top tells them that they're the th visitors.
- Oh, Crap!: It'd be easier to count the number of times it's not used.
Click to see a list of examples
- Once More, with Clarity!: While previous episodes had alluded to them, but never fully elaborated upon them, Episode 10 of Revenge finally depicts the events before, during, and after the disastrous concert at EFS that derailed Franchouchou's momentum.
- Our Zombies Are Different: At first the girls act like typical zombies (although without the whole "turn you into one of them with a bite" thing), but once their brains are properly stimulated via Death Metal, they start acting like humans again. The girls are closer to Russo zombies than the Romero-style mindless ones, and can blush, eat (though whether they can digest what they eat is a mystery), sweat, get winded, and even cry. They don't require nightly sleep for rest as much as regular humans, but they still do so because extended periods of time without rest still mess with their senses. If it weren't for that pesky extremities-popping-off thing, they might even seem alive. See Lightning Can Do Anything above for extra perks.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Episodes 8 & 9 of Revenge take the series from a wacky comedy to a more serious and somber Period Piece depicting the events that led up to Yugiri's death.
- Passing the Torch: In Episode 2 of Revenge, when Saki learns that retired rock star White Ryu is planning to quit his radio show, she tries to convince him not to leave. Instead, Ryu announces that he thinks he's found the perfect replacement hosts in Saki and the other girls of Franchouchou.
- Product Placement: The anime features some real-life buildings, and companies/establishments:
- Episode 5 has the girls performing a reenactment of the real life "Drive-In Tori" ad complete with chicken suits.
- Episode 7 has Lily and Yugiri promoting the new building of Cygames◊ in the commercial bumper.
- The Maizaru Shopping Center seen in the background near the beginning of Episode 9 is based on the Maizuru department store in Karatsu City.
- Iron Frill is watching Franchouchou's Arpino Live at the end of Episode 12 on TV streaming service Abema TV, which not only aired Zombieland Saga in real life, but is also owned by the same company that owns Cygames.
- Pulling Themselves Together: If a zombie is dismembered or decapitated, the severed part can be popped right back into place.
- Queer Colors:
- When Lily reveals that she's transgender to Sakura, the latter is wearing a skirt that's got light blue, pink, and white stripes, the colors of the Trans Pride Flag.
- In the fifth episode of Revenge, Lily wears an outfit that incorporates the colors of pink, white and teal.
- Ragtag Band of Misfits: For his plan to save Saga with a group of zombie idols, Kotaro resurrected a Heisei-era idol, a Showa-era idol, a Heisei-era would-be idol, a 90s biker gang captain, a nineteenth-century courtesan, a child actress prodigy, and Tae, none of whom had met any of the others before. In Revenge, they're temporarily joined by a contemporary, Reiwa-era high school girl who knows theyre zombies but doesnt care.
- Reactive Continuous Scream:
- Twice in the second episode. First when Ai and Junko bump into each other when they try to run away from the mansion, then when those two plus Sakura meet with Policeman A and a trio of rappers: the living freak out at the sight of zombies, the girls freak out when Policeman A tries to shoot them, and their screams scare the living even more.
- In the fourth episode, Ai screams back when the sponsor screams at her face out of terror, making it the second instance Ai does this to humans.
- The Reveal: From Revenge: Saga is cursed. Anyone who would bring Saga fame and fortune will be killed before their time, and the main reason the zombies havent been killed yet is that theyre already dead. Additionally, the curse has a deadline: at the beginning of the Reiwa era, a massive disaster will overtake Saga and cause it to become permanently forgotten. Gaiden also hints at this with the existence of supernatural phenomena like the Sagako.
- Regained Memories Sequence: [[spoilers:Happens twice to Sakura. First after she's hit by a truck which triggers her memories from life to return, but at the cost of her undead memories. Then during the Arpino concert, all of the time she spent with Franchouchou returns, completing her memories in their entirety.]]
- Revenge of the Sequel: The second season for the series uses this as its subtitle.
- Reverse Psychology: How the bartender is able to snap Kotaro out of his Heroic B So D at the start of Revenge. He tells Kotaro that the project was doomed from the start, repeatedly gets Franchouchou's name wrong, and suggests that since Kotaro has given up on them, he should go to them and tell them to their faces that he no longer believes in them. It works, and Kotaro smashes his glass before sprinting to the girls' performance in time to inspire them to finish their set.
- Rhymes on a Dime: The comedic focus of Episode 2. First, three of the zombie girls attempt to leave the mansion but they come across three rappers on the street. Policeman A later arrives on the scene speaking in rhymes, warning the boys not to pick on the girls in the middle of the night. Then the episode's climax turns into rap battle when Sakura unexpectedly slips some rhymes on-stage, with Kotaro providing the beatbox upon seeing this opportunity.
- Riddle for the Ages: In Season 1, Kotaro explaining that how he revived the girls needs no explanation? By the end of Episode 12, there really is no explanation given. Several other questions are similarly left up in the air. Most notably, Tae's identity and past are never revealed in the anime, nothing is explained about the mysterious bartender of New Jofuku or his relationship with Yugiri, and we never learn why Kotaro wanted to save Saga so badly or what his exact relationship with Sakura was.
- Season 2 averts some of these, with Yugiris relationship with the bartender and his status as Jofuku revealed in Episodes 8 and 9, and the reason Kotaro wants to save Saga and why he chose zombie idols to do it revealed in Episode
- Ripped from the Headlines: Kotaro threatening to shave Sakura's head if she exposes the group a second time is a reference to a well-publicized incident in , when AKB48's Minami Minegishi had to practically shave her head in penance for supposedly breaking the love ban.note She supposedly cut it herself in shock at being in the tabloids, but it's widely suspected to have been pressure from her agency, who also demoted her all the way down to trainee for seven months. It caused a great deal of controversy and exposed much of the dark side of idol culture, which the show tends to play with.
- Rockers Smash Guitars: In episode 4 of Revenge, Kotaro gives Junko his beloved electric guitar and tells her to smash through her fears and self-doubts. At the end of Franchouchou's first song as Iron Frill's opening act, Junko literally smashes Kotaro's guitar, much to his despair.
- The Runner-Up Takes It All: The talent show in Episode 5 of Revenge ends with Lily and fellow child actor Light Oozora facing off, with both of them choosing to sing the same song as their final act. Light gives a typical but technically sound performance, while Lily, not wanting her act to feel like a rehash, comes up with a new, more upbeat arrangement of the song and peppers her vocals with Scatting for a performance that's all her own. The judges ultimately rule in Light's favour, but he sees it as a Pyrrhic Victory as he's sure the audience will remember Lily's performance much more than his. Sure enough, a montage at the end of the episode shows her performance has become very popular with children and an Instant Web Hit.
- Sequel Episode: Season 2's second episode, "The Saga of an Almost-Broken Radio", not only borrows elements and call-backs to the first half of Season 1's fifth episode, which involves the group working with a real-life Saga celebrity/company that is deeply connected to Saki (Drive-In Tori in the former episode, and White Ryu's radio show in the latter episode); but it's also a follow-up story to the ninth episode, which focused on Saki's backstory. Specifically, Episode 2 of Revenge manages to answer the question that Saki pondered at the end of Episode 9 ("What does it take to be special, anyway?") and reveals that White Ryu's radio show allowed a younger Saki to realise how she could be special when it comes to doing what's right in your heart, which led her to meeting Reiko for the very first time.
- Sequel Hook:
- Season 1 ends with Franchouchou firmly establishing themselves as the top idol group of Saga prefecture, as well as Sakura getting all of her memories back. However, Kotaro also makes a point that they're still nowhere near "saving" Saga. Then The Stinger cuts back to the offices of Sagazine, where Okoba is comparing the shots of "Number 3", "Number 4" and "Number 6", with those of Ai, Junko and Lily, respectively, from when they were alive.
- Revenge ends with Franchouchou pulling off a successful show at the EFS, gaining the attention of the rest of Japan. The group, however, knows that their accomplishment will only be an achievement, and they have more to prove themselves to Saga. Kotaro also appears to have blood appear from somewhere during (before?) his big speech, which can only be left to interpretation. The big stinger however, is that after the performance, a huge UFO is seen flying over some farmland in a remote part of Saga and blows it up with a laser.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: In Episode 5's second half, Franchouchou enter the Kashima Gatalympics wearing t-shirts advertising themselves to try and raise their profile, but quickly end up Covered in Mud, keeping anybody from reading them. When they wash the mud off, it takes their makeup with it, so they have to take another dive into the mud to keep their appearances under wraps. When Tae wins the final event, Sakura remembers that Tae is wearing two shirts, so she tells her to tear her shirt off. Tae does, only to reveal that her undershirt was one for Drive-in Tori, one of whose commercials they starred in.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: The idols are all scarred, rotting, sunken-eyed corpses, but Kotaro's impeccable cosmetic skill allows them all to pass off as if they never died to begin with. If Saki's reaction is anything to go by, Kotaro is able to make them noticeably more attractive than they were in life.
- The helmet and tracksuit outfit the girls wear in the opening is reminiscent of a similar outfit worn by K-Pop group Crayon Pop.
- The series tagline parodies Love Live! Sunshine's!! taglinenote "We want to live!" as opposed to Sunshine's "We want to shine!".
- The death metal song that the girls perform as "Death Musume" in episode 1 is listed on the show's soundtrack as "Youkoso Saga e" ("Welcome to Saga"), a reference to the Japanese mystery novel Youkoso, Wagaya e ("Welcome to My Home").
- The acts that are supposed to show up alongside Franchouchou (then known as Death Musume/Greenface) in Episode 2◊ are an Internal Homage for the studio: Deizu High School Concert Band Club, Trio Dea Po Llon, and Hasetsu Jazz Orchestra (listed from above to below).
- Some of the episode names are references to pre-existing works having "Dead" on their titles:
- In Episode 5, the group uses traffic cones to cover their faces, exactly like in Plants vs. Zombies.
- The couple that makes an appearance when Junko and Sakura end up at the beach is a reference to the lyrics of Nagisa no Balcony, Seiko Matsuda's hit song from
- The title of Episode 8 is "Go Go Neverland SAGA"; it's revealed in Lily's backstory that she never wanted to grow up due to being a trans girl and not wanting to deal with puberty, and since she's now a zombie, she never will. The "Go" part also alludes to her original family name and her relationship with her father.
- Saki, Reiko, and Maria's biker gang name is "Dorami" while their rival gang's name is "Korosuke", both of which are character names of mangas by Fujiko Fujio.
- In the English dub for Episode 7, Kotaro's line is changed to contain this reference:
Heeeeere's Kotaro! Barricades are supposed to keep the zombies out, you little sad sack!
- In the scenes where the idols are practising their moves, if you squint a bit, the "ZLS" logo on Saki's tracksuit looks suspiciously similar to "".
- Light Oozora in Episode 5 of Revenge is a rather blatant one to Light Yagami, looking like a younger version of him, almost as arrogant, and even using his "Just as planned!" line. He's even opposed by L-ily.
- In Episode 12 of Revenge, Tae's call-and-response with the crowd is reminescient of Freddie Mercury's call-and-responses during concerts, particularly the one he did at Live Aid in
- Also in that same episode, we see a homage to the infamous "Portals" scene from Avengers: Endgame in the scene where every fan, supporter, and everything in-between in regards to Franchouchou themselves, arrive at the EFS venue in order to help out with Franchouchou's revenge concert (which is also an aid concert for Saga as a whole). Two particular moments of that homage even references the shots of Spider-Man and Black Panther (with his Wakandan army) from the original scene; in the case of ZLS's homage, it's Cocco-san and Maimai (and her friends- plus the rest of the students from their high-school), respectively.
- In the Gaiden manga, the Saga Sagako Busters' name and outfits are reminiscent of the Ghostbusters.
- Shovel Strike: Kotaro knocks the Policeman out cold with a shovel when he comes to rescue a recently revived Sakura.
- Shown Their Work: Each member of Franchouchou has a singing style that matches the era they came from. This overlaps a bit with Doing It for the Art as opting for historical realism over what's popular today was a risk for the show creators.
- Shrine to the Fallen: Takeo keeps a shrine in their house with a picture of Lily's deceased mother.
- Sickening "Crunch!": Used both straight, whenever a zombie moves unnaturally, and comically as a replacement for Wacky Sound Effects that would usually accompany some of the girls' movements, such as in Episode 6 every time the zombies tilt their heads or look sideways.
- Signs of Disrepair: In episode 4 of Revenge, Ai opens a boxed lunch Sakura made to find the rice is topped with katakana made from nori that spell out "kaba" ("hippo"). Then she finds some more nori stuck to the lid of her lunchbox, and finds the whole message actually spells "ganbare" ("Go for it!"). The official subtitles approximate this with You suc and a reveal of Youll succeed.)
- Simple-Minded Wisdom: A flashback shows that after the failed EFS concert put them deep in debt and caused Kotaro to be too busy drowning his sorrows to do the makeup job that usually allows the girls to leave the mansion, all Franchouchou members minus Tae had a meeting to address their growing debt, lack of money and depleted food supply. As they were having trouble seeing a way out, Tae showed up, turning out to have applied Uncanny Valley Makeup on herself, stolen Kotaro's savings and used them to go shopping. That allowed the others to realize they could do each other's makeup and go out to get jobs.
- Slow Clap: Episode 12, started by Kotaro, sustained by the fans.
- Slow-Motion Fall: In the very first episode, Sakura is flung into the air after being hit by an oncoming truck, and the scene slows down right as she's about to come falling to the ground, dead. This scene is recreated multiple times throughout the show, sometimes Played for Laughs and sometimes Played for Drama.
- Sound-Only Death: In episode 9 of Revenge, Yugiri's backstory features her being executed by government officials, but only a blade swing is heard before the scene cuts to black.
- Space Whale Aesop: Learn to overcome your fear of lightning by letting yourself get struck again. If you're a zombie, it'll make you light up and turn your voice into a vocorder, so you really have nothing to worry about.
- Stealth Pun: In episode 5 of Revenge, Lily (who goes by the stage name Number 6, or rokugo) does a rakugo performance for her act in Japanese Got Performance.
- The Stinger:
- Season 1 ends with a brief, but important, conversation at the Sagazine Editorial Department:
Photographer: Okoba-san! How'd you like the pictures from the other day? Huh? What you got there?
Okoba: (Staring at two sets of photos of Ai, Junko, and Lily, one from their previous lives, and the other of their current appearances.) I'm less sure by the minute What the hell's going on here?
- Done again with the same character in Episodes 6 and 7 of Revenge: in the former, he sees Taes head fly off and realizes Franchouchous secret, while in the latter hes pieced together the original identities and deaths of everyone except Yugiri.
- Season 2 ends with what appears to be aliens blowing up some remote part of Saga prefecture.
- Sucks at Dancing: Maimai is this at first, somehow managing to get her feet tangled in a way even the zombies couldnt manage. She gets better with dedicated practice, though, and averts the trope entirely during her one concert.
- Sudden Video-Game Moment: In Episode 3 of Revenge, Kotaro debriefs Franchouchou about Iron Frill's arrival while carrying a a water-gun rifle and acting like a soldier. Then it cuts to a P.O.V. Cam where he starts shooting at the girls in a manner reminiscent of a First-Person Shooter, complete with cross-hair on the screen and right-handed weapon view.
- Sunglasses at Night: Kotaro wears his all the time, including on a rainy night, and even in the bathtub. The season 1 finale teases with a possible answer why.
- Super Mode: Being electrified causes Franchouchou to absorb its energy and enter an empowered state, manifesting as a light-blue aura that auto-tunes their voices. They can also channel the energy to create mesmerizing holographic effects like rings of electricity and laser beams.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- After succeeding in their first two shows purely by Kotaro and a few of the girls' improvisation, the girls try to crunch in as much practice as they can for their first proper idol performance in Episode 3. The results are that Lily accidentally trips over herself and Sakura completely forgets her lines in the middle of the song, causing the few people they managed to attract to disperse without a second glance. Although the highly experienced Ai and Junko step in and the rest of the show goes off without a hitch, the concert is largely a failure and only manages to attract a single fan, albeit a very invested one, in the end.
- In Episode 6, Ai's flashback shows her getting struck by lightning when she points to the sky, which is also Truth in Television, as pointing up in the middle of a lightning storm is considered to be very dangerous.
- In Episode 8, the girls acknowledge that people will recognize the similarities they have to who they were prior to becoming zombies after meeting with Lily's father, who says that Number 6 bears a resemblance to his daughter. By first season's end, the reporters who were covering the group likewise notice the similarities between Ai, Junko, and Lily's past and present selves. This continues in the second season in which people do comment on the fact Ai resembles herself.
- Saki died due to her reckless riding, which is mentioned early on and shown in a flashback in Episode 9. Even if you are a badass biker gang captain, riding too fast is dangerous.
- In Season 2 Episode 1, Kotaro is left in a depressed state and just spends his time drinking somewhere else. The girls have to earn money to pay the huge debt incurred after their failed concert in the Ekimae Real Estate Stadium. But it turns out they can't replicate Kotaro's proper make-up skills, and as a result, they still look very pale and their Creepy Shadowed Undereyes are still visible in public. Without a producer, they also find it hard to resume their idol activities.
- Also, Kotaro breaking out of his funk to support Franchouchou by shouting "Encore!" only results in him pissing off the unimpressed audience and starting a brawl. Even as the girls find their confidence and pull off their song perfectly, the concert was largely a failure.
- In Episode 4 of Revenge, Franchouchou put on an incredible performance as Iron Frill's opening act, winning the respect of their lead singer Shiori. Despite this they're easily outshined by Iron Frill, the group the audience were actually there to see, and until Shiori declares Franchouchou their rivals in an interview their performance is considered little more than a footnote to the number one idol group's tour.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: The very begining of the anime - Sakura wakes up one sunny morning, listens to her favorite song, gets her idol application paperwork together, steps out the front door, and promptly meets the business end of a speeding truck. And it's depicted in grotesque detail just for the laughs.
- Take That!: Aside from being an Affectionate Parody, Zombie Land Saga takes a jab at the common tropes and interpretations regarding the idol industry:
- In any entertainment industry, it is common to hear of dancers, singers and idols being overworked hard to the point of collapsing, which comes as a result of a lack of sleep. Well, Franchouchou doesn't need to worry about that, since they're already zombies. Kotaro even states that he can overwork them to death since they're already literally dead. Lily's backstory hits this further since she died due to overworking.
- In relation to the above, Kotaro represents abusive producers and managers, but such abuse here is only limited to physical examples and is mostly Played for Laughs such as shouting at his idols' faces, beating them with a baseball or a baguette, and even expressing some Brutal Honesty in his team. Thankfully, since this is only Played for Laughs, Kotaro's actual serious side shows that he really cares about his idol team, and can be there when they need mental and emotional support.
- The Foil of Ai's and Junko's respective motivations reflects the debates about whether the idols should be someone whom the fans can relate and interact with versus someone whom the fans perceive as the ideal, perfect and pure individual for entertainment.
- There can be transgender women in the entertainment industry, contrary to the belief that idols should be "pure" cisgender girls. And this show demonstrates a realistic approach that benefits all sides affected - it's fine to accept someone and respect them for who they are, or move on and not make a huge fuss out of it. Although the others were surprised at first when Lily revealed herself to be trans, her overall relationship with the group still remained strong, and even Kotaro knew it from the start but did not make any ruckus out of it.
- Expanding on the perception of having the idols "pure", there are beliefs that idols must not have boyfriends, nor engage in any sexual activities. Well, Yugiri is an oiran - a High-Class Call Girl knowledgeable about the arts of her time, who can also be paid to entertain men. Episode 4 even has a Double Entendre that implies Yugiri has indeed had sex with her guests as a part of her job. As one could say, the oiran were technically the "idols" of their time. This also serves as a "take that!" to how the perception of entertainers has changed between time periods. Season 2 Episode 2 expands on this a bit when the girls discuss if Saki has a crush on Ryu. Junko as an old school idol thinks idols can't have lovers but the others think it's fine, and Ai explains that even idols from Junko's time obviously had lovers; they just hid it from the public.
- A meta example. After some fans tried to claim that Lily being trans was the translators pushing an agenda, the creators responded by incorporating the trans pride flag into the background of various promotional art. Various episodes in the anime also have similar moments whenever Lily is around/focused upon.
- Tears of Blood: In Revenge Episode 12, after Kotaro cries over how much Franchouchou had grown as a group, he wipes the floor off with what appears to be his blood coming from his own tears.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: There's a number of problems with Kotaro's project at first, including the fact that none of the girls asked to be brought back as zombies, nor do they necessarily get on with each other. As they grow closer and struggle together, this increasingly goes away.
- Tempting Fate:
- During a flashback in Episode 8, a living Lily declares that she will never grow up and will always look the same. She dies right after that and comes back as a zombie years later, so what she said is very true.
- Episode 7 has Ai terrified of dying (again) from lightning. The buildup to the climax features her performing during a lightning storm, triumphantly pointing at the sky.
- In Episode Ai warns Sakura to beware of traffic. Guess what happens?
- A rapid-fire example in Season 2 Episode 1. Just as Sakura reminds the other girls to be careful and not break any of Kotaro's belongings, she trips over his guitar, snapping the strings.
- That Poor Cat: In Episode 5, a screeching cat can be heard when Tae is chasing after Cocco-kun in her second attempt to eat him.
- Thematic Theme Tune: The opening song, Adabana (All-Style, No-Substance) Necromancy, is an inspirational anthem for zombies, urging the girls to keep fighting for their dreams despite the fact that they're dead.
- There Was a Door:
- When a depressed Junko barricades herself in a distant room of the mansion, Kotaro kicks the barricade down with such force that it even breaks the door. Fortunately, Junko knows how to fix the door back in place when told to do so.
- Later on Tae tries the same thing, only to fail because Junko reinforced the door when she fixed it. She then opts for the window above the door instead.
- The Thing That Goes "Doink": Episode 10, around , shows a shishi-odoshi as Yugiri invokes a more historic feel while talking to Kotaro.
- Those Two Guys: The two metalheads who show up at every concert, featuring the standard two Geek Physiques.
- Time Skip:
- The series jumps ahead ten years from to after Sakura's death.
- Season 2 reveals a 1 month gap between the events surrounding the Arpino concert from Season 1 and the EFS incident. Likewise, its first episode already begins with the girls participating in part-time jobs to work off the debt from the latter incident for about a year.
- Title Drop: "Zombie Land Saga" is the name of Kotaro's project to save Saga, one of Japan's 47 prefectures, using an all-zombie idol group.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Sakura realizes she has become a zombie when she looks at herself in a street mirror after Policeman A freaks out at the sight of her. Getting shot through the chest and surviving only hammers it home.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Saga Prefecture is cursed.
- Trademark Favorite Food: The zombies seem to enjoy dried squid. In Episode 2, Tae attacks a man in the audience to take his squid.
- Tragic Keepsake:
- Saki's Tamagotchi serves as one for Reiko, her former comrade in Dorami, even as she now lives as an ordinary housewife and mother.
- Yugiri still has the red comb given to her by Kiichi, her Implied Love Interest.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Played for Laughs in Episode 4, where Franchouchou's potential sponsor is so terrified after seeing the girls out of their makeup that she forgets everything that happened that day, including their sponsorship deal, to Kotaro's frustration. Unfortunately for her, Revenge Episode 6 shows that even if she has no memory of the incident itself, it became a subconscious Trauma Button that makes her go catatonic with terror if she sees anything which reminds her of the events, such as Tae re-enacting her upside-down floor crawling.
- Truth in Television:
- Ai's death was caused by a lightning storm. This happened because she was pointing into the sky, something that's very dangerous to do.
- While Junko was pouting in her room, she ended up growing mushrooms on her head. Corpses produce mycelium, a vegetative part of a fungus that grows mushrooms.
- The Japanese work ethic is notorious for its extreme focus on productivity, even if at the expense of the individual, leading to cases of karoshi, or work-related death, to which Lily succumbed (compounded with the discovery of an unwanted sign of male puberty).
- Undeathly Pallor: The zombies all have pale blueish-green skin and sunken red eyes when out of makeup.
- Unknown Rival: Franchouchou considers Iron Frill to be their biggest competition, but where Franchouchou is a small time Idol group barely popular in even their home prefecture, Iron Frill is the most successful Idol group in Japan and even has international fame, so it's safe to say our girls haven't been even a blip on Iron Frill's radar (at least as a group). It's not until episode 4 of Revenge that Shiori, the current Iron Frill center, acknowledges them and the rivalry stops being so one sided.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Zig-Zagged. Bystanders freak out when they see the zombies in their true forms, but when they're in makeup, their unnatural features such as broken bones and detachable body parts suddenly come across as much less bizarre.
- For instance, one old man in Episode 2 kindly offers Tae some dried squid while he's being bitten by her decapitated head.
- At the very start of Season 2, the zombie girls had to apply make-up, and blend into society for a while in order to work part-time jobs. Ai's co-workers are worried that she looks pale, but nobody is aware that the girls are actually zombies.
Junko: Surprisingly, no one knows what we are.
- In Revenge, averted during The Stinger for Episode 6. The Intrepid Reporter sees Taes head fly off, and reacts about as one might expect, albeit quietly to avoid being noticed.
- The Unseen: Sakura's death in Episode 1 is framed in a way that the driver of the truck she gets hit by is never shown. When she gets hit by one later in the series, the driver is present, but it's never made clear if it's the same one from the start or a different one.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: In episode 1 of Revenge, Yugiri tries to comfort a drunken and morose Kotaro as he pukes his guts out over a low wall.
- Wham Episode:
- Episode 10 ends with Sakura getting hit by a second truck all over again after she'd finally hit her stride just one week before Franchouchou's big show at Arpino. This ends up jogging her memories of when she was alive, but also causes her to forget everything she'd gone through as a zombie.
