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Characters / Zombie Land Saga: Franchouchou

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From top to bottom & right to left by row:
Tae Yamada, Yugiri, Lily Hoshikawa, Sakura Minamoto, Junko Konno, Ai Mizuno, & Saki Nikaido

Seven girls — who all tragically died young — are handpicked and revived as zombies by Kotaro Tatsumi to become Saga's regional idol group. Hailing from different eras and boasting unique entertainment traditions, from the Meiji Era all the way to the early 2010s, Franchouchou is able to capture a diverse audience across Saga. While the group has a rough start on the road to fame, both from internal conflicts among the members and bizarre, maybe-supernatural, external factors, they quickly take Saga by storm, succeeding in spite of seemingly impossible odds.

Season 1 follows the girls as they strike out as a rookie idol group. Along the way they form a tightknit bond amongst each other and overcome a lot of personal struggles related to their individual deaths, relationships, and ambitions.

The second season, Revenge, starts on a more dour note where Franchouchou has hit a low point in their career; between both seasons, what was supposed to be a massive commemerative concert for the group resulted in a huge drop in popularity and a massive debt. By the first episode they're slowly working their way to reviatalizing their image.

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  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: One of the many zombie abilities the girls have.
    • Tae briefly demonstrates this after crashing into a wall in the first episode, having to reassemble her bones after the impact. The rest of the girls later demonstrate the ability to headbang so hard their necks dislocate.
    • Saki goes tumbling down a hill in episode 9, causing her head to rotate a full one-eighty degrees. She has to readjust it so she doesn't freak out onlookers.
  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel: In-Universe, whenever someone finds the girls without their makeup, they end up screaming their heads off in fear. The girls actually managed to spook Kotaro by accident one night after he returned from his mysterious acquaintance's bar.
  • The Ace: All of them were the best of the best in their respective fields of work. Even Sakura, who never got to perform as a real idol before dying, still had a multitude of skills at her disposal to make it happen. Unfortunately for them, the fact they were such impressive aces is exactly why they were Born Unlucky, as the Curse of Saga specifically targeted them with immense misfortune and eventually death because they all had the highest potential for single-handedly revitalizing Saga, so the only way to prevent them from saving Saga was to kill them.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Zig-Zagged. When taken all on its own, the final name of the zombies' idol group, "Franchouchou" (pronounced "FRAN-shoo-shoo"), doesn't really mean anything apart from containing the cutesy French word chouchou and the prefix 'Fran' as a likely Frankenstein reference. When spoken in Japanese, however, it's pronounced similarly to furanshuu, which fittingly means "smell of decay".
  • Attractive Zombie: Well, with their makeup on. When it's not... they're still pretty cute as far as putrefied corpses go. This works in their favor in Revenge's penultimate episode: after having accidentally being seen without any makeup by a crowd (mostly made up of young kids), they think they're screwed and admit that they've been hiding the fact that they're zombies... however, the kids don't think the group are zombies, because zombies are "scary, bite-y, and dangerous", while Franchouchou aren't. This allows Ai to play off their appearance as "zombie makeup" but behind closed doors, they all admit that it was a really close call.
  • Badass Crew: With their collective feats and physical talents, it's clear Franchouchou is not a group you'd ever want to screw with. You've got Sakura who was willing to impale a zombie in the brain in the first episode, Saki who's a One-Woman Army biker girl, Ai who apparently knows how to string a bow and arrow, Junko who can shatter a guitar like a glass bottle, Yugiri who knows her way around a sword and has literally killed a man, and Tae who's willing to go feral to protect the others... and then Lily's a child.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: The first three members: Sakura is the Beauty (a cute, pretty and cheerful Nice Girl with a tendency to be naive and clumsy); Saki is the Brawn (a rough, brash and slightly rude Action Girl), and Ai is the Brains (intelligent and levelheaded, and the most grounded and realistic of them).
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In epsiode 3, both she and Ai, finally snapping out of their funk, come in at the last minute to save Franchouchou's performance after an almost-disastrous slip up.
    • In episode 7, Junko comes to Ai's aid as the latter is triggered by a thunderstorm. The two of them then go on to carry the song they're performing.
  • Born Unlucky: While a couple of the girls particularly stand out from the rest in this regard, at one point Ai remarks that all of them died very young and under very unfortunate circumstances. This is also underscored by the fact that all of them died on a butsumetsu day, traditionally considered the most inauspicious of the six-day rokuyō cycle of the Japanese calendar, which is believed in Japanese Buddhism to be the day the Buddha died. Episode 10 of Revenge reveals that their deaths were all due to a curse that dooms anyone who would bring Saga fame to die before their time.
  • Casting Gag: Let's see, Asami Tano, Caitlin Glass, Risa Taneda, Sarah Wiedenheft, Stephanie Young and Bryn Apprill voicing idols? Hmm, sounds familiar...
  • Color-Coded Characters: They tend to be associated with specific colors when performing (in the case of their default idol costumes, while they all wear red jackets and red-and-black boots, they still wear uniquely-colored skirts and neck accessories).
    • Sakura wears pink.
    • Saki wears orange.
    • Ai wears blue.
    • Junko wears grey and/or light purple.
    • Yugiri wears red.
    • Lily wears yellow.
    • Tae wears purple.
    • Maimai wore green during her brief tenure with the group.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: As zombies, and when doing their own makeup. Given the satire of the idol industry, their resemblance to Exhausted Eyebags probably isn't a coincidence.
  • Culture Clash: Between Ai and Junko, in regards to how they interact with fans; in Junko's case, she's reluctant to interact with fans face-to-face due to her growing up in a time when that wasn't expected of idols. This doesn't sit well with Ai, who spent her whole career relying on parasocial relationships, and the two get into a heated argument over it which results in a episode long falling out between the two. Thankfully they're able to reconcile.
  • Cute Monster Girl: They're still fairly pretty teenagers without their makeup... except when we get a Gross-Up Close-Up. Though how creepy-cute they look seems to vary by character; some like Policeman A react in fear like they would in a typical zombie setting, while fans like Maimai still think they look cute in their regular appearance.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The main zombie cast are living corpses, but their humanity has been restored after awakening and are overall kindhearted girls. Tae is still largely animalistic, but she poses no danger and her bites are harmless.
  • A Day in the Limelight: A rare mixture of this and A Death in the Limelight; starting Episode 6, the series starts to explore the girls' history, the circumstances of their deaths, and their efforts to tie up some loose ends.
    • Ai and Junko have been central to the conflict of two different arcs together.
      • Episodes 6 and 7 jointly focus on Ai and Junko's struggles: the former, with her reputation for her highly public demise; the latter, with the drastic changes in the idol industry during the last 35 years she was dead.
      • Episodes 3 and 4 of Revenge focuses on Ai and Junko once more, and this time it focuses on their relationship when it's put to the ultimate test when Junko gets anxiety-ridden about Ai potentially ditching Franchouchou, in favor of joining the new iteration of Iron Frill.
    • Episode 8 explores Lily's complicated relationship with her father Takeo, as well as the effect her death has on the two of them.
    • Saki has had two as well
      • Episode 9 has her get involved in her old gang's problems, in particular her old friend Reiko's frayed relationship with her rebellious daughter Maria, who wishes to keep Dorami going against her wishes.
      • Episode 2 of Revenge continues Saki's backstory with the revelation of how she realized the true meaning of being special (which she pondered back in Episode 9 of Season One), and how she met Reiko for the first time thanks to White Ryu's motivation from his radio show.
    • Episode 6 of Revenge, despite not focusing on her backstory, is still entirely dedicated to Tae. She manages to go on a basic errand run with the aid of Romero and Maria. Tae's whole escapade ultimately ends up managing to help Franchouchou in the long run.
    • Episode 8 and 9 of Revenge form a multi-part arc that is an entire Whole Episode Flashback for Yugiri, and finally explains The Saga Incident that happened way back in the Meiji era, alongside exploring Yugiri as a whole.
  • The Dead Can Dance: The girls can dance just fine as sentient idols, but when they hear death metal as mindless zombies, they instinctively begin to headbang like crazy. Tae as a shambling zombie tries to imitate Sakura's idol dance, but the best she can manage is to wave her arms above her head. Tae's dance moves do improve later, but she's mostly imitating others and gets distracted from time to time.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Kotaro tends to show little respect for the girls with his Mean Boss antics. Any time he goes too far however, they aren't shy in hitting him back with equal or greater force.
    • Episode 4: Saki decks Kotaro in the stomach.
    • Episode 5:
      • Saki throws a baseball at full force and crushes his thigh.
      • Ai angrily smacks him across the face with a stale baguette after his hostile Frenchman act in Episode 5.
    • Revenge Episode 2: Saki smacks him upside the face with a microphone.
  • Eating Optional: They don't need to eat, but they do it because they still enjoy food. When they go broke and can no longer afford groceries, Sakura says she's glad they don't need to eat in the first place.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: At the beginning of Revenge, the girls pick up part-time jobs to pay off a massive debt from their EFS concert.
    • Sakura and Tae tend to a dairy farm.
    • Saki works night shifts as a construction worker.
    • Ai works in a production line at a dried squid factory.
    • Junko paints ceramic dolls at a cultural center.
    • Yugiri works a night shift as a bartender.
    • Lily delivers milk aboard a bicycle.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: All seven girls awaken with only a few things in common, and lots of personality conflicts that at times threaten to unravel the band at the seams. By the end of Season 1 however, they have developed a deep sense of camaraderie and understanding of each other.
    • Saki spends most of episode 2 intimidating and badgering Sakura on why she bothers to listen to Kotaro, thinking she's a total pushover. After being bested in their rap battle though, she develops a strong respect for Sakura and starts treating her better from there on, with the two of them developing a strong friendship as the series goes on.
    • Ai and Junko have gone on to have very close relationship with each other after a very heated conflict in episode 6. The two get into a fight over their differences with fan-idol interaction, ending when Ai inadvertently insults Junko which sends the latter away upset. It's not until next episode when Junko, having worked through her own baggage, comes to Ai's rescue when during their performance, the latter experiences a trauma episode from a lightning storm. By Revenge, the two have grown incredibly close and can perform in almost-perfect unison with each other. Their relationship is also much more intimate compared to other Franchouchou members.
  • Foil: The six awakened girls each form a pair that greatly contrasts each other.
    • Sakura and Saki: They are both natives of Saga and are the only ones with no prior experience in the idol business, let alone the entertainment industry. Both girls also died in accidents involving land vehicles due to recklessness (Sakura got hit by a truck after rushing out of her house without looking at the traffic, while Saki took a game of chicken too seriously and rode off a ledge). But where Sakura is the sweet everyday girl who was an aspiring idol (and was supposed to file for an audition on the day she died), Saki is the aggressive ex-biker who showed no interest in the industry in life. They're also both the centers of the group, with Sakura being the emotional bedrock and Saki the functional leader, as showcased when they both try to mediate between Junko and Ai's argument in Episode 6.
    • Ai and Junko: They're the only professional idols of the group, with the former hailing from the mid-Heisei period (late 2000s), and the latter from the late Showa period (early 1980s); said differences in time period, however, inform their vastly differing philosophies towards their profession—in Ai's time the idol was a relatable figure fans could identify with, while in Junko's, it was an idealized image of perfection. Both initially expressed skepticism regarding the group's prospects, though while Ai was outspoken with her misgivings, Junko was much more silent about it. They also took their zombification the hardest out of the group, both trying to escape the mansion in Episode 2 and getting Heroic BSoD when they realized they were stuck with Kotaro, and also died in accidents just as their careers started to take off, leaving them with issues about being "history". However, their reactions to said issues were very different: Junko spent half of Episode 7 depressed at how her ideals seemed outdated, while Ai continued practicing without rest, refusing to be just a relic.
    • Yugiri and Lily: While they weren't idols, they were experienced entertainers in life, with Yugiri being an oiran and Lily a famous child actress. However, their backgrounds—the former, a High-Class Call Girl; the latter, a trans girl — would normally make them anathema in the idol industry except for the highly-unorthodox Kotaro, who knew their histories and still revived them regardless. In terms of time period, Yugiri is the earliest and Lily the most recent. They are also the least bothered by their new lease of (un)life, with Yugiri being the calm and mature older sister of the group and Lily the energetic and cheerful child. While Yugiri has moments of joining the other five in the insanity, Lily has moments of maturity.
  • Foreshadowing: The conditions of their bodies hint at the circumstances of their deaths before they're revealed (even though the dead are cremated in Japan, as they point out).
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The first four members easily fit this: Sakura is eclectic - mostly sanguine with phlegmatic traits (being a cheerful yet meek and somewhat clumsy Nice Girl), Saki is choleric (being the extroverted, hammy, bossy and brusque Jerk with a Heart of Gold), Ai is melancholic (being pessimistic and skeptical) and Junko is phlegmatic (being a quiet and reserved Shrinking Violet). Of the remaining members, Yugiri is phlegmatic (the kind and quiet Team Mom), Lily is sanguine (the outgoing Cheerful Child), Tae was choleric before becoming a zombie, and Maimai joining them briefly is eclectic, mixing sanguine and phlegmatic.
  • Freudian Trio:
  • Friend to All Children: They develop a large youth audience throughout the series, whom they're all quite kind to. In episode 11 of ''Revenge'', they help entertain the children at their shelter to cheer the kids up after the storm. The children are also the first people to accept the girls after they're revealed as zombies to them.
  • Friendly Zombie: While they initially behaved very much like stereotypical shambling-and-biting zombies, being awakened lets the girls regain their intelligence and become Inhuman Humans, acting much the same as when they were alive, with the exception of Tae (and even she's just a Big Eater who doesn't always realize people aren't food). Sakura in particular is a Nice Girl zombie who serves as The Heart of the group and goes to great lengths to look out for her friends, and also Yuugiri is one of the nicest and most caring members, just more mature and less energetic, fitting more the Team Mom role. The problem is while the girls don't act like stereotypical zombies, they're still walking corpses and people panic if they ever see them without makeup on.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Whoever the episode is centered on, it almost always comes with some form of angst, and someone has to intervene:
    • Ai: Her traumatic High-Voltage Death causes her to freak out in the middle of a thunderstorm, and it takes Junko comforting and rallying her to help her get over her death.
    • Junko: Because of the era she was born in, Junko was expected to be perfect as an idol. It's not that her standards are high, it's because the idol industry and her fans expect her to. Kotaro openly tells her she doesn't have to interact with fans if she doesn't want to.
    • Lily: Lily may be a Cheerful Child, but meeting her father years after her death affects the both of them, thanks to the issues both of them have surrounding it. It takes Sakura's comfort and Kotaro's willingness to write a song for her that Lily and her father are able to move on with their lives.
    • Sakura: Sakura has two whole episodes worth of angst, and it wasn't really her fault. Murphy's law gave her really terrible luck since childhood. Just when she turns her life around due to Ai's comment about being determined, she gets hit by a truck. After regaining her memories, she immediately gives up on life and whereas Saki fails to slap some sense into her, Yugiri does it effectively and makes her point. After her successful concert outing, she regains her undead memories and overcomes her personal grief.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Whenever Lily takes center such as the concert that debut "To My Dearest" or "Little Bodda Boope", the rest of Franchouchou will be seen sporting this in order to highlight Lily's own childish cuteness.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Whenever people are scared of the zombies, they're portrayed with much more detail than usual. Episodes 1 and 4 are particularly notable examples.
  • Guest Fighter:
    • Sakura, Ai, and Junko are all playable characters in Illusion Connect.
    • The girls all appear as playable units in a collaboration with World Flipper.
    • Their Sentai-like personas from the first season OP along with their giant mech, Saga the Great, ended up being part of a one-time event in Super Robot Wars X-Ω.
    • The girls are all playable units in a collaboration with Girls' Frontline, complete with their own event "The Glistening Bloom".
  • Human Disguise: How you ask?!...With makeup. Granted, it's a lot of makeup, since they're blue-green rotting corpses with sunken red eyes covered in scars and bandages without it, but it's somehow wildly effective; they comment on their surprisingly good looks, they're able to perform without arousing suspicion even when one of their members falls apart on stage, and the cop who's shot at Sakura twice completely fails to recognize her face to face in the third episode.
  • Identical Grandson: In Part 1 of "The Saga Incident", which takes place in Meiji-era Saga, several women look almost exactly like the other members of Franchouchou (including a vendor who looks like Sakura, and a noblewoman who looks like Tae).
  • Identical Stranger: An Invoked Trope on the part of Kotaro. Due to being zombies, the girls are all documented as long having died, so he has them only be referred to as numbers so no one tries to look them up and finds out they died. The subversion comes in however with the fact that, of the girls, three of them were former celebrities, and one was a Saga native. Both Lily and Saki are recognized by people they knew when alive, their father and best friend respectively, and noted to act identical, the only thing stopping them from confirming they're one and the same being the idea they've been dead. Intrepid Reporter Okoba meanwhile first notices when he spots Junko, then slowly pieces together that something is up, culminating in the first season’s stinger having him making connections between Franchouchou and the (thought to be) deceased Ai, Junko, and Lily. As of Episode 7 of Revenge, he’s managed to piece together Tae, Saki, and Sakura’s past identities.
  • Idol Singer: They're a group of girls who are working together as singers and performers; in fact, Kotaro resurrected them for the express purpose of becoming an idol group that will bring more fame to Saga. That said, only Ai and Junko have past experience as professional idols.
    • Ai was the lead singer of Iron Frill, the most popular idol group of the 2000s. Her experience in the industry is a huge boon to Franchouchou as it helps her inform the others on becoming better idols themselves.
    • In Junko's case, she was one of the earliest idols to pioneer the industry, as it was during the seventies and eighties when the archetype had first taken off and solidified in Japan. However, this means that she only has experience working as a solo performer, conflicting with working with a group in the present.
  • Image Song: As of Season Two, every member of Franchouchou (besides Tae, who can't sing) has gotten at least one song dedicated to them:
