Fall 2018 Anime

Cute Girls Doing Dead Things – ‘Zombie Land Saga’ Episode 1 Review

Cute Girls Doing Dead Things - An Anime QandA Review of 'Zombie Land Saga' Episode 1

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.

“Despite all my rage…”

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.

Gotta love that rain symbolism.

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…

*insert death metal screams*

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.

Seems legit.

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.

Contemplative zombie.

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.

*party hard*

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7 comments on “Cute Girls Doing Dead Things – ‘Zombie Land Saga’ Episode 1 Review

  1. Not gonna lie, I will mostly like this for Mamoru Miyano.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The opening where she gets hit by the truck is the kind of humour I can get behind (yes, I have a really terrible sense of humour), I thought the paced that beautifully and just nailed it and the transition into the OP (obviously linking in nicely to the way Zombieland the movie starts out). I’ll admit, the episode got less interesting for me after Kotaro showed up. His is the kind of character that will get on my nerves. Still, given the horror aspect and the style of humour so far, I’m actually really interested in this one. That doesn’t mean it will be good, but I’m kind of hoping to be entertained.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Well, I have reserved this saturday morning to watch a couple of the new shows, and this one is on that list. I have no idea yet if I’m going to like it, but I’m still a bit intrigued by everything you described here. 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was too too much Mamoru Miyano. Like about 500% too much. The schtick was acceptable in shows like Tada-kun and Gatchaman Crowds because he was a bit player / supporting cast. This was 50% of the show and that was 5 times too much.

    I didn’t really mind the rest of the show, although it definitely seems like it’ll be one of those shows where the first episode is almost completely different from the rest of the series, now that the rest of the girls have “woken up”. And hopefully it is different from the first episode, because it’s something that seems like an ok premise, but other stuff was too much in the foreground.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally hoping it becomes the show I want it to be, i.e. just cute zombie girls doing idol stuff and not the dark crap it started out as!

      Like

  5. Pingback: Is Bunny Girl Senpai’s Oregairu and Monogatari Comparisons Setting The Bar Too High?

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