- Episode 11 carries things further by revealing that before losing her memories, Sakura was suffering from crippling depression as a result of countless failures and bad luck at everything she ever tried hard at, from landing the lead role in a play to securing the high school of her choice; her cheerful attitude in the first episode was her rebound after she'd been inspired by the story of Ai's rise to fame. The realization that her new lease on life only wound up getting her killed on the street and the loss of her memories of finally finding accomplishment causes her to cross the Despair Event Horizon.
- In Revenge Episode 10, we learn everything leading up to the disastrous concert of last year, and see Okoba confront Kotaro over his use of zombies idols. Moreover, Jofuku's identity, immortality, and connection to Saga are stated outright (along with Kotaro's connection to him): Saga is cursed to kill anyone who would bring Saga fame and fortune before their time, while Kotaro resurrected people killed by the curse in an attempt to bypass Saga's ultimate fate (being forgotten entirely after a disaster). Finally, right before Okoba can send his story on the zombies for publication - a day before Franchouchou's revenge concert - the curse's disaster triggers: a blackout and a massive flood sweeps through Saga, destroying the mansion where Franchouchou (un)live.
- Wham Line:
- In Episode 8, after Lily finishes the story of her falling out with her father and subsequent death, which has been punctuated with Lily's father repeatedly calling her "Masao" (definitely a masculine name in Japanese):
Sakura: Who's this Masao guy you were talking about?
Lily: It's what my name used to be.
- In Episode 10, three little words take a scene from "funny and heartwarming" to "dark times ahead":
- In Episode 8, after Lily finishes the story of her falling out with her father and subsequent death, which has been punctuated with Lily's father repeatedly calling her "Masao" (definitely a masculine name in Japanese):
- Wham Shot:
- This is pretty much spoiled as of now, but the first episode did contain an important shot to those who were new to the show on day one: Sakura Minamoto staring into the mirror on the streets, revealing her rotten zombie looks, realizing that she is now undead. Complete with dramatic zoom-in and lightning.
- A minor one, but in S1's Episode 12 before the concert, we see a flashback of Kotaro in high school as a girl picks up an idol CD from him; she thanks him with a bright smile, which clearly affects him. This girl was Sakura Minamoto, re-contextualizing the purpose behind the Zombie Land Saga plan, as it does the way he regards Sakura, bluster or otherwise.
- Another minor one shows up in the very end of Episode 5, where Okoba (who runs the Sagazine company) starts to consider doing some digging on Franchouchou due to recognizing Junko.
- In Episode 6 of Revenge, when Sakura accidentally pulled off Tae's head, Franchouchou were able to keep it a secret from Maria, managing to keep their true nature hidden. But after the credits roll, it turns out that Okoba managed to take a photo of the incident and realized that the girls must be zombies. By the end of Episode 7, he's gathered news articles relating to all the Franchouchou girls' deaths, save for Yugiri (as her death predates modern photography records).
- In Revenge Episode 10, the mansion where Franchouchou is based is swept away in a flood. The following episode, it collapses to splinters shortly after making landfall again.
- At the end of Revenge, Episode 12, Kotaro comes to see Franchouchou backstage, and doubles over in tears as he sees how far they've all come. As the girls leave for their encore performance, he gets up and attempts to wipe away a blood stain he'd left on the floor.
- The Stinger from the end of Revenge Episode 12 features a remote farm town somewhere in Saga prefecture getting obliterated by what appears to be an alien spacecraft.
- Whole Episode Flashback: Episodes 8 and 9 of Revenge are a two-parter showing Yugiri's life during the Meiji era, shortly before her death.
Heartwarming / Zombie Land Saga
And watching these dancing corpses, you'll be smiling too.
Just because the zombies' hearts stopped beating doesn't mean they can't bring a flutter to yours.
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Episode 1 - Good Morning Saga
- Even though it doesn't exactly work, Kotaro's Rousing Speech for a clearly doubtful Sakura before her first ever performance is especially poignant for any new artist who's ever struggled to get their foot in the door.
Kotaro: Nobody in that crowd is expecting a damn thing from you all. That goes for me, too. Not even a little bit.
Kotaro:AND THAT'S WHY! That's why you have to blow their expectations away! You will all turn Saga No, you'll turn the entire world on its head!
- A subtle one is Sakura's treatment of the other zombies after she is returned to the mansion. Sure, they scared her and are still shambling corpses that make her distinctly uncomfortable, but she goes from just cringing around them to actively trying to calm them down with squid when they spaz out before a show, and even attempts to introduce them all and keep them from getting into trouble. It continues into the second episode where she's seen laying out blankets, attempting to keep Ai and Junko safe, and raising Tae's hand in an attempt at a cheer.
Episode 2 - I ♥ Hip Hop Saga
- Lily and Yugiri genuinely compliment each other's appearances after Kotaro is done with their makeup. There's a sisterly feeling about the whole thing.
- The sight of the elderly man cheerfully giving dried squid to the detached head of Tae Yamada, unfazed by the fact that he is holding a zombie head, despite all the other elders being shocked at the sight.
- By their second stage performance, it appears that the zombie girls already earned their dedicated fans - the two death metal fans who even decide to watch them inside a room full of old folks. Even if they stand out from the rest, it doesn't matter to them as long as they can watch their idols.
Episode 3 - Dead Or Live Saga
- The zombie girls' guerrilla performance could have been a complete disaster after Lily accidentally slipped, causing the onlookers to stop watching them. But as it later turns out, one young girl kept on watching and even dances along until the end.
- Ai and Junko finally recovering from their Heroic BSoD and jumping in to save the performance after Sakura forgets the lyrics.
- At the end, Saki thanks the girl for watching and promised to work hard and do better next time. She's really warmed up to the idea of being an idol.
- The episode ends with Sakura genuinely thanking Ai and Junko, her speech backed by a montage of the others contemplating and preparing for the future (and Tae playing with Romero). It's a quiet moment, but it's enough to get Junko to admit she liked performing with a group and Ai to actually consider starting over.
Episode 4 - Warming Dead Saga
- The conversation after the girls' trip out, where they acknowledge that they would never have met if it weren't for Kotaro's insane plan. Also where they all put their talents and skills out there and agree to work together to become the best idol group they can be.
- In the hot springs, Saki leaps to the presumed defense of Junko. Admittedly it turns out it was just a cloth in the water, but she was quick to try.
- The three of them reflect on how well the day went. It's just a moment of realization that, yes, they can do what they set out to do. Shame that the sponsor came down and accidentally ruined the moment.
Episode 5 - The Nice Bird Saga In Your Heart
- Saki's obsession with the Drive-in Tori restaurant might be played for laughs, but consider: This is something she loved in her past life, and it's still around. Seeing her so happy for something so simple, one can't help but think of their own nostalgias.
Episode 6 - Because It's Sentimental Saga
- Lily takes a moment to make sure Yugiri is keeping up with all the modern tech talk. It's a small thing, but it shows that she recognizes the difficulties Yugiri must be having, and the bond they've been making in the background.
- Yugiri returns the concern later, comforting Lily after Ai runs off and very pointedly making sure Saki goes after the former idol. There's a reason they call her Big Sis, and it isn't just her age.
- Ai and Junko, independently of each other, reminisce about their prior careers. Apparently, despite their tragic endings, they were both very happy entertaining the masses. And by all accounts, they were adored by their fans; Ai's death in particular had people mourning for a long time.
- Sakura goes after Junko, even risking her makeup (and therefore safety) to catch the girl's sunhat. Their conversation on the beach has Sakura hiding her now openly undead face underneath said hat, but she doesn't leave Junko alone.
- Junko comes to the conclusion that she has to leave Franchouchou, for the sake of the group. It is very tragic, but she makes it clear she's doing it for the others since her time has come and gone.
- Who goes after Ai? Saki—that's right, Japanese Delinquent Saki, not only going after the girl but helping her into a shelter from the rain. She doesn't even make fun of Ai's fear of lightning, only expressing mild surprise and holding her close while she explains how she died to a bolt.
- Sakura and Saki meet up in the middle of the night, both of them expressing worry over the group. Saki admits that if this was her old group, she'd just line them up and yell them into line—but she also admits it isn't her old group and that's not going to work. All you've got is your guts and your crew indeed
Episode 7 - But It's Zombiemental Saga
- Even though everyone is understandably worried about Junko, Saki takes a moment to ask Ai how she's doing. She cares about all members of her crew, especially after hearing what happened to her in the past.
- Kotaro, of all people, sits down with Junko and explains how things have changed, and how she can still be who and what she wants to be. It's one of the rare moments where he puts away his usual hamtastic persona to actually help out the girls.
- He also reveals that he knew of them using his computer without his permission. Considering that Ai mentions she has successfully done this many times in the previous episode, it is easy to believe that Kotaro decided to let them get away with it.
- Junko emerges at the final moment, hopping over the mansion's iron gate and getting smashed by the van. After standing up after all that to declare she is an idol, what do the girls do? Welcome her back with a group hug.
- Tae spends a bit mimicking Saki, adorably enough. The other girls note that Saki really is becoming a true leader.
- For that matter, the fact that, slowly but surely, Tae's acting more and more human.
- Six little words: "Don't worry, I'll back you up." And both times they're said, it's clear all is forgiven and the show will go on.
- The smile that steadily grows on Ai's face over the course of the performance as her fears and doubts about her death and new life are resolved.
- Kotaro looks on with genuine pride at the girls after their crowd-winning performance.
- At the very end of the episode, Franchouchou has achieved exactly what they've all hoped they would: becoming the hottest musical sensation in Saga. The one most overwhelmed by it all is Sakura, whose lost memories don't detract from the fact that she is finally living the dream she always wanted, and breaks down into Tears of Joy once their performance is done. Ai and Junko both lend her their shoulders with smiles and words of support.
Episode 8 - Go Go Neverland Saga
- Sakura has learned not to cheer too quickly in their usual meetings. Kotaro, however, immediately tells her to get carried away, because they've earned their current fame. It's a fascinating inversion of their usual interactions and a nice way to show how they're coming to understand each other.
- Kotaro provides signed glamour shots of Junko instead of forcing her to go through a photoshoot. He's clearly remembered her discomfort from before and the two have figured out a compromise.
- Lily is seemingly threatened by a giant man and the girls immediately take precautions and actions against him. Even Tae ends up in a protective pose, growling like a dog while they interrogate him. It turns out to be entirely unnecessary, but the group ensures that she is safe and that she can recover quickly should she need to. All you've got is your guts and your crew indeed.
- The giant man who at first seems to be a stalker towards Lily actually turns out to be her real father. Though they can't reveal her identity to him, she finds out that he loved her dearly and deeply regretted the argument they had just before her untimely death. The group later performs a new song sung mostly by Lily: an apology to her father stating that she also loved him as well, giving him some closure so he could move on with his life, knowing his daughter didn't truly hate him.
- How the girls react to discovering that Lily is Transgender after getting over the initial surprise. Saki sums it up: "It doesn't matter what kind of junk [Lily]'s got". It's rare for such a heartwarming sentiment to come out of such a foul mouth. In fact, even Kotaro sounded like he was defending Lily when he yelled at the girls after they questioned him if he knew about it, asking if this was them wanting to kick her out.
- Junko died in the s, when transgender identity wasn't talked about publicly, let alone looked upon favorably. She is visibly shocked by the reveal, and feels very awkward about Saki's blunt statement but, while it does take her time to process things, she actually takes the time to quietly process the revelation. By the time that Lily needs help figuring out how to apologize to her father, she is as on-board and smiling as the rest of the crew. It's a subtle thing, but after her poor reaction to how the idol industry changed in the last two episodes, it shows how much she's come to accept this new era.
- The girls confront Kotaro as a group twice, both times in support of Lily. The first time it's clear they want to make sure he knew she was transgender and, by implication, ensure he wouldn't treat her harshly if it came out. He almost seems legitimately annoyed at the implication and just throws them out. The second time, though, they want his help making a song that would serve as an apology to her fatherand he respects their request, helping them out without any of his usual melodrama.
Episode 9 - Though My Life May Have Ended Once by Some Twist of Fate I Have Risen, and If Song and Dance Are to Be My Fate, Then Carrying the Memories of My Comrades in My Heart As I Sally Forth Shall Be My Saga
- Saki's oft lamented lost tamagotchi? Reiko, the friend Saki entrusted it to just before her death, still holds onto it as a treasured memento 21 years later.
- Reiko also still has a picture of her and Saki, which she keeps behind a framed photo of her and her daughter.
- Saki's Odd Friendship with Sakura Makes Sense In Context after we meet Reiko. It seems Saki just gets along best with maternal types who can show guts. She's gotta have someone to look out for her brand of crazy, after all.
- Saki clearly feels some sort of vicarious maternal instinct toward Maria. Not only does she step in repeatedly to save the girl, she never talks down to her and explains exactly why she is doing what she is doing. She can even tell that Maria has her mother's eyes.
- Meeting more then two decades later, it's clear that Saki and Reiko still care deeply for each other. Even if they can't actually acknowledge who the other is, Reiko's Anger Born of Worry is genuine, and Saki takes steps to mend her relationship with her daughter.
- Minor one, but during the credits song we get a quick glimpse of Ai, bouncing up and down with a wide smile. It's clear how much she loves being able to perform on stage.
Episode 10 - No Zombie No Life Saga
- Sakura has a moment near the beginning where she reflects on how everyone has become happier in the past while. Saki seems more energetic now that her old friend and her family are attending their concerts, Lily is clearly happy her father is still coming by regularly, and Ai and Junko have finally eased into their new lives and are happily moving forward. Every last one of them has smiles on their faces.
- A quiet but actually monumental moment occurs toward the middle. Yugiri finds Kotaro sullen over his perceived failure to make a Stealth Mentor point to Sakura (a moment unlike any other he's had to date) and indicates that she perceives him to be especially fond of the pink-haired zombie. She ultimately goes on to mistake Kotaro's hopeful words (like she did Sakura), but as she storms off, he makes it a point to say that he really was saying he believes in the girl.
- The girls have all come so far both individually as idols and as a team. Toward the end of the episode, they all (sans Sakura) go over plans for a new song together, each contributing ideas to Ai who not four episodes ago was still coordinating everything by herself. For her part, she happily recognizes their ideas as legitimately good and furthermore, takes care to include errant Sakura. It's melting to watch the once extremely dour girl grow so proud of the team who once admitted to having zero idea what they were doing.
- As she watches the above scene from afar, Sakura does actually manage to come to the realization that she's been focusing on herself to the detriment of the team and apologizes for it, promising to work closer with them in the future. She even takes Kotaro's bizarre metaphor in stride, and she's just as happy as she was in the very first scene of the seriesthen she gets hit by a truck, forgetting Franchouchou entirely.
- When Sakura goes for a walk, she takes Romero with her—no longer terrified as she was when he first chomped down on squid in her presence. He walks alongside her happily, growls at the man who hit her with his truck, and does not leave her side for even a moment, clearly worried about her when she expresses confusion about her current location.
- In this episode, Junko goes from referring to Sakura as "Minamoto-san" (as well as being the only one who routinely used last names), to calling her "Sakura-san," showing how much Junko has opened up to the others.
Episode 11 - One-of-a-Kind Saga
- Tae starts the episode jumping Sakura, much like in Episode 1 - only here, instead of biting at her, shes gripping Sakuras shoulders and groaning at her as if to express happiness that shes awake again without the aid of language.
- Tae is dressed in her house clothes, not her prison uniform pajamas. That indicates she never went to sleep with the others and stayed up all day and night waiting for Sakura to recover.
- Sakura passes out in despair after giving up a seeming fight for her life when she found herself in a strange house surrounded by zombies. She wakes up in the midst of this to find herself greeted by Ai Mizuno, and even with her spirits as low as they are at that moment, the puppy dog look she gives her heroine when she sees her is adorable.
- The girls are all awake in the middle of the night, worrying about Sakura. One by one, each of them comes up with an excuse to go talk to her, trying to break her out of her funk in their own ways. None of them work, but they all care enough to try.
- For that matter, the girls' actions after their failures to cheer Sakura up; Saki angrily curses herself, while Junko and Lily cry themselves to sleep. It's abundantly clear how much it bothers them that they're unable to help their friend when she needs it the most.
- Sakura's prior failures, tragic though they might be, were surrounded by warm hearts and caring friends, who tried their best to encourage her no matter what happened.
- One of her memories is how she kept running into old ladies that needed help and helped every single one of them. Even before she died, she showed how much she cared.
- Even when she became depressed and cynical, she still had another classmate praising her academic and athletic abilities. It's good to know that others still acknowledge her skills.
- Ai's message to her fans in life about how mistakes and failures are nothing to be ashamed of. As Sakura shows, at least one fan heard it and was going to use it to change her life.
- The imagery and words of Sakura's internal monologue as she reflected on how much Ai inspired her, "I want to be like Ai-chan. I want to be strong like her. I wonder if I'll be able to smile as dazzlingly as that?"
- At the end of the episode, Kotaro yells at Sakura that he'll never abandon her because he has enough of what it takes to keep her going. It comes across much like the famous "Believe in the me that believes in you!"
Episode 12 - Good Morning Again Saga
- Tae spends most of the episode doing her damnedest to raise Sakura's spirits. From doing the chicken call from Episode 5, to trying to show her the magazine covering Episode 7's Saga Rock, to literally carrying Sakura off to the dance studio and trying to teach her the same dance moves Sakura was so patient in teaching her earlier. As the other girls comment, Tae thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Sakura and the others and desperately wants her friend back.
- While Franchouchou is handing out flyers, Sakura is cheered on by a pair of fans, who particularly comment on how much they love her singing and dancing. Not only is it touching that Sakura's efforts to achieve greatness are finally paying off, but even in the depths of her depression, Sakura manages to smile back at the two girls. It's clear how much she loves entertaining people.
- All of the girls acknowledging that Sakura was the one to tie them together and cheer them up when they were down, and now it's their turn to do the same for her. Most notably, Yugiri comments to Sakura that, if they have a choice between bombing the show due to Sakura's bad luck or succeeding without her, all of them would unquestionably prefer to fail together.
- All of the girls sleeping together in a row in their continuing effort to show Sakura how much they care about her.
- The Reveal that Kotaro is in fact one of Sakura's old classmates, meaning that at least part of his motivation to manage Franchouchou is to give Sakura a second shot at her aspiration to become an idol.
- Among the audience, you can hear somebody cheering for Zero-san. Tae's got dedicated fans, too.
- There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment; when it's obvious that the stage won't hold, Ai, in the middle of her choreography, subtly motions to the audience nearest to the stage to step back in case the debris flies far. While Franchouchou could take the stage collapsing under them, the fact that they know the audience might not survive it shows a great deal of conscious concern toward their fans.
- Just moments before this in an even briefer moment, the stage violently quakes and everyone stumbles around. Lily almost falls face first, but Ai and Junko, who are the nearest to her, immediately catch her. They pick her back up to her feet and she looks up at Ai, too scared to fully smile but with obvious appreciation. Ai, in turn, responds with a bright, reassuring smile as they continue pressing on. Afterward, while the older girls have the resolute face of a performer, Lily's is very obviously afraid but she doesn't flee or stutter her part. All for the sake of the show.
- Pretty much all of their fans from previous episodes showing up at the concert, despite record snowfalls stopping buses and other transportation. The recurring death metal fan duo, Lily's father from Episode 8, Reiko, Maria (with her two friends), and Misa and her gang from Episode 9, the Drive-In Tori owner, the "Newsies" who have been investigating them while seemingly becoming fans, Sakura's fangirls from earlier in the episode, and even the little girl and her mother from the guerilla show in Episode 3 are all in attendance showing their enthusiastic support.
- The stage has fallen. The girls are obscured. There is total silence and then, a clap. A single repeating clap from Kotaro which is picked up, slowly but steadily, by the rest of the crowd. That's enough to motivate the girls to get back up, and that is enough for Sakura to shake off her depression and rise in one epic moment of return.
- After their first performance, Sakura talks with the girls backstage, confirming she has regained her memories and apologizing for her selfishness during the prior few days. The girls instantly accept the apology, and are happy to have Sakura back.
- The fans cry for an encore after the girls' miraculous recovery. Kotaro approaches and hams it up with a Kotaro-typical JerkassRousing Speech, but for the very first time the group unanimously (yes, even Ai) reacts to his barking with wide, agreeing smiles.
Episode 3 - The Acoustic Saga of Love and Youth
- Junko and Tae are watching TV just as Ai comes on to do a solo performance. Tae sits up with a huge grin, happily barking "Ai! Ai!" at the screen.
Episode 4 - Pure-Hearted Electric Saga
- This episode shows that Junko is so anxious about the possibility of Ai leaving Franchouchou, to the point where she can't focus in their practice sessions without her. But after finding the courage to lead the group (thanks to Kotaro's words), Junko convinces Ai to join them for their next song. The two girls even hold hands for a while, even after falling in front of the stage.
- It's shown that for all Junko's worry and angst, Ai never so much as thought about leaving Franchouchou.
- A bit of heartwarming in hindsight, but it's revealed that the video that Ai was watching in secret, and acted incredibly embarrassed about when she was almost caught last episode, was watching one of Junko's old lives from Showing that as much as Junko was thinking about Ai, Ai was also thinking about Junko.
- While Iron Frill is watching Franchouchou's opening performance, there's a brief flashback to a younger, starry-eyed Shiori watching Ai performing with her generation of Iron Frill. Despite what Shiori says, she's not just trying to poach the strongest member of a rival group; she's pursuing the memory of someone who she deeply admired.
Episode 5 - Little Bodda Bope Saga
- Kotaro's "audition" may not have been just for comedic effect. His audition was right before Lily, and he gave a terrible performance, which only made Lily's look even better by comparison.
- The very end of the episode is an adorable montage, showing kids of all ages across Japan emulating Lily's performance on Japanese Got Performance. It's capped off with a big crowd of kids gathered for an encore act with the rest of Franchouchou; some young fans are even shown copying Lily's hairstyle!
- Lily's father is also shown watching her performance.
Episode 7 - Maimai Revolution Saga
- After Maimai is introduced to the group, Saki spots a 20th anniversary Tamagotchi on her bag, and gets a little emotional over it. By the end, Maimai gifts it to Saki because she'd love for her to have it instead, and the latter is ecstatic to have another link to her past.
Episode 9 - The Saga Incident, Part Two
- During the performance of Yugiri's single "Saga Jihen", we see flashes of Yugiri's old friends (including Itou and Kichi) dancing and imitating the moves of Franchouchou. One can interpret this as that they are watching over Yugiri from the afterlife.
Episode 10 - The SAGA of How These Zombies Will Get Their Revenge
- It's small, but immediately after the failed EPS concert performance, one of the Metalheads hesitantly asks if they should call for an encore. The other replies that it'd be cruel, but his tone implies that he understands the sentiment.
- While he may be wrong and misunderstand what exactly is going on, thinking that Kotaro is exploiting the girls for profit, Okoba's reason for wanting to expose Franchouchou as zombies at least shows his heart is in the right place.
Episode 11 - All It Takes Is For You To Be There SAGA
- Thanks to Ai's work friend Machiko, Franchouchou end up at a shelter for all those displaced by the flooding. They immediately offer to help out, working during the day on matters of food and playing with the kids, and at night helping comfort everyone with their singing. In fact, Lily is the first to do so when several kids want to go home, using her improvised performance from six episodes ago.
- When Okaba first sees Franchouchou at the shelter, he's shocked, but despite his assumption that Kotaro is just using them for profit and/or fame, he decides to observe how they behave without Kotaro around to see if it holds up. As he observes the girls in action, he concludes by the end that they risk themselves every time they go on stage - especially this latest time, when they accidentally appeared as non-makeup'd zombies to a fairly large crowd - but they care far more about expressing themselves and boosting others through their performances.
- Upon the reveal of Franchouchou's zombie appearances after their masks broke, rather than acting scared and screaming like most people have, the kids' first question is to ask if they got hurt.
- When the kids say that the group aren't zombies, but just Franchouchou, Ai goes with it and turns back to the other girls, and there are happy tears in her eyes as she smiles brightly. To say that the kids' support touched her is an understatement.
- After Sakura thanks Kotaro for making her into an idol, the latter - after some struggle - retorts in his usual manner that "I still have what it takes, even if you don't!", calling back to what he told her in S1's penultimate episode. He says that Franchouchou's dream (Sakura's in particular, though she doesn't pick up on that) will come true, and until it does, he's going to eternally "have what it takes".
Episode 12 - The Greatest SAGA In History
- While the group muse on the EPS revenge concert being a week away, Yugiri looks up and wonders if Kiichi is watching them right now. Lily asks who she means, and she replies that he's someone she knew long ago - after a moment, Lily smiles in perfect understanding.
Lily: I'll bet he's rooting for us! Just like my mom!
Yugiri:(smiling too) Yes.
- The fact that Iron Frill and a few other celebrities that have met Franchouchou helped get the band's relief concert trending on social media to help raise awareness.
- The first people to come to the relief concert? The two metalheads, of course.
- The girls' reaction to the two metalheads is this too, apparently they remember exactly who these two are and at the same time are completely unsurprised that they showed up. They definitely remembered their most dedicated fans.
- Tae is still unintelligible, but this time around she manages to basically do Freddie Mercury's routine at the concert, even getting out a vague "Franchouchou".
- Reiko, her daughter Maria, Mikigawa, Sayama, Misa and the other members of the Korosuke biker gang are shown together in the audience, implying that they may have all become friends ever since meeting with Saki, thus ending the rivalry between the two gangs.
- Misa herself, unlike her fellow Korosuke members, is shown to be wearing casual clothing and standing next to Reiko.
- Takeo is shown crying in the audience, standing alongside his co-workers.
- After Franchouchou is on stage again for an encore, the camera briefly lingers upon Sakura as she's singing. She has tears in her eyes, and is nearly overwhelmed by the end; a clear indication of how happy she is that her dream has come true.