    • For the group as a whole, "Mezame Returner". It's one of the most reoccuring songs in the series, being played at some of Franchouchou's most important concerts across both seasons. It also has an autotune remix that occurs when the girls get a lightning-induced surge of power.
    • Sakura has "Sensei! ALIVE Sensation" from the "Best of Franchouchou" album as her solo song,
    • Saki has had two:
    • Ai gets one, sort of. "Fantastic Lovers", despite being a song from the original Iron Frill team, is mostly sung by Ai.
      • She later gets another one called "Beginning" from The Best Revenge album all about moving forward despite setbacks and failures. That is to say, a musical rendition of her quote about "mistakes not being bad things".
    • Junko gets to perform one in Episode 3 of Revenge, known as "50 and 4 Things Left Behind". It was the first hit that Junko had back when she was alive.
    • Yugiri has an entire song dedicated to her love-life problems (and hints at the incident of Saga as a whole in the Meiji era) known as "Saga Jihen", included as the main highlight of the "Best of" album, and which she sings in the show in Episode 9 of Revenge.
    • Lily also technically has two songs to herself:
      • First, there's "To My Dearest" from Episode 8 (which has a special piano version from the "Best of" album).
      • Then there's Lily's scatting remix of a song called "Life" that's known as "Little Bodda Bope" in Episode 5 of Revenge.
    • While Tae can't sing, that didn't stop her from getting a song dedicated to her, almost. Tae's voice actress gave the character a cute Insert Song known as "Today's Curry, Yay Yay Yay" in Episode 6 of Revenge.
  • Immortality Hurts: In a way their state of undeath is a form of immortality, since they don't age anymore and can't be permanently re-killed. That said, they still feel pain, so experiencing things that would kill normal people (and in fact were the causes of death for quite a few of them) still hurts like hell.
  • Inhuman Human: Once they've been "woken up". They're their normal selves mentally, they just have to deal with being dead now.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: The girls are put through some hilarious forms of abuse throughout the show, but since they're zombies, they can literally put themselves back together. However, Yugiri manages to avoid getting any slapstick moments of her very own, likely due to the Bartender owing her a favor for helping out his grandson Kiichi when she was alive; he wouldn't look kindly upon Kotaro treating her badly.
  • Intergenerational Friendship:
    • Between Yugiri and Lily, the former technically being the oldest member of the crew, and the latter being the furthest from her in terms of original time period.
    • Tae is physically a decade older than the other girls, who are all mostly in their teens. She's particularly close to Sakura who acts as The Caretaker to her.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Subverted. All of Franchouchou remember their past lives upon awakening, and react to it in various ways in their undeath. Sakura plays this straight due to her cause of death being a head injury, which first makes her forget her memories before her revival, and then makes her forget her memories after her revival. Eventually, she gets all of them back. Ai also implies she remembers on some level what happened before she awakened, freaking out when Sakura was dangerously close to impaling her again out of panic.
  • The Leader: Saki nominates herself as Franchouchou's impromptu leader, acting as the group's face in public and hyping up their audience before shows.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: While it takes them time to adjust to their status as zombies, none of them are particularly upset about the idea that it makes them both ageless and immortal, at least until Saki discovers Not Growing Up Sucks in Episode 2 of Revenge. Lily in particular is happy with it, as it means she can stay a cute girl forever and never worry about developing a body that conflicts with her gender identity.
  • Living Legend: All of the girls Kotaro revived save Sakura were highly influential figures in their respective times, which is why Kotaro chose to revive them for his project.
    "She conquered all of Kyushu at the turn of the century as the leader of the Dorami biker gang! Cower before the legendary Saki Nikaido!"
    "This girl singlehandedly gave rise to the idol boom of the 1980s! The legendary Showa-period idol, Junko Konno!"
    "From the turbulent time spanning the death of the shogunate into the Meiji era, the legendary courtesan known only as Yugiri!"
    "After her debut on a long-running period drama, she left her mark on every network in the nation! Legendary child actress prodigy Lily Hoshikawa!"
    "After the year 2000 when all the major idol groups were at war, she was the implacable center for the number-one group Iron Frill! Legendary Heisei-period idol, Ai Mizuno!"
    "The legendary Tae Yamada!"
    — Kotaro introducing Sakura to her fellow zombies.
  • Living Relic: "Living" being in lieu of a better term as they are undead, a handful of Franchouchou's members hail from different eras of Japan's history: Saki comes from the mid-to-late 90s when Tamagotchi was all the rage, Junko represents the late Showa period (the 1980s) where idol groups had yet to hit their stride, and Yugiri represents the era between the end of the shogunate and the Meiji Restoration (the mid-19th century). Meanwhile, Sakura, Ai, and Lily hail from the late 2000s and early 2010s. Tae is from 1989, as revealed in the Gaiden manga.
  • Losing Your Head: They have completely detachable heads that can move and talk on their own, while their headless body remains functional and will try to retrieve their head. During Revenge, this happening to Tae is what clues off the Intrepid Reporter that his colleague’s joking theory about Franchouchou being undead might actually be the case.
  • Made of Iron: Due to being zombies, the girls can take a substantial amount of physical damage without lasting consequence or visible pain. The first episode has Sakura being shot through the chest and only looking down with surprise at the bullet hole rather than showing any discomfort, and Ai getting impaled with a fireplace poker through her skull and still remaining unfazed.
  • Made of Plasticine: Immense durability aside, the girls can easily lose their limbs, head, and other body parts such as eyes if they're not careful. While they may be durable, they are also fragile if they overexert themselves.
  • Masquerade: Kotaro tries to keep the girls' true nature as zombies a secret from the public using top-of-the-line makeup to pass them off as living people. Their detachable body parts, and the fact the makeup washes off easily, make this a little difficult, though. As of Revenge, at least two people outside Franchouchou know about their secret—a super fan who took it in stride (and even joined Franchouchou for an episode), and an Intrepid Reporter who is currently looking into Franchouchou’s past identities.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Throughout the series, they attract fans from across a wide range of differing interests and demographics including metalheads, senior citizens, biker gangs, high-schoolers, 90s rock enthusiasts, humanitarian workers, and young children. Lampshaded by the Metalhead duo in S1's Episode 9; they remark that the wide array of different people who show up to their concerts is what Franchouchou's all about.
  • Nerves of Steel: In the Season 1 finale, Franchouchou literally brings the house down around themselves as they sing and dance in the middle of a blizzard.
  • Nice Girl: Despite having wildly different personalities a common trend among the 7 is that they're genuinely good-natured and kind in their own way, even the initially distant Ai and abrasive Saki turn out to be total sweethearts; who knew zombies could be so likable?
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Downplayed as they're all genuinely kind girls all in all, but of the first three members, Sakura is nice (being friendly, approachable and kind), Saki is mean (being somewhat rude, bossy and Hot-Blooded) and Ai is in-between (not a jerk, but rather pessimistic and stubborn and sometimes a little standoffish).
  • Ninja Zombie Pirate Robot: Time-displaced Zombie Idol Singers.
  • No One Could Survive That!: How the public reacts to their various death-defying (well... nevermind) exploits.
    • They survive a lightning strike that completely wrecks their stage, but they themselves don't look any worse for wear. They even enter a Super Mode because of this.
    • They appear to have been crushed by their collapsing stage under the force of a blizzard, only to power through and keep the performance going.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Aside from having much more detailed, grim appearances when shown from other characters' perspective, when in zombie-mode all of the girls have flatly colored hair in contrast to living characters who are drawn with very shiny hair.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Their default idol outfits all consist of the same jackets and boots, but they each wear differently-colored skirts and neck accessories. This often applies to other outfits they wear during perfomances as well, as their outfits generally look similar but tend to be accented with each of their assigned colors.
  • Oh, Crap!: Soon the girls start having this reaction whenever they are out in public without makeup, when one of their limbs or head falls off, or when Tae tries to bite someone.
  • Organ Autonomy: Whatever is the source of the girls' undeath, it also granted full conscious control of their bodies regardless of if a body-part has been removed, such as being able to remotely move their bodies after their heads have fallen off, though directing the body is understandably difficult from a disconnected perspective, especially when the body parts are out of sight and thus moving blindly.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • At first the girls act like typical, if non-infectious, zombies, but once their brains are properly stimulated via Death Metal, they regain their higher brain functions. Unstimulated, they act like a classic George A. Romero-type zombie, but can run.
    • They still have control over missing body parts, and their bodies can function on their own if their heads are missing just like the Return of the Living Dead zombies.
    • Kotaro revived the girls through some unknown method. As Ai notes in episode 4, bodies in Japan are cremated after death. And since the girls all come from vastly different time periods, meaning there might not even be bodies left to revive, the implication is that their bodies had to be reconstructed somehow.
    • They have some form of injury resistance, as seen when Sakura stabs Ai through the head with a fireplace poker and then later survives a gunshot to her chest. They all survive even more deadly injuries through the series like decapitation, vehicular manslaughter, and getting eaten alive.
    • They seem to really enjoy the taste of dried squid. Kotaro keeps it on him at all times because of this. It's also a cheap meal alternative whenever they're low on cash.
  • Periphery Demographic: When they were starting out, Franchouchou's fanbase really couldn't be called traditional fans of pop idol groups, usually people or groups of people they interacted with up until the current episode at the time. And while they did pick up normal fans as their popularity grew, their biggest ones are still the oddballs.
    Metalhead A: "They've got a bunch of new weirdos in the crowd."
    Metalhead B: "That's what Fanchouchou is all about."
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Several of the zombies' limbs and even heads come off under high tension, though they have no trouble just sticking them back on.
  • Punny Name: The name is a play on the Japanese phrase "Furanshūshū" (腐乱臭衆), meaning "Decomposing Smelly Group." Saki even writes it in similar kanji at first before switching to katakana at the others' insistence.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: You've got a Born Unlucky Ridiculously Average Girl, a Badass Biker Japanese Delinquent, the former lead Idol Singer for a famous group, a Shrinking Violet solo Idol Singer, a legendary courtesan from the late-1800s, a Transgender Child Popstar, and the Legendary Tae Yamada ( the former head of a Demon Slaying organisation who hasn't broken out completely from her zombification.). Oh, and they're all zombies. They're also temporarily joined by a contemporary, Reiwa-era high school girl who knows they’re zombies but doesn’t care.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: All of them have red eyes while in their zombified appearance, which under the right circumstances can glow; even though the girls aren't normally dangerous, the living still treat them that way. While in makeup, their eyes are completely different (possibly due to color contacts) save Tae and Yugiri's who do have naturally red eyes.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Likely part of the reason why no one realizes that the ones who died (relatively) recently are part of the group. To anyone who might have known them when they were alive and in some cases saw them die, the idea that they actually came back from the dead just seems implausible.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Averted. Not only do they lose their heads semi-frequently with no real issues, Sakura jabs an iron poker clean through pre-awakened Ai's head in the first episode, and it does nothing to stop her.
  • Revenant Zombie: While they start off as the stereotypical mindless shambling zombies at first, they regain their intelligence and humanity after awakening, having their personalities and the memories of their lives.
  • The Rival: They are considered worthy of rivaling Iron Frill, especially when their leader Shiori publicly declared it on TV in the fourth episode of Revenge.
  • Scary Stitches: Several of the girls have conspicuous stitches or possibly staples, with Sakura's treating the gash across her forehead, Junko's skin being totally patched together, and Yugiri having them around her neck.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: When they're not performing, practicing, or sleeping, the girls wear school uniforms, likely the ones they wore in life. The only exceptions are Tae, who is Older Than She Looks at the age of 29, and Yugiri, who died before school uniforms were a thing (at least in Japan), but dresses like a female student of her native period.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Without their makeup, they are rotting corpses with blue-green skin and sunken red eyes. Thanks to Kotaro's impeccable makeup skills, they not only pass off as living girls, but as attractive living girls, something they comment on frequently.
  • Skin-Tone Disguise: The makeup they wear is to cover up their rotting green skin and copious scars, making them pass well as ordinary human girls.
  • The Sleepless: They're dead, after all. Though while they don't strictly need to sleep, they do anyway because it's still best for their well-being; Ai went a month without sleep rehearsing for Saga Rock, and while she didn't suffer any physical ill effects, she was starting to hallucinate by the end of it.
    Kotaro: "I mean what are you gonna do, die from a lack of sleep?"
  • Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration: At least Type IV. The girls can develop mushrooms if cooped up in an area for too long, but they're no longer actively decaying and can just stick any lost body parts back on.
  • Stage Names: The girls refer to themselves as Number One, Two, etc. when in public. This serves a dual-purpose of keeping a conistent group system and hiding their identities from people that would recognize them from life.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: As revealed in Saga Incident: Part 1, all the girls (other than Yugiri) had ancestors living in/around Saga back in the Meiji era, and they were nearly identical in looks.
  • Super Mode: Being electrified causes the girls to absorb the energy and enter an empowered state, manifesting as a light-blue aura that auto-tunes their voices. They can also channel the energy to create mesmerizing holographic effects like rings of electricity and laser beams.
  • Super-Toughness: Given that they don't have the weakness to being decapitated or speared through the brain, it's uncertain exactly what it would take to kill them. They've been hit by vans at high speed, been shot through the chest, bellyflopped from significant heights, blasted by a freak bolt of lightning that fried their stage, caught up in explosions, and pretty much shaken all of it off in a matter of moments. It's slightly countered by the fact that they can be very easily dismembered, but it's simple to put them back together.
  • Those Two Girls: Zigzagged with Ai and Junko. In the first few episodes the two are glued to each other's side, both seeing the group as doomed and attempt to escape. Most of their interactions in the first three episodes are with each other as they stay at odds with everyone else. As they get to know the rest of the girls, their interactions branch out, but come episode 6 and 7 they are narratively this trope with being at odds.
  • Town Girls: The first three members easily fit; Sakura being the meek Girly Girl is the Femme, Saki being the athletic, tomboyish Badass Biker is the Butch, and Ai is the Neither, since she's not as meek as the former neither as brash as the latter.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The girls' profiles list each of their favorite foods:
    • Sakura: All kinds of sweets.
    • Saki: Chicken (which explains why she was such a frequent visitor to Drive-in Tori).
    • Ai: Yakiniku.
    • Junko: Foods with soy and Japanese food.
    • Yugiri: Amazakenote .
    • Lily: Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard.
    • Tae: Mentaikonote , squid.
  • True Companions:
    • By the end of Season 1, all seven girls learn to work together and look out for one another, creating an inseparable band who would rather fail together than succeed without any one member of their group.
    • In Revenge, the others band together to keep Shiori from taking Ai away.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: At the start of Season 2, with Kotaro in a depressive funk, the girls have to do their own makeup, which results in them having deathly-pale skin, and they're unable to get rid of their Creepy Shadowed Undereyes. Ai's co-workers remark that she looks extremely unhealthy, but the group is otherwise able to blend in with society.
  • Undeathly Pallor: All of the girls have grayish-blue skin, in-universe rather than a stylistic choice. When they need to go into public to perform they require make-up from Kotaro to look alive.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Downplayed; As idols they have different costumes and outfits to wear for each episode's concert finale. However, they also have four or five outfits that are iconic to them ranging from their sleepwear, school uniforms and their loungewear.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Between Saki and Lily. The two rib at each other endlessly. Saki gives Lily all sorts of demeaning nicknames based on her height and age, and mocks her absurdly masculine dead name. Lily often mocks Saki's overenthusiasm and gruff demeanor, and is usually the first to snark whenever Saki is Suddenly Shouting. Though it's all ultimately harmless and Played for Laughs, and the two clearly maintain a strong friendship through it all.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: They may be zombies, but they still act and think like they used to (except Tae) and question their choices and freedom in the grander scheme of things.
  • Working Title: In-Universe, the initial name of Kotaro's zombie idol group, Death Musume, is tagged with a parenthetical "Name Pending" at the end of it. In Episode 2, Kotaro changes it to Green Face, and the girls later permanently change it to Franchouchou in Episode 3.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Their bodies are always going to be in the shape they were in when they died. Some reassembly was needed for Junko and Yugiri.
  • You Are Number 6: Since revealing their real names to the public would cause the obvious problem of attracting people who would have known them in life and thus revealing that they're zombies, the girls are each given numbers as aliases when they're performing or interacting with fans.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Considering that each of them died decades ago, they obviously can't return to their old lives again. This isn't addressed until Lily's Character Arc.
  • You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Invoked and played with. The girls often bring up that they can get away with doing acts which would otherwise be fatal. In particular, Ai, Saki and Sakura all experience anew the manner of their deaths and still make it out in one piece.
  • Zombie Gait: When unawakened, the girls tend to walk like this, lurching about awkwardly.

Main Franchouchou Idols

    Saki Nikaido — #2 

Saki Nikaido (二階堂 サキ)

Voiced by: Asami Tano (Japanese), Caitlin Glass (English)
Live actor: Yuriya Suzuki (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Idol Saki
Click here to see Zombie Saki
Born: May 15, 1979
Died: August 30, 1997 (age 18)
Cause of Death: Drove off a cliff
Height/Weight: 153cm (5'0") / 48kg (105 lbs)
B/W/H: 77(C)/54/82cm (30/21/32 in)

"I did a damn good job bossing all those biker chicks around! So wrangling a bunch of babydolls like you will be a walk in the park!!"

A legendary biker and special attack unit captain of Dorami, Kyushu's most infamous all-female biker gang during the The '90s. She and her co-captain Reiko dominated Saga prefecture at the age of eighteen, and was feared and respected for her power and charisma. Saki died in a fatal motorcycle crash trying to one-up the rival gang Korosuke, and the rest of Dorami quietly faded away after her death.

