Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8: Kiichi-han’s Saga

Quick Summary of Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8

In Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8, “The Saga Incident, Part 1,” we get transported back to The Autumn of Meiji 14 (1881), when Yuugiri originally lived. Her employer was a well-positioned and kindly government official. Seeing that she was so legendary that the bidding wars for her services put her out of reach of even the Meiji court, he arranged for her to retire to Saga. But things in Saga had been changing since the war. Yuugiri encountered a young man passionate about bringing Saga back. But is there a Saga to bring back? And what forces have gathered to maintain the status quo?

Welcome to Our Review of Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8

Welcome to our collaboration review of Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8 (see? I got it right this week!) Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime and I have teamed up to give you our reactions to the adventures of our favorite undead idols — during a time when one of them was quite alive!

How was your week, Irina? I see you’ve made some changes to your site! It looks awesome, by the way!

Thank you! Once in a while I get the urge to change my template then spend way too long fussing over it and then regret it. This was actually the original layout for my blog (more or less). I couldn’t figure out how to do some of the things I had done before….

This was an interesting episode. And I see your expression, Irina! I’m not saying it was interesting only because it focused on Yuugiri. Though, yes, I admit she was a big part of it. The episode had a couple of other things going for it. For example, the show borrowed a page from Wizard of Oz by the way it cast some of the roles from the Meiji era. Plus, I was honestly surprised that this episode made local politics interesting! And it did so in a very subtle and understated way.

Opening Thoughts on Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8

Irina, before we dive in, any opening thoughts?

It was really serious for a Zombie Land episode and sort of melancholic. Like I’m already a little sad and I think the bad stuff hasn’t happened yet. 

This is also the first time we see all the girls interacting in any of their flashbacks. Yes I know these were probably ancestors but still. Combine that with the mention of bringing back from the dead and this is by far the most narratively significant backstory yet. 

I was half expecting you to be disappointed by this one but I’m glad you’re not.

Review of Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8

Yuugiri Shines across Time

I think this episode was appealing or not depending on what you think of Yuugiri. Since I think highly of her character, the episode was everything I hoped it would be, in terms of what it revealed of Yuugiri. I’ve always known that Yuugiri was a Courtesan. Descending as I do from European stock, I had specific ideas of what that meant. It means prostitute, which (again from a Euro-centric perspective) focused solely on sexual acts. That seemed inconsistent with my impressions of her as a character.

Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8: Yuugiri was so legendary that she priced herself out of the market!

Yuugiri is a gracious, poised young woman. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

To be clear: Even if Yuugiri’s social rule had been purely sexual, I’m not about to apply modern sensibilities to the Meiji era. But Yuugiri’s skillset seemed more broad than simple sexuality. So I did some research (which is a fancy way for saying I used Google). It turns out in that era in Japan, the highest ranking Courtesans did, in fact, do a lot more than participate in sexual acts. They were skilled artists and musicians, which is completely consistent with what we know of Yuugiri. In fact, the highest ranking didn’t have to engage in sex at all. 

Yuugiri was legendary because she had perfect the Courtesan arts. What strikes most about her character is her graciousness. No matter who she talks to, from the children she taught how to dance, to the government official and his wife, to even a complete stranger who she met on the street, she seemed utterly present. She talked to them, in that moment. She gave me a real sense that she gave them her full attention because in her world view, whoever she talked to deserved her full attention.

A Character Enmeshed in Her Story

She also gave a feeling that behind her calm exterior, there was an equally calm and equanimous spirit. Nothing riled her. Not having to move to Saga in the Autumn of Meiji 14, and not a computer in modern times. She moved through life confident in herself and her abilities. Even more, she seemed to have an unconscious confidence in her society.

Which I’m afraid might betray her in the next episode…

What’d you think of her character, Irina?

How old is Yuugiri? She seems significantly older than the other girls. And not just because she’s more mature, she’s taller and her voice is a lot deeper as well. Although I wouldn’t have said this episode was all about Yuugiri, in fact if I were to nitpick, I would say it’s unfortunate that they made the episode focusing on a courtesan’s hard earned freedom (which lets face it is a very polite word for a pleasure slave), more about some new guy’s dream than her own plight.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Kiichi. I thought he was an ancestor of Koutarou for a while there but he’s a lot more lovable.

Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8: Kiichi was an excitable young man.

Kiichi is a likeable young man, even if he is a bit of a spaz! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

He’s certainly less loud!

Ancestors or Running Jokes?

Something else that struck me about this episode was how they cast some of the bit roles. Do you remember Wizard of Oz? I’m talking about the part where Dorthy, waking from her dream, pointed to her friends from the farm and said that “you, you, you, and you were there!” 

That’s kinda like Franchouchou in this episode!

At first, I wondered what the heck Sakura was doing in the Meijir era (04:32). Not what she was doing. She was working a food stall! No, I wondered if Zombie Land was trying to say something about their zombie-hood! 

I don’t think they were. Like Wizard of Oz, I think they sprinkled the main cast in among the background characters. We got to see Ai playfully chasing some children. Junko was on the receiving end of a traffic accident (a fish ended up in her kimono, I think). 

