It’s Crow’s World of Anime’s turn again to host the Zombieland Saga collaboration review! If you missed the previous episode’s review, you can read Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep9: Tough Girls have Soft Hearts on Irina’s site I Drink and Watch Anime! This week, we review episode 10, “NO ZOMBIE NO SAGA.” I’ll be regular type and Irina will be in bold.
Given how playful the show’s been with our expectations, I guess I should have expected it not to give us Yuugiri’s backstory! We did get a great Yuugiri moment as compensation, though; and we got a dramatic development at the very end. This episode was simultaneously a continuance, a departure, and a return to form.
Any initial thoughts or impressions before we get started, Irina?
All episode I kept wondering why I thought this would be Yuguri’s episode. I have a tendency to decide things at random so maybe I just straight up lied to you…. I do hope we still get a Yuguri episode. I imagine it something like Memories of a Geisha.
That would be awesome!
It's still not too late to hope for an episode with Yuugiri's back story, right? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
It was a rough episode for Sakura, and it can be pretty much summed when, around the midpoint of the episode, she says, “We’re supposed to be showered in cheers, not drool.” See, a giant boar had eaten Sakura’s head, and…
I should probably explain that a little better, huh?
You should do an interpretive dance. Guys, Crow will embed the video right HERE:
I like my readers, so I will not subject them to that! < shudder> But maybe we could get Yuugiri to do the dance? She showed some dancing skills in this… Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself again!
Koutarou has booked their largest venue yet -- a 500 seat concert hall in Saga. Remember how Sakura had been recalling flashes from her past, particularly a scene of Iron Frill performing? Turns out it was in the same concert hall, and that makes Sakura excited at the idea the concert might trigger more of her memories. She gets more and more excited that she puts herself completely out of sync with the group.
I know I’ve been rough on Koutarou, but I’ll give him credit: He saw what was going on and tried to take some action. What kind of action was questionable, because he sent them up into the frigid mountains to help them learn teamwork. Irina, what did you think the odds of the plan working were?
Sending zombie idols -- alone -- into the wilderness to learn teamwork. What could possibly go wrong? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
We don’t know much at all about Koutarou. We do know that he genuinely cares for his dog, those girls and the town of Saga and that’s about it. (Let me just take a second here to say that I never thought Koutarou was a bad character, just not well executed.)
For the first time, we are finally getting a little context as to what exactly Koutarou’s motivation is. Right from the start, the girls were supposed to be *saving* Saga by becoming idols, but we never knew exactly from what? This is such a wakadoo show that it could have been the power of fanatical admiration being harvested to ward off aliens that would steal all the fried chicken or something. But no. It’s actually fairly mundane. Saga is one of those little out of the way dying towns. The big threat is plain old depopulation. Not enough children are born to replace the older generation and people are moving away rather than moving in. Because it’s in the mountains and difficult to access, it doesn’t attract much tourism either.
So a world famous band coming from there, might realistically bring people there and some may stay. At the very least a thriving tourism industry will attract workers.
This isn’t a problem I empathize with. Being a big city nomad and all. But it’s something that’s quite common in Canada and I know that to some people, it’s truly traumatic. Heck the plot of Cars was all about that too. Saving small towns from disappearing off the map. And small towns surrounded by snowy mountain in particular, are very familiar to me.
(I know this seems to have wandered way off but bear with me I’m slowly getting back to the question at hand)
No, no, this is great! I’m following! Please continue!
You know, maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all! It kinda worked! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
We’re generally practical creatures. We tend to shape our beliefs and traditions around what’s convenient no matter how illogical. A town surrounded by mountains like that probably has a whole bunch of superstitions and rituals about climbing mountains, camping or hiking.
If Koutarou is a Saga native (which is why he cares for the town so much), he probably grew up thinking that a week in the mountains is some type of rite of passage. His plan doesn’t make much sense to me, but the episode gave me just enough clues to figure out why it would make sense to him. I appreciate that.