A coarse, violent rebel through and through, she only respects those with "guts", and her ability to take charge leads her to appoint herself the leader of Franchouchou. She also has a fondness for Tamagotchi.

  • #1 Dime: Her beloved Tamagotchi. She laments its loss at several points. It turns out her co-captain Reiko has held onto it as a memento. Maimai gifts her a 20th-anniversary edition of the same model as thanks for performing at her school. Saki couldn't have been happier.
  • Action Girl: She is one of the most physically abled of all the girls, able to knock down an 8-foot-tall giant of a man and in the past fought off twenty or so rival bikers alongside Reiko without much of a scratch. She also has a really good fastball, as seen when she throws a baseball at Kotaro when he provokes her.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: In Revenge episode 2, Saki mentions that she became a delinquent due to feeling like the world was against her. Reiko was the first person she ever felt a true connection with.
  • Alternate Character Reading: Saki prefers to write in showy kanji, though when she writes the girls' suggestions for the group's name, she gets the meanings a bit wrong. She writes "Jeanne d'Arc" as "Wicked Rage Void Slackers" (邪怒無怠佝) and "Franchouchou" as "Rotten Chaos Stank Gang" (腐乱臭衆), at which point the girls just ask her to stop using kanji.note 
  • Ambiguously Bi: While Saki has shown interest in men, her first instinct to distract Maria-after Sakura accidentally knocks off Tae's head-is to use Kotaro's famous seduction technique.
  • Anger Born of Worry: When Sakura's depression strikes with a vengeance, Saki tries and fails to get her back into action in a very forward and aggressive manner. When this fails, she goes to bed cursing in frustration.
  • Ascended Fangirl:
    • In life, she used to hang out with her gang at "Drive-in Tori", a popular chicken restaurant, and grew up watching the Kashima Gatalympics. Small wonder that she's in Tears of Joy when she learns that Franchouchou is slated to perform at a commercial for the former, and later gets to participate in the latter.
    • In Revenge Episode 2, she is also revealed to be a fan of White Ryu-a popular radio DJ from her time-and as such is very excited to be a guest on his show. At the end of the episode, White Ryu decides to hand over control of the show to Saki since he feels it's time for him to retire.
  • Badass Adorable: Manages to be both a tough, rowdy biker chick and a cute teenage girl, and is equally confident in both fields.
  • Badass Biker: She was once a captain in Kyushu's toughest all-female biker gang during the 90s, and she herself is quite proud of the fact.
  • Bandage Mummy: While not the extent of Ai, Episode 4 of the first season shows that most of Saki's body is also covered in bandages with the exceptions of her abdominal area, right hand and forearm, left shoulder including neck and head, and her entire left leg.
  • Best Friend: She and Reiko formed and lead Dorami together, and even if they had different goals for the future, they always had each other's backs. Saki's death was incredibly devastating for Reiko and made her swear off biking for the rest of her life.
  • The Big Gal: The muscle of Franchouchou. Saki may not have the others' wits or strategies, but she's incredibly loyal, protective, and unendingly enthusiastic, not to mention freakishly strong for a girl her size. Ironically, Lily is the only one that's shorter than her.
  • Big Sister Instinct: She rushes in and kicks away a man who she thinks is trying to hurt Lily. Said man though is actually Lily's father.
  • Blood Knight: She loves a good scrap, likely her being a bit nostalgic for her biker days.
    • She was perfectly willing to step into a biker conflict, but was eventually persuaded by Kotaro to try a different approach to save face as an idol.
    • The girls' revival concert in Revenge ends with a huge riot breaking out at their venue, something Saki almost joins before being stopped.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: When introduced, she's aggressive, quick-to-provoke, and initially refuses to take part in idol activities. She starts to show softer traits as time goes on though; she likes entertaining kids, is a very loyal and caring teammate, and ends up becoming one of the most invested in the girls' idol performances, cute outfits and all.
  • Butt-Monkey: She's prone to a lot of slapstick not unlike Sakura.
    • She slips on a used medicinal patch which sends her and Sakura careening down a hall and into an unfortunate pharmaceutical president.
    • Her attempts to win the Gatalypmic events are hilariously poor, with her being one of the quickest of the girls to get eliminated. Her enthusiasm towards the events make it especially more painful.
    • Occasionally she shares being the target of Kotaro's acts of physical abuse, such as having a baseball batted in her head or being blasted with a water gun.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Her most classic:
      "You wanna die?"/"Want me to kick your ass?"
    • When she's panicked:
      "Crap! Crap! Crap! Crap!-"
  • Celebrity Crush: In "Saga of an Almost-Broken Radio", the girls suspect that Saki might have a bit of a crush on White Ryu, a former rock star and host of the radio show So Saga Can Be Saga. This is seemingly confirmed when Saki confesses she loves White Ryu as he's leaving near the end of the episode.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Back when she was alive she and Reiko were able to take down twenty-some bikers with only a few scrapes. As a zombie she can send a grown man flying with a kick, survive a nearly-fatal motorcycle jump, and pedal a bicycle so fast it creates a sonic boom.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Saki is a born troublemaker, and wears one of these whenever she's up to no good. One standout example is when she tries to sneak Sakura out to relax in some hot springs, all while they're not disguised in their make up.
  • Cool Big Sis:
    • She and Lily have a playful, banter-filled sibling dynamic, and the former is quite protective of the latter.
    • She occasionally acts as this towards Sakura and Ai who are both at least a year younger, like comforting Ai when the latter is terrified by a thunderstorm, and trying to cheer up Sakura during her long depressive episode.
    • She’s determined to protect Maria — her best friend’s daughter - from getting herself killed in her bet with Misa.note 
  • Covered in Scars: Saki's body has dozens of sutured cuts over it. It serves the dual-purpose of showing she died in a bike crash and also contributes to her tough image.
  • Cry Laughing: Realizing she'll always be stuck as an eighteen year-old and can neither regain the time lost with her friends or become an item with her longtime idol. She tries to laugh it off, only to start sobbing uncontrollably.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Her M.O. is this. Even in life, she was an unfettered thrillseeker often seeking challenges, a trait that eventually cost her life. She never loses this trait as a zombie, and repeats the same stunt she did previously, only this time surviving it.
  • Death Glare: She has a tendency to pull this face when someone tries to pick a fight with her. More often than not, she will intimidate the instigator.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • Sakura one-upping her in an impromptu rap battle where the former basically tells her to screw herself the entire time earns her Saki's respect. Prior to that, Saki spent most of the episode either antagonizing Sakura or treating her like some pushover.
    • Pulls one on several biker delinquents after they witness her jumping off and surviving the crash that killed her the first time she attempted it.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Revenge Episode 2 reveals that she was an even more unruly punk before she joined Dorami, unsure of the direction she was taking, until listening to White Ryu inspired her to make something out of her life, leading her to become friends with Reiko and Dorami in life, and then Franchouhou post-mortem.
  • Delinquent Hair: Her dyed streaks stand out even in a setting full of out-there hair colors, marking her as a former delinquent.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The scenes where she gets her hands on a bike tend to get a bit nuts.
    • She rides her motorcycle off a cliff in a game of chicken twice, once that resulted in her death, and another where she hops off at the last moment possible.
    • She rides herself and Sakura to a radio station at speeds that so fast that she breaks the sound barrier, and reduces her bicycle to just the handlebars. By the time they reach their destination, poor Sakura is still hanging onto Saki's waist for dear life.
  • Dumb Blonde: Ok, maybe not ''dumb'', but impulsive? Yes. Lacks social grace? Yup. Incredibly reckless? Oh yeah. And yes, she's blonde.
  • Dumb Muscle: She would rather punch her problems in the face than strategize a plan.
    • Her plan to snap to Junko out of her Heroic BSoD is just to drag her out of the attic, an idea that's immediately shut down.
      Saki: Alright, let's drag her ass out!
      Sakura: No, don't. That'll make things worse.
      Saki: (immediately sits back down) Okay, don't!
      Lily: Thanks boss...
    • Kotaro has to stop her from her joining in on a biker gang conflict since that would tarnish her image as an idol.
  • Exposed to the Elements: In Episode 10, Saki wears a sleeveless cropped top in the snowy mountain.
  • Fatal Flaw: Being a reckless unfettered thrill seeker cost Saki her life as she jumped off a cliff and succumbed to her ensuing injuries. Her carelessness also almost outs the girls as zombies in their first (awakened) performance together, causing Sakura to chide her out. She since then has had to be reigned in on occasion if her attitude gets the girls in trouble, such as how she initially went about trying to protect Maria from Korosuke which almost resulted in a fight breaking out.
  • Fearless Fool: She certainly is hot-headed and brave, but this trait of hers ended up being what killed her, because she was so determined to win a game of chicken against a rival gang that she just kept speeding on and was mortally injured by the ensuing crash. She does get a second chance as a zombie... and she does the exact same thing all over again. She survives this time thanks to her undead nature, even though there was no guarantee that she would've survived the crash intact enough to keep functioning.
  • Friend to All Children: She's quite gentle and kind towards Franchouchou's younger audience. She's also protective of Lily, kicking away who she suspected to be a kidnapper (who of course was actually Lily's father). Part of this may even be inherited, as Saki's Meija-era ancestor was a babysitter to Lily's ancestor.
  • Gamer Chick: Aside from her fondness for Tamagotchi, her profile mentions she was a fan of arcades.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Saki's insistance on using showy kanji leads to her coming up with wildly insane group names like "Wicked Rage Void Slacker!" (pronounced "Jeanne d'Arc"), leading the girls to label her a terrible namer.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Despite having no industry experience, she takes pretty quickly to learning singing and dancing, being able to perform at the same level as the other girls, indicating some latent performance talent.
    • Both she and Sakura are competent freestyle rappers.
    • Despite being a delinquent Badass Biker with designs to take over the country, she shows a great deal of gentleness towards children and awareness of social norms. Case in point, Saki knows full well that her rough and violent attitude towards her former gang isn't an option with the other members of Franchouchou, and it certainly won't fly in public when trying to be part of a beloved idol group.
  • Hot-Blooded: When something piques her interest she gets very intense about it. Once she decides to get on board with being an idol, she's one of the most passionate members of the group and even becomes their leader and public face.
    "When I go in, I go all in".
  • Humanizing Tears: At the end of Revenge Episode 2, the normally energetic, devil-may-care Saki simply breaks down crying in heartbreak over the realization that she can never grow up to be a woman worthy of White Ryu.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Saki loves to poke fun at Lily's short height, despite the fact that she herself is Franchouchou's second shortest member (153cm/5'0").
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Defied. Living or dead, Saki's never had any idea of what "normal" is supposed to be, and has never understood what other people see in it. She struggled to relate to Reiko's desire to leave biking and start a family one day, and has trouble connecting with the other girls at first due to her radical nature.
  • The Illegible: Saki somehow makes her handwriting look like crude spray-paint writing, despite using a whiteboard marker.
  • Informed Attribute: Her offical profile states that Saki dislikes sweets, but in episode four she has her face pressed up against the window of a cake shop with Tae, Lily, and Sakura.
  • Instant Expert: "Expert" might be going a bit far but it should be noted that of the six fully awakened zombies, she is the only one not known to have any background in singing, dancing or any form of entertainment whatsoever. She nonetheless takes to performing as an idol quite handily, vocally holding her own just fine and not yet displaying the same level of difficulty coordinating dance with the group that Lily or Junko have at varying points.
  • Japanese Delinquents: She fits the bill of a bike gang captain in a school jersey and very long skirt, complete with Trrrilling Rrrs. And she also doesn't give two damns about authority or conforming to expectations of an "acceptable" woman.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Saki, being an impulsive hothead, is rather brusque, blunt, and often has no respect for pushovers. However, she's a genuinely good-hearted individual and does show a soft side, such as warming up to Sakura after she proves that she isn't as completely gutless as she appears, defending her fellow zombies from Kotaro's antics, as well as sharing a moment with a young, new fangirl. And even despite laughing over Lily's overly-macho birth name Masao and her manner of death, she wholeheartedly accepted her for who she is without a second thought.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As scathing as it is during their rap battle, Saki makes a fair point that Sakura's obsession with getting her memories back probably won't do her any good, since being a zombie means she can't return to her old life anyway. However, Sakura retorts that it's still better than sitting around doing nothing.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": For a tough, Badass Biker, she gets very emotional whenever she meets her favorite celebrities, devolving into an adorably giddy nerd.
    • She gets absolutely giddy getting to meet Cocco, devolving into a completely emotional nerd when he's around and being upset when she feels the others can't live up to his performing standards.
    • She's similarly ecstatic around White Ryu, her longtime icon. Unlike other characters, she buys into his Cloudcuckoolander tendencies one-hundred percent. Justified given how White Ryu's work helped her out of a tough place in her life, and she's grateful for him letting her continue his work by passing on his radio show to her.
  • Large Ham: Saki is perhaps the only idol who can rival Kotaro's haminess when properly excited, often screaming a lot and having to be calmed down at inopportune times. This actually makes her well-suited to be the main spokesperson for the group, often riling their fans at events.
  • Leitmotif: A heavy guitar riff plays whenever things get intense with her.
  • The Lost Lenore: Downplayed and Parodied; she mourns her Tamagotchi's death since she herself has been dead for over twenty yearsnote , and even then, she's merely annoyed by it.
  • Love Hurts: By the end of Revenge Episode 2 she confesses her love for White Ryu; unfortunately for her, he admits he cannot reciprocate her feelings due to their age gap, telling her to wait a few years until she grows into adulthood—something already impossible for her as an undead, much to her grief.
  • Lovely Angels: She was this with Reiko in life. Reiko was the more mellow of the two and wanted to eventually settle down from her biker life, while Saki's ride-or-die attitude was what eventually lead to her death.
  • Mama Bear: A non-maternal variety. Do not mess with her crew if you don't wanna die.
  • Meaningful Name: "Nikaido" roughly translates to "two-storied temple", two being a reference to Saki's number in Franchouchou.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: She is skinny, and slightly shorter than the average Japanese woman, but that doesn't stop her from beating up 20 bikers in life, and kicking an 8-foot tall man off his feet which sends him flying. Not that it really matters as a zombie.
  • The Nicknamer: She loves to give nicknames. She always calls Lily "Shrimpy" ("Chinchiku" in Japanese, "Squirt" in the English dub), much to her annoyance. She refers to Kotaro as "Shades", Yugiri as "Sis", and uses various egg-related terms for Sakura.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Even among the others, she stands out for being a zombie, biker, delinquent, idol singer.
  • No-One Could Have Survived That:
    • Saki's first highlight episode features her ending up in an explosion just like what killed her in life, but not only does she climb back up the mountain just fine (beyond complaining how much being in an explosion hurt), the people who saw her do it can do nothing but gawk in Stunned Silence at an apparent death-defying stunt.
    • Her death turns out to be brutal subversion. Saki was actually found alive at the scene of the crash, but the injuries sustained from the fall and her bike's explosion meant there was no saving her, and she died in the hospital two hours later.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Completely averted with her actual death, but played straight when, as a zombie, she tackles the same challenge that killed her. Though she does say it really hurt.
  • Nonconformist Dyed Hair: She has blonde hair with orange and green streaks, fitting with her delinquent past and her refusal to conform to what most people view as "normal". Somehow the streaks persist even after death. Her minor appearance in Zombie Land Saga Gaiden, however, implies that her blonde hair may in fact be natural.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: In Revenge Episode 2, after White Ryu appoints Franchouchou to succeed him in his radio show, Saki confesses her feelings for him. However, he tells Saki to try again when she’s a grown woman. Saki ruefully admits to Sakura that she knows she’ll never be one since zombies don’t age, bursting into tears as the realization hits her all at once. Ironically enough for someone who lived fast and died young, she finds a reason to grow up only after she’s already dead, and now she never will.
  • Not So Above It All: Normally, she's just as annoyed with Kotaro as the rest of the girls, and the first to get physical whenever he goes a step too far in belittling them. In Episode 5, she becomes a whole lot more agreeable with him when she discovers he's booked appearances for them at Drive-In Tori and the Gatalympics, engaging in Ham-to-Ham Combat with him over their shared enthusiasm. The same happens in Episode 2 of Revenge, when she learns Franchouchou gets to star alongside White Ryu, her Celebrity Crush.
  • Number Two: Leaving aside it being her number in Franchouchou, this was pretty much her role in Dorami, as captain of the gang's special attack unit (the English translation incorrectly identifies her as the gang's overall leader).
  • Odd Friendship: With the gentle Sakura.
    • Their friendship was borne from Saki witnessing firsthand Sakura's competitive side, not to mention the fact that they're both natives of Kyushu. While Saki does tend to drag her into a lot of her mischief, the two have a strong emotional trust in each other through it all.
    • Come Revenge, Sakura accompanies Saki in her pursuit to keep White Ryu from retiring his show. She later comforts Saki when the latter is heartbroken and in tears after realizing Not Growing Up Sucks, only to hilariously start sobbing herself..
  • Oddly Visible Eyebrows: Has a large bang over the left side of her face, but her eyes are still visible underneath.
  • Pet the Dog: In Episode 6, she comforts Ai after realizing she has a crippling Fear of Thunder borne from her manner of death.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Five feet tall, making her the second-shortest member of Franchouchou after Lily. She still has no problem delivering a flying kick to an eight-foot tall mountain-of-a-man and knocking him into a wall without any major effort, or taking on a rival gang and utterly pulverizing everybody in it with only Reiko at her side.
  • Precocious Crush: She had a crush on her idol White Ryu, who currently is at least 30 years older than her now that she's a zombie (Chronologically he'd be about 10 years older, but her zombiehood has kept her from aging). When she confesses, he politely turns her down to their age gap.
  • Proud Beauty: When wearing makeup to hide her zombie appearance: she's attractive, and she knows it!
    Saki: "And you know what else? In this getup... I'm freaking sexy!"
  • Rugged Scar: Because of her motorcycle crash, she has a stitched up scar on her right cheek, arm, and left leg as a zombie, giving her a tough and surly look befitting her past life as a biker gang captain.
  • Sarashi: As a zombie, Saki has bandages around her limbs and her body, and some end up like this. It's not clear if this is just for fanservice or actually functional; she didn't have them pre-mortem, suggesting they might be functional.
  • Supporting Leader: While Sakura is the main protagonist, Saki is the one who takes up the mantle of The Leader among the girls, owing to her past experience as a bike gang captain.
  • Take Over the World: Downplayed; she wants to take over all of Japan, and she figures that if she can't do it with her old biker gang now that she's a zombie, then cooperating with Kotaro's zombie idol project is her best shot.
  • Tears of Joy: Played for Laughs twice in Episode 5, when she revisits Drive-In Tori, her favorite restaurant in life, and learns she'll get to participate at the Kashima Gatalympics.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Golden eyes when alive or in makeup.
  • Tempting Fate: "I told you... There's no way in hell I'm dying." or in English dub: "Relax, there's no way in hell I'm gonna die!"
  • Tender Tears: It's really tender to watch such a brash, loud and hotheaded girl crying her heart out when she meets her former Love Interest who - unlike her - has become older. And, of course, Sakura cannot help empathizing with her that moment, crying just like her.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Has this to an extent with most of Franchouchou. Though she and Sakura in particular spend a lot of time together.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: While she's got a pretty butch fashion sense most of the time, she still happily decks out in Franchouchou's more traditionally feminine idol outfits.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: She's easily the most tomboyish girl of the group with her rough demeanor and her past as a captain of a biker gang, and she usually wears her hair in a ponytail.
  • Tomboyish Voice: Her voice is on the lower and raspier side of the girls', befitting her status as the most tomboyish girl of the gang, which is especially noticable when she sings.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Saki is much nicer after being roasted hard by Sakura in their impromptu rap battle. She noticably becomes more invested in the group as a whole and is henceforth a very devoted team player.
  • Tranquil Fury: She is capable of doing this when she's not in Large Ham mode herself, or some would-be delinquent is trying to pick a fight with her. As someone who has fought at least 20 girls, she is basically saying "Don't pick a fight you can't win".
  • Violence Is Not an Option: When Saki butts into a generations-long dispute involving the remnants of her old gang, she resolves to settle it "like an idol" rather than with violence, agreeing with Kotaro that her old methods could only hurt her band's image.
  • Virtual Pet: Owned a (now long dead) Tamagotchi when she was alive. The case is kept as a memento by Reiko. She gets a new one as a gift from Maimai.
  • Vibrant Orange: Her assigned color is orange, which coincides with her incredibly Hot-Blooded and headstrong personality.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: She of all people is the first to call out Ai's hostile attitude towards Junko in episode 6. She, Lily, and Yugiri urge Ai to apologize and make up with Junko later on.
  • You Got Guts: She only respects people who show "guts", which she thinks Sakura doesn't have since she keeps sucking up to Kotaro's bizarre demands without question. When Sakura proves her wrong by challenging her to a rap battle and demonstrating that being a zombie idol is Crazy Enough to Work, the two become friends.
  • You Remind Me of X: After she takes a liking to Sakura, Saki notes that her egg-shaped head looks a lot like her dead Tamagotchi.