Tv tropes saga zombieland
Memes / Zombie Land Saga
Truck-kun just doing its job.
- Truck-kun did it again Explanation Sakura is rammed by a truck in the first minutes of the very first episode. Viewers didn't take long to bring up the figure of "Truck-kun", an English-speaking anime fan term for the plot device of being hit by a truck while crossing the street to plausibly kill or incapacitate a character in a modern setting.
- I can't believe they tricked me into watching an idol anime Explanation The trailer and promotional material for the series made it look like the series would be a Survival Horror zombie anime involving a group of girls in the same vein of series like Highschool of the Dead or School-Live!. To the surprise of many, the first episode revealed that the series is actually a Horror Comedy about a group of undead idol singers.
- "THE LEGENDARY YAMADA TAE!" Explanation Episode 1 contains a gag in which Kotaro hammily introduces Tae as such three times in a row, each time refusing to say what makes her so "legendary" compared to the other zombies, who were at least given titles and explanations for what made them "legends" in life. Fans have since taken to addressing her by the entire title and saying every little thing Tae does is worthy of being called "legendary".
- What if she's just like that? Explanation Given Tae still hasn't "woken up" yet, fan speculation about her actual personality and what makes her legendary has run wild, eventually culminating in some fans wondering if Tae actually has woken up and her bizarre behavior is just how she acts normally.
- The (Adjective) (Character Name)! Explanation A snowclone meme of the above, usually relating to antics of the other characters. Occasionally one will stick and become its own meme, see below.
- The only rapper Eminem is afraid to diss Explanation Due to how effective Sakura's method of turning a The Reason You Suck speech (against Saki) into a rap turned out to be, viewers have associated her Battle Rapping performance with this existing meme, claiming that she could be a good matchup for the famous rapper.
- "EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY! SAKURA MINAMOTO! VERSUS! SAKI NIKAIDOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUU! BEGIN!" and "WHO WON? WHO'S NEXT? YOU DECIDE!" Explanation The sudden and unexpected appearance of a rap battle in Episode 2 has led to some viewers applying the Catch Phrases of the announcer from Epic Rap Battles of History to the scene and acting like it's an episode of that series. The fact that the scene could have easily passed for such also helped.
- "I know there are only two episodes but" Explanation Fanartists started producing works that starred the zombies remarkably early, with this phrase being a common acknowledgement of the show's Sleeper Hit status.
- Would it be necrophilia? Explanation Fans are conflicted about considering the Franchouchou girls waifu material since, despite theirperceived cuteness, they're still technically undead corpses.
- Egg Sakura Explanation After hearing Saki say that Sakura reminded her of her old Tamagotchi due to her supposedly egg-shaped head, 4chan users began referring to Sakura as an egg.
- Zombie Jamboree Explanation in an idol show where the protagonists are zombieswhy not?
- Several faces the characters make, including Saki's smug face and Sakura's doubt/disgust face, have instantly become reaction faces. Kotaro spraying Sakura's face is also a very common exploitable image format, while a screenshot from Sakura's rap battle◊ is a popular reference for re-drawing anime characters who are either zombies or rappers.
- "Nice Bird." Explanation Kotaro's reaction to seeing the girls' final Drive-In Tori advert is another Gratuitous English phrase that fans memed the hell out of.
- The Fabulous Tatsumi Kotaro! Explanation On the few occasions that we've seen Kotaro shirtless, the camera has focused on his physique and given him bishie sparkles while he washes his hair. Throw in his way with people and, well
- Yugiri's lap Explanation Yugiri is in a very suggestive pose during the photo session in Episode 6. Inevitably, some people were interested in her legs, and perhaps just as inevitably, some people wondered if they would have a gross smell since she is, you know, dead.
- The Tragic Ai Mizuno Explanation While fans acknowledge that Ai's death was extremely traumatic for both her and everyone watching, they often note in the same breath that being hit by lightning in the middle of a performance is one of the most metal ways to go. Saki herself acknowledges it as legendary, in a sad tone.
- Thanks to the already present Black Comedy the show runs on, Ai's death has given rise to various electric puns: shocking, it hertz a lot, etc. Most people complain that they feel bad for laughing at them.
- Lightning strikes twice! Explanation A lightning strike ended Ai's first career (and life), but when lightning hits Franchouchou, they gain strangely awesome electric powers which they incorporate into a dance on the fly. People have noted the irony that Ai's second bolt of lightning would kickstart her new fame.
- It seems Ai and Lily both died of shock! Explanation Lily died of a massive heart attack (figuratively "dying of shock"), pairing with Ai dying of electrocution (literally "dying of shock").
- Shroom Junko Explanation Junko sits so long in her corner that she starts growing mushrooms out of her skull. The sheer absurdity of the situation is a fan favorite.
- Many of the one word exclamations from the eyecatches have gotten plenty of play, particularly Ai's oddly intense expression accompanying her 'onion'◊ and Junko's terrified 'BIKUBIKU'◊.
- Lily is Lily. Explanation While Lily being revealed to be transgender did bring out the usual slurs and trolls related to the notion, both defense and support of the character rose just as quickly—especially when the official twitter called out social media users for using offensive terms. 'Lily is Lily' is the general hashtag for such defense and support.
- . Explanation A common line relating to The Reveal was baseless accusations of Crunchyroll "tampering" with the translation, despite the accusers knowing little to no Japanese. This attempted "defense" translates roughly to "Hello, Thank You," but its poor grammar rapidly outed the author as not knowing Japanese and it quickly became infamous.
- !? Explanation Whenever Saki or another biker delivers a Death Glare in Episode 9, the !? suddenly pops up on the screen. For extra measure, !! pops up when Saki comes Out of the Inferno after surviving the crash that killed her the first time.
- Saki's sports bra Explanation Saki wears a sports bra in Episode 10 purely for Fanservice, which has become very popular both in fanart and with the fanbase. It's also been paired with Will Smith's "Aw that's hot" meme in Youtube Rewind
- "Get on the fucking stage, Sakura!" Explanation Crossover with the "Get in the fucking robot Shinji!" meme from Neon Genesis Evangelion, as by Episode 11 she's too depressed to perform and her situation feels similar.
- Every time Junko gets the singing turn, expect the Japanese comments ""/"Get hyped for Junko's handsome voice" to fill the screen.
- Kotaro's Big Impressive Thing Explanation Kotaro's reasoning for his refusal to give up on Sakura in Episode 11 involves "this real big and impressive thing!" he has (planned). The phrasing alone is awkward enough, but Sakura's expression◊ really sells the scene (as usual).
- Ai is the catalyst for disaster Explanation It has not gone unnoticed by many fans that, including the events of her own death, some sort of natural disaster befalls her and anyone immediately next to her (Franchouchou) each time she holds an extended singing note with a skyward gesture of her hand.
- Franshikoshiko Explanation The band T-shirts Koutarou orders to promote the group and later sell at events have a font with some weird kerning. Japanese fans pointed out that it looked more like the nonsense word Franshikoshiko than Franchouchou. It gets worse when you take note of the fact that shikoshiko is a Japanese onomatopoeia for beating the meat. As some western fans have pointed out, the rough equivalent of this in English is misspelling Franchouchou as Fapchouchou.
- Picture of Lily being shown in the British Parliament. Explanation (Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment applies here since the topic is volatile) On May 1st, , a printout of a meme of Lily (this show's resident Transgender girl) with a gun photoshopped to her hand and the text "Shut the fuck up TERF" (TERF means "Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist", a group that doesn't recognize trans women as women) was shown as an example of violence on Twitter in the British Human Rights Committee. This move instantly gained wide ridicule over the MP making a big fuss over an anime meme, since pics with photoshopped human hands holding a gun are incredibly normal on the internet. Also the MP claimed that the VSign Lily was showing was Flipping the Bird, ignorant of its meaning in Japan. This fueled a new rise of pictures of Lily with a gun being used against anti-trans and transphobic advocates. Around June , the situation got so convoluted that Twitter started automatically banning users who posted the meme pic in question.
- It's Eren Jaeger. Explanation After the first episode of Revenge came out, many fans of Attack on Titan quickly noticed the amusing resemblance between Kotaro's long haired appearance and Eren's post-Time Skip appearance. It also helps that the ZLS episode aired just one day after the AoT manga's final chapter was released, and that the aforementioned scene from The Final Season was produced by the same studio that animated Zombie Land Saga Revenge.
- T-Rex Ai/Baby Arms Ai Explanation A shot of Ai in episode 3 of Revenge◊ where she appears to have disproportionately small arms compared to the rest of her body has lead to many memes. Usually comparing her to a Tyrannosaurus Rex and the usual jokes that would ensue about tiny arms.
- Aliens/Sagapendence Day. Explanation The sudden reveal in the final seconds of Revenge's finale, where a UFO of all things appears above Saga to blast it with a laser beam - leading to much destruction - instantly went memetic due to how out of left field it was.
- Tae's role as "the crowing girl" from the Drive-In Tori commercial becomes this for Franchouchou fans not long after the Gatalympics.
Characters / Zombie Land Saga: Franchouchou
Franchouchou (Sakura Minamoto) | The Living & Others - Major Characters | Gaiden Characters
From top to bottom & right to left by row:
Tae Yamada, Yugiri, Lily Hoshikawa, Sakura Minamoto, Junko Konno, Ai Mizuno, & Saki Nikaido
Seven girls — who all tragically died young — are handpicked and revived as zombies by Kotaro Tatsumi to become Saga's regional idol group. Hailing from different eras and boasting unique entertainment traditions, from the Meiji Era all the way to the early s, Franchouchou is able to capture a diverse audience across Saga.
While the group has a rough start on the road to fame, both from internal conflicts among the members and bizarre, maybe-supernatural, external factors, they quickly take Saga by storm, succeeding in spite of seemingly impossible odds.
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- Accidental Nightmare Fuel: In-Universe, whenever someone finds the girls without their makeup, they end up screaming their heads off in fear. The girls actually managed to spook Kotaro by accident one night after he returned from his mysterious acquaintance's bar.
- The Ace: All of them were the best of the best in their respective fields of work. Even Sakura, who never got to perform as a real idol before dying, still had a multitude of skills at her disposal to make it happen. Unfortunately for them, the fact they were such impressive aces is exactly why they were Born Unlucky, as the Curse of Saga specifically targeted them with immense misfortune and eventually death because they all had the highest potential for single-handedly revitalizing Saga, so the only way to prevent them from saving Saga was to kill them.
- Attractive Zombie: Well, with their makeup on. When it's not they're still pretty cute as far as putrefied corpses go. This works in their favor in Revenge's penultimate episode: after having accidentally being seen without any makeup by a crowd (mostly made up of young kids), they think they're screwed and admit that they've been hiding the fact that they're zombies however, the kids don't think the group are zombies, because zombies are "scary, bite-y, and dangerous", while Franchouchou aren't. This allows Ai to play off their appearance as "zombie makeup", but behind closed doors, they all admit that it was a really close call.
- Bandage Babe: Sakura, Saki, Ai, and Tae's bodies are covered in bandages to varying degrees.
- Born Unlucky: While a couple of the girls particularly stand out from the rest in this regard, at one point Ai remarks that all of them died very young and under very unfortunate circumstances. This is also underscored by the fact that all of them died on a butsumetsu day, traditionally considered the most inauspicious of the six-day rokuy cycle of the Japanese calendar, which is believed in Japanese Buddhism to be the day the Buddha died. Episode 10 of Revenge reveals that their deaths were all due to a curse that dooms anyone who would bring Saga fame to die before their time.
- Color-Coded Characters: They tend to be associated with specific colors when performing (in the case of their default idol costumes, while they all wear red jackets and red-and-black boots, they still wear uniquely-colored skirts and neck accessories).
- Sakura wears pink.
- Saki wears orange.
- Ai wears blue.
- Junko wears grey and/or light purple.
- Yugiri wears red.
- Lily wears yellow.
- Tae wears purple.
- Maimai wore green during her brief tenure with the group.
- Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: As zombies, and when doing their own makeup. Given the satire of the idol industry, their resemblance to Exhausted Eyebags probably isn't a coincidence.
- Cute Monster Girl: They're still fairly pretty teenagers without their makeup except when we get a Gross-Up Close-Up.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The main zombie cast are living corpses, but their humanity has been restored after awakening. Tae is still largely animalistic, but she poses no danger and her bites are harmless.
- A Day in the Limelight: A rare mixture of this and A Death in the Limelight; starting Episode 6, the series starts to explore the girls' history, the circumstances of their deaths, and their efforts to tie up some loose ends.
- Ai and Junko have been central to the conflict of two different arcs together.
- Episodes 6 and 7 jointly focus on Ai and Junko's struggles: the former, with her reputation for her highly public demise; the latter, with the drastic changes in the idol industry during the last 35 years she was dead.
- Episodes 3 and 4 of Revenge focuses on Ai and Junko once more, but this time, it focuses on their relationship when it's put to the ultimate test when Junko gets anxiety-ridden about Ai potentially ditching Franchouchou, in favor of joining the new iteration of Iron Frill.
- Episode 8 explores Lily's complicated relationship with her father Takeo, as well as the effect her death has on the two of them.
- Saki has had two as well
- Episode 9 has her get involved in her old gang's problems, in particular her old friend Reiko's frayed relationship with her rebellious daughter Maria, who wishes to keep Dorami going against her wishes.
- Episode 2 of Revenge continues Saki's backstory with the revelation of how she realized the true meaning of being special (which she pondered back in Episode 9 of Season One), and how she met Reiko for the first time thanks to White Ryu's motivation from his radio show.
- Episode 6 of Revenge, despite not focusing on her backstory, is still entirely dedicated to Tae. She manages to go on a basic errand run with the aid of Romero and Maria. Tae's whole escapade ultimately ends up managing to help Franchouchou in the long run.
- Episode 8 and 9 of Revenge form a multi-part arc that is an entire Whole Episode Flashback for Yugiri, and finally explains The Saga Incident that happened way back in the Meiji era, alongside exploring Yugiri as a whole.
- Ai and Junko have been central to the conflict of two different arcs together.
- The Dog Bites Back: Kotaro tends to show little respect for the girls with his Mean Boss antics. Any time he goes too far however, they aren't shy in hitting him back with equal or greater force.
- Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: At the beginning of Revenge, the girls pick up part-time jobs to pay off a massive debt from their EFS concert.
- Sakura and Tae tend to a dairy farm.
- Saki works night shifts as a construction worker.
- Ai works in a production line at a dried squid factory.
- Junko paints ceramic dolls at a cultural center.
- Yugiri works a night shift as a bartender.
- Lily delivers milk aboard a bicycle.
- Fire-Forged Friends: All seven girls awaken with only a few things in common, and lots of personality conflicts that at times threaten to unravel the band at the seams. By the end of Season 1 however, they have developed a deep sense of camaraderie and understanding of each other.
- Foil: The six awakened girls each form a pair that greatly contrasts each other.
- Sakura and Saki: They are both natives of Saga and are the only ones with no prior experience in the idol business, let alone the entertainment industry. Both girls also died in accidents involving land vehicles due to recklessness (Sakura got hit by a truck after rushing out of her house without looking at the traffic, while Saki took a game of chicken too seriously and rode off a ledge). But where Sakura is the sweeteveryday girl who was an aspiring idol (and was supposed to file for an audition on the day she died), Saki is the aggressive ex-biker who showed no interest in the industry in life. They're also both the centers of the group, with Sakura being the emotional bedrock and Saki the functional leader, as showcased when they both try to mediate between Junko and Ai's argument in Episode 6.
- Ai and Junko: They're the only professional idols of the group, with the former hailing from the mid-Heisei period (late s), and the latter from the late Showa period (early s); said differences in time period, however, inform their vastly differing philosophies towards their profession—in Ai's time the idol was a relatable figure fans could identify with, while in Junko's, it was an idealized image of perfection. Both initially expressed skepticism regarding the group's prospects, but while Ai was outspoken with her misgivings, Junko was much more silent about it. They also took their zombification the hardest out of the group, both trying to escape the mansion in Episode 2 and getting Heroic BSoD when they realized they were stuck with Kotaro, and also died in accidents just as their careers started to take off, leaving them with issues about being "history". However, their reactions to said issues were very different: Junko spent half of Episode 7 depressed at how her ideals seemed outdated, while Ai continued practicing without rest, refusing to be just a relic.
- Yugiri and Lily: While they weren't idols, they were experienced entertainers in life, with Yugiri being an oiran and Lily a famous child actress. However, their backgrounds—the former, a High-Class Call Girl; the latter, a transgender girl—would normally make them anathema in the idol industry except for the highly-unorthodox Kotaro, who knew their histories and still revived them regardless. In terms of time period, Yugiri is the earliest and Lily the most recent. They are also the least bothered by their new lease of (un)life, with Yugiri being the calm and mature older sister of the group and Lily the energetic and cheerful child. While Yugiri has moments of joining the other five in the insanity, Lily has moments of maturity.
- Foreshadowing: The conditions of their bodies hint at the circumstances of their deaths before they're revealed (even though the dead are cremated in Japan, as they point out).
- Friend to All Children: They develop a large youth audience throughout the series, whom they're all quite kind to. In episode 11 of ''Revenge'', they help entertain the children at their shelter to cheer the kids up after the storm. The children are also the first people to accept the girls after they're revealed as zombies to them.
- Friendly Zombie: While they initially behaved very much like stereotypical shambling-and-biting zombies, being awakened lets the girls regain their intelligence and become Inhuman Humans, acting much the same as when they were alive, with the exception of Tae (and even she's just a Big Eater who doesn't always realize people aren't food). Sakura in particular is a Nice Girl zombie who serves as The Heart of the group and goes to great lengths to look out for her friends. The problem is while the girls don't act like stereotypical zombies, they're still walking corpses and people panic if they ever see them without makeup on.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Whoever the episode is centered on, it almost always comes with some form of angst, and someone has to intervene:
- Ai: Her traumatic High-Voltage Death causes her to freak out in the middle of a thunderstorm, and it takes Junko comforting and rallying her to help her get over her death.
- Junko: Because of the era she was born in, Junko was expected to be perfect as an idol. It's not that her standards are high, it's because the idol industry and her fans expect her to. Kotaro openly tells her she doesn't have to interact with fans if she doesn't want to.
- Lily: Lily may be a Cheerful Child, but meeting her father years after her death affects the both of them, thanks to the issues both of them have surrounding it. It takes Sakura's comfort and Kotaro's willingness to write a song for her that Lily and her father are able to move on with their lives.
- Sakura: Sakura has two whole episodes worth of angst, and it wasn't really her fault. Murphy's Law gave her really terrible luck since childhood. Just when she turns her life around due to Ai's comment about being determined, she gets hit by a truck. After regaining her memories, she immediately gives up on life and whereas Saki fails to slap some sense into her, Yugiri does it effectively and makes her point. After her successful concert outing, she regains her undead memories and overcomes her personal grief.
- Identical Stranger: Invoked Trope. The girls have to pretend to be lookalikes to their live selves in order to avoid suspicion of their zombiehood. They've been recognized already by Lily's father, Saki's best friend, and several of Ai's old fans.
- Image Song: As of Season Two, every member of Franchouchou (besides Tae, who can't sing) has gotten at least one song dedicated to them:
- For the group as a whole, "Mezame Returner". It's one of the most reoccuring songs in the series, being played at some of Franchouchou's most important concerts across both seasons. It also has an autotune remix that occurs when the girls get a lightning-induced surge of power.
- Sakura has "Sensei! ALIVE Sensation" from the "Best of Franchouchou" album as her solo song,
- Saki has had two:
- Ai gets one, sort of. "Fantastic Lovers", despite being a song from the original Iron Frill team, is mostly sung by Ai.
- Junko gets to perform one in Episode 3 of Revenge, known as "50 and 4 Things Left Behind". It was the first hit that Junko had back when she was alive.
- Yugiri has an entire song dedicated to her love-life problems (and hints at the incident of Saga as a whole in the Meiji era) known as "Saga Jihen", included as the main highlight of the "Best of" album, and which she sings in the show in Episode 9 of Revenge.
- Lily also technically has two songs to herself:
- First, there's "To My Dearest" from Episode 8 (which has a special piano version from the "Best of" album).
- Then there's Lily's scatting remix of a song called "Life" that's known as "Little Bodda Bope" in Episode 5 of Revenge.
- While Tae can't sing, that didn't stop her from getting a song dedicated to her, almost. Tae's voice actress gave the character a cute Insert Song known as "Today's Curry, Yay Yay Yay" in Episode 6 of Revenge.
- Immortality Hurts: In a way their state of undeath is a form of immortality, since they don't age anymore and can't be permanently re-killed. That said, they still feel pain, so experiencing things that would kill normal people (and in fact were the causes of death for quite a few of them) still hurts like hell.
- Inhuman Human: Once they've been "woken up". They're their normal selves mentally, they just have to deal with being dead now.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Averted. All of Franchouchou remember their past lives upon awakening, and react to it in various ways in their undeath. Sakura plays this straight due to her cause of death being a head injury, which first makes her forget her memories before her revival, and then makes her forget her memories after her revival. Eventually, she gets all of them back. Ai also implies she remembers on some level what happened before she awakened, freaking out when Sakura was dangerously close to impaling her again out of panic.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: While it takes them time to adjust to their status as zombies, none of them are particularly upset about the idea that it makes them both ageless and immortal, at least until Saki discovers Not Growing Up Sucks in Episode 2 of Revenge. Lily in particular is happy with it, as it means she can stay a cute girl forever and never worry about developing a body that conflicts with her gender identity.
- Losing Your Head: They have completely detachable heads that can move and talk on their own, while their headless body remains functional and will try to retrieve their head.
- Made of Iron: Due to being zombies, the girls can take a substantial amount of physical damage without lasting consequence or visible pain. The first episode has Sakura being shot through the chest and only looking down with surprise at the bullet hole rather than showing any discomfort, and Ai getting impaled with a fireplace poker through her skull and still remaining unfazed.
- Made of Plasticine: Immense durability aside, the girls can easily lose their limbs, head, and other body parts such as eyes if they're not careful. While they may be durable, they are also fragile if they overexert themselves.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: Throughout the series, they attract fans from across a wide range of differing interests and demographics including metalheads, senior citizens, biker gangs, high-schoolers, 90s rock enthusiasts, humanitarian workers, and young children. Lampshaded by the Metalhead duo in S1's Episode 9; they remark that the wide array of different people who show up to their concerts is what Franchouchou's all about.
- Nerves of Steel: In the Season 1 finale, Franchouchou literally brings the house down around themselves as they sing and dance in the middle of a blizzard.
- No One Could Survive That!: How the public reacts to their various death-defying (well nevermind) exploits.
- They survive a lightning strike that completely wrecks their stage, but they themselves don't look any worse for wear. They even enter a Super Mode because of this.
- They appear to have been crushed by their collapsing stage under the force of a blizzard, only to power through and keep the performance going.
- Non-Standard Character Design: Aside from having much more detailed, grim appearances when shown from other characters' perspective, when in zombie-mode all of the girls have flatly colored hair in contrast to living characters who are drawn with very shiny hair.
- Non-Uniform Uniform: Their default idol outfits all consist of the same jackets and boots, but they each wear differently-colored skirts and neck accessories. This often applies to other outfits they wear during perfomances as well, as their outfits generally look similar but tend to be accented with each of their assigned colors.
- Oh, Crap!: Soon the girls start having this reaction whenever they are out in public without makeup, when one of their limbs or head falls off, or when Tae tries to bite someone.
- Organ Autonomy: Whatever is the source of the girls' undeath, it also granted full conscious control of their bodies regardless of if a body-part has been removed, such as being able to remotely move their bodies after their heads have fallen off, though directing the body is understandably difficult from a disconnected perspective, especially when the body parts are out of sight and thus moving blindly.
- Our Zombies Are Different:
- At first the girls act like typical, if non-infectious, zombies, but once their brains are properly stimulated via Death Metal, they regain their higher brain functions. Unstimulated, they act like a classic George A. Romero-type zombie, but can run.
- They still have control over missing body parts, and their bodies can function on their own if their heads are missing just like the Return of the Living Dead zombies.
- Kotaro revived the girls through some unknown method. As Ai notes in episode 4, bodies in Japan are cremated after death. And since the girls all come from vastly different time periods, meaning there might not even be bodies left to revive, the implication is that their bodies had to be reconstructed somehow.
- They have some form of injury resistance, as seen when Sakura stabs Ai through the head with a fireplace poker and then later survives a gunshot to her chest. They all survive even more deadly injuries through the series like decapitation, vehicular manslaughter, and getting eaten alive.
- They seem to really enjoy the taste of dried squid. Kotaro keeps it on him at all times because of this. It's also a cheap meal alternative whenever they're low on cash.
- Pulling Themselves Together: Several of the zombies' limbs and even heads come off under high tension, though they have no trouble just sticking them back on.
- Punny Name: The name is a play on the Japanese phrase "Furanshsh" (), meaning "Decomposing Smelly Group." Saki even writes it in similar kanji at first before switching to katakana at the others' insistence.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: You've got a Born UnluckyRidiculously Average Girl, a Biker BabeJapanese Delinquent, the former lead Idol Singer for a famous group, a Shrinking Violet solo Idol Singer, a legendary courtesanfrom the lates, a TransgenderChild Popstar, and the former head of a Demon Slaying organisation who hasn't broken out completely from her zombification.Oh, and they're all zombies.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: All of them have red eyes while in their zombified appearance, which under the right circumstances can glow; even though the girls aren't normally dangerous, the living still treat them that way. While in makeup, their eyes are completely different (possibly due to color contacts) save Tae and Yugiri's who do have naturally red eyes.
- Refuge in Audacity: Likely part of the reason why no one realizes that the ones who died (relatively) recently are part of the group. To anyone who might have known them when they were alive and in some cases saw them die, the idea that they actually came back from the dead just seems implausible.
- Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Averted. Not only do they lose their heads semi-frequently with no real issues, Sakura jabs an iron poker clean through pre-awakened Ai's head in the first episode, and it does nothing to stop her.
- Revenant Zombie: While they start off as the stereotypical mindless shambling zombies at first, they regain their intelligence and humanity after awakening, having their personalities and the memories of their lives.
- The Rival: They are considered worthy of rivaling Iron Frill, especially when their leader Shiori publicly declared it on TV in the fourth episode of Revenge.
- Scary Stitches: Several of the girls have conspicuous stitches or possibly staples, with Sakura's treating the gash across her forehead, Junko's skin being totally patched together, and Yugiri having them around her neck.
- School Uniforms Are the New Black: When they're not performing, practicing, or sleeping, the girls wear school uniforms, likely the ones they wore in life. The only exceptions are Tae, who is Older Than She Looks at the age of 29, and Yugiri, who died before school uniforms were a thing (at least in Japan), but dresses like a female student of her native period.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Taken Up to Eleven. Without their makeup, they are rotting corpses with blue-green skin and sunken red eyes. Thanks to Kotaro's impeccable makeup skills, they not only pass off as living girls, but as attractive living girls, something they comment on frequently.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: The girls are put through some hilarious forms of abuse throughout the show, but since they're zombies, they can literally put themselves back together. That said, Yugiri is the only one who manages to avoid getting any slapstick moments of her very own, likely due to the Bartender owing her a favor for helping out his grandson Kiichi when she was alive; he wouldn't look kindly upon Kotaro treating her badly.
- The Sleepless: They're dead, after all. Though while they don't strictly need to sleep, they do anyway because it's still best for their well-being; Ai went a month without sleep rehearsing for Saga Rock, and while she didn't suffer any physical ill effects, she was starting to hallucinate by the end of it.
- Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration: At least Type IV. The girls can develop mushrooms if cooped up in an area for too long, but they're no longer actively decaying and can just stick any lost body parts back on.
- Strong Family Resemblance: As revealed in Saga Incident: Part 1, all the girls (other than Yugiri) had ancestors living in/around Saga back in the Meiji era, and they were nearly identical in looks.
- Super Mode: Being electrified causes the girls to absorb the energy and enter an empowered state, manifesting as a light-blue aura that auto-tunes their voices. They can also channel the energy to create mesmerizing holographic effects like rings of electricity and laser beams.
- Super Toughness: Given that they don't have the weakness to being decapitated or speared through the brain, it's uncertain exactly what it would take to kill them. They've been hit by vans at high speed, been shot through the chest, bellyflopped from significant heights, blasted by a freak bolt of lightning that fried their stage, caught up in explosions, and pretty much shaken all of it off in a matter of moments. It's slightly countered by the fact that they can be very easily dismembered, but it's simple to put them back together.
- Trademark Favorite Food: The girls' profiles list each of their favorite foods:
- Sakura: All kinds of sweets.
- Saki: Chicken (which explains why she was such a frequent visitor to Drive-in Tori).
- Ai: Yakiniku.
- Junko: Foods with soy and Japanese food.
- Yugiri: Amazakenote A sweet, fermented alcohol made from rice.
- Lily: Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard.
- Tae: Mentaikonote a type of spicy pollock roe, squid.
- True Companions:
- By the end of Season 1, all seven girls learn to work together and look out for one another, creating an inseparable band who would rather fail together than succeed without any one member of their group.
- In Revenge, the others band together to keep Shiori from taking Ai away.
- Uncanny Valley Makeup: At the start of Season 2, with Kotaro in a depressive funk, the girls have to do their own makeup, which results in them having deathly-pale skin, and they're unable to get rid of their Creepy Shadowed Undereyes. Ai's co-workers remark that she looks extremely unhealthy, but the group is otherwise able to blend in with society.
- Undeathly Pallor: All of the girls have grayish-blue skin, in-universe rather than a stylistic choice. When they need to go into public to perform they require make-up from Kotaro to look alive.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: They may be zombies, but they still act and think like they used to (except Tae) and question their choices and freedom in the grander scheme of things.
- Working Title: In-Universe, the initial name of Kotaro's zombie idol group, Death Musume, is tagged with a parenthetical "Name Pending" at the end of it. In Episode 2, Kotaro changes it to Green Face, and the girls later permanently change it to Franchouchou in Episode 3.
- Wound That Will Not Heal: Their bodies are always going to be in the shape they were in when they died. Some reassembly was needed for Junko and Yugiri.
- You Are Number 6: Since revealing their real names to the public would cause the obvious problem of attracting people who would have known them in life and thus revealing that they're zombies, the girls are each given numbers as aliases when they're performing or interacting with fans.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Considering that each of them died decades ago, they obviously can't return to their old lives again. This isn't addressed until Lily's Character Arc.
- You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Invoked and played with. The girls often bring up that they can get away with doing acts which would otherwise be fatal. In particular, Ai, Saki and Sakura all experience anew the manner of their deaths and still make it out in one piece.
- Zombie Gait: When unawakened, the girls tend to walk like this, lurching about awkwardly.
Sakura Minamoto — #1
Sakura Minamoto ( )
Voiced by:Kaede Hondo (Japanese), Brina Palencia (English)
Live actor: Sakiho Motonishi (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Zombie Sakura
Born: April 2,
Died: April 7, (age 17)
Cause of Death: Hit by a truck
Height/Weight: cm (5'2") / 46kg ( lbs)
B/W/H: 88(F)/59/90cm (34/23/35 in)
"If I follow my dreamsI know my future will be filled with happiness and excitement! Here I goooo-"
Click here for information on Sakura Minamoto
Saki Nikaido — #2
Saki Nikaido ( )
Voiced by:Asami Tano (Japanese), Caitlin Glass (English)
Live actor: Yuriya Suzuki (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Zombie Saki
Born: May 15,
Died: August 30, (age 18)
Cause of Death: Drove off a cliff
Height/Weight: cm (5'0") / 48kg ( lbs)
B/W/H: 77(C)/54/82cm (30/21/32 in)
"I did a damn good job bossing all those biker chicks around! So wrangling a bunch of babydolls like you will be a walk in the park!!"
- #1 Dime: Her beloved Tamagotchi. She laments its loss at several points. It turns out her co-captain Reiko has held onto it as a momento. Maimai gifts her a 20th anniversary edition of the same model as thanks for performing at her school. Saki couldn't have been happier.
- Action Girl: She is one of the most physically abled of all the girls. She's able to knock down Takeo, an 8-foot-tall giant of a man, and in the past fought off twenty or so Korosuke rivals alongside Reiko without much of a scratch. She also has a really good fastarm, as seen when she throws a baseball at Kotaro when he provokes her.
- Alternate Character Reading: Saki prefers to write in showy kanji, though when she writes the girls' suggestions for the group's name, she gets the meanings a bit wrong. She writes "Jeanne d'Arc" as "Wicked Rage Void Slackers" () and "Franchouchou" as "Rotten Chaos Stank Gang" (), at which point the girls just ask her to stop using kanji.
- Ambiguously Bi:
- While she's shown interest in men, she has many characteristics not unlike a Butch Lesbian. She was a captain for an all-female biker gang, is the most physically-oriented of the girls complete with a sports jacket in her default appearance, wears some pretty androgynous clothes like baggy pants and overalls, and is characterized by a tough thrill-seeking demeanor.
- Her co-captain Reiko had her hair dyed with the bisexual flag colors.
- After Sakura accidentally knocks off Tae's head, Saki's first instinct to distract Maria is to use Kotaro's famousseduction technique.
- Ascended Fangirl:
- In life, she used to hang out with her gang at "Drive-in Tori", a popular chicken restaurant, and grew up watching the Kashima Gatalympics. Small wonder that she's in Tears of Joy when she learns that Franchouchou is slated to perform at a commercial for the former, and later gets to participate in the latter.
- In Revenge Episode 2, she is also revealed to be a fan of White Ryu, a radio DJ, and as such is very excited to be a guest on his show. At the end of the episode, White Ryu decides to hand over control of the show to Saki since he feels it's time for him to retire.
- Bare Your Midriff: In Episode 10 she wears a revealing sports bra on a cold mountain.
- The Big Gal: The muscle of Franchouchou. She can knock down a man five times her size with a flying kick. During a flashback in Episode 9, we see the aftermath of her and Reiko taking down 20 or so rival gang members between just the two of them.
- Big Sister Instinct: She rushes in and kicks away a man who she thinks is trying to hurt Lily. Said man though is actually Lily's father.
- Biker Babe: She was once a captain in Kyushu's toughest all-female biker gang during the 90s.
- Butt-Monkey: She's prone to a lot of slapstick not unlike Sakura.
- She slips on a used medicinal patch which sensd her and Sakura careening down a hall and into an unfortunate pharmecuitcal president.
- Her attempts to win the Gatalypmic events are hilariously poor, with her being one of the quickest of the girls to get eliminated. Her enthusiasm towards the events make it especially more painful.
- Occasionally she shares being the target of Kotaro's acts of physical abuse, such as having a baseball batted in her head or being blasted with a water gun.
- Her most classic:
"You wanna die?"/"Want me to kick your ass?"
- When she's panicked:
"Crap! Crap! Crap! Crap!-"
- Her most classic:
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Back when she was alive she and Reiko were able to take down twenty-some bikers with only a few scrapes. As a zombie she can send a grown man flying with a kick, survive a nearly-fatal motorcycle jump, and pedal a bicycle so fast it creates a sonic boom.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Saki is a born troublemaker, and wears one of these whenever she's up to no good.
- Cool Big Sis:
- She and Lily have a playful, banter-filled sibling dynamic, and the former is quite protective of the latter.
- She occasionally acts as this towards Sakura and Ai who are both at least a year younger.
- She comforts Ai when the latter is terrified by a sudden thunderstorm.
- Shes determined to protect Maria her best friends daughter - from getting herself killed in her bet with Misa.
- An odd example because Saki and Reiko are chronologically the same age group. Reiko however is now two decades older since Saki's been revived at her age of death. So how Saki views Maria is a bit complicated.
- Cry Cute: At the end of Revenge Episode 2, the normally energetic, devil-may-care Saki simply breaks down crying in heartbreak over the realization that she can never grow up to be a woman worthy of White Ryu.
- Dare to Be Badass: Her M.O. is this. Even in life, she was an unfettered thrillseeker often seeking challenges, a trait that eventually cost her life. She never loses this trait as a zombie, and repeats the same stunt she did previously, only this time surviving it.
- Death Glare: She has a tendency to pull this face when someone tries to pick a fight with her. More often than not, she will intimidate the instigator.
- Defeat Means Friendship:
- Sakura one-upping her in an impromptu rap battle where the former basically tells her to screw herself the entire time earns her Saki's respect. Prior to that, Saki spent most of the episode either antagonizing Sakura or treating her like some pushover.
- Pulls one on several biker delinquents after they witness her jumping off and surviving the crash that killed her the first time she attempted it.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Revenge Episode 2 reveals that she was an even more unruly punk before she joined Dorami, unsure of the direction she was taking, until listening to White Ryu inspired her to make something out of her life, leading her to become friends with Reiko and Dorami in life, and then Franchouhou post-mortem.
- Dumb Muscle: Not "dumb" per say, but she would rather punch her problems in the face than strategize a plan. Kotaro has to stop her from her joining in on a biker gang conflict since that would tarnish her image as an idol.
- Exposed to the Elements: In Episode 10, Saki wears a sleeveless cropped top in the snowy mountain.
- Fatal Flaw: Being a reckless unfettered thrillseeker cost Saki her life as she jumped off a cliff and succumbed to her ensuing injuries. Her carelessness also almost outs the girls as zombies in their first (awakened) performance together, causing Sakura to chide her out. She since then has had to be reigned in on occasion if her attitude gets the girls in trouble, such as how she initially went about trying to protect Maria from Korosuke which almost resulted in a fight breaking out.
- Fearless Fool: She certainly is hot-headed and brave, but this trait of hers ended up being her Fatal Flaw, because she was so determined to win the game of chicken against the rival gang that she just kept speeding on and was mortally injured by the ensuing crash. She does get a second chance as a zombie and she does the exact same thing all over again. She survives this time thanks to her undead nature, even though there was no guarantee that she would've survived the crash intact enough to keep functioning.
- Friend to All Children: She's quite gentle and kind towards Franchouchou's younger audience. She's also protective of Lily, kicking away who she suspected to be a kidnapper (who of course was actually Lily's father). Part of this may even be inherited, as Saki's Meija-era ancestor was a babysitter to Lily's ancestor.
- Gamer Chick: Aside from her fondness for Tamagotchi, her profile mentions she was a fan of arcades.
- Hidden Depths:
- Despite having no industry experience, she takes pretty quickly to learning singing and dancing, being able to perform at the same level as the other girls.
- Despite being a delinquent Biker Babe with designs to take over the country, she shows a great deal of gentleness towards children and awareness of social norms, knowing full well that her rough and violent attitude towards her gang won't fly when trying to be the most beloved idol group in the nation.
- Hot-Blooded: When something piques her interest she gets very intense about it. Once she decides to get on board with being an idol, she's one of the most passionate members of the group and even becomes their leader and public face.
"When I go in, I go all in".
- Hypocritical Humor: Saki loves to poke fun at Lily's short height, despite the fact that she herself is Franchouchou's second shortest member (cm/5'0").
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Defied. Living or dead, Saki's never had any idea of what "normal's" supposed to be, and has never understood what other people see in it. She struggled to relate to Reiko's desire to leave biking and start a family one day, and has trouble connecting with the other girls at first due to her radical nature.
- Informed Attribute: Her offical profile states that Saki dislikes sweets, but in episode four she has her face pressed up against the window of a cake shop with Tae, Lily, and Sakura.
- Instant Expert: "Expert" might be going a bit far but it should be noted that of the six fully awakened zombies, she is the only one not known to have any background in singing, dancing or any form of entertainment whatsoever. She nonetheless takes to performing as an idol quite handily, vocally holding her own just fine and not yet displaying the same level of difficulty coordinating dance with the group that Lily or Junko have at varying points.
- Japanese Delinquents: She fits the bill of a bike gang captain in a school jersey and very long skirt, complete with Trrrilling Rrrs.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Saki is brusque, blunt, and has no respect for pushovers. However, she does show a soft side, such as, generally, warming up to Sakura after proving that she isn't as completely gutless as she appears and defending her fellow zombies from Kotaro's antics, as well as, specifically, sharing a moment with a young, new fangirl, and despite laughing over Lily's overly-macho birth name and her manner of death, wholeheartedly accepting her for who she is.
- Jerkass Has a Point: As scathing as it is during their rap battle, Saki makes a fair point that Sakura's obsession with getting her memories back probably won't do her any good, since being a zombie means she can't return to her old life anyway. However, Sakura retorts that it's still better than sitting around doing nothing.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": For a tough, Badass Biker, she gets very emotional whenever she meets her favorite celebrities.
- She gets absolutely giddy getting to meet Cocco, devolving into a completely emotional nerd when he's around and being upset when she feels the others can't live up to his performing standards.
- She's similarly ecstatic around White Ryu, her longtime icon. Unlike other characters, she buys into his Cloudcuckoolander tendencies one-hundred percent. Justified given how White Ryu's work helped her out of a tough place in her life, and she's grateful for him letting her continue his work by passing on his radio show to her.
- Large Ham: Saki is perhaps the only idol who can rival Kotaro's haminess when properly excited, often screaming a lot and having to be calmed down at inopportune times.
- Leitmotif: A heavy guitar riff plays whenever things get intense with her.
- The Lost Lenore: Downplayed and Parodied; she mourns her Tamagotchi's death since she herself has been dead for over twenty yearsnote Tamagotchi tend to live a few weeks at a time, and even then, she's merely annoyed by it.
- Love Hurts: By the end of Revenge Episode 2 she confesses her love for White Ryu; unfortunately for her, he admits he cannot reciprocate her feelings due to their age gap, telling her to wait a few years until she grows into adulthood—something already impossible for her as an undead, much to her grief.
- Mama Bear: A non-maternal variety. Do not mess with her crew if you don't wanna die.
- Meaningful Name: "Nikaido" roughly translates to "two-storied temple". Two being a reference to Saki's number in Franchouchou.
- Multicolored Hair: She has blonde hair with orange and green streaks. Somehow the streaks persist even after death.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: She is skinny, and slightly shorter than the average Japanese woman, but that doesn't stop her from beating up 20 bikers in life, and kicking an 8-foot tall man off his feet which sends him flying. Not that it really matters as a zombie.
- The Nicknamer: She loves to give nicknames. She always calls Lily "Shrimpy" ("Chinchiku" in Japanese, "Squirt" in the English dub), much to her annoyance. She refers to Kotaro as "Shades", Yugiri as "Sis", and uses various egg-related terms on Sakura.
- No-One Could Have Survived That: Saki's first highlight episode features her ending up in an explosion just like what killed her in life, but not only does she climb back up the mountain just fine (beyond complaining how much being in an explosion hurt), the people who saw her do it can do nothing but gawk in Stunned Silence at an apparent death-defying stunt.
- Non-Fatal Explosions: Completely averted with her actual death, but played straight when, as a zombie, she tackles the same challenge that killed her. Though she does say it really hurt.
- Not Growing Up Sucks: In Revenge Episode 2, after White Ryu appoints Franchouchou to succeed him in his radio show, Saki confesses her feelings for him. However, he tells Saki to try again when shes a grown woman. Saki ruefully admits to Sakura that she knows shell never be one since zombies dont age, bursting into tears as the realization hits her all at once. Ironically enough for someone who lived fast and died young, she finds a reason to grow up only after shes already dead, and now she never will.
- Not So Above It All: Normally, she's just as annoyed with Kotaro as the rest of the girls, and the first to get physical whenever he goes a step too far in belittling them. In Episode 5, she becomes a whole lot more agreeable with him when she discovers he's booked appearances for them at Drive-In Tori and the Gatalympics, engaging in Ham-to-Ham Combat with him over their shared enthusiasm.
- Number Two: Leaving aside it being her number in Franchouchou, this was pretty much her role in Dorami, as captain of the gang's special attack unit (the English translation incorrectly identifies her as the gang's overall leader).
- Odd Friendship: With the gentle Sakura.
- Their friendship was borne from Saki witnessing firsthand Sakura's competitive side, not to mention the fact that they're both natives of Kyushu. While Saki does tend to drag her into a lot of her mischief, the two have a strong emotional trust in each other through it all.
- Come Revenge, Sakura accompanies Saki in her pursuit to keep White Ryu from retiring his show. She later comforts Saki when the latter is heartbroken and in tears after realizing Not Growing Up Sucks, only to hilariously start sobbing herself..
- Oddly Visible Eyebrows: Has a large bang over the left side of her face, but her eyes are still visible underneath.
- Peek-a-Bangs: The left side of her face is covered by her hair, though her eye is still visible.
- Pet the Dog: In Episode 6, she comforts Ai after realizing she has a crippling Fear of Thunder borne from her manner of death.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Five feet tall, making her the second-shortest member of Franchouchou after Lily. She still has no problem delivering a flying kick to an eight-foot tall mountain-of-a-man and knocking him into a wall without any major effort, or taking on a rival gang and utterly pulverizing everybody in it with only Reiko at her side.
- Precocious Crush: She had a crush on her idol White Ryu, who currently is at least 30 years older than her now that she's a zombie (Chronologically he'd be about 10 years older, but her zombiehood has kept her from aging). When she confesses, he politely turns her down to their age gap.
- Proud Beauty: When wearing makeup to hide her zombie appearance: she's attractive, she knows it, and wants to flaunt it.
Saki: "And to be honest? Right now? I'm freaking sexy!"
- Rapunzel Hair: She has a ponytail that goes all the way to her legs.
- Rugged Scar: She has a stitched up scar on her right cheek and arm and left leg as a zombie, giving her a tough and surly look befitting her past life as a biker gang captain.
- Sarashi: As a zombie, Saki has bandages around her limbs and her body, and some end up like this. It's not clear if this is just for fanservice or actually functional; she didn't have them pre-mortem, suggesting they might be functional.
- Supporting Leader: While Sakura is the main protagonist, Saki is the one who takes up the mantle of The Leader among the girls, owing to her past experience as a bike gang captain.
- Take Over the World: Downplayed; she wants to take over all of Japan, and she figures that if she can't do it with her old biker gang now that she's a zombie, then cooperating with Kotaro's zombie idol project is her best shot.
- Tears of Joy: Played for Laughs twice in Episode 5, when she revisits Drive-In Tori, her favorite restaurant in life, and learns she'll get to participate at the Kashima Gatalympics.
- Technicolor Eyes: Golden eyes when alive or in makeup.
- Tempting Fate: "I told you There's no way in hell I'm dying." or in English dub: "Relax, there's no way in hell I'm gonna die!"
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Has this to an extent with most of Franchouchou. Though she and Sakura in particular spend a lot of time together.
- Tomboyish Ponytail: She's easily the most tomboyish girl of the group with her rough demeanor and her past as a captain of a biker gang, and she usually wears her hair in a ponytail.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Saki is much nicer after being roasted by Sakura in the rap battle.
- Tranquil Fury: She is capable of doing this when she's not in Large Ham mode herself, or some would-be delinquent is trying to pick a fight with her. As someone who has fought at least 20 girls, she is basically saying "Don't pick a fight you can't win".
- Violence Is Not an Option: When Saki butts into a generations-long dispute involving the remnants of her old gang, she resolves to settle it "like an idol" rather than with violence, agreeing with Kotaro that her old methods could only hurt her band's image.
- Virtual Pet: Owned a (now long dead) Tamagotchi when she was alive. The case is kept as a memento by Reiko.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Lily. The two rib at each other endlessly. Saki gives Lily all sorts of demeaning nicknames based on her height and age, and mocks her absurdly masculine dead name. Lily often mocks Saki's overenthusiasm and gruff demeanor, and is usually the first to snark whenever Saki is Suddenly SHOUTING!. Though it's all mostly harmless, and the two clearly maintain a strong friendship through it all.
- Vibrant Orange: Her assigned color is orange, which coincides with her incredibly Hot-Blooded and headstrong personality.
- What the Hell, Hero?: She of all people is the first to call out Ai's hostile attitude towards Junko in episode 6. She, Lily, and Yugiri urge Ai to apologize and make up with Junko later on.
- You Got Guts: She only respects people who show "guts", which she thinks Sakura doesn't have since she keeps sucking up to Kotaro's bizarre demands without question. When Sakura proves her wrong by challenging her to a rap battle and demonstrating that being a zombie idol is Crazy Enough to Work, the two become friends.
- You Remind Me of X: After she takes a liking to Sakura, Saki notes that her egg-shaped head looks a lot like her dead Tamagotchi.
Ai Mizuno — #3
Ai Mizuno ( )
Voiced by:Risa Taneda (Japanese), Bryn Apprill (English)
Live actor: Rie Matsuoka (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Zombie Ai
Born: March 7,
Died: August 4, (age 16)
Cause of Death: Struck by lightning
Height/Weight: cm (5'2") / 42kg (92 lbs)
B/W/H: 81(B)/56/80cm (31/22/31 in)
"I don't see mistakes or failures as bad things. That's not how it worksthey always end up helping me with whatever happens next."
- The Ace:
- Ai is looked to by the other girls for coaching during rehearsal, and given leads in songs along with Junko, for her incredible talents in singing, dancing and choreography. She also possesses such a knack for musical arrangement where at one point, she was able to pinpoint and properly alter a song's harmony to prevent Tae from continually garbling over it.
- Season 2 addresses the downside of this as the girls have become extremely reliant on Ai's opinion on almost everything, Kotaro arranges to have Ai do some solo stuff in episodes 3 & 4 so that the girls will have to figure out how to preform on their own.
- Achilles in His Tent: Getting stuck in a Heroic BSoD over her undead state leads to her silent refusal to take part in Franchouchou's guerrilla show in Episode 3. Seeing the other girls' continued determination to move forward eventually inspires her to join in and salvage what little of the show they can when Sakura forgets her lyrics, after which she starts performing again.
- Ambiguously Gay: Courtesy of the Ship Tease she has with Junko in Revenge. And when the girls are discussing how idols would date in secret, an enthused Sakura asks Ai if she ever had a crush on someone, not specifying a gender, to which Ai awkwardly denies.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: At the receiving end of this when Iron Frill's leader Shiori tells her she should leave Franchouchou and (re)join their group, which shocks both an eavesdropping Sakura and Junko.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Ai has a dizzying array of knowledge about the idol business, dance choreography, musical theory, PR it's obvious to see why she was the leader of Iron Frill. Unfortunately, this comes with the Logical Weakness that she's often stubborn about her own point of view, and she gets along the worst with their actual manager, Kotaro. She's also the only member of Franchouchou able to discern Sakura's recent memory-swap for what it was in Episode
- Bandage Mummy: Ai's bandages almost completely cover her save for her eyes. Given she was killed being struck by lightning, leaving her a charred corpse, the bandages are likely not only helping keep her together, but covering up the massive burns across her entire body.
- Baguette Beatdown: Gives one to Kotaro in a rage after his hostile Frenchman act in Episode 5.
- Bare Your Midriff: This was a very prominent feature of her Iron Frill outfit.
- Benched Hero: An Invoked Trope in Revenge episodes 3 and 4. Kotaro elects to have Ai distance herself from the others temporarily so that they can learn to be more self-reliant and not depend on her status as The Ace. She works on solo performances and interviews in the meantime.
- Break the Cutie: Ai has not had a very good time going from a rising musical talent to a disfigured walking corpse. Her spirit is crushed by the realization that she has nowhere to go among the living and that she's remembered more for her gruesome death instead of her career or talent.
