What’s the show? Zombie Land Saga, Episode 1.
And what’s it about? Sakura Minamoto is a normal high school girl who dreams about being an idol, when on her way to an audition she is struck by a passing car and killed. 10 years later she is resurrected, along with other girls from various eras by a man named Kotaro Tatsumi who intends for them to become an all-zombie idol group to help save the flagging interests of Saga prefecture.
Well… that’s certainly an interesting premise! Did you enjoy the episode? Not really. Well, not at as a whole.
Oh, well that’s a rather ~vague~ answer do you want to elaborate on why exactly? Well I guess it makes sense to start from the beginning. So we see Sakura getting ready for her day, she steps out into the street and is hit by a small truck, her body begins cartwheeling through the air, which we have to watch for a minute and a half as the opening credits play—now already they’ve got me off base, this is the kind of edgy bullshit that I loathe. Added to that I watch anime to see cute girls doing cute things, not cute girls being killed.
So you didn’t like it because it was dark? No I didn’t appreciate it because it felt like it was trying too hard to be shocking but the biggest problem isn’t even that, while yes it was shocking and I’ll admit it ~triggered~ me, there’s a way to recover from that. And that’s by being tonally consistent, which it did for a little bit, Sakura escaping the “haunted house” full of other zombie girls, stumbling into the rain-drenched streets only to find a police officer who straight up shoots her in the chest because she’s a zombie and she didn’t even realise it at the start. That’s dramatic material and it was well paced and tense and then he shows up…
Who is this “he” you’re referring to? That’d be Kotaro, who bursts in like a fifty-ton freight train of energy and derails all dramatic potential this show once had and instead turns this into a zombie version of last season’s Music Girls only with more head banging. Seriously, the tonal whiplash from the first third of the episode to the last two-thirds is enough to break my neck.
So you don’t like the main guy? No, he’s great, he’s played by Mamoru Miyano—who voices Okabe from Steins;Gate (and Steins;Gate 0) and he’s in full Hyouin Kyouma mode with the ridiculous laugh and exaggerated poses. It’s a whole lot of fun and contrasts perfectly with Sakura’s kind of deadpan delivery and total “not having any of this” attitude. What I don’t think it contrasts with is the first part of the episode. It starts off as one kind of show and more-or-less sells what it’s trying to achieve and then pretty much abandons it in favour of a slice of life, cute girls doing cute things series just with the fact that they’re zombies being the only major change to the formula. And the second part is good too, I mean it’s pretty predictable but that’s what CGDCT shows are so it sells that too.
So let me get this straight, you ended up liking the first “darker, more intense” part then you ended up liking the “lighter, more tropey” part too but you still somehow have a problem with this show? I can’t say I have a problem with a whole show after a single episode—but I do think its something of a failed combination. I’ll keep watching to see if it sticks to how the show felt in it’s latter half or if it continues to flub it by flip flopping between the ‘edgy’ stuff and the ‘lighter’ stuff or maybe even if it just learns to integrate the two sides better.
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