    Ai Mizuno — #3 

Ai Mizuno (水野 愛)

Voiced by: Risa Taneda (Japanese), Bryn Apprill (English)
Live actor: Rie Matsuoka (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Idol Ai
Click here to see Zombie Ai
Born: March 7, 1992
Died: August 4, 2008 (age 16)
Cause of Death: Struck by lightning
Height/Weight: 160cm (5'3") / 42kg (92 lbs)
B/W/H: 81(B)/56/80cm (31/22/31 in)

"I don't see mistakes or failures as bad things. That's not how it works...they always end up helping me with whatever happens next."

The legendary lead singer of Iron Frill, the top idol group of the 2000s which Sakura idolized in life. Ai was considered an industry prodigy in life, reaching massive popularity at the age of sixteen, and inspired many future idols with her headstrong persona. Her life came to an abrupt and tragic end when she was struck down by a freak lightning storm in the middle of a concert.

A serious and strong-willed girl, she's initially skeptical of Kotaro's plan, but eventually dives whole-heartedly into the role and puts all her effort into building Franchouchou's legend. As the most experienced (current-era) idol of the group, Ai is effectively the team manager, planning out the group's choreography and roles with occasional input from the others.
  • The Ace:
    • Ai is looked to by the other girls for coaching during rehearsal, and given leads in songs along with Junko, for her incredible talents in singing, dancing and choreography. She also possesses such a knack for musical arrangement where at one point, she was able to pinpoint and properly alter a song's harmony to prevent Tae from continually garbling over it.
    • Season 2 addresses the downside of this as the girls have become extremely reliant on Ai's opinion on almost everything, Kotaro arranges to have Ai do some solo stuff in episodes 3 & 4 so that the girls will have to figure out how to perform on their own.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Getting stuck in a Heroic BSoD over her undead state leads to her silent refusal to take part in Franchouchou's guerrilla show in Episode 3. Seeing the other girls' continued determination to move forward eventually inspires her to join in and salvage what little of the show they can when Sakura forgets her lyrics, after which she starts performing again.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Courtesy of the Ship Tease she has with Junko in Revenge. And when the girls are discussing how idols would date in secret, an enthused Sakura asks Ai if she ever had a crush on someone, not specifying a gender, to which Ai awkwardly denies.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: At the receiving end of this when Iron Frill's leader Shiori tells her she should leave Franchouchou and (re)join their group, which shocks both an eavesdropping Sakura and Junko.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Ai has a dizzying array of knowledge about the idol business, dance choreography, musical theory, PR... it's obvious to see why she was the leader of Iron Frill. Unfortunately, this comes with the Logical Weakness that she's often stubborn about her own point of view. She's also the only member of Franchouchou able to discern Sakura's recent memory-swap for what it was in Episode 11.
  • Bandage Mummy: Ai's bandages almost completely cover her save for her eyes. Given she was killed being struck by lightning, leaving her a charred corpse, the bandages are likely not only helping keep her together, but covering up massive disfiguring burns across her entire body.
  • Benched Hero: An Invoked Trope in Revenge episodes 3 and 4. Kotaro elects to have Ai distance herself from the others temporarily so that they can learn to be more self-reliant and not depend on her status as The Ace. She works on solo performances and interviews in the meantime.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Blue is a big component of her design, and signifies her being an inspiring and compassionate figure in the world of idols.
  • Break the Cutie: Ai has not had a very good time going from a rising musical talent to a disfigured walking corpse. Her spirit is crushed by the realization that she has nowhere to go among the living and that she's remembered more for her gruesome death instead of her career or talent.
  • Broken Ace:
    • Ai and Junko are the only zombies with any real idol experience, and are both extremely talented in their own right. But realizing that they're stuck as zombies — whom others will most likely hunt down and prevent any kind of normal life — eats away at them.
    • Realizing she's become nothing more than sensationalized tragedy in the eyes of the public hits her hard, and influences her flawed behavior throughout episodes 5 ad 6. She's hyper-focused on getting Franchouchou noticed by the public and gets confrontational with Junko due their clashing ideologies on idol-fan relationships. The continued stress causes her neglect her well-being and bury herself in rehearsals.
  • Broken Pedestal: Downplayed. Sakura only has the faintest recollection of Ai due to her memory loss, but that doesn't stop her from being deeply disappointed that a "legendary" idol such as her would rather give up after losing everything rather than find new ways to move forward. Once Ai gets over her Heroic BSoD to save Franchouchou's performance after Sakura forgets her lyrics in Episode 3, Sakura regains her respect for her.
  • Catching Up on History: After being dead for a decade, Ai takes advantage of Kotaro's computer to catch up on phenomena from the years she's been away, specifically on the idol trends that have come and gone, to gain a better advantage for the group to progress in popularity.
  • Chummy Mummy: Invoked; Ai is a zombie wrapped head to toe in bandages, giving the appearance of a Bandage Mummy. Nonetheless, she's very popular both before and after being resurrected. She's very kind to her fans and a strong mentor to her fellow idols.
  • Closet Geek: Episodes 3 and 4 of Revenge show that she is a big fan of Junko's work from the 80's and watches videos of her singing on Mytube frequently. When Sakura walks in on her watching them once, Ai reacts as if she had just been caught watching porn.
  • Continuity Nod: As Ai continues to practice nonstop for Saga Rock to the point of falling apart, she can be seen wearing the muscle ache strips given to them at the spa.
  • Covered in Scars: The bandages across her body are implied to be covering up horrific burns. Considering her whole body was charred upon death, it's no wonder.
  • Cracks in the Icy Façade: She starts the series off as quite sour and cynical. After all, she's been dead for ten years, brought back as a zombie for a ludicrous plan to revitalize a niche prefecture, and has largely been relegated to obscurity despite being a national sensation in life. Seeing the determination of her groupmate Sakura shows hints that she might not be as done with idol work as she thought, first when Sakura saves an awry performance in episode 2, and later as the rest of the group is slowly coming together to officialize their new idol group, with Ai noting their optimism for what she thought was just a doomed pipe dream.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Like all the girls, Ai's death is sudden, almost completely random and she's gone before anyone knows what happened. Unlike the others however, her manner of death is being fried alive by lightning. The fact she died nearly instantly is the only silver lining to be had. What makes it worse is that from the way the lightning stays on screen for a bit of time implies that Ai wasn't just struck once, but rather multiple times in conjunction. As Robyn of Anime America put it, "she was smited"
  • Crutch Character: Episodes 3 and 4 of Revenge establish her as one for Franchouchou. The others are so dependent on her knowledge and experience that Kotaro excludes her from the group's performance as Iron Frill's opening act, under the (false) pretense of not wanting her old bandmates to recognize her, so that the others are forced to act on their own initiative rather than constantly seeking her advice.
  • The Cynic: Subverted. At the start of the story, she's highly critical of the Zombie Land Saga Project, which she feels is doomed to fail the moment she hears about it. She begins seeing promise in her fellow zombies after a few episodes but remains the first to remind them how hard they're going to have to work for it, showing that she's more of a realist than a cynic, and given the sketchiness with which Kotaro pitched his idea, her skepticism is not completely unwarranted.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Her status as The Ace is constantly disected, showing what kind of person she is to conform so heavily to the trope.
    • For starters, Ai's immense level of skill comes from years of working as a performer. And it's implied that, like Sakura, she had to sacrifice a lot of time and physical health to to get to where she is now. The result of this is someone with high standards and heavy Workaholic tendencies, as seen when she works herself to point of literally falling to pieces.
    • Being so familiar with idol work makes her confident at her job, but also unwaveringly stubborn if presented with a conflicting opinion. It takes a long time for her to finally come around to giving being a zombie idol a shot, all by having her stance countered piece by piece as Sakura and the others dive into the challenge. This stubbornness also frames her argument with Junko, believing that Junko needs to start conforming to modern idol standards if she's gonna thrive in the modern day, not considering if it wasn't fair to make her do activities she wasn't comforbtable with or prepared for.
    • As Franchouchou's most experienced performer, Ai becomes heavily relied on by the others to the point of over-dependence. Kotaro sees this group flaw and decides to act on it, keeping her busy with side-performances so that the others can learn to be more self-reliant.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She's introduced being quite cold and callous towards Kotaro and the other girls due to finding the Zombie Land Saga project a bad idea. But over time the girls inspire her to give being a zombie idol a chance, which rekindles her love for performing and working as a team.
  • Determinator: Not a trait present in the first few episodes (while she is undergoing a very logical Heroic BSoD), but she eventually proves to perhaps fill this role the most of any of the girls. This attitude of hers is shown in Episode 11 to have been the very spark that ignited Sakura's desire to become an idol.
  • Died Standing Up: During a concert that took place in the middle of a thunderstorm, Ai ran out to a center stage to thank the crowd for coming, but ended up struck by lightning and died frozen in her pose.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: She shows up in the video on Sakura's laptop before her proper introduction as a zombie.
  • Elemental Motifs: With water: her name has the kanji for water ("Mizu"), her signature color is blue, and, in a more symbolic fashion, her career ended then was revived in the rain.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Ai is often seen with an exasperated look on her face at many of the antics of the others and is far and away the most practical-minded of the group. Though this hasn't really played out in any major conflicts.
  • Eye Scream: She tries to escape over the mansion's fence in Episode 2, but Sakura accidentally makes her fall on her back, and the impact makes her eyes pop out of their sockets.
  • Famed In-Story: This is true of most of the girls due to them all being celebrities of some kind, but Ai's name and legacy are relatively much fresher in people's minds. Several characters like Sakura and Shiori still idolize her and see her as the standard of idol-hood to aspire to, and her death was much more publicized than the other zombies due to how recent and shocking it was. She's even introduced to the series through Sakura watching one of her recorded performances. How the setting and characters interact with her takes on new meaning through this context of prestige around her.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her stubbornness; on one hand it can be her greatest tool, being what fuels her Determinator and Hope Bringer attitudes, but it also makes her incredibly difficult to compromise with and persuade. When she settles on the thought that Franchouchou will initially fail, it takes everything the other girls have to finally break that mindset. Ai's stubborness also brings her into conflict with Junko who's unaccustomed to the modern standards of Idol Singers, and the two have a big falling out that lasts an episode.
  • Fatal Method Acting: In-Universe: Ai was just beginning to hit her big break with her idol group, Iron Frill, when a freak lightning bolt incinerated her during a concert in front of thousands of viewers, leaving her charred corpse still posing on-stage. As a zombie, she's quite bitter that people mostly remember her for how she died instead of her actual musical career. It happens again to her and the rest of Franchouhou in Episode 7, but since they're all already dead, they're perfectly fine.
  • Fear of Thunder: She freezes up at the very sound of lightning, which is understandable, given it killed her.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: She isn't visible when electrocuted by the lightning bolt that killed her during the flashback of her death, though we do get a glimpse of her charred body afterward.
  • The Hero's Idol: In life Sakura had a deep admiration for Ai. Ai's headstrong personality and determination were what helped Sakura out of a low and depressive point in her life, inspiring her to become an idol herself. After the two meet and work together in-person, Ai helps Sakura out of yet another low point in her now-undead life, encouraging the aspiring idol to keep pursuing her dream.
  • Heroic BSoD: After nearly getting shot by Policeman A, she realizes she truly has nowhere to go and resigns herself to staying at the mansion, becoming too disheartened to perform again. She starts recovering after she and Junko have to salvage their guerrilla performance after Sakura messed up on a few lyrics, as she considers starting her career anew with Sakura and co.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: One of the in-universe theories of her death is that she deliberately attracted the lightning into herself to save her audience on the grounds that there was nothing else fried by the lightning. Of course, the real explanation is simpler than that; it was an accident.
  • Hidden Depths: In Episode 10, she seemingly fashions a fully-functional bow and arrow from scratch with no prior access to tools, and she proves to be a pretty good shot with it as well, even if she never does quite succeed in her hunt.
  • High-Voltage Death: She was killed by a freak lightning strike during a thunderstorm. The bandages all over her body are indicative of the burns.
  • Hope Bringer: To Sakura, back when they were alive. Hearing of Ai's personal story of perseverance shook Sakura out of her learned helplessness, turning her back into the hopeful girl she once was in time for the opening of the series. When Sakura falls back into despair late in the series, Ai's words prove again to be one of the most influential factors in both returning Sakura to the stage, and getting her back to her feet when calamity befalls the venue.
  • I Choose to Stay: There are points in the show where it appears she might not stick around with Franchouchou only to reaffirm her place with them.
    • She spends the second episode trying to leave Saga thinking the Zombie Land Saga project will flop. But after a whole episode and a half of being inspired by her peers doing their best to become real idols, she decides to stay and help them achieve that goal.
    • Shiori tries to persuade her to leave Franchouchou and join Iron Frill, and she almost seriously considers the possibility. Eventually though she realizes she wants to move away from her past with Iron Frill and that she can't abandon her fellow zombies like that. This culminates in the others banding together when it looks like Shiori's come to take her away, and Ai confidently stands by them.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Iron Frill had just begun to take off when Ai died, so those who remember her for more than just her death largely remember her as a rising star who could've gone places had she lived. In an unusual case of this, while the loss of what could have been weighs heavily on Ai, nothing's stopping her from getting back into the game. Indeed, having another chance to establish herself helps motivate her.
  • Image Song: While she has yet to have one during her tenure with Franchouchou, Ai already has a song of her own- which is known as "Fantastic Lovers". She leads this song with her old friends as part of the Iron Frill group, and was briefly heard in the first scene of the series.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Sakura pitched an iron poker through Ai's skull when she first encountered her as a mindless zombie. Though being stabbed through the brain didn't seem to impede her much.
  • Inspirational Martyr: She was made into one after her death was sensationalized across the media landscape, and many idols since have cited her as an inspiration for their careers, wanting to reach the same potential she did. Ai on the other hand is hurt that her life and legacy have become nothing more than a tragic tale told through the industry.
  • Irony:
    • The legendary idol whose career (and life) ended due to an electrical storm, had her career as a zombie jump-started by yet another electrical storm.
    • Her profile lists her hobby as "Collecting creepy but cute character merchandise". Given that she's now an adorable zombie girl, any merchandise based on her zombie form (or those of her teammates, for that matter) certainly qualifies as this.
    • Before the series began, seeing Ai's confidence roused Sakura from the depths of her despair and into action. During the guerrilla show, seeing Sakura in trouble rouses Ai from the depths of her despair and into action.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Ai is more sullen and cynical than a jerk, even at her worst, she does bring up some valid questions about how feasible the prospect of zombies becoming idols is. Sakura doesn't deny it, but, like with Saki, insists that they may as well try.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Junko relies a lot on Ai for confidence and reassurance, something she struggles to muster for herself. Hearing that Ai's been offered to leave Franchouchou puts a massive amount of stress on the poor girl, and it takes a while for her to get ahold of herself.
  • Logical Weakness:
    • Her being still so recognizable in the modern day makers her the easiest to identify of the girls due to how closely her performances line up to the ones from being alive. She even has to deflect interview questions about why she, Franchouchou's "Number Three", looks so much like the legendary Ai Mizuno.
    • Her own confidence in her craft means she's one of the most stubborn of the girls to work with, and she gets along the worst with their actual manager, Kotaro.
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: Ai begins the series cynical and standoffish, courtesy of going from an musical star to dead to revived as a zombie, and refuses to have anything to do with the Zombie Land Saga project. As she gets to know the other members though and see their resolve to make something of their undeath, she begins to shed her prior attitude. And overtime she becomes yet another trusted and beloved member of the main cast.
  • Master of All: While Junko alone is noted to be a better singer than her, Ai is a much better dancer and is the only member of the group truly versed in group performances. Her reticence to make use of her exceptional ability in early episodes caused a good deal of friction between her and Sakura, who looked up to Ai immensely in life. Junko, meanwhile, admits to herself in Revenge that had Ai been around in her time, she definitely would've been able to make it to the top as a solo idol like she had.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Ai" means "love" in Japanese, befitting her Hope Bringer persona. And "Mizuno" roughly translates to "water field", which could be a reference to her blue hair, but also mirrors Junko's surname meaning "deep blue fields".
    • In Season 2, Ai goes by the name "San Tatsumi" when working on a part-time job. While that surname is taken from Kotaro's, the first name "San" is also a pun; it's the number 3 in Japanese, and Ai is identified as "Zombie #3".
  • Mistakes Are Not the End of the World: Ai (un)lives by this philosophy. No matter how badly she screws up or what life throws her way, she'll always get up to try again. It's this ethos that inspires Sakura to get out of her slump in life and pursue becoming an idol.
  • Nice Girl: Behind her coolheaded and at times sullen personality Ai is actually a very nice and considerate young woman who tries to help out the group in anyway she can, becoming the Team Dad as a result.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-Universe, Ai believes this is the case for an idol group taking its first steps toward getting its name out and mentions it in several episodes. This attitude pays off in the first few episodes with the absurd headlines the group makes; namely dancing on stage with a severed head, turning a local spa into a ghost-sighting spot, and dancing in a cheap fast-food commercial, all of which is able to get their names out to the public.
  • Only Sane Woman: Ai's level-headedness plays off the more lively personalities of her groupmates like Sakura's nervousness, Saki's impulsiveness, Junko's shyness, and uh...Tae. That said, she's not without her flaws, and ends up perpetuating quite a few group conflicts.
  • Perpetual Frowner: She's like this for most of episodes 2 and 3, being undead and stuck in a situation she doesn't want any part in. It's not until the girl's guerilla performance that she finally starts to open up and show her support for the group.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Sakura harpoons a fire poker through her temple mere seconds after being introduced in zombie form. It stays lodged in her brain for most of the first episode but never makes any mess at all.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: She has a habit of screaming back at others in terror or surprise whenever they scream at her first with the exact same feelings thanks to her zombified appearance.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Ai exhibits a very hostile and cynical attitude because of their situation, being dead and forgotten by the world and then being roped into the Zombie Land Saga project without much choice. Sakura, who values her second chance at life, becomes disillusioned with Ai and her cynicism. But once Ai helps her and the other girls save a failing performance, and Ai decides to stick around to help the others become idols, Sakura renews her appreciation for her.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue Oni to Sakura's Red Oni; while both are passionate and skilled performers, Sakura's nerves and single-mindedness tend to get the best of her, while Ai's able to be a lot more calm under pressure.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Ironically enough, she nearly ends up being this for herself. When her former group, Iron Frill, comes to Saga for a concert, one of her old fans (and a current lead member) of the group can't help but notice her "similarities" to the legendary singer and tries to convince her to ditch Franchouchou and join Iron Frill. This is under the excuse that she's wasting her potential and that her presence would make Iron Frill stronger, though another member insinuates that's it's actually because of this trope.
  • Running Gag: Ai has a habit of accidentally getting into fearful screaming matches when her makeup's off.
  • Screaming Woman: Played for Laughs. When terrified, she'll scream at the top of her lungs, often in tandem with Sakura and Junko; a noteworthy example is when they narrowly avoid being shot by a policeman. It's so overblown though that it loops around to being hilarious.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: She immediately tries to leave the group for Tokyo after having one conversation with Kotaro and learning about his ridiculous zombie idol project. She only returns once she's resigned herself to the fact that she can't rejoin the living.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: It's clear that Ai's death has had a lasting affect on her psyche. The flash of a camera causes her to flinch and when faced with actual thunder, she curls up into a ball and covers her ears. Each time this happens, she doesn't get up until someone else comes to help her.
  • Ship Tease: It's not quite as pronounced on her side, but she's still got this in droves with Junko in Revenge.
    • She decides to watch some of Junko’s old performances online and is absolutely captivated by her, as if she were being serenaded. When Junko walks into the room she closes the browser in embarrassment.
    • Episode 4 in particular has them sharing quite a few intimate moments with each other. Ai becomes upset with herself for pushing Junko away due when offered to join Iron Frill. But once she's committed to staying with Franchouchou, the two share a heartfelt reunion on the stage of their performance, complete with Held Gaze and Holding Hands.
  • Signature Headgear: She always has a collection of small sunflower ornaments in her hair. Normally she'll wear just two or three, but dons a whole bunch when performing live.
  • The Smart Guy: Her know-all of modern entertainment and idol activities make her the go-to strategist for Franchouchou. She's always planning ahead to help the girls succeed, be it researching modern idol trends or coaching the others to be better idols, and is always counted on to see things professionally and calmly (though that part's not infallible).
  • Super-Senses: Downplayed due to the unclear degree, but she indicates she has better eyes and ears than the other girls and proves it by being able to hear an approaching boar before the other girls in spite of being one of the farthest from the sound.
  • Team Dad: Of a mentor variety. She is the one most responsible so far for the girls' training drills, teaching the newcomers the basics of the business, and is the one most vocal about the way of thinking they should approach their shared goal with. When a member is struggling or has a particularly important role to play in a new song, she coaches that member directly by way of example and takes it upon herself to review songs as a whole when the entire band is having trouble. Also, while she always strives to be constructive and, ordinarily, is by no means any less open-hearted than the rest of the group, she firmly believes that they won't get anywhere by "just playing friends all the time" and does not mince words with someone if she feels they are out of line.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Light red eyes when alive or in makeup.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Throughout the entire series, Ai is quite noticeably the team member who is least amused by Kotaro's antics, sharing not even a single moment of camaraderie. That said, she doesn't seem to find his PR method invalid either, and speaks up to its merit during the shooting for the Drive-In Tori commercial.
  • Training from Hell: In Episode 6, Ai practices for a new song without rest and pushes her body to its literal breaking point. When her friends rightly react in worry, Ai nonchalantly puts herself back together and states that stress is par for the course with their career.
  • Trauma Button:
    • Ai's death by lightning has left her terrified of it, and even a camera flash can trigger her.
    • Similarly, on some level she remembers Sakura impaling her through the head with a poker in Episode 1 while she was in pre-awakened mindless mode, and relexively cringes at the reminder of it.
  • Tsundere: A carefully Subverted example of the trope based on professionalism. The hot and cold sides of Ai's demeanor are largely dictated by her perception of the other girls' work ethic, rather than by mere slight emotional provocation like many classic tsunderes. She is very kind and supportive to each of the girls under any ordinary circumstance, but while she never resorts to violence unless directly attacked (as by Kotaro in Episode 5), she will become almost militantly stern in her expression if she feels someone isn't taking their duty to the band seriously or conscientiously. This is displayed most prominently in her clash with Junko in Episode 6 and to a lesser extent, her lectures to Sakura in Episodes 10 and 12.
  • Unluckily Lucky: Ai, a girl unlucky enough to get hit by lightning TWICE in the exact same circumstances (performing during a storm in front of loads of fans). The first time kills her. The second, well... it turns out that for zombies, being hit by lightning autotunes their voices, makes them glow, and lets them shoot (harmless) lasers from their fingers. The audio/video effects prove so awesome that she and her band are skyrocketed into popularity.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Her skirt and bow tie feature this prominently.
  • What Have I Become?: Seeing that the living just run from her in terror now makes her take her zombification harder than the rest of the girls, sending her into a Heroic BSoD.
  • When She Smiles: At the end of Episode 3, Ai, who had been anything but a happy camper until then, finally cracks a smile as she warms up to the idea of starting her idol career anew with Franchouchou. When the idols perform "Mezame Returner" again in Episode 7, she opens a far warmer smile during the cut-in than she has mustered any other time she has performed it. Invoked by Sakura in an Episode 11 flashback, admiringly calling Ai's smile "dazzling" and stating she wants to smile like that herself.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Check out all those tropes above, particularly Team Dad. Now consider that she's the second youngest of the girls at barely sixteen years of age, and that Sakura is almost a year older and Junko three.
  • Workaholic: Ironically she spends the first few episodes refusing to work, but once she gets started, her work ethic becomes very clear. She is nearly always the first to address practical concerns about their careers, becomes absolutely furious when she feels Junko is intentionally letting the team down, and when her arms and legs break down after an extended session of practicing choreography, she states that this isn't unusual for her.
  • You Are Not Alone: In Episode 12, after learning about Sakura's extremely pessimistic outlook on life, Ai tells her that all the other zombies died, too, so none of them are "lucky."
  • Younger Mentor, Older Disciple: She's the second youngest member of Franchouchou, but also has more industry experience and performance skills than most of the other girls. This makes her well equipped to coach the others during rehearsals, and the girls often struggle whenever Ai's guidance is unavailable to them.