- Broken Ace: Realizing she's become nothing more than sensationalized tragedy in the eyes of the public hits her hard, and influences her flawed behavior throughout episodes 5 ad 6. She's hyper-focused on getting Franchouchou noticed by the public and gets confrontational with Junko due their clashing ideologies on idol-fan relationships. The continued stress causes her neglect her well-being and bury herself in rehearsals.
- Broken Pedestal: Downplayed. Sakura only has the faintest recollection of Ai due to her memory loss, but that doesn't stop her from being deeply disappointed that a "legendary" idol such as her would rather give up after losing everything rather than find new ways to move forward. Once Ai gets over her Heroic BSoD to save Franchouchou's performance after Sakura forgets her lyrics in Episode 3, Sakura regains her respect for her.
- Catching Up on History: After being dead for a decade, Ai takes advantage of Kotaro's computer to catch up on phenomena from the years she's been away, specifically on the idol trends that have come and gone, to gain a better advantage for the group to progress in popularity.
- Chummy Mummy: Downplayed. Ai is a zombie wrapped head to toe in bandages, giving the appearance of a Bandage Mummy. Nonetheless, she's very popular both before and after being resurrected. She's very kind to her fans and assumes a mentor role helping her fellow idols make progress in their careers.
- Closet Geek: Downplayed, but Episodes 3 and 4 of Revenge show that she is a big fan of Junko and watches videos of her singing on Mytube frequently. When Sakura walks in on her watching them once, Ai reacts as if she had just been caught watching porn.
- Continuity Nod: As Ai continues to practice nonstop for Saga Rock to the point of falling apart, she can be seen wearing the muscle ache strips given to them at the spa.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Like all the girls, Ai's death is sudden, almost completely random and she's gone before anyone knows what happened. Unlike the others however, her manner of death is being fried alive by lightning. The fact she died nearly instantly is the only silver lining to be had.
- Crutch Character: Episodes 3 and 4 of Revenge establish her as one for Franchouchou. The others are so dependent on her knowledge and experience that Kotaro excludes her from the group's performance as Iron Frill's opening act, under the (false) pretense of not wanting her old bandmates to recognize her, so that the others are forced to act on their own initiative rather than constantly seeking her advice.
- Culture Clash: With Junko, in regards to how they interact with fans; in Junko's case, she's reluctant to interact with fans face-to-face due to her growing up in a time when that wasn't expected of idols. This doesn't sit well with Ai, who spent her whole career relying on parasocial relationships, and the two get into a heated argument over it which results in a episode long falling out between the two. Thankfully they're able to reconcile.
- The Cynic: Subverted. At the start of the story, she's highly critical of the Zombie Land Saga Project, which she feels is doomed to fail the moment she hears about it. She begins seeing promise in her fellow zombies after a few episodes but remains the first to remind them how hard they're going to have to work for it, showing that she's more of a realist than a cynic, and given the sketchiness with which Kotaro pitched his idea, her skepticism is not completely unwarranted.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: Her status as The Ace. As Franchouchou's most experienced performer, Ai becomes heavily relied on by the others to the point of over-dependence. Kotaro sees this group flaw and decides to act on it, keeping her busy with side-performances so that the others can learn to be more self-reliant.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She's introduced being quite cold and callous towards Kotaro and the other girls due to finding the Zombie Land Saga project a bad idea. But over time the others inspire her to give being a zombie idol a chance, which rekindles her love for performing and working as a team.
- Determinator: Not a trait present in the first few episodes (while she is undergoing a very logical Heroic BSoD), but she eventually proves to perhaps fill this role the most of any of the girls. This attitude of hers is shown in Episode 11 to have been the very spark that ignited Sakura's desire to become an idol.
- Died Standing Up: During a concert that took place in the middle of a thunderstorm, Ai ran out to a center stage to thank the crowd for coming, but ended up struck by lightning and died frozen in her pose.
- The Dog Bites Back: In Episode 5, fed up with Kotaro's verbal abuse complemented with hitting her with a baguette, she bludgeons him back with the same baguette.
- Early-Bird Cameo: She shows up in the video on Sakura's laptop before her proper introduction as a zombie.
- Enraged by Idiocy: Ai is often seen with an exasperated look on her face at many of the antics of the others and is far and away the most practical-minded of the group. Though this hasn't really played out in any major conflicts.
- Eye Scream: She tries to escape over the mansion's fence in Episode 2, but Sakura accidentally makes her fall on her back, and the impact makes her eyes pop out of their sockets.
- Fatal Flaw: Her stubbornness; on one hand it can be her greatest tool, being what fuels her Determinator and Hope Bringer attitudes, but it also makes her incredibly difficult to compromise with and persuade. When she settles on the thought that Franchouchou will initially fail, it takes everything the other girls have to finally break that mindset. Ai's stubborness also brings her into conflict with Junko who's unaccustomed to the modern standards of Idol Singers, and the two have a big falling out that lasts an episode.
- Fear of Thunder: She freezes up at the very sound of lightning, which is understandable, given it killed her.
- Fire-Forged Friends: She has a bit of this with Franchouchou as a whole due to her indifference at the start, but this especially comes into play with her relationship to Junko. In episode 6, the two get into a heated fight over their differences to fan-idol interaction, and she inadvertently insults Junko which sends the latter away upset. It's not until next episode when Junko, having worked through her own baggage, comes to Ai's rescue when during their performance, the latter experiences a trauma episode from a lightning storm. By Revenge, the two have grown incredibly close and can perform in almost-perfect unison with each other. Their relationship is also much more intimate compared to other Franchouchou members.
- Gory Discretion Shot: She isn't visible when electrocuted by the lightning bolt that killed her during the flashback of her death, though we do get a glimpse of her charred body afterward.
- Guest Fighter: Along with Sakura and Junko, she's a playable character in Illusion Connect.
- Heroic BSoD: After nearly getting shot by Policeman A, she realizes she truly has nowhere to go and resigns herself to staying at the mansion, becoming too disheartened to perform again. She starts recovering after she and Junko have to salvage their guerrilla performance after Sakura messed up on a few lyrics, as she considers starting her career anew with Sakura and co.
- Heroic Sacrifice: One of the in-universe theories of her death is that she deliberately attracted the lightning into herself to save her audience on the grounds that there was nothing else fried by the lightning. Of course, the real explanation is simpler than that; it was an accident.
- Hidden Depths: In Episode 10, she seemingly fashions a fully-functional bow and arrow from scratch with no prior access to tools, and she proves to be a pretty good shot with it as well. Though she never does quite succeed in her hunt.
- High-Voltage Death: She was killed by a freak lightning strike during a thunderstorm.
- Hope Bringer: To Sakura, back when they were alive. Hearing of Ai's personal story of perseverance shook Sakura out of her learned helplessness, turning her back into the hopeful girl she once was in time for the opening of the series. When Sakura falls back into despair late in the series, Ai's words prove again to be one of the most influential factors in both returning Sakura to the stage, and getting her back to her feet when calamity befalls the venue.
- I Choose to Stay: There are points in the show where it appears she might not stick around with Franchouchou only to reaffirm her place with them.
- She spends the second episode trying to leave Saga thinking the Zombie Land Saga project will flop. But after a whole episode and a half of being inspired by her peers doing their best to become real idols, she decides to stay and help them achieve that goal.
- Shiori tries to persuade her to leave Franchouchou and join Iron Frill, and she almost seriously considers the possibility. Eventually though she realizes she wants to move away from her past with Iron Frill and that she can't abandon her fellow zombies like that. This culminates in the others banding together when it looks like Shiori's come to take her away, and Ai confidently stands by them.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: Iron Frill had just begun to take off when Ai died, so those who remember her for more than just her death largely remember her as a rising star who could've gone places had she lived. In an unusual case of this, while the loss of what could have been weighs heavily on Ai, nothing's stopping her from getting back into the game. Indeed, having another chance to establish herself helps motivate her.
- Idol Singer: One of the two members of Franchouchou who used to be professional idols, along with Junko. She was the lead singer of Iron Frill, the most popular idol group of the s. Her experience in the industry is a huge boon to Franchouchou as it helps her inform the others on becoming better idols themselves.
- Image Song: While she has yet to have one during her tenure with Franchouchou, Ai already has a song of her own- which is known as "Fantastic Lovers". She leads this song with her old friends as part of the Iron Frill group, and was briefly heard in the first scene of the series.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Sakura pitched an iron poker through Ai's skull when she first encountered her as a mindless zombie. Though being stabbed through the brain didn't seem to impede her much.
- Inspirational Martyr: She was made into one after her death was sensationalized across the media landscape, and many idols since have cited her as an inspiration for their careers, wanting to reach the same potential she did. Ai on the other hand is hurt that her life and legacy have become nothing more than a tragic tale told through the industry.
- The legendary idol whose career (and life) ended due to an electrical storm, had her career as a zombie jump-started by yet another electrical storm.
- Her profile lists her hobby as "Collecting creepy but cute character merchandise". Given that she's now an adorable zombie girl, any merchandise based on her zombie form (or those of her teammates, for that matter) certainly qualifies as this.
- Before the series began, seeing Ai's confidence roused Sakura from the depths of her despair and into action. During the guerrilla show, seeing Sakura in trouble rouses Ai from the depths of her despair and into action.
- Jerkass Has a Point: While Ai is more sullen and cynical than a jerk, even at her worst, she does bring up some valid questions about how feasible the prospect of zombies becoming idols is. Sakura doesn't deny it, but, like with Saki, insists that they may as well try.
- Master of All: While Junko alone is noted to be a better singer than her, Ai is a much better dancer and is the only member of the group truly versed in group performances. Her reticence to make use of her exceptional ability in early episodes caused a good deal of friction between her and Sakura, who looked up to Ai immensely in life. Junko, meanwhile, admits to herself in Revenge that had Ai been around in her time, she definitely would've been able to make it to the top as a solo idol like she had.
- Meaningful Name:
- "Ai" means "love" in Japanese, befitting her Hope Bringer persona. And "Mizuno" roughly translates to "water field", which could be a reference to her blue hair, but also mirrors Junko's surname meaning "deep blue fields".
- In Season 2, Ai goes by the name "San Tatsumi" when working on a part-time job. While that surname is taken from Kotaro's, the first name "San" is also a pun; it's the number 3 in Japanese, and Ai is identified as "Zombie #3".
- No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-Universe, Ai believes this is the case for an idol group taking its first steps toward getting its name out and mentions it in several episodes.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Has a fire poker harpooned through her temple mere seconds after being introduced in zombie form. It stays lodged in her brain for most of the first episode but never makes any mess at all.
- Reactive Continuous Scream: Has a habit of screaming back at others in terror or surprise whenever they scream at her first with the exact same feelings thanks to her zombified appearance.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue Oni to Sakura's Red Oni once her true nature begins returning.
- Replacement Goldfish: Ironically enough, she nearly ends up being this for herself. When her former group, Iron Frill, comes to Saga for a concert, one of her old fans and a current lead member of the group can't help but notice her "similarities" to the legendary singer and tries to convince her to ditch Franchouchou and join Iron Frill, under the excuse that she's wasting her potential and that her presence would make Iron Frill stronger, though another member insinuates that's it's actually because of this trope.
- Running Gag: Ai has a habit of accidentally getting into fearful screaming matches when her makeup's off.
- Screaming Woman: Played for Laughs. When terrified, she'll scream at the top of her lungs. She'll do this in tandem with Sakura and Junko. A noteworthy example being when they narrowly avoided being shot. It's so overblown though that it loops around to being hilarious.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: She immediately tries to leave the group for Tokyo after having one conversation with Kotaro and learning about his ridiculous zombie idol project. She only returns once she's resigned herself to the fact that she can't rejoin the living.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: A milder case than most examples but it's clear that Ai's death has had a lasting affect on her psyche. The flash of a camera causes her to flinch and when faced with actual thunder, Ai crumbles in on herself. She curls up into a ball and covers her ears and each time this happens, she doesn't get up until someone else comes to help her.
- She's Got Legs: Ai is quite slight overall, being the second youngest of the group and the third lightest. Nonetheless, side by side comparison such as the still-frame at the end of Episode 7 seems to indicate that she has the thickest calves and is about equal with Yugiri in the thighs. Her extreme professionalism toward dancing coordination really shows in this way.
- Ship Tease: It's not quite as pronounced on her side, but she's still got this in droves with Junko in Revenge.
- She decides to watch some of Junkos old performances online and is absolutely captivated by her, as if she were listening to a serenade. When Junko walks into the room she closes the browser in embarrassment.
- Episode 4 in particular has them sharing quite a few intimate moments with each other. Ai becomes incredibly upset with herself for pushing Junko away due to her offer to join Iron Frill. But once she's committed to staying with Franchouchou, the two share a heartfelt reunion on the stage of their performance, complete with Held Gaze and Holding Hands.
- Super Senses: Downplayed due to the unclear degree, but she indicates she has better eyes and ears than the other girls and proves it by being able to hear an approaching boar before the other girls in spite of being one of the farthest from the sound.
- Team Dad: Of a mentor variety. She is the one most responsible so far for the girls' training drills, teaching the newcomers the basics of the business, and is the one most vocal about the way of thinking they should approach their shared goal with. When a member is struggling or has a particularly important role to play in a new song, she coaches that member directly by way of example and takes it upon herself to review songs as a whole when the entire band is having trouble. Also, while she always strives to be constructive and, ordinarily, is by no means any less open-hearted than the rest of the group, she firmly believes that they won't get anywhere by "just playing friends all the time" and does not mince words with someone if she feels they are out of line.
- Technicolor Eyes: Light red eyes when alive or in makeup.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Throughout the entire series, Ai is quite noticeably the team member who is least amused by Kotaro's antics, sharing not even a single moment of camaraderie. That said, she doesn't seem to find his PR method invalid either, and speaks up to its merit during the shooting for the Drive-In Tori commercial.
- Those Two Girls: Zigzagged with Junko. In the first few episodes the two are glued to each other's side, both of them see the group as doomed and attempt to escape. Most of their interactions in the first three episodes are with each other as they stay at odds with everyone else. As they get to know the rest of the girls, their interactions branch out but come episode 6 and 7 they are narratively this trope with being at odds.
- Training from Hell: In Episode 6, Ai practices for a new song without rest and pushes her body to its literal breaking point. When her friends rightly react in worry, Ai nonchalantly puts herself back together and states that stress is par for the course with their career.
- Trauma Button:
- Ai's death by lightning has left her terrified of lightning, and even a camera's flash can cause her to cringe.
- Similarly, on some level she remembers Sakura impaling her through the head with a poker in Episode 1 while she was in pre-awakened mindless mode, and relexively cringes at the reminder of it.
- Tsundere: A carefully Subverted example of the trope based on professionalism. The hot and cold sides of Ai's demeanor are largely dictated by her perception of the other girls' work ethic, rather than by mere slight emotional provocation like many classic tsunderes. She is very kind and supportive to each of the girls under any ordinary circumstance, but while she never resorts to violence unless directly attacked (as by Kotaro in Episode 5), she will become almost militantly stern in her expression if she feels someone isn't taking their duty to the band seriously or conscientiously. This is displayed most prominently in her clash with Junko in Episode 6 and to a lesser extent, her lectures to Sakura in Episodes 10 and
- Unmoving Plaid: Her skirt and bow tie feature this prominently.
- What Have I Become?: The fact that being undead has made her an outcast from society is what makes her take her zombification harder than the rest of the girls, sending her into a Heroic BSoD.
- When She Smiles: At the end of Episode 3, Ai, who had been anything but a happy camper until then, finally cracks a smile as she warms up to the idea of starting her idol career anew with Franchouchou. When the idols perform "Mezame Returner" again in Episode 7, she opens a far warmer smile during the cut-in than she has mustered any other time she has performed it. Invoked by Sakura in an Episode 11 flashback, admiringly calling Ai's smile "dazzling" and stating she wants to smile like that herself.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Check out all those tropes above, particularly Team Dad. Now consider that she's the second youngest of the girls at barely sixteen years of age, and that Sakura is almost a year older and Junko three.
- Workaholic: Ironically she spends the first few episodes refusing to work, but once she gets started, her work ethic becomes very clear. She is nearly always the first to address practical concerns about their careers, becomes absolutely furious when she feels Junko is intentionally letting the team down, and when her arms and legs break down after an extended session of practicing choreography, she states that this isn't unusual for her.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her hair is dark blue.
- You Are Not Alone: In Episode 12, after learning about Sakura's extremely pessimistic outlook on life, Ai tells her that all the other zombies died, too, so none of them are "lucky."
Junko Konno — #4
Junko Konno ( )
Voiced by: Maki Kawase (Japanese), Amanda Lee (English)
Live actor: Yuna Kitahara (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Zombie Junko
Born: September 2,
Died: December 6, (age 19)
Cause of Death: Plane explosion
Height/Weight: cm (5'1") / 40kg (88 lbs)
B/W/H: 80(B)/55/84cm (31/20/33 in)
"It's an idol's job to give people something to aspire to. I could never let the fans get close enough to see my flaws. Or at leastthat's the way it was for idols I knew"
- '80s Hair: That is a fluffy head of hair on her. Justified, since she died in
- Achilles in His Tent:
- Together with Ai, she refuses to join Franchouchou's guerrilla show in Episode 3. Seeing Sakura's determination inspires them to the point that when Sakura bungles her lines, they join in to salvage what little of the performance they can.
- She quits Franchouchou in Episode 6 after both Kotaro and Ai chew her out for refusing to take part in the photo shoot, feeling that the expectations for idols have changed too much for her to be comfortable with since she died. She spends a good portion of Episode 7 still depressed until Kotaro gives her a pep talk.
- Ambiguously Gay: She has not been shown to be particularly interested in love, or at least in any heteronormative context, yet there are hints of otherwise.
- She visibly blushes upon seeing Yugiri in full Oiran attire.
- Episode 2 of Revenge has her flustered by the mere mention of marriage.
- To say nothing of her Ship Tease towards Ai.
- Antiquated Linguistics: As a girl from The '80s, her dialogue is peppered with slang from that period. She calls television "the tube", compares digital photography to polaroids, and at one point calls Sakura a "ninnyhammer".
- Backstory Horror: An eyecatch and Episode 5 show her having a fear of heights. Then you find out she died from a plane malfunction.
- Be Yourself: To help her out of aHeroic BSoD, Kotaro tells Junko that she can still represent her time-period and not force herself into conforming with the hyper-social lifestyle of modern idols.
- Been There, Shaped History: Was considered to be a pioneer of the idol genre. One of her signature songs is still used in the present for commercials and is incredibly popular online.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Don't be fooled by her shyness. She is a seasoned performer who will do whatever it takes to help her friends and bandmates. See Cowardly Lion below for more.
- Broken Tears: When she thinks Ai is planning to leave her and Franchouchou to rejoin Iron Frill, Junko tries to press the former for an honest answer, and gets an response that only reaffirms her fears. She then runs to a nearby beach and cries her heart out.
- Catchphrase: She has a few variations but you can always, always, always count on Junko to remind the other girls that they're zombies.
- Charles Atlas Super Power:
- Junko is apparently strong enough that she can grab a headless Sakura by the legs and run at full speed, keeping up with Saki, without any sign of strain.
- She can leap over the mansions gates which are more than twice her own height.
- Contralto of Danger: Averted. While Junko has the deepest singing voice of the group, she is also the most timid.
- Corner of Woe: After being shocked at the drastic changes in the idol industry while she was dead, she barricades herself in a room (complete with warning signs and "do not cross" tape), and sulks in place for weeks, even growing mushrooms on her head. The trope is parodied slightly because the mushrooms are actually real and growing out of her flesh. This is actually Truth in Television as her undead body is producing mycelium.
- Cowardly Lion: This incredibly shy, introverted girl can pull off some amazing acts of courage when given the push.
- She along with Ai save Franchouchou's guerilla performance when the group is about to fumble it.
- When she decides to rejoin the group, she hops the fence of the mansion and runs in front of a moving van to grab the others' attention.
- When Ai is reduced to anxious puddle during a thunderstorm, Junko comes in to pick up their duet and motivate her partner.
- Once she realizes she needs to take charge for the Iron Frill opening, she and the others arrange an absolutely mind-blowing metal performance with her leading as guitarist and vocalist.
- She stands up to Shiori as the latter makes one last attempt to have Ai leave Franchouchou.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Junko is noted to have the most musical talent among the seven, being the best singer and also being skilled at playing the guitar (acoustic and electric). However, she is also stated to not be an especially good dancer and has zero experience coordinating with a group, contrasting with Ai.
- Culture Clash: With Ai, in regards to how they interact with fans. Junko is reluctant to interact face-to-face with fans due to her growing up in a time when that wasn't expected of idols. This ticks off Ai, who spent her whole career relying on parasocial relationships, and the two get into a heated argument over it which results in a episode long falling out between the two. Thankfully they're able to reconcile.
- Exposed to the Elements: In Episode 10, Junko wears a sleeveless jersey when fishing in the waters of a snowy mountain.
- Fire-Forged Friends: She has a bit of this with Franchouchou as a whole due to her indifference at the start, but this especially comes into play with her relationship to Ai. In episode 6, the two get into a heated fight over their differences to fan-idol interaction, and Ai inadvertently insults Junko which sends the latter away upset. It's not until next episode when Junko, having worked through her own baggage, comes to Ai's rescue when during their performance, the latter experiences a trauma episode from a lightning storm. By Revenge, the two have grown incredibly close and can perform in almost-perfect unison with each other. Their relationship is also much more intimate compared to other Franchouchou members.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: The idol industry has changed significantly in the 35 years she was dead, and she has difficulty adjusting to what's expected of idols nowadays. She also has a hard time trying to work a computer keyboard.
- Frankenstein's Monster: Downplayed. While she is just a zombie, her stitched up and discolored skin gives her the appearance of this.
- Guest Fighter: Along with Sakura and Ai, she's a playable character in Illusion Connect.
- Heroic BSoD:
- The reality of being chased and shunned by the living for being a zombie leaves Junko deeply disheartened to the point where she and Ai hardly have the will to perform. Like Ai, she also starts to recover after covering for Sakura when the latter flubbed the lyrics to their guerrilla performance, deciding she wants to try singing in a group.
- She and Ai get into a heated argument over their differences in standards for idols due to the era difference between the two. After contemplating it on her own, Junko begins to think there's no place for her as an 80s idol in the modern day and considers leaving Franchouchou for good.
- Hidden Depths:
- After Kotaro kicks down a door by its hinges to give her a pep talk, he nonchalantly asks Junko to fix the door after him. Surprisingly, she simply picks up some power tools and puts the door back on competently. Episode 12 reveals that she reinforced it for extra measure.
- Though she doesn't ultimately catch anything, she appears to have a solid grasp on fishing, assembling a fishing pole and scrounging for suitable bait on her own. At the same time, she gives Sakura a surprisingly philosophical lecture you wouldn't expect from a girl who has spent so much of the series in abysmal spirits. Fishing is even listed as one of her hobbies.
- She picks the lock to Kotaro's room.
- Junko is an incredible guitarist, whether it be an acoustic ballad or shredding an electric guitar. Season 2 reveals that she made her idol debut as a guitarist.
- Hopeless with Tech: Justified given she's from a time before things like desktop computers and social media were part of everyday life. She struggles to type words into a search engine for example.
- I Work Alone: Downplayed. Junko doesn't hate the idea of performing in a group, but she isn't sure she can work well in one since she had always been a solo act, which compounds her reluctance to cooperate with Kotaro's plan.
- Idol Singer: Like Ai, she was already a professional idol before her death. In her case, she was one of the earliest idols to pioneer the industry, as it was during the seventies and eighties when the trope had first taken off and solidified in Japan.
- Implausible Hair Color: She had grey hair even as a living teenager.
- Informed Flaw: It's repeatedly mentioned that Junko isn't a very good dancer, but it really only comes up once in practice, and she's on par with everyone else in each performance. Even more glaring is the fact that Junko is able to do the dance perfectly in Saga Rock after not practicing for two weeks.
- Last-Name Basis: Initially, she addresses her friends by surname, such as referring to Sakura as "Minamoto-san" and Ai as "Mizuno-san." By Episode 10, she's progressed to formal First-Name Basis, calling Sakura "Sakura-san" and later calling Ai "Ai-san." Averted in the dub, where she's on First-Name Basis with everyone from the start.
- Literal-Minded: She takes Kotaro's expression "Smash it, Junko!" as meaning to literally smash his guitar, which she does at the end of her concert solo.
- Look Both Ways: A non-lethal Played for Laughs version. As everyone prepares to leave, Junko leaves the mansion to rejoin everyone, only to get rammed by Kotaro's van purely by accident as she stands in front to try to stop him. Being a zombie, she's fine.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Junko had to be reassembled from a lot of pieces that washed ashore after her death.
- Luminescent Blush:
- She is very prone to blushing, whether by embarrassment or at the crass comments of others.
- When she witnessed Yugiri in full oiran headdress and attire, she was blushing in amazement at someone looking so elegant (though it could also have been thatkind ofblushing).
- Meaningful Echo: Returns the words, "Don't worry, I'll back you up" to Ai who is about to break down on stage in fear of lightning.
- Meaningful Name: The kanji in "Junko" translates to "pure child", referencing her desire for perceived perfection by fans. "Konno" roughly translates to "deep blue fields", which mirrors Ai's surname meaning "water field".
- Meta Girl: Junko serves as a low-key one. She and Ai both believe the whole "undead Idol Singer group" plan is doomed, but while Ai's complaints center around the others' lack of experience and legitimate industry difficulties, Junko is often the one to quietly remind the girls that they're actual zombies with all that that entails, remains nervous around the one member who has yet to regain her mind, and frequently comments on how ridiculous the situations they get into are.
- No Social Skills: Shyness aside, she's shown to have some trouble in regards to reading certain social situations.
- Off-Model: The show does a very good job at averting this with Junko's patches but still slips into this on occasion. Patches will sometimes be incorrectly sized or angled wrong, though it's very subtle when it does happen.