Two of these cameos stood out as the most humorous. First, Kiichi Momozaki, the character who wants to bring back Saga, almost got run over by a man driving a two-wheeled cart. And guess who was in the cart? Tae! I wondered if she’d say something — would we actually get to hear her voice? 

Nah. She just said the equivalent of “Huh?”

Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8: Tae is as vocal as ever!

Franchouchou was everywhere in the Meiji era! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Lily’s Shorter Than I Remember

The funniest had to be Saki walking over a bridge. On her back, she carried a very, very young Lila — so young, in fact, that she got fussy and cried. Saki tried to calm her down and didn’t get very far. 

The most interesting cameo, though, was Kiichi’s grandfather and his dog. I should say his dog Romero! Both of them had a taste for tempura fried squid. Irina, was I imagining things, or did Kiichi’s grandfather look just like the bartender we’ve seen Koutarou talk to from time to time? The bartender who was seriously protective of Yuugiri?

Oh, I mentioned it already. Yeah, the characters were all there except for Koutarou which is telling. They made a point to go out of their way to show all the main cast. I have a feeling that the Zombie Land Saga story actually starts next episode. Like what happened and what exactly they are trying to do. And because of that, they need all the main cast to be at least acknowledged as their fates are going to get intertwined.

Like I said, Kiichi is very reminiscent of Koutarou but only superficially. They share that obsessive dream. But otherwise, the characters are markedly different. They don’t look alike at all. They also don’t act alike in any way. But Kiichi’s grandfather supposedly has the secret to raising the dead which Koutarou knows in the future, and Romero of course. The two do seem linked, and we don’t see a Koutarou.

How Does Koutarou Fit In?

I’m wondering if Koutarou may be a descendant of the other guy. The one that gives off the EVIL vibes. Maybe he’s trying to atone for something. Maybe he’s been doing so for a really long time. I looked really hard but I couldn’t find a single picture of Koutarou without his shades. The hair is a different shape but those eyebrows are the same. 

Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8: What's Itou want out of all this?

Just who is Itou? What’s his goal in all this? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

That’s an interesting idea! I had been under the impression that Koutarou had done it all for Sakura, and maybe that was a primary goal — but that didn’t explain his connection to the other zombie idols! Interesting…

The last part I want to mention is the subtlety of the local politics playing out around Kiichi. He wants to bring back Saga, which had been absorbed by the two adjacent prefectures. Yuugiri takes an interest in what he’s trying to do. I think his passion captivated her imagination. But Kiichi’s friend Itou seems different. He seemed to have a political sophistication. It was almost like he was humoring himself by associating with Kiichi; or maybe intentionally watching him?

What’s Itou’s Angle?

So sophisticated that I suspect he’s somehow associated with the imperial court, or at least one of the adjacent governments. As Yuugiri’s support for Kiichi increases, so does his following. At the end, we see two other men join in.

An innocent desire to re-establish Saga? That’s turning into a political movement? What could possibly go wrong?

I’m just guessing, and this is probably obvious, but I’m thinking that’s what cost Yuugiri her head. What do you think, Irina?

Why not reestablish Saga though? Like it’s a name, right? Does it in fact change anything except perhaps some zoning laws? And we know they did reestablish Saga. Franchouchou lives and performs in Saga. Is there a cycle of death and rebirth? What does saving Saga mean anyways?

Grandpa looks a lot like the modern day bartender.

What roles does this guy play? He sure looks like the bartender in modern day Saga! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Closing Thoughts

I got some questions.

But they’re good questions. The type of questions you can have when there’s enough breadcrumbs to put theories together. 

Any closing thoughts on the episode? 

Yuugiri always looks mightily impressive in full courtesan getup. I hope we get a chance to see it again. Must be a pain to animate.

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3 thoughts on “Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 8: Kiichi-han’s Saga

  1. Weird. I thought I replied to this post, but apparently not. As expected, the Yuugiri episode ties in with the main plot. I wonder if they’re going with a metaphor here: Saga itself may be back, but it’s really just shadow of its former self (revived, like a zombie). I wonder if Koutaro is Kiichi? There may be a reason he’s always wearing these sunglasses and is really good at make up. If he’s done his own for long time… They do share a voice actor.

    Maybe the show’s using zombies as a metaphor for the refusal to accept things being pronounced dead; that you can always inject new life into it. (I still wonder about the deadline Koutaro mentioned.)

    I also thought the grandfather looks a lot like the bartender, and considering the line about him being able to revive people… Well, he might just be the show’s necromancer, so to speak.

    I found Yuugiri’s situation interesting. She’s really good at her job (“legendary” – this may easily be where Koutaro’s got the word from) which earns her freedom, but it’s also what keeps people at arm’s length. (This is where I’d have to research the social status of the profession to be sure how exactly that works.) I sort of dread next week’s episode, as it’ll likely end with Yuugiri’s execution. And I’d say it’s going to have something to do with Kiichi having a run-in with radicals, and her getting mixed up in things.

    1. I enjoy how the show’s bringing up questions like yours. Irina also said “I got questions” and in a good way.

      I’m with you — I’m dreading the next episode. This is pretty heavy territory, and so far, Zombie Land Saga Revenge has made even its heavy points with grace. I have no idea how they’re going to apply that technique to what we know has to happen.

      Though I still have hope they can pull it off!

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