    Junko Konno — #4 

Junko Konno (紺野 純子)

Voiced by: Maki Kawase (Japanese), Amanda Lee (English)
Live actor: Yuna Kitahara (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Idol Junko
Click here to see Zombie Junko
Born: September 2, 1964
Died: December 6, 1983 (age 19)
Cause of Death: Plane explosion
Height/Weight: 155cm (5'1") / 40kg (88 lbs)
B/W/H: 80(B)/55/84cm (31/20/33 in)

"It's an idol's job to give people something to aspire to. I could never let the fans get close enough to see my flaws. Or at least...that's the way it was for idols I knew..."

A legendary idol from the Showa period who pioneered the industry in the 1980s. Junko's songs were so popular that they're still used in the current day as promotional material, and she mostly built her whole career off of solo performances. At the height of her career, she died in a plane crash on her way to tour in Saga.

A product of her time, she is more used to performing solo than with a group, and has difficulty interacting with other people. When push comes to shove though, Junko is easily one of Franchouchou's heaviest hitters, and can carry performances on her lonesome. She's also a skilled guitarist and pianist.
  • Achilles in His Tent:
    • Together with Ai, she refuses to join Franchouchou's guerrilla show in Episode 3. Seeing Sakura's determination inspires them to the point that when Sakura bungles her lines, they join in to salvage what little of the performance they can.
    • She quits Franchouchou in Episode 6 after both Kotaro and Ai chew her out for refusing to take part in the photo shoot, feeling that the expectations for idols have changed too much for her to be comfortable with since she died. She spends a good portion of Episode 7 still depressed until Kotaro gives her a pep talk.
  • Ambiguously Gay: She has not been shown to be particularly interested in romance, yet there are hints of otherwise.
    • She visibly blushes upon seeing Yugiri in full Oiran attire.
    • Episode 2 of Revenge has her flustered by the mere mention of marriage.note 
    • To say nothing of her Ship Tease towards Ai.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: As a girl from The '80s, her dialogue is peppered with slang from that period. She calls television "the tube", compares digital photography to polaroids, and at one point calls Sakura a "ninnyhammer".
  • Backstory Horror: An eyecatch and Episode 5 show her getting squeamish as she rides a hot air balloon. Then you find out she died on an airplane.
  • Be Yourself: To help her out of a Heroic BSoD, Kotaro tells Junko that she can still represent her time-period and not force herself into conforming with the hyper-social lifestyle of modern idols.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice: She's noted in-universe for being an extremely skilled singer, which contributed to her status as a pioneer in the idol genre. In episode 3 of Revenge, Ai and Sakura both find themselves enamored by her singing at different points.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Don't be fooled by her shyness. She is a seasoned performer who will do whatever it takes to help her friends and bandmates, even challenging a powerful industry rival.
  • Broken Ace: Ai and Junko are the only zombies with any real idol experience, and are both extremely talented in their own right. But realizing that they're stuck as zombies — whom others will most likely hunt down and prevent any kind of normal life — eats away at them.
  • Catchphrase: She has a few variations but you can always, always count on Junko to remind the other girls that they're zombies.
  • The Chew Toy: Tae spends a lot of time tormenting poor Junko in the background, chasing her around and trying to bite her.
    • Their very first interaction on Junko awakening is for Tae to bite at her ankle, with Junko meekly trying to shake her off. Tae later chases her around their bedroom as the girls are getting ready for bed.
    • In epsiode 3, Sakura hands Junko a whiteboard marker that Tae was trying to suck on, resulting in Junko being chased around with the marker in hand.
  • Corner of Woe: After being shocked at the drastic changes in the idol industry while she was dead, she barricades herself in a room (complete with warning signs and "do not cross" tape), and sulks in place for weeks, even growing mushrooms on her head. The trope is parodied slightly because the mushrooms are actually real and growing out of her flesh. This is actually Truth in Television as her undead body is producing mycelium.
  • Cowardly Lion: This incredibly shy, introverted girl can pull off some amazing acts of courage when given the push.
    • She along with Ai save Franchouchou's guerilla performance when the group is about to fumble it.
    • When she decides to rejoin the group, she hops the fence of the mansion and runs in front of a moving van to grab the others' attention.
    • When Ai is reduced to anxious puddle during a thunderstorm, Junko comes in to pick up their duet and motivate her partner.
    • Once she realizes she needs to take charge for the Iron Frill opening, she and the others arrange an absolutely mind-blowing metal performance with her leading as guitarist and vocalist.
    • She stands up to Shiori as the latter makes one last attempt to have Ai leave Franchouchou.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Junko is noted to have the most musical talent among the seven, being the best singer and also being skilled at playing the guitar (acoustic and electric). However, she is also stated to not be an especially good dancer and has zero experience coordinating with a group, contrasting with Ai.
  • Curtains Match the Window: She has silvery eyes that match her gray hair.
  • Exposed to the Elements: In Episode 10, Junko wears a sleeveless jersey when fishing in the waters of a snowy mountain.
  • Eyes Always Averted: When nervous or flustered, she tends to look down and away from eye contact.
  • Fatal Flaw: Perfectionism; Junko grew up in a time and landscape where idols were still taking root and hadn't developed the same kind of parasocial fan dynamic they're known for in the present. As such, her ideal perception of an idol is one of perfection and being idolized from a distance. This means she's one of the girls having the most trouble adjusting to the modern day where her ideals have become obsolete, making one of her first public appearances almost go sideways. Her perfectionism also causes her to needlessly compare herself to others like Ai, who she believes she needs in order for Franchouchou to find their footing. Her arc in Revenge is all about learning to trust in her own strengths and take charge, not worrying about whether or not she's doing things the way she thinks Ai would.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Of all the girls, Junko takes being revived in a time later than hers the hardest. The idol industry has changed significantly in the 35 years she was dead, and she has difficulty adjusting to what's expected of idols nowadays, to the point where she doubts her place as a member of Franchouchou. She also has a hard time trying to work a computer keyboard, and the language barrier of Kotaro's keyboard being marked in English likely doesn't help.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Downplayed. While she is just a zombie, her stitched up and discolored skin gives her the appearance of this.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • The reality of being chased and shunned by the living for being a zombie leaves Junko deeply disheartened to the point where she and Ai hardly have the will to perform. Like Ai, she also starts to recover after covering for Sakura when the latter flubbed the lyrics to their guerrilla performance, deciding she wants to try singing in a group.
    • She and Ai get into a heated argument over their differences in standards for idols due to the era difference between the two. After contemplating it on her own, Junko begins to think there's no place for her as an 80s idol in the modern day and considers leaving Franchouchou for good.
  • Hidden Buxom: An inconsistent one, as the anime and her general design lends her towards the petite side, and even being completely soaked with mud doesn't change that. But then some promotional or bonus artwork suddenly make her this trope, like a Playboy Bunny appearance in the first official art book.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • After Kotaro kicks down a door by its hinges to give her a pep talk, he nonchalantly asks Junko to fix the door after him. Surprisingly, she simply picks up some power tools and puts the door back on competently. Episode 12 reveals that she reinforced it for extra measure.
    • Though she doesn't ultimately catch anything, she appears to have a solid grasp on fishing, assembling a fishing pole and scrounging for suitable bait on her own. At the same time, she gives Sakura a surprisingly philosophical lecture you wouldn't expect from a girl who has spent so much of the series in abysmal spirits. Fishing is even listed as one of her hobbies.
    • She picks the lock to Kotaro's room.
    • Junko is an incredible guitarist, whether it be an acoustic ballad or shredding an electric guitar. Season 2 reveals that she made her idol debut as a guitarist.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Justified, given that she's from a time before things like desktop computers and social media were part of everyday life. She even turns off a PC by unplugging the main power chord.
  • I Work Alone: Downplayed. Junko doesn't hate the idea of performing in a group, but she isn't sure she can work well in one since she had always been a solo act, which compounds her reluctance to cooperate with Kotaro's plan.
  • Implausible Hair Color: She had grey hair even as a living teenager.
  • Informed Attribute: She apparently does yoga in her spare time, though this isn't animated in any way.
  • Informed Flaw: It's repeatedly mentioned that Junko isn't a very good dancer, but it really only comes up once in practice, and she's on par with everyone else in each performance. Even more glaring is the fact that Junko is able to do the dance perfectly in Saga Rock after not practicing for two weeks.
  • Irony: Junko in-universe was revered as a pure and perfect idol who kept herself elusive to fans so that they could admire her from afar. Then you meet the real version of her: an intensely shy, demure girl who gets flustered about love, can't operate a computer to save someone's life, and is constantly being chased around like a cat by Tae
  • Last-Name Basis: Initially, she addresses her friends by surname, such as referring to Sakura as "Minamoto-san" and Ai as "Mizuno-san." By Episode 10, she's progressed to formal First-Name Basis, calling Sakura "Sakura-san" and later calling Ai "Ai-san." Averted in the dub, where she's on First-Name Basis with everyone from the start.
  • Literal-Minded: She takes Kotaro's expression "Smash it, Junko!" as meaning to literally smash his guitar, which she does at the end of her concert solo.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Junko had to be reassembled from a lot of pieces that washed ashore after her death.
  • Luminescent Blush:
    • She is very prone to blushing, whether by embarrassment or at the crass comments of others.
    • When she witnessed Yugiri in full oiran headdress and attire, she was blushing in amazement at her elegance (though it could also have been that kind of blushing).
  • Meaningful Name: The kanji in "Junko" translates to "pure child", nodding to her desire for perceived perfection by fans. "Konno" roughly translates to "deep blue fields", which mirrors Ai's surname meaning "water field".
  • Meta Girl: Junko serves as a low-key one. She and Ai both believe the whole "undead Idol Singer group" plan is doomed, but while Ai's complaints center around the others' lack of experience and legitimate industry difficulties, Junko is often the one to quietly remind the girls that they're actual zombies with all that that entails, remains nervous around the one member who has yet to regain her mind, and frequently comments on how ridiculous the situations they get into are.
  • Nice Girl: One of the nicest out of the main cast, soft spoken and polite, Junko is a well liked presence in the group for her friendly personality.
  • No Social Skills: Shyness aside, she's shown to have some trouble in regards to reading certain social situations.
  • Older Than She Looks: She doesn't look much older than the other girls despite being nineteen, the same age as Yugiri. Junko mentions to Sakura that mentally, even though she's always going to be a young woman physically, she still feels like her chronological age of fifty-five.
  • The Perfectionist: She stands by the idea that idols must be figures of perfection for the fans to admire, and that showing any imperfection in front of them is unforgivable. Just the idea of interacting with her fans makes her uncomfortable because they might find flaws in her person outside the stage.
  • Running Gag: Her overall relationship with Tae. If Junko is present but doesn't have speaking lines in a given scene, she's probably either being chased by Tae or is otherwise cowering from something Tae is doing. The Irony is that Shrinking Violet Junko is likely targeted so specifically because she always reacts so fearfully, thus triggering Tae's predatory instinct.
  • She's Back!: After spending the majority of Episode 7 sitting in a room and growing mushrooms out of her head, Junko makes a dynamic re-entry by jumping over an iron gate, (almost) stopping a moving van, and getting up to declare herself an idol once more.
  • Ship Tease: By Revenge, the dynamic between Junko and Ai is played up like Junko has a crush on her.
    • Episode 4 layers it thick.
      • Junko becomes incredibly distraught at the possibility of Ai leaving Franchouchou, to the point of breaking down into tears. She then becomes noticeably more clingy, and has a harder time focusing on the performance than the others. She is only able to finally focus when she decides to do whatever it takes to keep Ai in the group.
      • The two then have a very tender moment in where they reunite mid-performance, and fall off the stage together while locked in a deep gaze. Then when Ai and Junko sing the first lines of their group's (re-mixed) signature song, the effects has a line of blue energy start from Ai, which then goes to Junko and (upon "contact" with her) briefly forms a heart symbol next to the latter.
      • She clings to Ai tightly when Shiori makes a last gesture to recruit Ai into Iron Frill.
    • The promotional material between the two is also very intimate.
    • She eavesdrops on Ai and Saki having a private conversation on the mansion balcony, all with a darkly jealous look in her eyes that freaks the two out.
  • Shrinking Violet: She is very soft-spoken and reserved, and is deeply intimidated by Tae. She's also very uneasy about the idea of photo sessions with fans, both because of her shy nature and because idols didn't directly interact with their fans that much when she was alive. The band decides to circumvent this and begin marketing by just handing out signed "candid" photos of her as "The Shy One" of the group, as opposed to doing meet-and-greets.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Junko's soft, meek voice drops to a husky contralto when she sings.
  • Skewed Priorities: In Revenge Episode 11, as Franchouchou's mansion is swept away by a flood, Junko rescues a set of tools for making Ozaki dolls. After the mansion collapses and is destroyed, it's pointed out that all the group's costumes, instruments, and make-up were inside. Junko apologises for not rescuing those instead, but none of the other zombies hold it against her.
  • Songs of Solace: Whenever she feels down, she will take a guitar and sing to herself. When Sakura hears it, she reveals she sings it to ease herself. The song itself was one of her hit singles when she was alive.
  • Stronger Than They Look: You'd be shocked by how much brute force that little frame of hers can pack.
    • She is apparently strong enough that she can grab a headless Sakura by the legs and run at full speed, keeping up with Saki without any sign of strain.
    • She can leap over the mansion’s gates which are more than twice her own height.
    • She completely shatters an electric guitar by smashing it on stage.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In episode 4 of Revenge.
    • Realizing she needs to not only lead Franchouchou in place of Ai, but also keep the latter from leaving the group, Junko doubles down on her duties of coordinating the opening act. In a short amount of time, she arranges and choreographs a powerful metal performance, with herself as the lead singer and guitarist, and is able to rally Ai into joining Franchouchou on stage for their final song.
    • She stands up to Shiori when the latter makes one last attempt to take away Ai.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She is frequently shown to get nervous when dealing with heights. The fact that she died from the plane she was on exploding from an engine fire likely contributed to this fear.