That makes so much sense! So his plan wasn’t harebrained at all!
Up on the mountain, things started off badly for Sakura. The rest of Franchouchou started working together to make a camp. Lily could rely on skills she developed during her time staring in Girl Scout Mania Case Files 3 to light a fire, and Ai and Junko hunted and fished. But Sakura could only think of the upcoming concert, so she continued trying to practice. Alone.
Then things take a turn for the worse. Saki wanted to eat meat (because they’re zombies, after all), so they tried to trap a wild baby pig. But wild baby pig brought giant daddy boar. The idols scrambled for cover, except for Sakura -- who accidentally stepped into the trap to leave only her head showing. By the time all was said and done, the boar had thrown her body into a tree and was about to swallow her head.
Why are all these fairy wealthy young women so good with survivor skills? Where did Ai learn how to make a bow from scratch and hunt boar with it? Same thing with Junko and fishing. She knew a lot about it. I could see Saki having some hunting skills but otherwise, these girls are unnervingly good survivalists.
Good questions -- I’d love another season to explore those questions! Maybe they started in the hitherto unknown Idols in the Wild?
Season 2! No wait, season 3!!
You know, at the time, Yuugiri's advice to Sakura to play dead seemed like a great idea! In retrospect, though... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Thank heavens Tae viciously attacked the boar and convinced it to let go! Of course, the inside of a boar’s mouth is covered in porcine saliva, so now you see where Sakura’s drool comment came from!
At that point, I couldn’t blame her for snapping! Even at the manager when he came back to tell them it was time to go home. And of course, their next practice didn’t go very well at all.
What were your thoughts on the scene where Sakura walked out of practice, Irina?
Once I got over the fact that it wasn’t Yuguri’s episode, I found myself surprised at how I had missed Sakura as a leading lady.
Her palpable stress and directionless frustration where really great for adding nuance to a generally vanilla character. Somehow, that frantic tension coming from the person who is supposed to be our anchor was very unsettling. I was uneasy for no reason the whole time.
I had that feeling, too.
Maybe my favorite scene of the episode was when we see the manager drinking alone, obviously discouraged. I actually felt bad for the guy -- his plan had backfired, and he felt terrible about it! But I felt even worse for him (I know -- astonishing, right?) when Yuugiri came in. Remember back in episode 3 where she slapped Sakura for not being optimistic -- as Sakura was trying to give an optimistic speech? Well, Yuugiri strikes again! The manager was saying he has faith in Sakura when Yuugiri slaps him -- hard! -- and tells him he should have faith in Sakura.
I wrote it down - love the slap running gag!
After berating him loudly -- in front of the whole restaurant -- I have to admit that I genuinely felt sorry for the guy. His voice actor, Mamoru Miyano, sounded so hurt and confused when he said to the crowd, “But I just said I do? I did, didn’t I? You saw.”
Irina, wasn’t that scene something?
Apparently, agreeing with Yuugiri can be dangerous to your health! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
It was fantastic indeed. Sort of made me long for a Yuguri episode again though. I think that most of Koutarou’s one on one scenes (berating Ai for her negative attitude, comforting Junko, treating Lily with tender normalcy, and trying to save Saki from herself) tend to be very endearing. It’s group settings he has a problem with.
So maybe he suffers from social anxiety? Now I feel even more sympathy for him!
Sakura’s a smart zombie, and she realizes she has to turn things around with the rest of Franchouchou, or the concert’s going to be a flop. In a typically idol-genre moment, she sees the rest of them practicing without her, and they’re in perfect sync. Even when they stop, they collaboratively brainstorm to make improvements. They even try to suggest some changes to make it easier for Sakura to rejoin them.
Her zombie idol heart melts, and she understand that she was in the wrong, and she apologizes and rejoins the group. Happy ending, right?