- Older Than She Looks: She doesn't look much older than the other girls despite being nineteen, the same age as Yugiri. Junko mentions to Sakura that mentally, even though she's always going to be a young woman physically, she still feels her chronological age of fifty-five.
- The Perfectionist: She stands by the idea that idols must be figures of perfection for the fans to admire, and that showing any imperfection in front of them is unforgivable. Just the idea of interacting with her fans makes her uncomfortable because they might find flaws in her person outside the stage.
- Rapunzel Hair: A weird case in that most of Junko's hair is cut short but she has two long, thin pigtails that reach well past her waist.
- Rockers Smash Guitars: When in a pinch over how to lead Franchouchou in an upcoming performance with Iron Frill, Kotaro advices her to smash through her limitations. After the group's success, she takes his advice a bit too literally and smashes Kotaro's guitar to pieces.
- Running Gag: Her overall relationship with Tae. If Junko is present but doesn't have speaking lines in a given scene, she's probably either being chased by Tae or is otherwise cowering from something Tae is doing. The Irony is that Shrinking Violet Junko is likely targeted so specifically because she always reacts so fearfully, thus triggering Tae's predatory instinct.
- Say My Name: When she's alone and distraught by the chance of Ai leaving her and Franchouchou.
"AI, YOU JERK!!!"
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: She runs away from the mansion together with Ai very shortly after reawakening, mostly because she's terrified of Tae. Like Ai, she reluctantly returns after realizing she has nowhere else to go.
- She's Back: After spending the majority of Episode 7 sitting in a room and growing mushrooms out of her head, Junko makes a dynamic re-entry by jumping over an iron gate, (almost) stopping a moving van, and getting up to declare herself an idol once more.
- Ship Tease: By Revenge, shes hinted to have a crush on Ai.
- Episode 4 layers it thick.
- Junko becomes incredibly distraught at the possibility of Ai leaving Franchouchou, to the point of breaking down into tears. She then becomes noticeably more clingy, and has a harder time focusing on the performance than the others. She is only able to finally focus when she decides to do whatever it takes to keep Ai in the group.
- The two then have a very tender moment in where they reunite mid-performance, and fall off the stage together while locked in a deep gaze.
- She clings to Ai tightly when Shiori makes a last gesture to recruit Ai into Iron Frill.
- The promotional material between the two◊ is also very intimate◊.
- She looks jealous when Ai and Saki are having a private conversation on the mansion balcony.
- Episode 4 layers it thick.
- Shrinking Violet: She is very soft-spoken and reserved, and is deeply intimidated by Tae. She's also very uneasy about the idea of photo sessions with fans, both because of her shy nature and because idols didn't directly interact with their fans that much when she was alive. The band decides to circumvent this and begin marketing by just handing out signed "candid" photos of her as "The Shy One" of the group, as opposed to doing meet-and-greets.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: Courtesy of her voice actors, Junko's soft, meek voice drops to a husky contralto when she sings.
- Skewed Priorities: In Revenge Episode 11, as Franchouchou's mansion is swept away by a flood, Junko rescues a set of tools for making Ozaki dolls. After the mansion collapses and is destroyed, it's pointed out that all the group's costumes, instruments, and make-up were inside. Junko apologises for not rescuing those instead, but none of the other zombies hold it against her.
- Songs of Solace: Whenever she feels down, she will take a guitar and sing to herself. When Sakura hears it, she reveals she sings it to ease herself. The song itself was one of her hit singles when she was alive.
- Those Two Girls: Zigzagged with Ai. In the first few episodes the two are glued to each other's side, both of them see the group as doomed and attempt to escape. Most of their interactions in the first three episodes are with each other as they stay at odds with everyone else. As they get to know the rest of the girls, their interactions branch out but come episode 6 and 7 they are narratively this trope with being at odds.
- Took a Level in Badass: In episode 4 of Revenge.
- Realizing she needs to not only lead Franchouchou in place of Ai, but also keep the latter from leaving the group, Junko doubles down on her duties of coordinating the opening act. In a short amount of time, she arranges and choreographs a powerful metal performance, with herself as the lead singer and guitarist, and is able to rally Ai into joining Franchouchou on stage for their final song.
- She stands up to Shiori when the latter makes one last attempt to take away Ai.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She is frequently shown to get nervous when dealing with heights. The fact that she died from an engine fire destroying the plane she was on likely contributed to this fear.
Yugiri — #5
Voiced by: Rika Kinugawa (Japanese), Stephanie Young (English)
Live actor: Mioka Sakamoto (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Zombie Yugiri
Born: November 23,
Died: December 28, (age 19)
Cause of Death: Decapitation
Height/Weight: cm (5'4") / 48kg ( lbs)
B/W/H: 94(I)/62/89cm (37/24/35 in)
"To the art of performing, I swore my lifeand now my death."
- Action Girl: She is the second main character along with Saki who knows how to fight. In her case, she is known as "Sheathed Kichiemon", also known as the "Demon of Hibiya" in life. Unlike Saki who beats her opponents into unconsciousness, she has killed her enemy before.
- Affectionate Nickname: Lily calls her "Yugirin". Saki calls her "Big Sis".
- Ambiguously Bi: This exchange in Revenge, in which the girls are discussing romance:
Lily: "I love all of humanity, because they all love me!"
Yugiri: "Make sure to include me in that number."
- The dub of the episode should also be noted.
Lily: "I love everybody in the whole wide world, because everybody in the world loves me, too!"
Yugiri: "That includes me, dearest Lady Lily."
- Anime Hair: Donwplayed, but when she has her hair tied up, that section is always in the shape of a heart.
- Antiquated Linguistics: Speaks in an archaic manner fitting for her time period, specifically the arinsu/kuruwa dialect used by courtesans in the Edo Period.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: How Kiichi endears himself to her. He's the first person in Saga to socialize with her for non-oiran related reasons.
- Been There, Shaped History: She's indirectly responsible for having restored Saga prefecture. She saved Kiichi from certain doom, which allowed him to escape unharmed and push a campaign to restore Saga's prefecture status. Unfortunately not many in the present seem to remember her.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Kind, beautiful, motherly, and has one hell of a hand slap.
- In Episode 7 of Revenge, she proposes having Maimai killed since she knows about Franchouchou's nature as zombies, although she decides that isn't the best decision right after, much to everyone else's relief.
- In Episode 8 of Revenge, when she thinks someone has broken into her home, she almost gouges them in the neck with a pair of chopsticks.
- Episode 9 reveals that she is in fact the famed swordsman known as the Demon of Hibiya, and is capable enough to kill Itou, even if he did let her win.
- Boobs of Steel: Yugiri is the bustiest of the zombies, and one of the hardest to unnerve. She's a talented gymnast, hails from a more violent era, and is familiar with the concept of "testing swords". She's also prone to slapping her peers across the face to make them come to their senses, whether they actually need it or not. Episode 9 of Revenge reveals that she's quite capable of using a sword herself, and even kept a sword concealed in her shamisen when she was alive.
- Breaking Old Trends: Every other member of Franchouchou's deaths are shown to be untimely, accidental and sudden with them not at all intending to die. Yugiri straight up breaks this trend by her death being a Heroic Sacrifice that she knew was going to happen.
- The Comically Serious: She's notasattuned to her surroundings as her calm dignity suggests.
- Cool Big Sis:
- She is the oldest in terms of date of birth (though Junko and Tae are older in terms of how long they lived), and she seems to be the most level-headed of the zombies. The group as a whole affectionately refer to her as "Big Sis", and she is especially close to Lily.
- In life, she was this to the girls in the oiran house she was part of.
- Dissonant Serenity: Invoked Trope. Yugiri makes a point to stay calm in the face of her resurrection, so as not to be overwhelmed by a world a century ahead of her own.
- Double Entendre:
- In Episode 4, a line of dialog spoken by Yugiri easily falls under this, and is noticed by Sakura. It also doesn't help that she is a courtesan, and Yugiri is nonchalant in delivering it.
Yugiri: What can we do to please our guests tonight?
Sakura: Yugiri-san, phrasing!
- It's carried over in English as well, and somehow it's even hornier.
Yugiri: If we do our best to service them, I'm certain the result will be pleasurable for all parties.
Sakura: Wow, we need to work on your phrasing.
- In Episode 4, a line of dialog spoken by Yugiri easily falls under this, and is noticed by Sakura. It also doesn't help that she is a courtesan, and Yugiri is nonchalant in delivering it.
- Dead Man Writing: Jofuku, who was alive back in her era, finds a letter written by her before she was executed, telling him how she was most likely dead by that point for taking responsibility of the bloodshed and rebellion in Saga, and asks him to tell Kiichi she got out of Saga safely and guide the new Saga Kiichi would create.
- Even the Girls Want Her:
- Junko seems to think shes stunning in her full oiran attire.
- In life, she was desired by men and women alike, to the point that her price got driven up so high that no one could afford her services.
- Face Death with Dignity: Even when she was about to be executed, she maintained her composure and gives one last smile and a farewell before she's beheaded.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: She's a skilled chef and prepares meals for the other girls before work. It's one of the many life skills she learned when she started living independently.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: While all the zombies are this to a certain extent, Yugiri is the most egregious example, being the most ancient of the seven, having been revived from the period of the Meiji Restoration. She essentially lays out how she deals with the situation in Episode 6, explaining that being confused about what's going on wouldn't be helpful, so she's decided to accept things as they come.
- Fish out of Water: The situation she ended up in at the outset of Revenge Episode 8. After the high-ranking government official who bought her freedom passed away, she found herself living in a town where she didn't know anyone and no-one knew her. While said official intended for her to live a normal life, it's strongly implied that she doesn't know how to.
- Foreshadowing: She seems to be the only one who Kotaro won't berate or be an ass to, something even Sakura isn't immune to. Probably because Jofuku would have his head if he learned Yugiri was hurt in any way.
- Friend to All Children: She bonds quite quickly with Lily, being a source of comfort and praise for the young zombie. She was also quite popular with her houses young kamuronote (handmaidens and oiran-in-training) who were heartbroken upon learning she'd be moving away to Saga.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Whenever she sees someone moping, she slaps them out of their funk. The problem is, most of the time they've already snapped out of it by the time Yugiri slaps them, and she only ends up telling them exactly what they were trying to say. The exceptions are Sakura in S1's final episode Episode 12 when she remains adamant in giving up, and Kiichi in S2's ninth episode when he's deep in a Heroic BSoD after multiple Saga rebels under him were killed by Itou.
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WMG / Zombie Land Saga
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Kotaro is actually a zombie.He just hides it with his sunglasses and makeup skills.
- Except he was in the rain as well as Sakura and he looked normal whereas her makeup was washed off.
- He had an umbrella, so this is still a possibility.
- Also, its probable that her appearance before the Tomato in the Mirror scene is supposed to represent how she views herself rather than her a actual appearance.
- Actually Kotaro does later confirm that he applied makeup before she "woke up and ran outside".
- Jossed: he was seen bathing in Episode 4 and he was still normal looking.
- Episode 7 establishes that Kotaro has a large quantity of extra-strong waterproof spray that can keep the girls' make-up from washing off, so this is still possible, but raises the obvious question of why he hadn't used it on the girls before now.
- Episode 11 suggests he might just be immortal.
Kotaro is actually the villain.And he's using the girls for some sinister project still unknown.
- Jossed. He wanted to give Sakura the dream she never got.
Policeman A is working under Kotaro's ordersHow can he be conveniently patrolling the streets every time the zombie girls try to escape Kotaro's mansion? In the first two episodes, would it simply be a coincidence that he is just there?
- There's also the fact that while the girls try to escape, Kotaro is briefly shown somewhere else, watching the scene. He directly carries Sakura back to the mansion in the first episode. And in the second episode, a shot of him is seen just as the encounter with the three rappers is finished.
Kotaro is a Time Traveler of some kind.That is how he was able to recover Yugiri's body in perfect condition despite her being dead since the 19th century.
Kotaro is actually an immortal serial killerThen he got bored of killing people and just used the corpses of his victims to make an Idol Group.
- Jossed as of Episode 8. Ai and Junko's deaths were freak accidents, Lily died of a heart attack, and Saki's death was her fault.
Kotaro is some sort of immortal who's been able to grab the bodies before they get crematedThe bigger question is whathe is, what with his insistence on keeping his sunglasses on at all times.
Kotaro is a wizard who has a fetish for zombies, and is trying to make a zombie Idol group harem.If you look at it closely, they check some of the archetypes in harems:
Kotaro is not neurotypicalThat is to say, Kotaro's serious moments are all as a result of somebody around him engaged in extreme emotional distress but at any other point, he feels no need to treat their emotions with respect. This implies that while he is aware of the concept of empathy, he does not know how to exercise it regularly, only bringing forth his deeper thinking when absolutely necessary.
Something is wrong with Kotaro's eyesA lot of times in media, when eyes are concealed by a character even when they have no reason to conceal them when in private, its because there is something significant about the eyes that the show doesn't want the audienceto know about yet. Kotaro's eyes have not been seen at all in the series. While you could argue this is so Sakura doesn't recognize him since they knew each other when she was alive, he wears his shades even when he's alone and should have no reason to be wearing them. This includes when bathing and writing music on his own. Even his flashback to when he was "Inui" makes a point to hide his upper face, and once it ends and he takes his glasses off, the shot goes to his back so we don't get to see his face. So why go to such lengths? Well, again, presumably the series wants the audience to find out alongsideFranchouchou, so we won't see what he looks like under those shades until they learn. But what isunder them? Well
- Scar tissue. A distinctive enough scar could be a dead giveaway to Sakura that he was Inui, and he may not like seeing the scars himself, so he hides them behind the shades.
- Magical Eye. Kotaro is Ambiguously Human, with comments from the Bartender that he's Older Than He Looks. It's possible to go along with this, his eyes are rather distinct in appearance, possibly having black sclera or something along those lines, but they in turn make him seem inhuman. The fact he didn't cover them as Inui would in turn imply he either didn't always have such eyes, or he was comfortable letting Sakura see them.
- Dead Eyes. Kotaro could possibly be a zombie himself, either revived by someone or just functionally immortal. Unlike the girls though, his skin hasn't decayed, but instead his eyes have an inhuman feel to them, and seeing them would be a dead giveaway that he isn't human.
- The final episode of Revenge might back this up: after prostrating himself before Franchouchou, Kotaro looks down to see blood on the carpet, which may have come from his eyes. It may of course have come from elsewhere, but the possibility is there.
Kotaro made a Deal with the Devil for necromancyOr more specifically Xu Fu. Kotaro's goal was to bring to life the dreams of his crush who died tragically, and outfit Sakura with an idol group that would ensure her success. Ai's death could have been the inspiration for his idea or, along with Lily, purely opportunistic. Xu Fu could required Kotaro to include some people Xu Fu wanted in the group (such as Yugiri who he clearly knows and Tae, assuming the Queen Himiko theory below also turns out to be accurate).
Kotaro acquiring his makeup skills in Hollywood is a subtle clue that his personality is a frontWhen we see the flashback, Inui is quiet and has none of the hammy tendencies that Kotaro is known for, then a decade later he screams every word. Him saying that he learned how to do makeup like this in Hollywood is an offhanded comment but why Hollywood versus say Tokyo? The stereotype is that Americans are very loud and excitable so it could be speculated that he modeled his Kotaro Tatsumi persona after the people he worked with in America.
Kotaro isn't immortal but was already practicing necromancy before Sakura's deathBodies are cremated in Japan and if Sakura was Dead On Arrival to the hospital, he probably wouldn't have much time after learning about her death to get her body before it was cremated. If Romero was his dog that tragically died, Kotaro could have begun experimenting with necromancy to bring him back before moving onto people once he got the idea to make a zombie idol group.
Kotaro sold his soul and in season 2 it will be time to collectIf Kotaro is a normal human that must seek power from some higher being, why would said higher being go through the trouble of resurrecting 7 long dead corpses to make a local idol group? The trailer for season 2 shows the bar and the old bartender again, as well as a glass being smashed in someone's barehand. If the bartender is Xu Fu and he's how Kotaro is able to bring back the dead then the man clearly isn't invested in the group since he can barely remember what the project was, so he probably wanted something in return. If Kotaro's debt is due at some point during season 2 and he fails to pay, that could be the impetus for the glass being shattered- to send a threat or a message.
- Jossed. The bartender - who is indeed Xu Fu - has his own reasons for helping Kotaro and doesn't seem to want anything in return. The shattered glass was just Kotaro, in the midst of a Heroic B So D, getting riled up by the bartender and snapping out of it.
Kotaro is Kiichi reincarnated or Kiichi himselfBoth wanted Saga to succeed as both and are well acquainted with Jofuku who was the latter's adopted grandfather. They also look vaguely similar and they're both voiced by Mamoru Miyano.
Kotaro is an alien himself.After The Stinger at the end of Revenge in which an alien destroys part of land within the Saga prefecture, one must wonder the motives behind the alien's attack on Saga. Perhaps their motives to land on Saga is because Kotaro is an alien himself and is perhaps wanted by the entire universe for a malicious act. This is possibly the reason why Kotaro mentioned that his "Zombie Land Saga Project" had a deadline and why Kotaro tries to hide portions of his own blood from this girl at the end of Revenge. The "April Fools" poster for further cements this theory.◊
The curse of Saga is now targeting Kotaro instead of the girls.As he is now the cause of their rise to fame, the curse has now picked Kotaro as it's target, leading to his uncontrollable bleedings.
Kotaro's Relationship With Sakura
Kotaro is the brother to one of the girls, possibly Sakura or Ai
- Or even possibly Tae, which might explain why her legend wasn't explained to the audience early on.
- He was very close to his sister but when she died, Kotaro vows to make his sister's dream on becoming an idol come true.
- There are four pairs of shoes at the entrance to Sakura's house in Episode 1: hers, business shoes (dad), women's sandals (mom), and sneakers (brother?).
- If it is Sakura, it would also explain why he frequently singles her out when criticizing the group— siblings just can't help picking on each other after all.
- Jossed. Sakura didn't recognize him after she got her memories back.
- If it is Sakura, it would also explain why he frequently singles her out when criticizing the group— siblings just can't help picking on each other after all.
Kotaro was the one in the truck that hit Sakura.Either for two reasons:
- He rammed her by accident and the reason why he revived her was because he feels guilt for having ended her life. He's trying to fulfill her dream of being an idol as a way to apologize for the accident
- Or he deliberately did that to acquire a new member for her undead idol group project.
- This seems unlikely, as the idol group project didn't begin until ten years after Sakura's death. Unless Kotaro has been working on this for a very long time
- Jossed, we see Sakura get hit by the exact same truck again at the end of Episode 10, and the driver is very clearly not Kotaro.
- Not Jossed, if you look closely at both trucks you'll notice that they have different license plates. And even if it was the same truck, it's been 10 years since Sakura was hit. It's not unreasonable to assume the truck may have gotten a different driver during that time.
- If the relationship between Kotaro and Sakura is to be implied and Kotaro's grief towards Sakura's death is the main reason he went into necromancy, then this theory is Jossed.
- semi-confirmed in Episode 7 of Revenge, as a newspaper clipping accompanying a photo of Ai confirms that the driver was actually "blinded by something shiny". Though this raises more questions in and of itself, like who the driver actually was, and more importantly, what caused him to be blinded.
Kotaro had a crush on SakuraKotaro seems quite knowledgeable of the other idols and women that could have been idols if the concept had existed in their time. He seems relatively young, so he could have been a peer of Sakura. It's not far off to say he could have kept an eye on a potential idol if Sakura had done anything before her accident to start her career. Alternatively he could have found out about her idol aspiration at her memorial. This could also explain his Tsundere-like tendencies towards Sakura, with his feelings of elation at her becoming an idol conflicting with feeling gypped she never got to be one during her life, and why he calls all the other girls legendary while making a point that Sakura isn't.
- Hinted at during the short flashback in Episode
Kotaro was Sakura's classmate when she was alive.First, Sakura's profile states that she died ten years ago, at the age of If she hadn't died back then, then today she'd be 27, which seems like a good ballpark for Kotaro's apparent age. However, what really ties this theory together is Yugiri's comment that Kotaro seems to be "especially kind with Sakura". While this may seem odd at first, it makes sense under the consideration that he might've been her Vitriolic Best Friendback at school. His outbursts directed at her are simply the result of him being used to her being slow to the point, or just frustration at remembering what Sakura was really like compared to the idealized memory of her he would've built up in the years following her death. Funnily enough, it would also explain why he chose to put her on the team: "Alright, I've almost got my zombie-idol group completed, I just need one more member. But who? I know! That friend of mine who got run over ten years ago! I remember she wanted to be an idol, so I may as well help her dream come true. I'M SUCH A GENIUS!"
- All but confirmed in Episode
Kotaro's plan involves low-key playing match-maker for Sakura and Ai.During the brief flashback hinting at his high-school connection to Sakura, we seem to be shown that he drops an Iron Frill CD in front of Sakura with a forelorn facethat Sakura seems to take no notice of; a scene that literally looks like every anime scene everof a character finding out their love-interest is into someone else. We know that the one person who stayed in Sakura's mind at allafter losing every other memory she ever had is Ai Mizuno, the center of that very same Iron Frill who Sakura has plainly stated she finds to have a "dazzling smile". I recklessly suggest that in that scene, "Inui" found out that Sakura had gone head-over-heels for Ai and at some point thereafter began channeling Harima Kenji, opting to sacrifice his feelings for herto make her own feelings toward Aia possibility (while also like Harima, perpetually donning sunglasses and getting good on bikes/at baseball).
General Zombie Theories
Zombies and other paranormal things are known to be real in-world.It would only make sense that zombies are known to be real things for people to see the girls and freak out. Otherwise, it would be a lot more likely for the cop, the hotspring lady, etc to all assume that the girls were just in some sort of costume, stage makeup, and props.
One of the things maintaining the girls is the music.In The Dresden Files, the important thing to keep zombies going is a beat. This simulates the heartbeat. Music that has a beat does this quite well; things like "tune" or "harmony" are not required. Rap provides this just fine.
There are mindless zombies in the Saga prefecture.Hence, why Kotaro summarizes his zombie idol plan being able "to save Saga". There might be an actual zombie outbreak in the past, with the country successfully barricading the Saga prefecture, because there are still zombies in there. The zombie girls might be the first batch of zombies to regain their humanity and personalities back, and Kotaro is part of a group which aims to restore the zombified citizens of Saga into a more acceptable state.
- In a short image still from the first episode, the map of Japan has a location colored red, while the rest are green. That location is Saga Prefecture.
- As of Gaiden, Saga seems to be a hotspot for demons, while the undead concentration is unknown.
- In a short image still from the first episode, the map of Japan has a location colored red, while the rest are green. That location is Saga Prefecture.
The girls actually do eat brains.Squid brains, to be precise. And the rest of the squid really. It keeps them from lusting after humanflesh.
Their zombie-bodies are not their original bodies.Having been cremated (or just lost to the natural decomposition of time) the girls' bodies no longer exist. Kotaro brought their souls back and put them into bodies he made to look like their original bodies. Either real flesh of some sort was used, or he used prop-flesh.
- Tae is actually completely a legend and therefore has no specific soul/memories to put into the body. So, she's learning to be human rather than awakening like the rest.
- This theory got a bit of boost at the very end of Episode 12, where the reporter says he's becoming less and less convinced every day and puts down pre- and post- death pictures of Ai, Junko and Lily.
- Further boosted with Revenge Episode 8, where look-alikes of Franchouchou (except Yugiri) are seen around Saga living different lives.
The makeup is actually the key to awakening the zombies' consciousness.When Sakura woke up, she had makeup on. The other girls awakened their consciousness later after they had their first performance, in which everyone had their make up on.
Individual Zombie Theories
The girls died viaWe know Sakura died via truck collision, but the others have yet to be explained. So, going off their zombie forms:
- Saki likely died in some sort of motorcycle crash, explaining her bandages and scars.
- Sorta-confirmed in Episode 02 where she mentions that she "died while riding".
- Confirmed outright in Episode 09, which reveals she died in a game of chicken.
- Sorta-confirmed in Episode 02 where she mentions that she "died while riding".
- Ai is heavily bandaged, implying something damaging her skin like a fire or, perhaps, a cosmetic surgery operation gone horribly wrong (she was an idol in life, after all).
- The truth is worse, in a way. She died on stage while thanking her fans for coming out, doing a hand over head pose that attracted the wrong bolt of lightning.
- Junko, likewise, has heavily patched skin suggesting a highly traumatic meeting with fire, acid, or other coverings.
- Alternatively, she was torn apart somehow and had to be stitched together.
- As it turns out, she died when her plane crashed, which likely would have torn her apart.
- Yugiri has a stitched-up neck, indicating decapitation and, due to the era she lived in, perhaps execution (likely for being involved with the wrong people during the Meiji Restoration) or assassination. In fact, if she was executed, it might be the reason she's so calm; she already came to terms with her death long ago.
- There's also one other explanation. The era is also popular for Hara Kiri. In tradition, if you couldn't go through the cutting, you'd have a second person chop your head off to maintain your dignity. Even more peculiar about it is that women tend to just slit their throats instead of disembowel.
- She is said to be from , which is long after the most violent years of Meiji have passed - it's more likely that she's just murdered by someone with a katana.
- Saga Jihen states that Yugiri fell in love with a noble man whose family disapproved of their union and had her executed when they tried to run away together, so we know the circumstance of her death but not the method.
- Turns out the execution part is correct. Yuguri is executed because she takes the blame on the insurrection and the death of Itou in order to spare Kiichi for his plans to restore Saga to suceed.
- Lily's exposed heart is not in a natural position, suggesting her body was torqued somehow. Or possibly died via a botched open heart surgery.
- Turns out that she actually died from a heart attack.