    Yugiri — #5 

Yugiri (ゆうぎり)

Voiced by: Rika Kinugawa (Japanese), Stephanie Young (English)
Live actor: Mioka Sakamoto (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Idol Yugiri
Click here to see Zombie Yugiri
Born: November 23, 1863
Died: December 28, 1882 (age 19)
Cause of Death: Decapitation
Height/Weight: 165cm (5'5") / 48kg (105 lbs)
B/W/H: 94(I)/62/89cm (37/24/35 in)

"To the art of performing, I swore my life...and now my death."

A legendary courtesan who saw the birth of the Meiji Restoration in the mid-19th century. Yugiri was so beautiful and so high-demand that nobody could afford her services, making her a legend among her profession. She was killed via beheading under mysterious circumstances.

Despite living in an entirely different time period, she chooses not to let it faze her and welcomes every chance to learn something new. Her skills as an oiran lend well to the idol business, being an experienced singer, dancer, and all-around mature and intelligent young woman.
  • Action Girl: She is the second main character along with Saki who knows how to fight. In her case, she is known as "Sheathed Kichiemon", also known as the "Demon of Hibiya" in life. Unlike Saki who beats her opponents into unconsciousness, she has killed her enemy before.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Lily calls her "Yugirin". Saki calls her "Big Sis".
  • Anime Hair: Donwplayed, but when she has her hair tied up, that section is always in the shape of a heart.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Speaks in an archaic manner fitting for her time period, specifically the arinsu/kuruwa dialect used by courtesans in the Edo Period.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: How Kiichi endears himself to her. He's the first person in Saga to socialize with her for non-oiran related reasons.
  • Been There, Shaped History: While her involvement was never added to official records, her saving Kiichi by killing Itou and her subsequent execution not only allowed Saga to be restored to full prefectural status, but also helped pass the Military Justice Reform law which removed the military's power to unilaterally execute people.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Kind, beautiful, motherly, and has one hell of a hand slap.
    • In Episode 7 of Revenge, she proposes having Maimai killed since she knows about Franchouchou's nature as zombies, although she decides that isn't the best decision right after, much to everyone else's relief.
    • In Episode 8 of Revenge, when she thinks someone has broken into her home, she almost gouges them in the neck with a pair of chopsticks.
    • Episode 9 reveals that she is in fact the famed swordsman known as the Demon of Hibiya, and is capable enough to kill Itou, even if he did let her win.
  • Breaking Old Trends: (Almost) every member of Franchouchou's deaths are shown to be untimely, accidental and sudden with them not at all intending to die. Yugiri straight up breaks this trend by her death being a Heroic Sacrifice that she knew was going to happen. This likely contributes to her acceptence of her situation, despite being the furthest from home of all Franchouchou.
  • Character Tic: If she's feeling nervous or contemplative, expect her to be combing her hair with her comb.
  • Chef of Iron: It turns out she's just as skilled with a kitchen knife as she is with a sword.
  • The Comically Serious: She's... not as attuned to her surroundings as her calm dignity suggests.
  • Cool Big Sis:
    • She is the oldest in terms of date of birth (though Junko and Tae are older in terms of how long they lived), and she seems to be the most level-headed of the zombies. The group as a whole affectionately refer to her as "Big Sis", and she is especially close to Lily.
    • In life, she was this to the girls in the oiran house she was part of.
  • Dead Man Writing: Jofuku, who was alive back in her era, finds a letter written by her before she was executed, telling him how she was most likely dead by that point for taking responsibility of the bloodshed and rebellion in Saga, and asks him to tell Kiichi she got out of Saga safely and guide the new Saga Kiichi would create.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Invoked Trope. Yugiri makes a point to stay calm in the face of her resurrection, so as not to be overwhelmed by a world a century ahead of her own.
  • Double Entendre:
    • In Episode 4, a line of dialog spoken by Yugiri easily falls under this, and is noticed by Sakura. It also doesn't help that she is a courtesan, and Yugiri is nonchalant in delivering it.
      Yugiri: What can we do to please our guests tonight?
      Sakura: Yugiri-san, phrasing!
    • It's carried over in English as well, and somehow it's even hornier.
      Yugiri: If we do our best to service them, I'm certain the result will be pleasurable for all parties.
      Sakura: Wow, we need to work on your phrasing.
  • Even the Girls Want Her:
    • Junko seems to think she’s stunning in her full oiran attire.
    • In life, she was desired by men and women alike, to the point that her price got driven up so high that no one could afford her services.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Even when she was about to be executed, she maintained her composure and gives one last smile and a farewell before she's beheaded.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: She's a skilled chef and prepares meals for the other girls before work. It's one of the many life skills she learned when she started living independently.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: While all the zombies are this to a certain extent, Yugiri is the most egregious example, being the most ancient of the seven, having been revived from the period of the Meiji Restoration into the modern day. Nonetheless, she herself lays out in Episode 6 that being confused about what's going on wouldn't be helpful, so she's decided to accept things as they come.
  • Fish out of Water: The situation she ended up in at the outset of Revenge Episode 8. After the high-ranking government official who bought her freedom passed away, she found herself living in a town where she didn't know anyone and no-one knew her. While said official intended for her to live a normal life, it's strongly implied that she doesn't know how to.
  • Foil: In a way, Yugiri can be considered such to Junko, insofar as them having been solo entertainers who've had to come to terms with performing with a/in front of group(s). Junko was from a time where idols were expected to be perfect, and moreover had yet to solidify the do/don'ts, and so has trouble adjusting to the modern day because of the differences even though she still likes to perform. Whereas Yugiri was a courtesan who served innumerous men and women, then was thrust into a world more than a century ahead of her own (being perfectly content to take things as they came), and has come to realize that "entertaining such a large audience" is fun, more so than she ever expected.
  • Foreshadowing: She seems to be the only one who Kotaro won't berate or be an ass to, something even Sakura isn't immune to. Probably because Jofuku would have his head if he learned Yugiri was hurt in any way.
  • Friend to All Children: She bonds quite quickly with Lily, being a source of comfort and praise for the young zombie. She was also quite popular with her house’s young kamuronote  who were heartbroken upon learning she'd be moving away to Saga.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Whenever she sees someone moping, she slaps them out of their funk. The problem is, most of the time they've already snapped out of it by the time Yugiri slaps them, and she only ends up telling them exactly what they were trying to say. The exceptions are Sakura in S1's final episode Episode 12 when she remains adamant in giving up, and Kiichi in S2's ninth episode when he's deep in a Heroic BSoD after multiple Saga rebels under him were killed by Itou.
  • Glad I Thought of It: As mentioned above, Yugiri tends to resort to slaps whenever she tries to get someone out of their funk. Only problem there is that the majority of the time, the victim has already started to come to the same epiphany on their own right before she slaps them.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Right before she is executed, she simply smiles and says goodbye.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: In Episode 11, she decks herself out in full oiran regalia, complete with platform sandals and headdress when attempting to snap Sakura out of her depression.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: She gave her life to save Kiichi, taking the fall for the rebellion and death of Itou in his place, which enables him to escape and continue working to restore Saga.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Episode 5 reveals her to be a skilled gymnast. Later in Episode 10, she confirms she also had training as a geisha (coming from a period where oiran and geisha were both active). Her search for edibles in the same episode leaves something to be desired, however, as she can't tell which fungi are poisonous (though it is mentioned that being poisoned isn't a big deal anymore, as they're all already dead).
    • 'Saga Incident, Part I' suggests that, despite taking things in stride as she normally does, Yugiri was a bit lonely after moving to Saga. While it was in exchange for her freedom, she moved to a town where no one knew her (except as a legendary courtesan), and she didn't know the people there either. There's also some implication that she didn't know how to live a normal life once she arrived in Saga.
    • She's a trained swordfighter, having been taught by a legendary samurai.
  • High-Class Call Girl: She was specifically an oiran in her native time, and that would have essentially made her this trope. There's a deep irony to this as most professional idols are required to publicly obstain from any romantic or sexual relations, making Yugiri a huge outlier to the status quo. Her skills include singing, dancing, and playing the shamisen, some of many skills oiran were expected to learn.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Since having sex with clients was typical for courtesans in the Meiji era, she probably was this.
  • Image Song: While Yugiri never got her own song in Season One, she managed to score herself her own focused song for "The Best of Franchouchou" album (it was even a major selling point for this album, complete with its own music video). Yugiri's song is known as "Saga Jihen", a song about Yugiri's 'incident' in her past lifeSpoilers, and how she awaits for the love of her previous life to arrive in the depths of Hell itselfSpoilers. It's also sung in the style of jazz/big-band music from the early 1900s.
    • ”Saga Jihen” is finally performed within the show itself during the end of Revenge's ninth episode.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: The dress she wears for "Saga Jihen" really leans into this for sex appeal, which works for the romantic tone of the song.
  • Instrument of Murder: Her shamisen used to contain a sword blade inside the neck.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Jofuku in the present day, who was still alive back in her era and already far older than her. The two are close given how she helped save Saga and revitalized him as a result, along with being the only other person who remembers the events of the Saga Incident.
  • Lady in Red: Played with; her association with the color red and the adult nature of being an oiran evoke this trope, and her red dress while performing "Saga Jihen" evokes the image even further-as the song itself is written as a tragic song of romantic yearning. However, she subverts the moral ambiguity of the trope, instead being a kind and heroic figure.
  • Lady of War: The soft-spoken and elegant Oiran earned a reputation as a famous swords(wo)man, wielding a sword concealed inside her instrument. Itou, himself a skilled swordsman, stated the "Demon of Hibiya" wasn't someone to take lightly.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: A Downplayed Inversion; Yugiri is the only one to know details as to how Franchouchou were brought back to life due to her connection with Jofuku but how much she truly knows is unknown.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: When let down, she's got some very long and flowing hair.
  • Lost Lenore: To Kiichi, having given her life to save him and help revitalize Saga, although she did specify to Jofuku that he should tell Kiichi she got out of Saga alive.
  • Meet Cute: As revealed in Episode 8 of Revenge, the pinwheel Yugiri purchased just happened to fall on Kiichi's feet. When he picks it up, their eyes meet and he immediately falls in love with her.
  • Motivational Lie: In her letter to Jofuku, she asks him to tell Kiichi that she got out of Saga safely, when the reality was that she had already been executed.
  • Ms. Fanservice: As the second oldest member of Franchouchou (or oldest chronologically), a lot of emphasis is placed on her beauty and maturity. In official merchandising, Yugiri has much more emphasis on her body than the other girls when it comes to costuming, like her "Saga Jihen" dress and even extra material like the girls doing a swimsuit shoot.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: She shares her name with a real-life courtesan from the 17th century, who was in turn named after a character from The Tale of Genji.
  • Nice Girl: While more composed and less charismatic than Sakura, she's a very kind, accommodating and polite young woman who plays the role of the Team Mom.
  • Off with His Head!: While all of the girls can remove their heads now that they're zombies, the scarring and stitches around her neck implies that she was originally killed via decapitation. It's revealed in Episode 9 of ''Revenge'' that she was beheaded for her crimes in assisting Kiichi while trying to bring Saga back in her time period.
  • Only One Name: She goes by only one name, which was common practice among both oiran and Geisha; their employers would give them "professional" names that were typically taken from poetry or classic Japanese literature.
  • Out of Focus:
    • Downplayed, with her generally being prone to hanging around cooperatively on the sidelines of the action and occasionally saying something funny for much of the series, and being the only member of Franchouchou besides Tae not to get a backstory episode in the first season. That said, hints of her Mysterious Past came through (in the form of a mysterious bartender who knows about her past and is acquainted with Kotaro), and in general she's much more prominent and active in the last few episodes of the first season, her Cool Big Sis traits showing at their absolute fullest.
    • While she continues to be a little out of focus in Season 2, this trope thankfully gets defied due to her character arc (The Saga Incident) being a part of Revenge's overall story. With Episodes 8 and 9 focusing on her own involvement, and subsequent execution, in said incident.
  • Outdated Outfit: Her casual clothes consist of a kimono, hakama, stockings and boots, in the manner of a female student from the late 1800snote , but with the hakama cut above the knee like a makeshift skirt, to show off more of her legs.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: For Saga Jihen, she decks out in a lavish red dress
  • Rage Breaking Point: Of the Tranquil Fury variety. She physically slaps Sakura again for not only bemoaning her bad luck, but also for throwing her friends' feelings under the bus when all they wanted to do was help her. Where Ai has to point out she's not the only one with bad luck, Yugiri chooses a more physical approach.
  • Really Gets Around: It's implied one of her oiran duties was to have sex with many of her clients. She drops several innuendos throughout the series and has easily charmed several characters like the Gatalympics audience and Policeman A.
    Yugiri: If we do our best to service them, I'm certain the result will be pleasurable for all parties.
    Sakura: Wow, we need to work on your phrasing.
  • Red Baron: When Yugiri confronts Itou, she asks if he's heard of the "Sheathed Kichiemon", and he quickly realizes that she is the fabled "Demon of Hibiya", who is not an opponent to take lightly.
  • Red Is Heroic: Red is her central color, and among the group, she's one of the nicest and most mature members, besides being also very honorable as her past reveals.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever someone is getting moody, she has a tendency to give them a Get A Hold Of Yourself Man slap, and speaks her mind with a speech while the person was actually thinking the exact same thing. She does this to Sakura and Kotaro.
    • Her slapping Sakura becomes this, to the point where in the music video for "Saga Jihen" (i.e. Yugiri's Image Song), she slaps Sakura for no apparent reason whatsoever besides Rule of Funny.
  • The Scapegoat: She willingly takes the responsibility and punishment for the deaths of the Saga rebels and Itou along with the signs of rebellion growing in Saga, so that Kiichi can get away and continue pushing for Saga's return. She loses her head for it.
  • Secret-Keeper: She seems to be the only one besides Kotaro to know about Jofuku, sitting with him for a drink and calmly reminiscing about the past together, all while she's aware of Jofuku's immortality and necromantic powers.
  • Signature Instrument: She's skilled at playing a shamisen, having used it in some of Franchouchou's performances like Sakura and Saki's rap battle, as well as in a montage shot of the girls performing at a cultural festival. It fits for a performer rooted in older Japanese traditions, especially since playing the shamisen was one of the many skills an oiran was expected to learn.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Yugiri was a high-ranking oiran in an era of war and political upheaval, making her far more than just a beautiful entertainer. Besides having a cunning political mind and plenty of connections to call on for favors, she was a skilled Lady of War who had a sword concealed inside her shamisen.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Gets into one with Itou and comes out on top, although he let her win.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Sometimes she can be seen smoking from a kiseru, giving her an elegant and sophisticated vibe.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: It’s the reason she’s legendary. She was so sought-after by Tokyo’s wealthy elite they ended up driving her price sky-high to the point no one could afford her, effectively making her dead weight to her employers. A high-ranking government official eventually buys her freedom, but it seems to be as much taking pity on her as it is for his own companionship.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Yugiri sacrifices herself to save Kiichi, meaning the two would be forever kept from being together. And now that she's a zombie, and Kiichi has long since passed himself, the two are still kept apart by death.
  • Statuesque Stunner: At least when she has her make-up on. She’s a few inches taller than the global average for women in her age group in 2018, but by the standards of 1880s Japan, she’s positively gigantic, towering over the 4’10” average for the time.
  • The Stoic: While not immune to freaking out alongside the others, she's generally able to stay calm and composed in most of their wacky situations. It's even more impressive because she is the biggest Fish out of Temporal Water in the group.
  • Sword Cane: Back when she was alive, her shamisen actually concealed the blade of a sword, and she was more than capable of using it.
  • Team Mom: Shares this role in alternating fashion with Sakura. She sometimes acts motherly towards the other girls, showing concern and acting the most mature. This makes sense given that she is the oldest girl at the time of death other than Tae (who is The Unintelligible) and Junko (who's the same age, just two months older) as well as being from the earliest time period.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Has red eyes, even with her contacts in.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The comb she uses was a gift from her old friend Kiichi. She's held onto it for over a century.
  • Tranquil Fury: She's capable of holding her anger while holding her composure. If she wants your attention, she will get your attention with five fingers to the face.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Her eyes show that she's the most mature out of all the Franchouchou members.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Sometimes happens to the diamond pattern on her kimono.
  • Virtual Youtuber: Yugiri was briefly featured as a VTuber on a livestream hosted by Cygames in April 2021.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Yugiri sometimes shares profound and poignant wisdom to those around her. Understandable considering how, by the time of her death at only 19, she'd already experienced a full career, a semi-retirement of sorts, the loss of her love interest, murder, political espionage, and a nation-wide conspiracy.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: She's the "legendary courtesan" and was a seemingly influential figure in the Meiji Era. She was the most popular oiran in all of Tokyo, being so high-demand that she was essentially impossible to secure. When she moved to Saga, the locals were similarly infatuated by her beauty.
  • Younger Than They Look: She has the look of a woman in her late 20s, but was actually 19 at the time of her death.

