Irina and Crow in Zombieland (Saga) ep4: Zombies in the Hot Springs!

October 29, 2018

It’s Crow’s World of Anime’s turn to host the Zombieland Saga collaboration review! If you missed the last episode’s review, you can read it on Irina’s site I Drink and Watch Anime!

On to the episode! I appreciate consistency. I really do. But there are times when I long for a change. Case in point: Koutarou yelling at and berating our zombie idol heroes! A little of that goes a long way, and we’ve had more than a little of it lately. I would like to see the show walk away from this joke, consistent or not.

On a brighter note, at least the zombies seem much less intimidated. Except maybe Sakura.

What do you think, Irina?

He got punched in the gut!! I think it was a nice payoff. It certainly made the scene like more of one long joke on Koutarou, which made it all a lot more bearable. I grant you that the schtick is getting old though. However, I still have faith that the character is more than meets the eye. There is mystery afoot!

And, it looks like Saki's had enough of Koutarou's BS. Didn't know she was left handed! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Maybe we can just get Tae to nom him? She seems pretty indiscriminate… But very good point about the mystery!

I like Saki. I loved how she finally punched Koutarou in the stomach. First, I didn’t know she was left handed! Second, did you notice that she knocked his glasses off? For a moment, I wondered it we’d get to see what his eyes looked like. Is he a zombie himself? Why else would he wear glasses all the time? But no, he put them on again too fast.

Oh noes...I answered this too quickly. Inside baseball guys - one of us does a first draft then the other comments and we go back and forth like that. Sort of a time delayed conversation. I like when Crow does the first draft because his positivity is infectious and makes me more generally appreciative in my praise or constructive in my criticism.

I should always ask myself what Crow would say before starting any conversation!

WWCD? Wow -- I feel honored!

Zombies going sightseeing -- the concept alone is funny. Did you have a feeling something was going to go terribly wrong?

Ok, maybe this says more about me than anything else, but I sort of always assume tourists are zombies...

It took practically the whole group to convince Sakura that sightseeing before rehearsal was a good idea. Even then, "good" was a relative concept... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Tae energetically  ringing the bell made me laugh out loud. I’m beginning to wonder if she’s really still pre-conscious -- she danced well at the end of last episode, and she seems to respond to her name. She even danced in time with everyone else in this episode!

Even though we had the comic relief scene at the end, I found the entire episode to be sadly going in the direction I expected. I.e. cute girl idol show. Part of that can be seen in the fact that the girls really spent most of the episode in their pretty girl makeup. And even Tea was acting like the traditional “slow” girl archetype rather than an actual zombie. I say boo to that. She should have tried to eat a passerby or something…

You would use facts to harsh my buzz! And Tae trying to eat a passerby would be a lot more in character, wouldn’t it?

Did you suspect that Koutarou wasn’t sightseeing? He was negotiating. I feel just a little guilty after that. Not a lot. He still annoys me. But seeing him responsible just left feeling a little confused.

Like I said, I suspect Koutarou of a lot of stuff. I think I like the character much more than you do. They have to start using him better but I don’t see him as a villain so far.

You mean he was actually working? Oh, man, now I have guilt... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

You’re starting to sway my opinion on this… But don’t tell anyone!

What did you think of the scene after the foot bath, where the zombie idols talked seriously about their future? What struck me was how the show’s playing with us -- it mentions that cremation is the norm in Japan, so what did he use to make their zombie bodies? They also wondered about who exactly their manager really was. Do you think this scene was keeping the mystery front and center? Or taunting us?

I actually LOVED that. I thought they would gloss over those questions and inconsistencies but the fact that they addressed them gives me hope that they have some type of plot in mind. Also, it keeps the Zombie aspect relevant.

What I liked less is that they almost immediately switched from those really intriguing and pressing mysteries that have an enormous impact on their very existence to - how can we idol better? I mean they didn’t even want to be idols to begin with…

I wonder how much of that boils down to Sakura’s drive? I did like how Sakura asked Ai if she thought they had a shot at becoming real idols. Ai’s response felt like it was from her heart (okay, her emotional heart -- her real heart isn’t beating anymore…).

We didn’t get a death metal concert or a rap battle this week. Instead, we got a re-enactment of parts of The Shining, with Day of the Dead thrown in for good measure. Saki tried to convince Sakura to go to the hot springs despite their instructions to stay in their room. It took Junko’s shy admission that she wanted to go that convinced Sakura, and I absolutely loved Saki’s smile when she realized Junko handed her the trump card! Sakura’s expressions, too, were hilarious.

This is the moment when Saki realized Junko handed her the key to convincing Sakura to visit the hot springs. Not exactly a poker face, but much more entertaining! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Of course, we knew that the three of them would get into trouble. And when the pharmaceutical executive showed up, I knew something bad was going to happen.

Irina, did you know Sakura’s head could come off?