- Tae it's very unclear, but it's possible she was mummified, given how her only outward signs of damage are bandages. It would also explain why she's so feral since mummies traditionally have their brains removed.
Each of the girls minus Sakura have tragic backstories
- Was born on the streets and she and her friends got oppressed by the high elite.
- Or possibly she is a rich girl but left because she couldn't bear to be controlled by her parents like a dog.
- Ai: Wanted to become an idol but her team backstabbed her who even resorted to murder her.
- Jossed as of Episode 6. She was a successful idol, and died due to a freak accident - being struck by lightning on stage.
- Junko: Became an idol but when people started to lose interest, her producer murdered her to get money from insurance.
- Jossed as of Episode 6. She was a successful idol and a rising star until she was killed in a plane crash.
- Yugiri: Sold into child slavery, became a courtesan and slept with many men but got executed by one of the men's jealous wife who believed Yugiri was bearing her husband's child.
- Possibly Jossed, depending on whether or not "Saga Jihen" is an accurate description of Yugiri's past (specifically, the part about her falling in love with a noble man and being executed by his family when they tried to elope).
- Finally Jossed by Revenge Episode 8. Yugiri was given freedom from the man that brought her due to their illness so she could not have been executed by a vengeful wife. That said, her willingness to take the blame for an rebellion and the death of another person all to save Saga leads to her execution.
- Lily: A young actress but her parents overworked her and caused a huge strain in her heart.
- More or less confirmed, but missing the part where Lily is revealed to be trans.
- Kotaro's lover or wife who died before she became a singer.
- Basically a normal girl who died but became a test subject and be resurrected by Kotaro.
- Jossed by Gaiden. She was a demon hunter by night long before Kotaro was in high school. She was Jofukus adoptive daughter which may have been the original reason why she was made a zombie.
Ai and Junko didn't have a good time as idols in their past lives.It does seem to be hypocritical and ironic that the only two actual (former) idols of Death Musume, Ai and Junko, wanted no part in this group for a little while. If their deaths are in any way related to their idolhood, or even despite it, the industry is notorious for its hidden dark side and it would make sense for them to want to get away from it, especially since they're forced to be in the group by Kotaro.
- Jossed. Ai died in a freak lightning accident, and Junko died in a plane crash. They both also genuinely loved being idols - their initial refusal to cooperate was solely because they thought the whole idea was stupid, not because they didn't want to be idols anymore.
Yugiri is or was a ninja.To be more precise, she was a courtier/assassin figure, trained to kill and thus saw a number of dead bodies before she died. The reason she's so calm is because none of the girls look that strange to her; the reason she died is because she got caught killing or attempting to kill somebody important and was executed.
- She is said to be from , which is long after the most violent years of Meiji have passed - although more modern and less dramatic episodes of murders still happen.
- Confirmed. The person that brought her was a samurai, who trained her to fight with a sword.
- Jossed. Yugiri was interested to creating a new Saga with Kiichi and was executed for her involvement as of result. She was never involved in the Freedom Party movement at all, especially a movement that was only gaining grounds in the late s.
Lily's heart attack was because of hormones
- Lily's death seems absurd, but sadly enough heart attacks (or to be precise, pulmonary embolisms) are a significant risk in people undergoing feminizing hormone therapy. Which leads to the further fridge horror when one considers Lily might have been too young to start official hormone therapy, suggesting her father pulled some strings in support of her and ended up accidentally triggering her demise.
- As someone familiar with transgender transitioning this seems incredibly unlikely. First of all, if she were already on hormones that should've prevented the growth of masculine leg and facial hair that gave Lily her dysphoric shock. Second, her father deadnames her and tells her that she's "gotta grow up eventually". If he were going so far as to illegally buy hormones to support her transition he wouldn't be doing either of those things. Her father does seem to be linked to her death, but it was because he didn't notice how much she was overworking herself to get his attention. That accumulated stress was the kindle the dysphoric shock ignited.
Saki and Reiko were in a relationship.
- We have to have shipping WMGs on this page sometime, and their interactions and reunion are pretty close and caring anyways, so I'll let the people with actual romantic shipping experience take it from here.
- A lot of fans already headcanon Reiko as bi due to her hair resembling the bi pride flag. Saki says she doesn't get what normal is supposed to mean, in a time period where being gay is treated as something to be shunned you could interpret Saki's rejection of normal as a rejection of what society expects of a young woman. Settling down with a man who'll put dinner on the table has no appeal to her, tearing up the streets and just being with Reiko does. She even trusts her to watch over her Tamagotchi.
- With Saki's romantic relationship with White Ryu in Revenge Episode 2, it does seem to question whether or not Saki and Reiko's relationship was pure romance or just friends.
Ai's flower earrings are why she keeps getting zapped and the reason she has Super Senses.Despite being otherwise completely incinerated, her eyes and hair managed to remain intact after the bolt that killed her. Lightning tends to pass through objects in a path to the ground so we can assume that the bolt passed through her starting at a point below the eyes (or roughly level with them at best) while torching everything else. The only way I can supplement that observation is with the theory that her earrings are just monstrouslyconductive while her otherwise identical hair ornaments are not. Episode 10 indicates that she has enhanced eyes and ears compared to all the others. Considering how many super-powers have been endowed to characters in fiction by lightning strikes in the past, I'm now rolling with the idea that the lightning, hitting her at the ear near her eyes and traveling downward, fried the rest of her body but somehow gave her super-powers in the eyes and ears.
Ai is/was on the Atkins Diet.Idols often have appearance stipulations in their contracts, including weight, and Ai was a professional. Her least favourite food is listed as "carbs" and she died in the late s.
Kotaro made the idol group for Sakura but Ai's death is what inspired himSubscribing to the idea that Kotaro had a crush on Sakura as classmates and couldn't let her go, learning about her inspiration's tragic death could have given Kotaro the idea to find other legends to fill in the group and give Sakura the best chance at success possible.
Junko's patches are only skin deepAt least from the neck upwards. Junko has two different patches on her face as well as several along her neck. If we assume that the standard green patches are Junko's original body and each of the other three colors was another person then in universe, she should have an asymetrical face and thus not hold up well to comparisons of photos when she was alive, at least not in comparison to Ai and Lily. While that can be written off as Kotaro finding someone who bore a striking resemblance, having someone else's throat means having their voice box instead of her own so these patches have to be limited to skin at least on the top part of her.
- To add to this, it seems that the zombies who are bandaged (Ai, Sakura, Tae, though not so much Saki) fall a part much more easily where as Yugiri and Junko are only shown with stitches and yet have not had this problem. Just pulling on her was enough to make Ai's arms pop off where as Junko stayed together after being hit by a freaking car, suggesting that she is better put together than you'd expect.
Junko was far and out the most famous of the bunchThe editor recognizes Junko who had been dead for 30 years before he recognized Ai and Lily who died in the last decade. Junko is already considered the best singer In-Universe, and during her life, her weak dancing would be a nonissue so there was no reason why she wouldn't be a rising star. Her tragic death would have made headlines for months and kept her in the public conscious long after her death. Unlike Ai, Junko didn't have a group to go on without her and keep making music so the focus would have been left entirely on her.
Saga Jihen will be featured in Season 2The song's a bop and they went through the trouble of making a music video for it, plus we're overdue for a Yugiri focused episode.
- Confirmed. It plays at the end of the two-part Yugiri-focused arc.
Junko came from a poor familyJunko is apparently interested in fishing and has a sound knowledge of carpentry which are some pretty unexpected Hidden Depthsfor a pop star. If she came from a poor family before striking it big, she could have been raised with a "do it yourself" attitude and picked up these skills from experience.
Junko has gained skills and traits from the other people used to rebuild her bodyThere is already a belief with enough traction to warrant studies that people who receive organ transplants are likely to develop new interests in things their donor liked, such as suddenly wanting to learn how to paint. All of Junko's listed hobbies, which includes fishing, are things that focus on peace and calm so her liking to fish doesn't actually sound that wild. Her knowing how to not just repair a door but reinforce it so well that it could hold up in a zombie apocalyse doesn't make as much sense.
Junko has some kind of connection to Ookoba the reporterIt feels very intentional by the writers that he recognized Junko right away even though she's been dead for 35 years while it took him much longer to connect the dots to Ai and Lily who both died within the decade. His age hasn't been stated but he looks to be late forties-mid fifties which would make him close to age with Junko, chronologically. It's subtle but when he has the pictures of Junko, Ai, and Lily from their original lives, Ai and Lily's photos look freshly produced whereas Junko's has some wear to it, suggesting that he's had it for a long time. Also worth noting is the fact that Franchouchou has been Locked Out of the Loopin regards to what he's been doing. Possible theories:
- Ookoba was a fan of Junko the same way Sakura was a fan of Ai. He clearly likes idols enough to make them the basis of his career and if his favorite idol died when she was about to go on tour in his prefecture, that could have stayed with him.
- Ookoba knew Junko personally and had some kind of relationship with her. I have three main reasons for this theory. The first and weakest one is that Junko is a legal fully-out-of-high-school adult, that doesn't prove much but the writers could reveal that Junko was in a serious relationship once upon a time and it wouldn't be creepy. The second is that the flashback in episode six shows Junko in a car with a man about her age. A few fans have speculated this to be Ookoba, the hair color and skin tone aren't too far off. Though what makes this detail more compelling for me is the decision to include a character in that spot at all, they could have easily cropped the shot to focus on Junko and saved themselves the trouble but they chose to put a character there. The third point is the fact that for all Junko talks about doing things old school, not once does she deride Yugiri despite the idol industry's infamous chasity clause. Junko letting Yugiri do things her way without comment is surprisingly open minded of her but could suggest that she had good reason not to be bothered. If Junko was in a secret relationship then she would have had even more of reason to want boundaries with fans and taking opposition with Yugiri would have made her hypocritical.
- Jossed. Okoba is just some news reporter that only seems to piece together Junko with "Franchouchou No. 4", alongside the other girl, due to the extensive library of newspaper articles at his disposal. Plus, Junko was fairly well known across Japan before her death, so Ookoba would've known Junko just by the looks of her.
Lily inherited a heart condition from her motherLily doesn't say when her mother died but it's implied that Lily never knew her. She inherited her looks from her mother, who's to say that her mother didn't have a heart condition that led to her death as well?
Yugiri was executed for espionageYugiri lived in a turbulent, warring time and some of her dialogue suggested that she was "playing both sides" so to speak. While she could have just been impartial to sides, money's money after all, Yugiri would have been in a prime position to get information out of important people and relay it to her allies. Whether she did or not, if someone suspected her of giving away information, it could have been lights out.
- Jossed. Her execution is the result of taking the blame of causing a rebellion and killing Itou for the sake of Kiichi and their desire for a new Saga.
Yugiri was raised in a Geisha HouseShe mentioned she had training to be a geisha so it would make sense if that was what she initially wanted to be only to find out that she liked being an ouiran more.
- Confirmed. She was indeed raised in a Geisha House at the beginning of Revenge episode 8.
Sakura is unknowingly a Monster Lord.She awakened to sentience before the others with no shown catalyst. Despite Kotaro saying that they just required stimulation it's herstimulation that awakened them. He told her their aspects and this personified them to her thus her power animated their minds. This is why she doesn't have a legend because her contribution is different.
Sakura is The HeartKotaro says the other girls are legendary in their own ways, yet specifically denies Sakura being special. Even in life she was an ordinary high school student. Yet she is the catalyst for waking the other girls up, and has started to bring the group together. She was picked to be the leader for a reason.
- Confirmed to an extent in Episode 12, in which Yugiri notes that without Sakura, the group would have torn itself apart long before the Arpino concert.
The reason Sakura lost her memories is due to head traumaShe was killed by being hit by a truck, and her zombie form shows a huge scar on her forehead.
- But then why did she get them back after a second traffic accident?
Sakura actually recalls her past life when she relives her death.The two instances thus far of her getting flashbacks are the time she was headbanging hard enough to dislocate her spine and the time she was literally flung through the air, both similar to the events that happened during the truck collision. She might be very upset to figure this one out.
- She got another flashback of Ai by just watching her dance in Episode 6, so this one appears to be Jossed.
- Confirmed in Episode getting hit by a truck a second time, in an almost identical manner, causes her to finally regain her memories but ends up eliminating her memories during her time as a zombie.
Sakura doesn't need to eat brains because she already has one.(taps head◊)
Sakura did not die because of the crash: she killed herselfAt the beginning Sakura was hit by a truck, and we assumed that she died and lost her memory from impact. However during Episode 4 when she was in the hotspring, closer inspection review that she had her left wrist bandaged. In this series, the girls are bandaged depended on their cause of death (Junko got ripped into a million pieces so she was stitched her whole body, Ai got burned so she was bandaged). Sakura was hit by a truck to the right and landed on the right, meaning her left arm was not damaged, yet she was bandaged. The only kind of fatal injury on that part of the arm is wrist cutting.
The theory goes as follow: Sakura got hit by a truck and wake up to see that she has a massive scar on her head, meaning that she can never become an idol (a jab at the Idol industry's brutal image standard). The scar gives her massive emotional depression, so she decides to commit suicide. One of the most common way to commit suicide in Japan: sit in the bathtub, fill it with water, cut your wrist. Sakura is right armed, so she has to cut her left wrist, explaining the bandage. And this explains why she is found in a bathtub in OP even when there is no bathtub: it because she commits suicide. This can also explain why was the old journalist surprised. He did not recognize Junko, Lily, or Ai. If he recognized them, he would have known them right away since both are in his era (he would be fifty at best, which meant that when Junko was famous he would be around), and there are plenty of images floating around on the internet (especially with Ai who died in such shocking, famous fashion) so he would recognize them immediately. He could not have known Yugiri as, famous as she was, she was about more than years away from his era and image would be few, if not none. But he recognized Sakura, perhaps because he was doing an article on her death. But since she was just a schoolgirl forced into suicide, she was not that famous. Therefore he could have some recollections of her, but could not pinpoint immediately (since it has been 10 years, and god knows how many Japanese schoolgirls killed themselves in those ten years).
- A splendid theory with a lot to support it, but there's a hole in it with your reasoning on the journalist. Assuming you're right that he recognized Sakura (meaning the focus on Junko at that moment was misdirection), his story could still have simply been about Sakura's first date with truck-kun rather than a suicide. It would be more likely to stick in his head enough to vaguely recall since that would have been a more unique story, especially if there was some other matter of significance about the incident - say, something involving truck-kun's driver?
- Fully Jossed by Episode The truck outright killed her.
Sakura's bad luck was actually caused by her overenthusiasm and overwork
- Sakura's problems in life are not purely bad luck, but an inevitable consequence of her overenthusiasm:
- She's overenthusiastic and overworking herself before the big concert, which led to her getting out of sync with her teammates.
- She practiced very late every night for the play, this lead to insufficient rest, so got sick because of a depressed immune system.
- She trained very hard for the relay, and in the end, her body broke down (pulled muscle).
- In selflessly helping all those old ladies, she panicked about time and was mentally fried by the time she got to the test.
- It's almost like they are trying to offer a lesson: "Try Hard, but not so hard you burn yourself out through overwork."
- This might have been Jossed by Revenge Episode 10, and the reveal that Saga is cursed, and anyone who might bring it to prominence is doomed to die. The curse may also have been responsible for bringing about Sakura's bad luck.
Sakura didn't actually die straight awayShe died justoutside her front door and the shoes by the door indicate that at least her father was home. Even if the truck driver ran, her dad undoubtedly would have heard the crash and called an ambulance. Sakura could have potentially have been taken to the hospital and put on life support for a period of time. As a zombie she has a massive scar on her head but the accident was free of blood. If she had fallen into a coma, the doctors could have performed trepanation on her in the hopes of alleviating pressure, thus explaining the sudden scar.
- Unlikely that she went on life support as her date of death is listed as April 7th, the first day of school in Japan.
The headbanging and flying off the merry-go-round is what caused Sakura's head to pop off so easilyShe doesn't have a problem with loosing her head before episode 4 when she bumps her chin on a rock. The previous episodes have her landing head first in the dirt, headbanging so hard her neck should be broken, and getting hit by a truck. That amount of strenuous activity could have weakened her neck and paved way for easy removal.
Sakura's forehead scar was Kotaro's doing.Sakura had no open wounds from her accident so the scar being there makes no sense. However, since there was no open wounds, that means that Sakura likely would have had a lot of internal bleeding and built up pressure due to brain swelling when she died. The nature of zombies could require them to be in certain conditions to be able to be resurrected, like why Junko is all stitched up and Tae is held together with bandages. Kotaro (or someone else) could have had to do something to address Sakura's internal injuries and whether it was medical inexperience or her bad luck persisting in death, it could have gone wrong just enough to leave her with a sizable scar.
Sakura's initial inability to remember her past, and later getting hit by a truck and regaining her memories, was a result of the curse.While many focus on Tae as the abnormal one for not awakening yet, Sakura's circumstances are similarly odd. Despite being the first one to awaken, she lacks her memories up until the end of Episode 10, and only regains her memories after getting hit by another truck. What if the reason behind this though has to do with the curse plaguing Saga?
The curse specifically targets people that are destined to bring greatness to Saga, therefore breaking the curse, but it can't killthe zombies since Kotaro figured out the loopholein the curse. Just because it can't killthem though, doesn't mean it can't impedethem.
At the end of Episode 10, Sakura is all set to work as one with Franchouchou, no longer pushing herself too hard or trying to be a perfectionist, and finally in sync with the rest of them. And then of course she gets hit by a truck and regains her memories. This is because the curse was aware of what was both Sakura's greatest strength andher greatest weakness: she's a Determinator.
Part of the divide between Sakura and the others came from the fact that she let her enthusiasm control her, to the point that she ignored things irrelevant to her goal, putting her out of sync with the others. Thisis why the curse stopped Sakura from regaining her memories initially, since without the years of failure to temper her behavior, her determinationwould cause her to remain out of sync. When she was made awareof this flaw however at the end of Episode 10, the curse then tried the oppositeapproach. It restoredher memories as a human while suppressing her memories as a zombie, right when she was needed most at Arpino.
By leaving her with only her human memories, she'd only consider herself The Jinxand be unable to reconcile the Sakura Franchouchou knew with her own depression. She'd be unable to remember how she overcame the flaw in her behavior, and only think that she would cause nothing but trouble, once again destabilizing the group. And this plan wasworking, since Sakura was so engrossed in her own depression that she refused to budge no matter how much the others reached out to her until Yugiri slapped her and convinced her to try one more time, necessitating the curse stop their performance at Arpino with the blizzard followed by the stage collapsing.
Sakura's memories were essentially a tool for the curse, provided she not have both sets at once. With only her human memories, her flaws would drive her into depression and leave her too broken to help while trying to force the others away. With only her zombie memories, she'd be blind to what her nature's flaw was, and would unintentionally drive others away.
Tae's awakening will be the finale's punchline.There will be a scene in the last episode, after the group gets famous, where they'll be performing onstage and suddenly Tae freaks out wondering where she is and who all these other girls are.
- Unless a second season's been announced, this one's been Jossed.
- And now we have Zombie Land Saga Revenge so this may yet come about.
- As of Revenge, Tae still hasn't awoken, but a third season was teased, so there's still time.
- And now we have Zombie Land Saga Revenge so this may yet come about.
Tae is the first zombieWhile this might be a stretch, Tae being referred to as "Zombie 0" may imply that she may be the Patient Zero, or the first "victim" of zombification.
- And as Kotaro does a Hand Wave regarding how they became zombies in the first place, he simply mentions that "it's just like the movies". This means that there has to be a victim in order for zombies to exist.
- Jossed. Gaiden reveals that Tae was alive in , over a century after Yugiri's death which in Revenge episode 8 is revealed to be after Romero had become a zombie.
- Not exactly. Romero exists, certainly, but Tae is billed explicitly as The First Zombie (implicitly with respect to Franchouchou), and her connection to Jofuku, who raised her after her parents were killed by the Sagako (a manifestation of the Curse of Saga) hints that the original reason for her becoming a zombie likely had nothing to do with Franchouchou at all.
Tae is Kotaro's mother.Tae is far older than the other girls, so she probably has a role in the plot which a teenager could not realistically fill. She died when Kotaro was about 10 years old and his grief drove him to research a method for reviving the dead. She had an unfulfilled dream of being a singer, which is what led him to this plan.
Tae is Kotaro's lover.This goes along with the above WMG about Kotaro being Sakura's brother. Sakura and Tae are the only zombies to (at least as far as we know, in Tae's case) never have any kind of notoriety or experience, begging the question of why Kotaro would choose them for his revitalization project. Simple: he was personally involved with both.
Tae (whom he was either already dating at the time of Sakura's death or met sometime later) similarly had ambitions of being some sort of star, but given her age at death, she was probably aiming for something other than an idol, like a model or actress. Since this drive reminded him of his late classmate, he became involved in show business to do what he could to help her career take off. After her death (likely within the past year), Kotaro's grief at having lost his sister or old crush and his girlfriend (or even wife - she did die at 29) motivated him to learn how to reanimate corpses and give them the chance to have in death what they were denied in life.
Naturally, his lover and sister were the first ones on his list. However, he didn't get the process correct right away. His first attempt was on Tae (Zombie 0), who has taken longer than anyone else to regain her personality from life, if it's even on the table for her. Attempt #2 was on Sakura (Zombie 1), who got her personality back, but not her memories. Kotaro was probably working extra hard to reawaken both of them before any of the others, hence why Sakura wakes up first (and she woke up with makeup on - probably so that he could break her zombie status to her slowly). After getting it a bit wrong twice, his next subject was the expendable delinquent Saki (Zombie 2), and it goes off without a hitch. Now that he's gotten it down pat, he reanimated Ai (Zombie 3), the idol that his sister looked up to more than any other, then Junko (Zombie 4), who helped invent the concept of idols, then Yugiri (Zombie 5) and Lily (Zombie 6) to round out the team.
- Episode 12 suggests that his crush is actually Sakura, not Tae, so this seems to have been Jossed.
- Though, he still could've met and fallen for Tae somewhere between the ten years after Sakura's death.
- Definitely Jossed by Gaiden, which reveals Tae likely didnt survive past , before Kotaro was even born. There's no way they could have been lovers, and certainly not after Sakura's death, because Tae was already dead by then.
- Though, he still could've met and fallen for Tae somewhere between the ten years after Sakura's death.
Tae knew Sakura before the latter's (and then her own) death.Tae will be revealed to have been a friend/relative of Sakura's, who was still alive when Sakura died and knew about her death. Her first reaction when/if she awakens will be dramatic shock/horror that the girl she had known to be dead is actually "alive", before she's clued in to their situation. This will also be an opportunity to fill in some of the details of Sakura's pre-zombie life.
- Presumably Jossed by Gaiden - Tae died long before Sakura did. However, readers have noted similarities in appearance and personality between Sakura and human!Taes fellow Sagako-Buster Hanako Hakase, so there may yet be a quasi-familial connection at play.
Tae's considered "Legendary" because she's the only actual Saga resident.In the context of everything else, she's rather insignificant. However, her mysterious lack of backstory and her eccentricities draw many people to the idol group, which gives her an edge in the "Saving Saga" plan— now all that mystery has a source far different from the other zombies, and makes her a sort of "hometown hero" in turn. Can be an Actor Allusionas well, since her voice actress Kotono Mitsuishialso claims Saga as her home.
- Jossed: Sakura, Saki, Lily, and yes, Tae, are all from Saga.
Tae Legendary status is just a Leaning on the Fourth Wall jokeTae's legendary status is solely a big joke because she was voiced by the legendary Kotono Mitsuishi.
- Seems to be jossed by Gaiden. She was a demon hunter in life.
Tae is Kotaro's sister and the inventor of the zombie process.This is why she's zombie 0, because she was killed just after inventing the process and she's the first he tried it on. This is why Kotaro's so vague on how it works, because he really doesn't know anything beyond what he's found in her notes on how to revive people. It's also why he won't say what she's legendary for. But since she always loved idol singers, he made an idol group to provide the stimulus to awaken her. Saving Saga was just a handy excuse.
Tae will be a last-episode Knight of Cerebus.Just as the first episode started as a straight zombie horror before the surprise genre shift, the last episode will do the same in reverse: once Tae finally awakens completely in the last episode she will notbe happy about her circumstances and spend the rest of the episode trying to murder Kotaro for bringing her back as a zombie.
- Unless there's a second season, this one's been Jossed, as Tae still hasn't awakened yet.
- And with a second season confirmed, it's only a matter of time before Tae awakens.
- As the season ends with an Alien Invasion on Saga and with no real resolution on the Tae front, I think we can safely say this is Jossed.
Tae is a criminalHer pajamas are the classic black and white prison jumpsuits which could be a clue.
- Jossed by Gaiden. She was a demon hunter in life.
Tae's first coherent words will be to encourage Sakura.Because it would be super cute and heartwarming, darn it!
Tae's biting isn't just because of her zombie traitsTake note that the only people she has actually bitten so far are those that she actually knows. and most of them are zombies themselves (Sakura and Junko come to mind). Her biting is just her way of showing that she likes them.
Tae is Queen Himiko of Yamatai.OK, this doesn't start with me. I am just translating someone else's theory.
- Yamada Tae. Yamatai. See anything?
- Then there's the fact that she was deliberately left out of a backstory. Would this not indicate something different with her?
- Every zombie should be connected to Saga Prefecture. There are multiple theory where Yamatai is located, and one of them is Yoshinogari Historical Site, Saga. (Though my personal theory outside of anime is Yame, Fukuoka.)
- It would tie into the theory of the bartender being Xu Fu: Xu zombified himself (or became immortal by any other means) and fell in love with the Queen, years after his birth. Xu then offered zombification to the Queen around The Queen accepts, but the process turns Tae to what she is today. Xu prevented people from seeing the Queen directly, ruling in her stead, until when he decides that there is no way to hide anymore. Announcing that the Queen is dead, he ran away with Tae, and has been searching for ways to restore Tae's mind ever since. He offers the zombification technology to Kotaro with the condition that Tae be let into the group, and this is why she is there.