    Lily Hoshikawa — #6 

As the past identity of Lily Hoshikawa has been so heavily advertised following its original reveal, anything relating to that identity counts as a Late-Arrival Spoiler and will be unmarked.

Lily Hoshikawa (星川 リリィ)

Voiced by: Minami Tanaka (Japanese), Sarah Wiedenheft (English)
Live actor: Rin Takanashi (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Click here to see Idol Lily
Click here to see Zombie Lily
Born: October 6, 1999
Died: November 30, 2011 (age 12)
Cause of Death: Mental shock/heart attack
Height/Weight: 130cm (4'3") / 31kg (68 lbs)
B/W/H: 59/54/56cm (23/21/22 in)

"No matter what, I'm always going to twinkle and sparkle. The girls in Franchouchou will, too. We're going to shine like stars forever!"

A legendary child actress who took primetime networks by storm with her breakout period piece performance. Lily's performance skills made her one the faces of television at the young age of twelve, and her cute appeal garnered a strong fanbase. After a while though, the stress of her work caught up to her, and she died as her heart gave out.

She's sweet and innocent most of the time, and revels in the opportunity of being forever young and cute now that she can never age. Her industry experience gives her a lot of flexability working with a group of idols, and her charm makes her a strong source of morale.

As revealed in season 1, Lily is transfeminine, having been assigned male at birth under the name "Masao Go".

  • The Ace: As a former child TV star in life, Lily's experience with performing is certainly to be expected, yet Episode 5 of Revenge really hammers this home. Not only does she deliver a moving rakugo performance that brings much of the audience — including the judges, Saki, and Sakura — to tears, she then manages to rearrange the song she was set to perform for the finals into a scat-jazz number, retrofit her outfit into a new costume, and improvise a full dance routine, all within the minutes it took Light Oozaru to finish his performance.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The last time Lily and Takeo saw each other, they got into a big fight that ended with Lily dying from a heart attack. Years later as the two talk to each other again (albeit Lily hiding her identity), Takeo admits that he feels really horrible for the way he treated Lily, and regrets not being able to reconcile with her. Later that evening, Sakura finds Lily sitting alone, and the young zombie breaks into tears in her arms, realizing she and her father still love each other.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Not only is she the youngest of the zombies in terms of her age at death (twelve years old), but she's also the youngest in terms of date of birth (1999); taking all these into account, this means that, were she still alive, she would've been nineteen as of 2018, which still makes her the youngest overall. By comparison, Ai would've been technically around 26, Sakura 27, Saki 39, and Junko 54; Yugiri would've been long dead (though for comparison's sake, she would've been around 155), while Tae, though her origins remain ambiguous, could be safely considered no younger than 29 at the time of her death.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Her father was a big TV fan, so she wanted to make him happy from inside the TV. She succeeded, but it came at the cost of their relationship, and the stress was a big contributor to her demise.
    • When Lily was still alive, she desired to never grow up out of fear of developing a male body. She got her wish by dying and becoming a zombie, which means she can't go back to her father.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: She'll occasionally show some more obnoxious, childish behavior. Not out of any ill-intent, but more because she doesn't know better.
    • When the girls are brainstorming names for their idol group, Lily complains when she thinks a suggestion isn't cute enough to her.
    • She mocks both Drive-In Tori's mascot and the Gatalympics, ticking off Saki who's completely invested in both.
    • She and Tae get into a fight over a piece of dried squid during a van ride, with her trying to pry the squid from Tae's mouth.
  • Brutal Honesty: Befitting her age, Lily is prone to saying exactly what's on her mind without thinking it through first, or sometimes just not caring to. For instance, when Kotaro reveals the Franchouchou shirts they're to wear for the Gatalympics, she immediately and cheerfully declares them to be the ugliest shirts she's ever seen.
  • Cheerful Child: A starry-eyed Child Popstar who enjoys entertaining others.
  • Childish Bangs: As befitting her role as The Baby of the Bunch.
  • Child Popstar: In life, she was a child actor who died young of a heart attack caused by the stress of her job, her strained relationship with her father, and a dysphoric episode caused by her first facial hair coming in. In death, she's the youngest member of Saga prefecture's hottest new idol group, Franchouchou.
  • Child Prodigy: Lily was a highly prolific child actress when she was alive. Despite having no experience before deciding to become an actress, she took to it very quickly and every show she was in became a hit. She also proves to be a quick learner as an idol as well, swiftly picking up on the required song and dance skills.
  • Compliment Backfire: Played for Drama. In episode 11, Lily tries to cheer up a depressed Sakura by telling her she's cute, even offering her signature star ornament for Sakura to try on. Sakura's response says it all though.
    Sakura:"Really? What if I wear the star, does it look cute then?"
    Lily: "Uh... you're doing it wrong."
    Sakura: "If you're cute those details don't matter. But the harder I try to be cute, the dumber and uglier I end up looking. Because... I'm a failure!"
    Sakura tosses the star into the ground, frightening Lily. Lily is later seen sobbing herself to sleep.
  • Cosmic Motifs: Lily is often associated with space, and especially stars. For starters, her surname literally means “star river”, and the star motif further features heavily in her design - much of her casual outfits feature starry, uchuu kei-inspired designs, and even her Signature Headgear features a collection of star shapes.
  • The Cutie: Prides herself on this, being Franchouchou's youngest and most kid-appealing member.
  • Daddy's Girl: When she was alive, Lily was very close to her father who raised her on his own. Since her father loved to watch TV, Lily decided to become an actress in hopes she could make him happy by appearing on TV. Her father was indeed very proud about his daughter's success, but sadly, their relationship became strained when he started paying more attention to her career. After coming back as a zombie and meeting her father again, Lily realizes how deeply he regrets what happened to her and forgives him. While she can't tell him she is his daughter, she writes a song for him expressing how happy she was that he was her father.
  • Death by Despair: Her death was caused by a combination of things emotionally wearing her down, including a heavily strained relationship with her father and sleep-deprived overworking from her job, the second also physically wearing her down. The final straw for all this accumulated stress and depression was seeing a single facial hair starting to grow, with the shock of even her body going against her wishes making her suffer a fatal heart-attack.
  • Death of a Child: While the girls of Franchouchou all died quite young, Lily died at twelve years old from a heart attack. It's an odd case of Played for Drama though, as the death itself isn't shown as a major source of trauma for her. Instead the drama comes from how this affected her relationship with her father, who would spend years mourning, and not being able to see him again due to being a zombie causes her a lot of anguish.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": For understandable reasons, Lily hates to be called by her birth name Masao.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Her profile states she doesn't like mozuku and hijiki, which are both seaweed foods. Episode 8 suggests this is because she thought she had leftover seaweed on her face before realizing it was hair.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: When the zombies are trying to come up with a group name, Lily's suggestion is "Lily with Cutie Lily Magic"note .
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Saki calls her "Chinchiku" (translated as "Shrimpy" or "Squirt" in the dub)
  • Exhausted Eyebags: Had these when not made-up for the camera in the period leading up to her death, signalling she was getting overworked.
  • Girlish Pigtails: She wears two pigtails that are larger than her head, marking her as a cute, girly character.
  • Gratuitous English: She tends to pepper her speech with positive English words like "magical" and "wonderful", likely to make herself seem cuter.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Shortly before her death, Lily was highly troubled as her body began to enter puberty because she never wanted to become an adult and develop a body that would conflict with her gender identity. Now that she's been brought back as a zombie, she's happy that she can stay a child forever.
  • Heart Beats out of Chest: More directly than the usual example, as her cartoon-shaped heart is totally exposed from her chest and balloons to improbable sizes when she's scared. Episode 7 confirms that, while the cartoony appearance is there for comedic effect, it actually is her real heart bursting from her chest.
  • Heroic RRoD: While she did die of a heart attack after discovering an unwanted burst of male puberty, it also didn't help that the stress from her acting career had been taking its toll on her very young body, with her father/manager Takeo not noticing her health turning for the worse until it was too late.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • One of the interests listed on the site is in heavy machinery magazines, which she'll often be seen reading in the background. The ending credits of Episode 8 reveal a flashback of Lily and her father sitting in a power shovel together, and the last episode of Revenge shows that her father is a construction worker.
    • In Episode 7, Lily argues it's better that they do Saga Rock even if Junko doesn't return, explaining the event is their big chance, and even if they pass on it for Junko, Lily knows that won't make her come back. Yugiri lampshades how mature the reasoning is for Lily.
    • In Episode 10, she adeptly constructs a bonfire in the mountains, presumably using the old-fashioned "two sticks together" method. She says she learned to do it for a role she once played.
    • In Episode 5 of Revenge, she does a rakugo act of all things for her entry in "Japanese Got Performance", telling such a moving story with it that it moves the judges, the audience and half of Franchouchou (including Saki) to tears. Later in the episode, she manages to quickly improvise a light-hearted, scat rendition of her favourite song, which becomes popular with children and a viral sensation on the Internet.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: A non-Malicious version. In episode 5 of Revenge, Lily takes control of the morning briefing without telling Kotaro (or the other girls, who are also surprised), giving the man A Taste Of His Own Medicine.
    Lily: "Very good! I can see all of you have magical smiles today. Oh? It looks like we have an exception, though!"
    Kotaro: "G-g-good morning-"
    Lily: "I can't hear you! Manners are important, remember?"
    Kotaro: "Oh, I-I-I'm sorry..."
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: In Episode 8, a really large man shows up and seems a bit too interested in Lily. She later explains that the man was actually her real father, and while she was still alive he spent a lot of time with her. Though she's already the smallest of the bunch, she's extremely tiny when standing next to him. A photo reveals she got that from her mother, who only came up to her absurdly large husband's waist.
  • Image Song: Lily has one in Episode 8, known as "To My Dearest". She sings this song to her father, as a way of thanking him for being part of her life, through all the good and bad parts. It is performed in the vein of a slow, ballad-like, Broadway musical number.
  • Improvised Clothes: As part of her Indy Ploy in episode 5 of Revenge: Lily is able to retrofit her outfit into a cutesy jazz-dancer costume.
  • Indy Ploy: Lily seems to excel at these, able to work quickly when things look like they're about to go wrong.
    • Alongside Yugiri's improvised backup beats, she helps save "Green Face"'s first performance by getting the audience to clap along to Sakura and Saki's (also improvised) rap battle, adding her own cheers and hollers as well.
    • In Revenge, she creates a new costume, song rearrangement, and singing-and-dancing routine mere minutes before performing for a live audience.
    • She uses the same song from her talent show performance to cheer up a group of young children after being relocated amidst a devastating storm.
  • Insult of Endearment: Saki calls her "Chinchiku" (translated as "Shrimpy"), which is initially derisive and annoys Lily, but eventually becomes just a playful nickname. She even accidentally calls her that during a performance, but Lily doesn't budge.
  • Ironic Name: Lily is a cute and very feminine girl. Her birth name is Masao, the kanji for which literally translate to "Righteous Man", which Saki laughs herself sick at for being so cartoonishly manly. She left that name behind for a reason.
  • Kid-Appeal Character:
    • Invoked Trope in episode 5 of Revenge. During the finals of the talent show, Lily is forced to change her song routine at the last second after Light reveals he is going to sing the same song as her. She sings the same song but makes her act a lot more child-oriented, being simple, repetitive, and poppy, which delights the children watching. This contrasts nicely with Light's more adult-oriented performance. Towards the end of the episode, it's shown that her performance has become an Instant Web Hit and especially popular with children.
    • She uses her popularity with children to cheer up the kids displaced by Saga's storm.
  • Leitmotif: A cutesy arrangement of harps and strings.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Lily can be very dry, usually when somebody is being a genkier girl then she is.
    (Upon seeing Saki's over-enthusiastic reaction to working with a restaurant mascot): Yeah, that's not cute at all.
    (smiling) "That is the ugliest freaking shirt I've ever seen..."
    -Kotaro showing off Franchouchou's new t-shirts.
  • Meaningful Name: Lilies are associated across many cultures with purity, innocence, and chastity; befitting descriptors for Lily's Cheerful Child persona. "Hoshikawa" meanwhile translates to "river of stars", which befit her desire to "shine" and being "the star of stage and screen".
  • Meaningful Rename: "Lily Hoshikawa" is a very feminine name, in contrast to the very masculine "Masao Go", her name given at birth. This mirrors Lily's journey as a trans girl.
  • Missing Mom: Lily's mother died well before she went into acting, leaving her and her father.
  • Nice Girl: Occasional brattiness aside, Lily is a caring and sensitive soul who adores her bandmates(particularly Yugiri) and tries to make them smile whenever she can, and she can be very emotionally intelligent for her age at times.
  • Prone to Tears: Justified Trope as she is still a kid. She'll tear up easily if she feels threatened or hurt by others. Ai makes her cry while heated from her fight with Junko, and Sakura lashes out at her during a depressive episode, sending Lily away to cry herself to sleep.
  • Queer Colors: Her design incorporates teal and pink, two of the colors representing the transgender flag. Her final outfit for her performance in Revenge episode 5 incorporates lots of white, pink and teal. Special mention should be given to her bow which has pink and white stripes, combining with her teal hair to fully correspond to the flag.
  • Queer Establishing Moment: Episode 8 explicitly confirms that Lily is a trans girl, with details like her birthname, her difficulties transitioning, and even the nature of her death being explored.
  • Replacement Goldfish: She apparently becomes a downplayed positive version of this for her father, who's under the impression "Number 6" is an Identical Stranger who happens to look like Lily. Her 'farewell' song to him helps him find catharsis over her death, and she says that she hopes she can make him smile when he sees her on TV. Sakura subsequently notes that he's started coming to Franchouchou's shows, suggesting he's following her career.
  • The Reveal: Episode 8 reveals she's a trans girl, born Masao Go. She appears to have identified as a girl from a very young age, certainly before she went into acting, if her flashback is anything to go by.
  • Scatting: Lily performs a song called "Little Bodda Bope", which is 90% comprised of scatting. It's done like this because it's a remix of a much more emotional song called "Life", which Lily was going to perform during the talent show, but her opponent manages to sing exactly that before she gets her turn. Needless to say, Lily's scatting skills are exceptionally good.
  • Signature Headgear: She's always with her signature star decoration in her hair. It ties into her general cosmic motif and helps her look cuter according to Sakura.
  • Stage Name: "Lily Hoshikawa" seems to have originated as one; a flashback in episode 8 shows her being called by that name during a TV interview, but it's later revealed that it's not her birth name and she was originally called Masao Go, which she changed due to being a trans girl.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Lily states she looks more like her mother, and flashbacks reveal that they look nearly identical.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Golden eyes when alive or in makeup.
  • That Man Is Dead: Once she was revived as a zombie, there was no longer anything in the way of her identifying as a girl (since zombies don't age), so she renounced her birth name "Masao Go" for good and also dropped her Saga accent for a "cuter" way of speaking.
  • Third-Person Person: Lily has a tendency to refer to herself by the third person due to her desire to be cute.
  • Token Mini-Moe: She's the smallest girl of Franchouchou (at 130 cm, she’s actually the height of an average eight-year-old even though she died at 12), and her personality is quite childish too.
  • Token Wholesome: She's the only member of the group who has never been shown off in any way that can even slightly be construed as fanservicey, with even the merchandise involving the girls in swimsuits having her wear a very conservatively designed one with swimming trunks. A good part of this is because, as the youngest of them at twelve, putting her in fanservice situations would be inappropriate. But there's also how, as a pre-op trans girl, wearing skimpy or form-fitting outfits like the other girls might expose the fact she still has a "male member", which would spoil the reveal in episode 8.
  • Trans Tribulations: Lily is a young trans girl which caused her to experience gender dysphoria when she started growing body hair. Her father tried to calm her down by telling her it was natural and she had to accept she was growing up. Unfortunately, this only made Lily more frustrated because she was afraid she would grow up to look like her father. This is, in fact, the cause of her early death; Lily was so horrified when she grew her first facial hair that she died from the shock.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Cute daughter in this case, but her dad still isn't that much of a looker compared to her.
  • Undead Child: Half of the titular zombies died as minors, but the twelve-year old Lily is the only kid of the bunch. As a Cheerful Child who likes reading about construction vehicles in her spare time, she's not a particularly scary zombie kid.
  • Undignified Death: Saki is quick to make fun of a heart attack due to seeing her first facial hair.
  • Wham Line: Lily coming out as trans to Sakura.
    (Lily finishes her flashback)
    Sakura: "Um, wait. So what happened? Sorry it was kind of hard to keep up. Who is this Masao guy you were talking about?"
    Lily: "It's what my name used to be."
    Sakura: "Oh... WHAT!?"
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Her father was her manager, and he ended up more interested in her career than in spending time with her.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Working in entertainment has made her incredibly savvy to the industry's workings.
    • In epsiode 3, Lily makes a good point of electing a group leader to make tough calls for them all, and is the first to reason that the group needs a more appealing name than the last-minute ones Kotaro came up with.
    • In episode 7, she makes a point of having Franchouchou seize opportune moments like Saga Rock and using TV appearances to their advantage to score as many viewers as they can.