Still wish they would rap - not letting it go…
Now I want to watch the second episode again...
Well, remember, this is Zombieland Saga. So, no, this was not the happy ending. Because guess what? Sakura decides to go jogging the next morning. Ai tells her to “Be careful around traffic!”
Irina, did you feel a strong sense of doom at this point?
I felt gloomy the whole time. I don’t know if this is a girl thing or a me and a few of my girlfriends thing but that sort of ill defined restlessness that Sakura was obviously going through the whole time, that hit home for me. I’ve been there so many times, I will be there again, probably soon. And it’s never a good sign….
A happy, buoyant Sakura is about to go jogging? What could possibly go wrong? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
I was felt actual physical dread! I guess that’s a testament to how much the show has gotten me to care about these characters! And that’s why I was so aghast when our old friend the killer truck struck our hero. Again.
I’ve worked as a disaster recovery analyst in a past life, so I hope you won’t think I’m weird for wondering how the show was going to explain away the driver not stopping -- because plot-wise, he obviously couldn’t stay around and find out she was a zombie! Romero saved the day by chasing him away.
Guess what? Sakura got her memory back! Her living memory, that is. She didn’t remember being a zombie.
What do you make of this, Irina?
Amnesiaception! It depends how they develop this. It can easily come off as tired and/or desperate but as it was unfolding, I had a huge smile on my face. Somewhat magical amnesia is a tried and true fiction trope that seems particularly popular in anime. However, I can’t remember (ha!) ever seeing a case of amnesia over amnesia before. There’s a lot of potential here. Maybe too much..
This episode has its share of funny moments. When they visited the concert venue, Lily ran around in in delight at being in such a large hall -- with Tae barking and chasing after her! And while they were on the mountain, Tae went from being frozen in a solid block of ice to making increasing complex snow sculptures! I still wonder what her story is…
But this last development is pretty dramatic. I want to see Yuugiri’s backstory, and I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get it. But Sakura’s always been the star (in a brilliant ensemble cast!), so I can’t begrudge her time in the spotlight.
Sakura had a hard time this episode. It's not often you see an idol -- staring in an idol series -- with her head covered in pig spit! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Irina, your parting thoughts?
I’m going to go on a little tangent here. I know, it’s weird, I never do stuff like that…
Am I the only one who’s seen Cannibal the Musical? https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115819/ It’s an early Trey Parker movie and I love it. The entire middle part is him and his buddies lost on a snowy mountain with a mix of gore, comedy and odd sentimentality. This episode reminded me a lot of that movie. That’s impressive!
Actually, I have seen that movie. Now I’m pretty sure I can’t unsee the reference!
And there are only two episodes left!
How, nooo….This is what I mean by *too much*. We need to wrap up Sakura’s double amnesia, see Yuuguri’s backstory (not optional), figure out what’s going to happen to Tae and I would like her backstory as well. Resolve Ai and Junko’s traumas (they put them aside but we didn’t get an actual conclusion), get the metal heads’ backstory, find out what happened to the little girl, finally get to know what the deal with Koutarou is and of course, Save Saga!
Clearly we need a second season…
At least a second season… Or a really, really extended versions of the last two episodes! Like, movie length.
- I Drink and Watch Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep1
- Crow's World of Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep2: Rap Battle!
- I Drink and Watch Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep3: Guts and Glory
- Crow's World of Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep4: Zombies in the Hot Springs!
- I Drink and Watch Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep5: Mud Idols
- Crow's World of Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep6: Zombie Divisions Appear!
- I Drink and Watch Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep7: One More Time with Feeling
- Crow's World of Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep8: Lily and the Man in her Life
- I Drink and Watch Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep9: Tough Girls have Soft Hearts
- Crow's World of Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep10: Yuugiri Strikes Again and Sakura Gets Boared!
- I Drink and Watch Anime: Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep11: It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn
- Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep12: We’re All Zombies and We’ve All Died