Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5: Experience Matters

Quick Summary of Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5

In Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5, “Little Bodda Bope SAGA,” Lily Hoshikawa does the unthinkable: She usurped Koutarou Tatsumi in their morning meeting! The poor confused man could only take a seat with the rest of Franchouchou to hear Lily’s idea. And what was Lily’s idea? She wanted to compete on a national talent contest to raise awareness of Franchouchou! With the rest of Franchouchou enthusiastically behind her, she arrived at the venue. Only she wasn’t the only one with the bright idea to compete. Who is this other person? Does he represent a threat? And what does Sakura Minamoto see him do when he thought no one was watching?

Opening Thoughts on Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5

Welcome to our collaboration review of Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5! Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime and I have teamed up to give you our thoughts and reactions to the latest antics from our favorite undead idols.

Before we start, how’s your week been, Irina? 

Pretty good but let’s just say I’m real ready for the weekend to come around. Since all these posts are on your site, we never get to hear about your week. How has your week been Crow?

Not bad, thanks for asking! Crushingly busy. I had to cancel one meeting to make room for a meeting that had to move for another meeting. And by one I mean several. So much work, so little time… Then there’s this whole anime thing! I’m still trying to finish the second season of Umamusume Pretty Derby! Ah, well. At least we’re watching Zombie Land Saga Revenge!

This episode was Lily’s turn to shine. I’m looking forward to seeing if we caught the same nuances in this episode. One thing I’m seeing is that this season has a little lighter touch in some ways. Not all, certainly. For example, Irina, I remember you saying that the circumstances surrounding Saki’s tears in the second episode were a little more ham-fisted than other similar moments. Though I liked the scene, I think you were right. In this episode, though, I think we’re back to subtle — so much so that I might have misunderstood what I think I saw!

Before we dive in, any opening thoughts on the episode, Irina?

I saw from last week’s preview that this episode was going to focus more on Lily and I was pretty psyched. Lily’s story was one of the more touching ones in the first season, I’m a sucker for good dads. And I was ready to learn more about her. I have to say this episode was not at all what I expected. 

Review of Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5

Still No Tae or Yuugiri-Focused Episode? Argh!

There was a lot I liked about this episode, but there were two things that really bugged me. I want to get them out of the way so I can focus on the positive. First, the episode didn’t focus on the LEGENDARY Tae Yamada. I’m not disrespecting Lily. She’s a great character, and she carried this episode effortlessly. But come on! I’ve been waiting for a Tae episode since day 2. 

The second is even worse. This episode didn’t focus on Yuugiri! Again, no disrespect to Lily. But I’ve been hoping for a Yuugiri episode since day 2, too! 

I’m afraid this is going to be a repeating pattern…

Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5: Lily upstaged Koutarou on his home turf!

We don’t get a Tae episode? Or a Yuugiri episode? Okay, fine. Guess we’re going with Lily… which turned out to be amazing! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Wow, I guess I should have read this before writing my paragraph. I feel kind of silly now.

I think a Tae episode could be hilarious as long as it doesn’t reveal anything or develop the character in any way. The fact that we know nothing about her is a big part of the charm for me. 

As for Yuugiri. She’s the team mom and she does have the silhouette you usually prefer. I’m sure she’ll get an episode soon. There is tons of fanart, fanfiction, and a Yuugiri vtubber if you need a fix in the meantime. She’s pretty much the most popular character.

I’m that obvious, huh? Hmmm. I’ll have to work on that.

Lily Upstaged Koutarou

Anyway, with the negative out of the way, I feel better now. Let’s move to the positive. First, I feel kinda bad for Koutarou Tatsumi. He came into the morning meeting with a floatation device and snorkel. He had a plan and he was ready to execute it. Then he saw Lily had taken the podium. She announced her plan to enter a national television competition called Japanese Got Performance! Kinda like a Japanese version of America’s Got Talent or Canada’s Got Talent

Her chalk work looked much more professional than his did. Maybe that’s why he meekly took his seat. We found out later what he was going to announce — I think. Still, he didn’t seem able to respond.

Irina, did you have any sympathy for Franchouchou’s manager?