- Jossed. Gaiden, which focuses on her in life, takes place in
Tae had been in hiding with little resources and was killed after being foundThe girls shambling around in the first episode after the eyecatch foreshadowes each of their deathes, Tae herself keeps sliding on and off screen, completely hidden when not taking up center shot. Could it be possible that Tae had to go into hiding for one reason or another (hidden chrisitan, runaway criminal, queen resisting a coup, ect). Tae is ravenous and devours whatever food she sees so if she is in hiding, her situation could have been so dire that she ran out of food and was unable to leave her refuge to get more. If unawkaened zombies relive their final moments and Tae is waking up slowly then maybe Tae spent the first few days still thinking she was in her old life. Tae often spends her time chasing around a screaming Junko, what if Tae's death was because her enemies found her and she tried to fight them off instead of running? Whenever Junko screams and runs it could put Tae back in the headspace of "I need to defend myself" hence her behavior.
Tae's family is related to the Minamoto familyA small, yet subtle shot during Season 2 Episode 6 while Shinta Okoba is spying on Tae and Romero shows Sakura Minamoto's family grave next to Tae Yamada's ancestral grave. This could only mean two things:
- Tae Yamada is the ancestor of Sakura Minamoto, which explains their relationship together, especially during Season 1 Episode 11 where Tae tries to motivate Sakura to dance with her. In other words, Tae is not letting her granddaughter fail for that matter.
- Tae is a distant relative of Sakura, with the two under the same family tree.
Shinta Okoba knows something spoilertastic about Tae that Franchouchou doesn't.Tae is the only idol identified by Shinta Okoba but whose shot shows only the photo in the ending scene of Revengeepisode 7.
Tae may have died in circumstances that would warrant contemporary newspaper attention.
- Sakura and Saki's deaths were reported in the news because they were accidental deaths involving transport vehicles (Sakura hit by a truck, Saki being incinerated in a motorbike accident)
- Ai, Junko, and Lily's deaths were reported in the news because they were public figures in life (Ai and Junko were singers, Lily was an actor).
- Yugiri is the only idol not to have been identified by Shinta Okoba as of the ending scene of Revenge episode 7, which makes sense for him to be unable to identify her with newspapers since she died two years before Saga Prefecture's newspaper Saga Shinbun was established.
Okoba knew Tae in lifeHe had a visible reaction after hearing Sakura say Taes name in Season 2 Episode 6. Plus, the fact that we didn't see any sort of newspaper article leaves the possibility that he didn't look for one on her and was able to identify her without any additional information.
Tae's Mental State
Tae isn't actually mindless.She was a huge fan of zombie films in life, and is just playing up the mindless angle for her own amusement.
- She is able to spot a dried squid snack in the middle of a crowd. While this act may just be her instincts kicking up, at least, she can still think about her Trademark Favorite Food.
Alternatively, Tae isn't human.She's some prehistoric hominid that is in fact fully functional, but operating on the instincts that a prehistoric hominid would use (i.e. animalistic ones).
- Josssed. In Gaiden, she's a very capable demon hunter.
Tae is waking up but veeeeeery slowly.Tae's actions in the third episode are not completely explainable as 'mindless zombie mimicking others.' It's not clear if there is any intent behind her actions or if she's just starting to realize the world exists, but something is starting to flicker in there.
- Possibly confirmed in Episode 7: while backstage, she mimics Saki much more closely than in previous episodes, to the point that other characters remark on it, and even tries to copy her speech.
- More evidence as episodes go by that she's more able to understand speech, attempts lying (thus knowing she has something to hide) and after Sakura's problems in Episode 11, is crying in a Corner of Woe.
Tae was a religious figure before she died.Tae's outfit is a simple black dress tied with a white rope. It kind of makes her look like a nun. It's possible that Tae was a Buddhist Nun. What makes her legendary is that she was a nun who partook in sokushinbutsu and managed to leave behind a perfect mummy. The reason why she's still mindless despite being Zombie 0 is that her consciousness is in a state of Nirvana and hasn't been dragged back yet.
- Or, on a darker note, Tae may have been a Christian convert in the late 16th/early 17th centuries, a period of Christian persecutions and executions—making her by far the oldest of the group. If so, her mind may simply have decayed too much over the centuries or, if you want to parallel the notion above, maybe God doesn't care to relinquish the soul of a martyr.
- The nun outfit we see her in in Gaiden helps support this.
Tae was Raised by Wolves.Tae is not acting like a zombie, that is her natural state. She is somewhat feral because Tae is the result of a child found after they had gone missing and had been living in the wild for some time. Since this is Japan, the people who found her deified her as a child beloved by the gods hence her religious style garments.
- Alternatively, she wandered out of the forest and into a town one day where she attacked some people, got arrested and thrown in jail where she died. Hence the prison uniform she always sleeps in. Her being raised by wolves also explains why she acts more like a dog than a zombie and children who don't learn to speak before puberty have a very hard time learning language.
Tae's state is related to how she diedOut of all of the zombies so far whose causes of death are known, all of them died very suddenly, and with the possible exception of Lily were all reasonably healthy and would have lived if things had gone a little differently. We can also assume they all died pretty quickly. Maybe part of the reason Tae is the way she is is because her death was a bit slower and lead to her being brain dead before she was dead-dead. Which doesn't necessarily mean that she'll never get better, but she may need further treatment or time to "heal" in order to awaken.
- Gaiden does confirm that she was a demon hunter in life, so it may lend some hints to how she died. Demon hunting is a natually dangerous job, leaving her exposed to many types of supernatural dangers over the course of her career, making it not at all implausible that one such phenomenon ended up being what killed her. Perhaps she ended up a Zombie Infectee, which would be a very different manner of death compared to the rest of the group. Furthermore, it would explain why she never regains full sentience when the others do, since the disease would have gradually deteriorated her mind over a long period of time so that there wouldn't be much left to recover at the time of death, in contrast to the others who died instantaneously.
Tae's mind was switched with Romero's.All of her feral behavior makes sense if you look at it from the standpoint that she's literally an animal in a woman's body. And Romero is pretty well behaved for a dog. However, the reveal of this particular thing won't happen until the very end of the show, as a punchline.
- Jossed: Tae was alive in the s, Romero was already a zombie dog in the s.
Tae acts like a dog because she doesn't realize Romero isn't human.That is to say, she recognizes she is a zombie, and she tries to act like a zombie by following the actions of the zombies around her. She hasn't quite grasped that, as a zombie dog, Romero does not have the same set of behaviors as a zombie human, so she mimics him as well.
Tae is a failed experiment or prototype.Which is where the Zombie 0 prefix comes from. The reason she was drafted was to perfect the reanimation process and was never meant to be part of the idol group.
Tae was resurrected by mistake.In Season 2 Episode 6, it's revealed that the Yamada ancestral grave and the Minamoto family grave are right next to one another. My theory is this: Kotaro tried to exhume Sakura's corpse in the dead of night, but dug up the wrong grave by mistake and ended up with Tae's corpse, and by the time he realised, it was too late. This would explain why she's Number Zero (she wasn't originally planned to be part of the group) and why Kotaro reveals so little about her to Sakura (because he genuinely doesn't know anything about her). Resurrecting the wrong person by mistake, and then just rolling with it, also seems like exactly the sort of thing Kotaro would actually do.
- This is quite possible given that he ended up kidnapping Maimai without even bothering to check for a pulse. If he can't be arsed to check for basic signs of life in someone who just fell down, he definitely could have mixed up the names on the first go.
Tae not regaining her memories is due to the curse on SagaThe curse on Saga was said to specifically kill anyone who was destined to return glory to Saga. The prequel manga, Zombie Land Saga Gaiden: The First Zombie, revealed that Tae was a Demon Hunterreferred to as the "Legendary Office Lady Warrior", and led a group of hunters known as the Sagako Bustersin The '80s. Part of her job leading the Busters was protecting Saga from the numerous demons, the Sagakos, and looking into why they were causing problems.
Not only would Tae qualify as someone the curse would try to kill since she had the potential to break the curse, but her regaining her memories would be just as dangerous, since she could clue in the others as to what they need to do to break it, but it can't kill heragain since she's now a zombie. To stop her from doing that though, the curse made it so that she wouldn't awaken and regain her memories. Tae regaining her memories likely won't happen until the curse is broken, in which nothing will prevent her from regaining her memories, or close to the beginning of the Reiwa era, where she'll be able to help the others almost like an 11th-Hour Ranger.
Franchouchou will have to face a rival groupIts not unusual for an idol anime to have a rival group.
- Oooh! What if it's the latest incarnation of Irol Frill, Ai's original group? They got a lot of attention during Saga Rock, and they were given a cameo during the finale. Perhaps we will get a mini-arc in Season Two where Ai and Iron Frill's leader have a face off - the Legend verses The Replacement! It'll be the Idol Battle of the Decade!
- Somewhat confirmed in Season 2, episode 4. The current Leader of Iron Frill declares Franchouchou their only rival as an idol group.
At some point, a male idol group will debutWhether they're alive or dead
- If they keep with the horror theme, the boys will be based on other common nasties to the genre. They'll likely be some kind of ghost.
A former friend of the zombies will show up at one of their performances.Lily? Dead seven years. Sakura and Ai? Ten. Saki? Twenty-one. Even Junko is sort of within the parameters of maybe having living friends who could recognize them. Tae maybe, Yugiri unlikely the point is, at some point somebody is going to come along and say: Wait, I thought you died! And plot shall ensue.
- Confirmed, although we don't know if it's a friend or not. A mystery man recognized Junko in Episode 5.
- The end of Episode 6 seems to be heading in this direction, with the group booked to play at Saga Rock, where Ai's old group Iron Frill will be performing. It seems very likely that Ai will run into either Iron Frill themselves, or a fan of the group, and will be recognised.
- While this may still happen later on, the above two examples were seemingly Jossed in Episode 7. The mystery man watched Franchouchou perform live but didn't seem to identify who Junko was, and while Ai did watch Iron Frill's performance, neither they nor any of their fans recognised her either (though they're clearly not the same Iron Frill; the members from Ai's era all appear to have graduated, as idol groups do).
- Season 2 Episode 3 reveals that the current Iron Frill members (particularly their leader) have in fact noticed #3's resemblance to Ai, though none of them believe that she actually is Ai.
- In Episode 8 Lily's father does show up at one of the group's photo shoots and is definitely intrigued by how similar one of the members looks to his late daughter, but he doesn't seem to connect the dots (or at least, won't say so out loud) and Lily can't reveal her true identity to him. Fortunately, they're still able to get some closure in the end even if they can't truly reconnect again.
- In Episode 9, Saki inserts herself into some trouble involving the daughter of her old best friend. Upon seeing one another again, Saki repeats the same last words she gave Reiko the night she died, prompting Reiko to recognize her. Saki has to pretend she has no idea who Reiko is referring to in order to protect her secret.
- The stinger for Episode 12 confirms that the newsies actually did recognize Ai, Junko, and Lily, comparing them to photos of their previous living identities. What this means is as of yet unclear.
- While this may still happen later on, the above two examples were seemingly Jossed in Episode 7. The mystery man watched Franchouchou perform live but didn't seem to identify who Junko was, and while Ai did watch Iron Frill's performance, neither they nor any of their fans recognised her either (though they're clearly not the same Iron Frill; the members from Ai's era all appear to have graduated, as idol groups do).
The old bartender is actually a Historical Figure who became immortalIn Episode 11, a bartender casually talks to Kotaro regarding Yugiri, and his Zombie Land Saga Project. It could be possible that he has connections to Kotaro and might be the person who revived the girls. And for someone who is implied to know Yugiri on a personal level, he might have lived on the earliest centuries.
The old bartender was the necromancer.If the bartender really was a historical figure with supernatural powers it would explain how he got the bodies in a country that cremates them. And it also explains why Kotaro didn't explain the revival process: How can you explain something that you have no knowledge of and asked someone else to do?
- Confirmed by Revenge Episode
The OP canonically happenedIt's a music video that the undead idols filmed at some point.
What is the "Revenge" in Zombie Land Saga RevengeThe "Revenge" is either:
- apparently connected to the cliffhanger ending in the original ZLS.
- apparently connected to Yugiri and Tae's mysterious pasts.
- Perhaps it will reveal how the two died.
- the answer to everything that bugs the ZLSdom
- Jossed. It's mentioned on several occasions (most clearly in Episode 10) that the group are simply trying to get "revenge" for their disastrous performance at EFS during the Time Skip.
Seasons 2 will touch about Yugiri's past and present issues.
- With Franchouchou's recent song Saga Jihen which is Yugiri's song, the lyrics are about Forbidden Love, but it doesn't elaborate much of what happened exactly. It is probable that she had a lover who was a noble, but his family decided to execute her due to the idea of running away together. Her past will come to haunt her once again when she might encounter a guy who resemblances to her former lover (Perhaps is a descendant of his) which Yugiri will have to let it go and move on.
- Confirmed. Yugiri does the narration for S2E8's preview, and one shot shows a living Yugiri arguing with a man that looks like the bartender.
Franchouchou has a host of in-universe memes about them
- Let's be real, it's more than likely that part of the draw to the group is how outlandish their exploits are. In fact, when one factors in the heavily publicized incidents of the Saga Rock Lightning Strike and the Arpino Stage Collapse, and the group's unflinching resolve to finish the show despite the chaos around them, one wonders if Franchuuchuu has become a source of Memes across Japan of the same variety as Ultra Instinct Shaggy, or even the pinnacle of Memetic Badassery, Chuck Norris. With Revenge coming out soon-ish, this troper is looking forward to this WMG gaining a list of examples.
- Sort of confirmed in Episode 6 of Revenge. Tae Yamada, at the very least, appears to have reached Memetic Badass levels in-universe.
Yugiri was murdered
- In Episode 8, when the group's discussing the possibility of them being kidnapped after the incident with Lily's father, Yugiri laments that being in an occupation in which you show yourself to the public is as dangerous as it's always been. It's possible that she knows from experience, especially if she died as a result of a crazed admirer kidnapping and murdering her.
- Jossed. It is revealed in Revenge episode 9 that she was executed in Kiichi's stead for causing a revolution and killing an accomplice instead of being murdered in public.
An episode in season 2 will be about the Karatsu Kunchi festivalIt just sounds neat.
- Jossed. It's a local school festival.
Season 2 will introduce some kind of antagonistSeason 1 was interesting because all of the conflict was about the girls coming to terms with their new undead lives. With the exception of Yugiri and Tae, who have had neither backstory revealed nor personal conflict, each of them have overcome what was holding them back. The writers could answer more questions about their backstories but doing something like centering another episode about one of their families will just feel like a redo of Neverland Saga. It feels more apt to introduce some kind of Outside-Context Problem, such as the reporter trying to learn more about them, not so much a villain as an obstacle.
- Episode 6 seems to be going in this direction, with the reporter having realised that Tae is a zombie.
- And then in Episode 7, he pieces together everyone else's identities (save Yugiri). What will become of this remains to be seen.
- Somewhat was leaning toward this in Episode Okoba confronts Kotaro and threatens to reveal the truth about Franchouchou, as he objects to (what he believes is) Kotaro exploiting the dead for profit. He's one click away from doing exactly that when a freak storm shuts off his power. He luckily gets over it after witnessing Franchouchou performing with a crowd of children without their makeup in the next episode.
- The Stinger of Episode 12 shows what appears to be an Alien Invasion, so it's possible that Season 3 will feature aliens as antagonists.
- Episode 6 seems to be going in this direction, with the reporter having realised that Tae is a zombie.
If Franchouchou's secret is discovered, the Metalheads will stick by themThey've been fans of the girls since their first performance, love how brutal they can be, and seem like overall nice people (they realized Ai was scared of the lightning and looked genuinely concerned for her). The two of them seem like they are in it for the long haul so it doesn't feel like they would get scared off by zombies. If anything, they would probably think Franchouchou is even more epic because how metal is that?
- This almost happens, but not with the Metalheads. Yes, while their zombie secret is revealed to a crowd of children, they do not believe that Franchouchou are zombies, but Franchouchou. This spares them the opportunity to keep their secret in check.
Iron Frill is losing fameIron Frill has lasted a decade, that's ancient by idol standards. When Ai was with them, they were packing stadiums after a year, now they're performing at music concerts in an obscure prefecture.
The show will end by
- After achieving success and saving Saga, Franchouchou will return to the grave with peace and teary smiles
- Open ended, the girls achieve their dreams and the audience will know that they will continue to go on after the credits roll
- Kotaro somehow manages to fully revive them and they become human again
Zombieland Saga is a disguised The Magnificent Seven Samurai plot in an idol setting
- Franchouchou is a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that fits the general line up (Lily being The Young Guy, Tae being The Funny Guy, etc) also there's seven of them.
- They receive a Call to Adventure in the form of Kotaro who rounds them up on the mission to save Saga (from obscurity).
- The people of Saga are generally unable or unwilling to do this themselves because if they wanted to boost tourism, they probably didn't need to raise the literal dead.
- Franchouchou successfully pulls off their first concert at Saga Rock and start reaching out to more people such as the old folks and the bikers to unite them.
- The big reveal that they're zombies is just waiting to be unfurled and causes them to disband
- After realizing that there's still fans that care about them or that they can continue being idols to humanize themselves to people, Franchouchou returns
- Maybe season 2 will introduce some kind of rival or outside threat they have to deal with?
- Big concert where the fans they thought had abandoned them come back in bigger support then ever and it's a stellar show.
- Saga is saved because Franchouchou becomes a widely successful hit that hopefully avoids the But Now I Must Go ending most of these movies have.
- Their But Now I Must Go ending could be in the form of since Saga is popular enough to not need a local idol group anymore, Franchouchou is now free to tour the rest of Japan
Season 2 will make an Ascended Meme about the in-universe meme about Franchouchou being indestructibleIt's already been mentioned on the meme page that it's very likely that Franchouchou has garnered a good number of fans due to being seen as being a Memetic Badassgroup. Their first major performance had them going on after their stage got struck by lightning and their show at the Arpino had the roof come down on top of them but they got up like it was nothing. Now that the group's starting to get more well known, season 2 could have fans bringing up how crazy it is that they can shrug off disasters like it's nothing, much to the zombie's nervous laughter.
A tsunami devastates the prefecture and Franchouchou will do a benefit concert to help the victimsThe trailer for season 2 shows a town that has been destroyed by something and then a massive wave in another frame. The poster for season 2 has the girls at a large stadium. Here's my cold shot for the plot of season 2- after the success at the Arpino, Franchouchou is continuing to do shows around Saga and build up their presence. They set their sights on a new venue they want to play at within the first couple of episodes. About half way through the season, a devastating tsunami will ravage part of the prefecture. Either there will be an episode about Franchouchou hunkering down in a mostly Bottle Episodebecause they're on the fringes of the disaster or they will be forced to evacuate the area without letting anyone see them without proper makeup on. Because of the disaster, the show will be canceled but after maybe an episode of sadness and other character drama, they come up with the idea of doing a concert with all the profits going towards helping victims and people who have been displaced. This will result in a massiveaudience turn out and strongly endear them to the people of Saga (in addition to literally saving it). The love they receive from the fans will make up for some earlier in the season financial troubles because venues and promoters start begging Franchouchou to play for them. The girls will be happy that they saved Saga but Kotaro will say something like "You didn't save Saga, Saga was devastated and you got it back to where it was before." Or something like that to tell the zombies and the audience that there's more stories and songs to come.
- Seems to be going this way by Episode Franchouchou will be performing at the EFS in the midst of Saga's collapse.
- More or less confirmed. The EFS charity show is a roaring success and makes Franchouchou household names. Kotaro even starts to give a speech about how Franchouchou still have a ways to go, but the zombies cut him off, saying they already know and they're determined to keep shining brighter.
The franchise's sidestory manga Zombie Land Saga Gaiden: The First Zombie is about either one of the Franchouchou idols whose causes of death haven't been revealed as of April Tae or Yugiri; and it will show said idol's death sceneOn one hand, Tae is called the "Legendary Tae Yamada" and her motsuke-koromo fashion suggests she was from the Sengoku era, earlier than Yugiri; on the other hand, Yugiri is from a violent era and her death scene would most likely not get past Japanese TV censors, which would give the manga an opportunity to fill the void, and one of Tae's favorite foods is takoyaki (which was invented only decades after Yugiri's death).
- Confirmed: Gaiden appears to be about Tae, with Yugiri's backstory being revealed in Episodes 8 and 9 of Revenge instead.
The bartender had some role in Yugiri's deathIn episode 11, he tells Kotaro that he owes Yugiri a lot from back then, implying some acquaintance with her. Yet, he never makes any attempt at seeing Yugiri again despite the fact that he wouldn't have seen her in over a century plus the disorientation she must be feeling from not only being revived as a zombie but coming back to a completely different timeline and having at least a familiar face be a welcome sight. This makes me wonder if the bartender may be actively avoiding her probably out of guilt at being responsible for her being dead. Perhaps he was the one to kill her or Yugiri could've taken the heat for him regarding some illicit activity which resulted in her execution. And Yugiri being revived could've be done out as atonement in order to give her the life she could've have otherwise it makes no sense for Kotaro to bring back someone which would be completely unfamiliar with not only the idol industry but the modern world.
It would also tie in with the Franchouchou girl foils having parallels with each others' deaths. Sakura & Saki: two non-performer native Sagans who died in accidents due to recklessness, Ai& Junko: two popular idols who died in freak accidents they had no control over (lightning & plane crash) that left them with lingering phobias. That leaves Yugiri & Lily, the two entertainers who would seem to have had contrasting deaths with one dying by execution & the other dying of natural causes, a heart attack. However, Lily's death was caused in part due to her stage dad overworking her and ignoring the signs she was stressed until it was too late plus their last words being an argument leaving her dad heartbroken and feeling extremely guilty even years later. If the bartender was responsible for Yugiri's death directly or indirectly, it would parallel Lily's in leaving behind someone who felt broken about causing it.
- Jossed. The bartender owes Yugiri for saving his life because she was able to enable Kiichi's plan and restore Saga, all at the cost of her execution.
Romero may not have been the dog's first name.Romero appears as a zombie in Saga, and his name is the surname of George A. Romero, the filmmaker known for popularizing the Zombie Apocalypsegenre, so it is possible his current name was inspired by the filmmaker.
Romero is the first zombie.Romero appears as a zombie in Saga prior to Yugiri's death, while Gaidenreveals that Tae was alive in the s/90s.
Shojiro Itou is the one who beheaded Yugiri.See the Ambiguously Evilexamples in his character section.
- Jossed. She killed him before she was executed.
Saga Jihen will be performed in "The Saga Incident, Part 2" and be inspired by Yugiri's flashbacks in both parts.Given the rest of Franchouchou appear in Part 1 only in spirit as one-off lookalikes who serve little-to-no purpose except averting Absentee Actor, perhaps the most practical way to feature them is by having them perform this song. Also, the context of the song may be consistent with what happened in Part 1.
Franchouchou, Kotaro, and Okoba are all ReincarnationsDuring The Saga Incident Part 1, numerous moments show that there were identical strangersto the members of Franchouchou, sans Yugiri, living in Meiji era Saga. A girl who looked like Sakura was a street vendor, a girl who looked like Junko had an eel end up in her kimono because of Kiichi, a girl who looked like Ai was playing with some kids, a woman who looked like Tae appeared to be a noblewoman in the cart that nearly hit Yugiri and Kiichi, and a kid who looked like Lily was being babysat by a girl who looked like Saki. All these girls just so happen to look like members of Franchouchou and attention is paid to them, yet the most any of them interact with Yugiri, Kiichi, or Itou is Junko's lookalike due to the eel.
Now, it was said that the curse placed on Saga killed people who were destined to restore glory to Saga, and that falls in line with the backstories we know of Franchouchou, the only exception being Sakura who was killed before she could even try to be an idol.
- Junko and Ai were both idols and well known for their work.
- Yugiri supported Kiichi's efforts to restore Saga.
- Tae was a Demon Hunter looking to break the curse on Saga.
- Saki was the special commander of Dorami and nearly conquered Kyushu.
- Lily was a rising-star child actor.
Let's temporarily shift over to Okoba and Kotaro. Okaba finding out about the girls being zombies causes him to clash with Kotaro, with Kotaro trying to simply revive Saga, but Okoba saying he's desecrating the dead. They aren't the first pair however to argue about the methods used to save Saga. Itou and Kiichi likewise argued about Kiichi's method to save Saga, with Kiichi caring about Saga first and foremost, and Itou opposed him out of fear it would start a rebellion. And for extra points, Itou and Okoba have dark grey hair, while Kiichi and Kotaro have brownish hair.
So, we have six girls who all had a doppelganger in the Meiji era, one woman fromthe Meiji era, and two men whose conflict is heavily reminiscent of one shared by two friends in the Meiji era. Where am I going with this? Well, we know Xu Fu has been trying to put a stop the Saga curse himself before meeting Kotaro, who he then taught necromancy too, under the condition he revive Yugiri.
What if one of Xu Fu's attempts at stopping the curse was deliberately causing the reincarnation of certain individuals from the Meiji era, in the hopes they could break the curse. Why he picked the ones he picked is still a headscratcher, but it's possible they possessed qualities he thought would make them "legends". He then reincarnated Kiichi as Kotaro when that plan seemed to be failing since Kiichi nearly saved Saga before dying, but also reincarnated Sakura as one final shot. When she died, he then instructed Kotaro on necromancy as a last ditch effort, reviving the "legends" due to desperate times calling for desperate measures. Unfortunately though, the curse decided to reincarnate Itou too as Okoba, specifically to circumvent the efforts of Xu Fu.