No...In fact it made me wonder - do all their heads come off? Where they all decapitated? This does not fit with my Zombie lore…

I loved the hallway scene. Such hilarious parody of classic schlock horror. This is what I want from this show!

What you conveniently skipped over here is that although we didn’t get another death metal performance - we DID get a performance. A classic pop idol performance with weird CG… Less of that please - more hallways horror comedy...

And this is what Sakura's faced looked like when she realized Saki had won the argument! Notice that I didn't include any screen shots of the CGI dancing. Sakura's expression was much, much more important! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Did I skip that, I ask in an innocent voice? Huh. Almost like I hoped you missed it! Okay, it was a little disappointing; it seemed less a parody than the last episode. But moving on...

But you mentioned the “parody of classic schlock horror.” That was great! Seeing Sakura’s submerged head and headless body had an understandable effect on the poor executive -- she ran screaming from the baths! Her cries woke up the other zombie idols, who noticed their missing friends and went out to find them. Hijinks ensued, with the poor executive trying to escape in hallways that looked like they were used to film The Shining. She encountered one zombie idol after another until Saki, trying to get Sakura’s head and body back to the room for reassembly, caught her heel on one of the pharmaceutical patches, which acted as a skateboard. All the executive saw was a speeding zombie holding another zombie’s head -- coming straight for her!

I think that’s when the poor executive’s memory loss started.

You know, I can see how this kind of thing might induce memory loss... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The reminder that our heroes are still zombies was fun. The show teasing us that we still don’t know how they became zombies means (I hope!) that we’ll eventually find out. And we got to see that their manager does -- at least sometimes -- work.

What do you think, Irina? Did we get enough development for the fourth episode?

For me it was ups and downs. Basically the Zombie stuff I liked a lot. The comedy is easy but fun. The questions are intriguing. I want to know what manager is up to. The idol stuff is generally uninteresting to me. Partly because it’s an average idol show and there are tons out there (better if you’re looking for that type of show) and mostly because when I compare it to the early death metal and rap performances, this is really a huge step back. 

Moreover, the pharmaceutical patches which could have served as a clue to how the zombies came to be. (Mind you it could still go that way). Where just used for one of those clichéd let’s make a random activity look weirdly sexualized because ratings… This is the scene that made me go - ok, this show clearly wants to be a quirky CGDCT title.

You know what though, even if that is a little disappointing to me, I still think it’s a generally sweet little show with likeable characters.

The show does have likeable characters, doesn't it? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

How naive will I sound if I say I’m still holding out hope? I mean, look at the OP! The death metal (three episodes ago)! The rap battle (two episodes ago)! Surely that counts for something!

Irina, it’s nice that you’re keeping me honest here. This episode showed us numerous yellow caution and warning lights, and it’s best if we don’t just cover them with electrical tape. The show stuttered this week despite some fun moments. I’m holding out hope, but we’ll see!

Does that sound fair?

If the worst thing that can happen is that we end up watching a forgettable but cute show about adorable zombie girls, I think it’s worth the risk!

  • Dawnstorm says:

    I did a double take at that line: “Idols have a limited shelf life, and since you’re zombies, we can overwork you without you dying.” (Or something like that.) If it’s going to be a regular idol show, I’m not sure what to say to that. You can’t drop a line like this and at the same time push Sakura’s ganbatte attitude, without a plan.

    • tcrow says:

      I remember thinking, “Wow — that’s pretty dark,” but the tone of the rest of the show pushed it aside. There are _so_ many tantalizing little details here. I seriously hope they followup on them!

      I want to see an elevated zombie idol show!

  • irina says:

    well now Dawnstorm has a point… That was a very ominous line. This show is keeping me on my toes…

    • tcrow says:

      You and me both! Remember the little grin the manager gave us when he was in the sauna? What was that about? And of course there’s the line Dawnstorm highlighted, the continued conversation about their origin, the (red herring?) pharmaceutical patch…

      If they can pull all of this together into some kind of dark comedy critique of popular culture and/or idol culture, I think it’d be great!

  • […] Zombieland Saga is still mystery. Despite my recent disappointments with Angels of Death, Crow is keeping me firmly optimist for the prospects in Zombieland and every episode so far did have at least of authentically fun moment to offer. See what we thought os episode 4 HERE […]

  • Aria says:

    I’ve been a bit shy about this but it’s been bugging me, so I’ll give you this constructive criticism:
    I can never tell who the bolded text belongs to (and same with the normal text), especially because you switch who’s bold depending on who’s hosting on a given week (as far as I can recall). I know typing out your name/pseudonym every time does eat up a bit of pointless time in the end, but at least it would make it easier to see who’s throwing what ideas into the ring when and emphasise this is a collab.

    • tcrow says:

      That’s a good point! Clarity’s a virtue in writing, so we’ll try to keep this in mind going forward! Thanks for bringing it up!

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