That scene felt a bit flat for me. I really like Koutarou, probably way more than the average viewer but I do find that the balance is off on the character and he easily becomes more annoying than endearing. This was one of these cases. I get the joke, just didn’t find it very funny.

Kinda felt bad for Koutarou

I kind of felt sorry for the guy! He clearly went to some effort so set up… something! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Franchouchou accompanied Lily and planned to be her cheering section. What struck me right away is how polished, practiced, and just flat-out gracious Lily was to some of the other performers who recognized and spoke to her. That first shot reminded me that she’d been a television star. This was her home turf. She looked like she fit right in.

A Wild Light Oozora Appears!

Then in walks the current child star prodigy named Light Oozora. He seemed nice, but of course Sakura and Tae caught him talking to his manager. He’d come to participate in the Saga leg of Japanese Got Performance! because he thought it’d be a cake-walk. He intended to get the finals, and he was a little snot about it.

Sakura being the good friend she is, breathlessly let Lily know what was going on. Clearly, Sakura expected Lily to be scared, but she didn’t miss a beat. She said that “I’m still just as wonderful!” That again reminded me she had been a star. She had to have run into egos like that all the time. 

Though, for a few moments, I thought the show might just go down the little villain route and show how the new star ran roughshod over Lily. I should have more faith in the writers, huh?

Yes you should. But I guess you are having a bit of trouble with this season, huh? 

Not with Zombie Land Saga! I’m really into it. But events over the last year or so are wearing me down… Thanks for your post “When Anime Fans Hate Anime,” by the way. It helped me get my head back in the game. We’ll see if my attitude follows!

Lily’s first performance was a presentation of a small drama. She delivered in kneeling, clad in a kimono (well, it looked like it to me — but I’m not exactly a Japanese apparel expert). Her delivery was exquisite! She had the audience laughing and crying and clapping in turn. It was a treat to see her in action, solo, like that.

Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5: Lily's performance moved Saki to tears

How good was Lily’s performance? It moved even Saki to tears! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Light Theory of Acting Differs from Lily’s

Well, Light did a juggling act. Which is fine. He looked like a good juggler. But he flubbed a move, and the judges and audience gasped. They thought he was done for. However, he’d planned it. Saying something like “Never give up; never surrender” (or maybe that was Galaxy Quest — it’s been awhile!). By letting just a little fear into his voice, he evoke sympathy in the judges and audience, who ended up chanting for him to succeed. 

At first, I saw it as callous manipulation. Then I started to wonder. Was that just his technique? He’s a professional, too. It’s all an act. So what if this is part of his act?

Irina, did you wonder about that at all?

Although it’s glossed over, both season 1 and this season does inject just a bit of commentary on how difficult and brutal being a child performer is. On how physically gruelling the practice is, on how much importance is placed on appearance and image and what that does to a young mind. Heck Lily was almost destroyed by the thought of growing out of cuteness and no longer being able to appeal to audiences. To the point that it was ruining her life. 

Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5: Light Oozora knew how to work the crowd

Light knew how to work the crowd. That’s for sure! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

It doesn’t matter if Light faked a slip up for manipulation or for strategy. Both mean that he would have had to practice ungodly amounts to achieve that just for a regional talent contest. It’s incredibly difficult to do a controlled slip up like that. Arguably way more difficult than to just juggle normally. The fact that he felt he needed to go that far is very telling.

I hadn’t even thought of that perspective — now I feel like I should have felt sympathy for him earlier! 

Lily Performs at the Top of Her Range

They tied and needed to sing a song. Lily had one all picked out. It was a song her Pappy loved to hear her sing! So imagine how horrified she had to be when she heard Light, who went first, start singing the same song!

This is where it really hit me. Lily looked concerned, but she didn’t fly into a panic. I think Sakura half expected her to. But again it struck me again: Lily’s a professional actor. She didn’t panic. Instead, on the fly, while Light sang his version, she rearranged the song, presented the new arrangement to the conductor, remade her costume, and, in her own little mind, choreographed a new dance number.

In like, 3 minutes.

Her performance had the audience dancing in the aisles. It rocked Light’s world. I suspect that’s the point. Light used his skills to manipulate the audience into feeling something. Lily performed from the joy that’s in her heart. That’s not something even death could diminish. The judges ultimately named Light the winner, but even in defeat, Lily remained gracious. 

Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5: Lily's on-the-spot re-arrangement of the song was a huge hit

In the space of about 3 minutes, Lily did more than some artists do in a week. And it looked euphoric! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

What did you think of her performance, Irina?

The performance was fine.

See this is where it got really unexpected for me. Or maybe a little later on. Wait let me read ahead.O.k. I guess I’ll put it here.

Lily Defined Expectations

I was expecting Lily to be like this mass of unrestrained vulnerability. To have them play into that fragility that was already exposed in season 1 and have her crumble throughout the episode, having to lean on her friends and discover she has a new family or something of the sort. That would have been an alright episode.

But she hardly even flinched. And she seemed genuinely happy for Light when the results were announced. Like not even disappointed for Franchouchou or anything. She owned it and she knew it so all was good. All the growing up she did in the first season is still intact. That was a surprise to me. A pleasant one.

Yes! That’s what I was trying to get at! The whole English thing just wasn’t working for me. 

In a lot of shows I’ve seen, the plot would have been content to show the little villain upset at defeat. But I appreciate that extra care Zombie Land Saga puts into its characters. Light had witnessed first hand what a real performer could do. Lily used no cheap tricks. She shared her inner joy with the crowd through her skillful acting and dancing, and they responded to her authenticity.

Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5: Lily is Lily

Even in defeat, Lily remained her gracious self. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Lily didn’t leave him to stew. She sought him out and gave him a gentle pep talk. She did such a stellar job that when it was time for him to leave, he invited her to visit him after he became successful.

Which we know she can never do — and he grows into a young man, Lily and the rest of Franchouchou will remain just as they are.

Lily is Lily

What did you think of that scene, Irina?

 I thought it was great. Like I said, the insane pressures of stardom in the idol industry are not to be taken lightly. I’ve read such horror stories. Light and Lily can actually truly sympathize on a level playing field. That’s cool.

Any closing thoughts on the episode?

I think it’s the first time we actually see the ED for the season!

And a pleasant ED it was!

Now, maybe we’ll get a Yuugiri episode… Though the previews looked like it might go a different direction. Still, as you pointed out, these writers have earned our trust. I’m looking forward to wherever they take us next!

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9 thoughts on “Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5: Experience Matters

  1. I too am hoping they do SOMETHING with Yuugiri and Tae (or at least Yuugiri) considering neither had an episode all to themselves.

    But like you guys, I was SUPER stoked for another Lily episode that shows of just how gosh-darned multitalented (and TOUGH!) she is.

    Even more gratifying about this episode is that it didn’t go the way I’d expect lesser anime to go, with Lily coming from behind to put Light in his place.

    Finally, since Lily’s first round performance was pure rakugo, in case you haven’t seen it yet I wanted recommend to you Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu from the ’16 and ’17 winter seasons, which was two cours of the finest anime I’ve seen in the last decade!

    1. “Multitalented” is a great description of Lily! Her professionalism, too, really struck me in this episode. She took everything in stride, as if she’d seen it all before — and she had!

      I’ve always loved watching someone who’s excellent at their craft. That’s one of the reasons I like to watch The Food Network. I had the same sense watching Lily in this episode.

      Also agree that this episode took a different road and was much better for it.

      Thanks for the recommendation of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. I remember it coming out, and I remember reading the description. Other series attracted my attention, so I missed it. Fortunately, it’s on Crunchyroll, and I’ve added it to my queue! Thanks!

  2. What gorgeous animation! This one looks like a lot of fun.
    Sorry your week was crazy busy- it has been non-stop lately. 😛
    Thanks Crow and Irina!

    1. The animation really did seem to be on point this episode. I’ve liked how this season looked in general.

      Sounds like it’s been busy for you, too? I used to say that it’s better than being bored, but I’m beginning to wonder…

      Glad you stopped by to visit!

      1. Thanks so much, tcrow!
        I think you are right there. I have definitely been overdoing it, so I am taking a break in January for the entire semester.

        Still doing classes, but I am officially quiting my job in January. I have just been spread too thin, and I think I am more than a little burnt out. So I am soooo happy to look forward to this break!

        Thanks for keeping up with the incredible content. I am so grateful for you and Irina both!

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