Directed By: Munehisa Sakai
Written By: Shigeru Murakoshi
Audio: English, Japanese
Episode Count: 12
Licensed By: Manga Entertainment UK, Funimation
Format: DVD, BluRay, Collector’s Limited Edition, FunimationNow
Release Date: 10th February 2020
Our story begins with the tragic death of Sakura Minamoto, a high school girl with her sights set on becoming an idol. She rises again ten years later as a living, breathing zombie, after being resurrected by a mysterious man called Koutarou Tatsumi. Whose main focus is on revitalizing the Saga Prefecture with the creation of a new Idol group. Oddly enough, all it’s members are dead. Literally, dead. Tatsumi has handpicked 7 individual girls that have been deceased for decades, some even centuries, and has resurrected them for this soul purpose. Gradually they begin to remember their past lives, whilst Sakura doesn’t recall anything. Just why is that?
Well I certainly wasn’t expecting her death that quickly in the first episode, from that moment the afterlife of Sakura Minamoto had me hooked! Although the show is comical, it also carries some intense backstories to do with each of their deaths. Events that hit just as hard, as when I first watched Angel Beats. On the brightside, the girls are great performers with catchy songs and dance routines. They each have their own unique personalities and with a big bucket of foundation, they appear like normal teenage girls to the outside world, (as long as they can manage to keep their limbs attached.)
Sakura is our viewpoint for this series and I think is the second last one to have died, just before Ai. Sakura was the first to “awaken” and regain her consciousness, and was then forced to become somewhat of the caretaker of the group. In her afterlife, she begins to live the dreams of her past self, even though she has no recollection of it at the beginning of the series. The rest of her Idol group are an interesting bunch. A group that contains two former idols, a child TV star, the leader of a Biker gang, a famous Courtesan from the 19th century and a girl named Tae, who is still unable to regain her human consciousness. I particularly like Tae, although she has difficulty in focusing on routines, can’t sing or talk, she offers great humor as she chases people around trying to bite them!
As to how these seven girls were resurrected is still a mystery, as well as the idea of why you would do it in the first place. All the answers lie with their group manager – Kotaro Tatsumi, and he isn’t revealing anything! Although we do see a connection between him and one of the characters at the end of the series, I still have no idea on why he picked the other members of Franchouchou. Hopefully we can get more answers in the second season if it comes out.
Zombie Land Saga was created by a Japanese Animation Studio by the name of MAPPA. Having only established back in 2011, in it’s eight short years it has created some of the most acclaimed animes in recent years. Including “Kids on the Slope”, “Terror in Resonance”, “Punch Line”, “Yuri on Ice” and “In This Corner of the World”. A second season has been announced, with the working title of “Zombie Land Saga Revenge”. News on when this will be released is unknown.
Zombie Land Saga was a pretty entertaining show from start to finish, with plenty of character development and background. With two characters having already met people from their past, will this happen again with other members of the group? Also will we ever discover the true reason how and why these girls were resurrected? Here’s hoping Zombie Land Saga Revenge will give us some more answers.
You can buy this 12 episode season today from Manga Entertainment UK on BluRay and DVD, with the Collectors Limited Edition containing both, as well as a 20 page art book & several art cards. You can also stream it on the FunimationNow app.