Tae Yamada (山田 たえ)

"Voiced by": Kotono Mitsuishi (Japanese), Dawn M. Bennett (English)
Live actor: Asami Morita (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01 (Zombie Tae), Zombie Land Saga Gaiden Ch 01 (Human Tae)
Click here to see Idol Tae
Click here to see Zombie Tae
Born: c.1960
Died: c.1989 (age 29)
Cause of Death: Merged with a Sagako that was, in actuality, her younger sister, which permanently changed her mindset for the afterlife
Height/Weight: 170cm (5'7") / 50kg (110 lbs)
B/W/H: 91(F)/59/89cm (35/23/35 in)

"[unintelligible zombie noises]"

A woman who is legendary... just because. She is also the only zombie who doesn't break out of her typical undead behavior, often trying to gnaw on the closest thing in sight.

General Tropes

  • Action Girl: She's not afraid to attack people if she thinks they pose a threat. She'll chase after mascots like Cocco thinking they're monsters, and fought a massive wild boar to protect Sakura. She was this in life as well, being a demon hunter.
  • Ambiguous Situation: How she died is unclear, as well as why her original memories have yet to be restored. While the first question was solved thanks to Gaiden, the latter is still an unknown. The Fusion Dance she made with the Spider God Sagako might be the reason, but it's still unclear.
  • Animal Motifs: The two large cowlicks on her hair resemble dog ears, and play into her animalistic but incredibly loyal behavior as a zombie. They're noticeably toned down in her human appearance though.
  • Blue Blood: A woman who looks just like her appears in Yugiri's flashbacks, riding around in a fancy wagon and having her photo taken in a elegant dress. This hints that Tae's ancestors were nobles of some kind.
  • Breakout Character: As a result of her immense popularity despite having a minor role in Season 1, not only did she get A Day in the Limelight with Revenge Episode 6, but the anime got a manga PrequelThe First Zombie — that explains how she lived and died.
  • Expressive Hair: Tae's side-bangs tend to react to how hot her emotions are. When she's excited, angry, or worried, they stick out like crazy; when she's more relaxed and peaceful, they relax down to frame her face.
  • Foil: Both the human and zombie versions of Tae have a lot in common; they're both incredibly loyal friends, are very physically-capable women, and completely dwarf the other members of their respective groups in height. Their differences though are quite stark as described below.
    • Human Tae was The Leader of the Sagako Busters and commanded a firm respect from her peers. She strictly monitors the progress of Eikichi and is very quick to call out failures. Zombie Tae is often on the opposite side of the spectrum of Franchouchou, due to her not being fully in tune with her surroundings and has to work a lot harder to perform consistently. And even then she still fumbles around a lot during live performances.
    • Human Tae carried a very stoic composure and kept herself cold when expressing emotion. Though she has her warmer moments, like when interacting with Yuko. Zombie Tae has very little sense of personal space with the other girls, and and can sometimes be aggressive and overbearing with them, such as chasing and biting Junko. But she also shows a very puppy-like affection for those she cares for, such as playfully biting and trying to cheer up her group mates if they're upset.
    • Human Tae is a very calm and focused individual, able to strategize well with her group mates and was a skilled fighter. Zombie Tae is heavily animalistic, such as charging after perceived threats like an attack dog, constantly eating even when she shouldn't, and is easily distracted from her idol training, often needing someone like Sakura to keep her focused.
    • Her relationship with The Hero, Eikichi, was much different than that with Sakura. She was a strict Mentor Archetype to Eikichi while occasionally showing hints of Cool Big Sis. Sakura however often acts as The Caretaker to Tae, and Tae is very affectionate towards her in return.
  • Hidden Buxom: Her normally baggy clothes hide a rather impressive bust, which is actually on the same level as Sakura's, who herself is pretty visibly-stacked. Her idol outfit shows it off in full though.
  • Hidden Depths: She's good at making snow sculptures, breakdancing, and can do a killer drum solo.
  • Mysterious Purple: Tae's a zombie that none of the other main girls know anything about save for her name. She can't talk or exposit in anyway, so her past and personality are a total blank, making her a total wild card of a teammate who helps as much as she hinders. Black and purple are her signature colors; her default outfit is black and alternative outfits she wears tend to feature purple prominently.
  • Older Than They Look: She physically appears to be around the same age as the other girls, but according to the official website, she was actually 29 when she died.
  • Statuesque Stunner: It's somewhat hard to tell with her constant slumped shoulders and slouching posture, but she's the tallest member of Franchouchou, and it certainly plays up her attractive qualities. As a human, she stood tall and proud most of the time, further emphasizing her confidence and beauty.
  • Token Adult: The second oldest zombie as Yugiri is physically nineteen but chronologically over a hundred. Tae however is a twenty-nine year old woman amidst a group of girls ranging ten-to-twenty. It can be easy to forget due to her feral nature though.
  • When She Smiles: As a zombie, she has a very adorable open-mouthed smile which shows off her Cute Little Fangs. This occurs when she's excited or enjoying a happy moment with her group mates. She's also got a very gentle smile as a human, particularly when she's alone talking in front of Yuko's remains.

Tropes exclusive to Zombie Tae

  • Achievements in Ignorance: She manages to do a lot of incredible things by complete happenstance.
    • She coins the name "Franchouchou" by sneezing.
    • Her focus episode in Revenge shows how she unwittingly gets involved in a series of events that leads her to winning enough money to clear Franchouchou's debt.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: When Franchouchou opens up for Iron Frill, she's assigned to drumming duties. She gets into it very fast and opens up the act with a full-on drum solo.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Tae spends much of the series inadvertently tormenting poor Junko, chasing her and biting her constantly. After their disastrous concert at EFS though, the two of them comfort each other on the roof of the mansion.
  • Bandage Mummy: From what can be seen beneath her clothes, everything apart from her face and hands is covered in bandages.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Tae's antics as a zombie and her Womanchild behavior is often a source of comedy. However, in Episode 12, when a depression-blinded Sakura vehemently pushes her away too many times, Tae reaches her Rage Breaking Point and shows that even if she's ultimately a harmless zombie, she can actually be quite terrifying when she's genuinely angry.
  • Big Eater: Episode 5 in particular showcases her extreme appetite, going so far as to attack a guy in a chicken suit because she thinks he's an actual chicken, to say nothing of downing an entire plate of uncooked meat before this, and a plate of eels on a stick (including the plate) followed by five sticks of eels later on.
  • Bite of Affection: While she starts out simply biting anything she can get her mouth on out of mindless-zombie habit, as her intelligence grows she starts biting things more rarely and intentionally. One reason for doing so is out of happiness and affection, such as her happily nibbling on Sakura's head after she gets her memories in the Season 1 finale back after performing a successful big performance.
  • Brainless Beauty: She is quite attractive, yet she's the only one who is still a mindless zombie who manages to become a Womanchild in her Character Development.
  • Came Back Wrong: Tae isn't restored to consciousness by death metal like the other zombies, and remains a feral blank slate. She gets slightly better over time, but she's still not even close to firing on all cylinders. This is hinted by Gaiden to be because of her Fusion Dance with Sagako.
  • Character Development:
    • She starts off as a wild animal who'll attack and bite people. Gradually she becomes a bit more civil, being able to understand human language and communicate through groans or gestures, showing curiosity about the world like a child would, and imitating the other girls' dance moves. She's even able to imitate a rooster's crow for the Drive-In Tori ad. Later on, she starts to imitate the other girls' expressions and speech (albeit in a rather garbled manner), and gains enough of a theory of mind to attempt lying.
    • Come Episode 11, she's emotionally aware enough that Sakura's current situation hits her hard, sending her into a Corner of Woe; in the following episode she's shown to remember their past moments and tries speaking to Sakura to make her remember them.
  • Corner of Woe: Assumes this position after failing to get through to Sakura.
  • Cute Little Fangs: While they're anything but little, she is often shown having fangs whenever she opens her mouth.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 6 of Revenge focuses on her running errands and getting sidetracked, all while being followed by Okoba, entering and winning a breakdancing contest, and ending with her betting and winning on a speedboat race, officially clearing Franchouchou's debt in the process.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tae's status as the only "unawakened" zombie zigzags between being coding as a standard feral horror zombie or a person with a developmental disorder. The latter is especially true in Revenge episode 6 where she interacts with various Saga locals, showing that they all find ways to accommodate for her condition because she can't communicate verbally.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Even with make-up, she has the creepiest look out of all the girls, with red eyes, long hair falling onto her face, and a black rag for a dress. Both her clothes and her hair being black makes her skin looks pale.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: In-Universe: Tae is fondly remembered by her fans as the chicken girl who does the "cock-a-doodle-doo". She does it for the fans in one concert who request she do so.
  • Extreme Omnivore: She tends to bite and gnaw on anyone or anything she can get her hands on, including her own hair. According to Kotaro, however, it's totally harmless.
  • Friendship Moment:
    • Episode 11: Tae seemingly jumps Sakura, but the truth is that it's her way of showing she's actually worried about her.
    • Episode 12: She goes out of her way to help Sakura remember their successes. Sakura had previously acted as her caretaker so she didn't end up biting people, and had also taught her how to pay attention and dance, earning her Undying Loyalty. So when Sakura sulks in the attic, Tae goes out of her way to crash into the attic and drag her all the way to the dancing studio to try and jog her memories. Once Sakura's memories return and mix in with her past memories, Tae happily noms on her head.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: She, of all people, pulls this on Sakura in the season one finale after Sakura regains her memories and goes into depression, locking herself in the attic. Tae, having enough of this, busts through the window and drags her out. In the dub Tae even vaguely tells Sakura to “Get it together!”.
  • Helping Hands: If her arms get detached they are still able to move about on their own.
  • Institutional Apparel: While the other girls have fairly reasonable sleepwear, Tae is apparently shoved into a striped shirt and pants with a flatcap and left to wander for the night. Given her mental state, this may be justified... or it could just be Rule of Funny.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Tae and Romero show some form of friendship, with the former being a human zombie and the latter being a zombie dog.
  • It Can Think: While she's the only one of the girls not to awaken and acts like a zombie early on, she gradually regains sapience throughout the show.
    • This is best demonstrated in the last two episodes of Season 1, in which Tae is the one keeping watch over Sakura after she got hit by a truck and lost her memory. Her speech is garbled as usual, but her facial expressions and the way she holds Sakura's shoulders clearly show concern. She also spends the first half of Episode 12 trying to lift Sakura's spirits by doing dance moves and showing her the article about their performance at the Saga Rock Festival. Eventually she gets so fed up with Sakura's neglect that she drags her back into the dance studio and tries to reenact a training lesson that Sakura once gave her. Even though Tae can't speak properly, she obviously remembers their interactions, and the frustration in her eyes is clear.
  • The Load: Zig-Zagged. As the only zombie who hasn't awakened, she initially provides little contribution to the team and would sometimes get in the way with her attempts to bite people or her head falling off. On the other hand, she is fully capable of learning the complex dance choreography (even if she might "do her own thing" regarding it), and her behavior onstage tends to be a source of Fountain of Memes for Franchouchou's audience, making her quite mysterious yet loveable. She's surprisingly helpful in a pinch as well, like biting one of Maria's buns when she tries to threaten Sakura and Lily, and scares off a large boar after it attacks the girls. She can also do a mean drum solo, and inadvertently got Franchouchou out of their debt in one fell swoop midway through Revenge.
  • Memetic Badass: Tae is this In-Universe. In a few episodes of seasons 1 and 2 it's shown that Tae is extremely popular on the internet for her quirky behavior, with Franchouchou fans absolutely loving the fact that Tae never sings or talks, and more or less does her own thing during shows.
  • Mr. Smith: Tae and Yamada are pretty generic and common names, akin to an amnesiac woman in a hospital being labelled Jane Doe, which reinforces Tae’s Mysterious Past whose life prior to becoming a zombie is not explored in the anime. However, the Gaiden manga confirms that Tae Yamada is in fact her actual name and not just a placeholder name Kotaro gave her.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Kotaro gives a basic description of each girl to Sakura when she first awakens. But with Tae, he simply says she's "The legendary Tae Yamada". When Sakura asks again, he simply repeats himself, and never gives any background information on her.
  • Mysterious Past: Whereas most of the zombies have details on their past lives largely fleshed out, Tae is so far the only one whose details are still largely in the dark.
    • About the only hints available are that her profile lists her hobby as visiting different travel agencies, that her death's on record, and that she is probably not someone from the entertainment industry, as Okoba's investigation into Franchouchou only identifies Junko, Ai and Lily by their backgrounds as performers.
    • The site of her ancestral gravestone is next to Sakura's.
    • Word of God is apparently that while she does have a pre-mortem backstory, they kept it a mystery because they felt there was no reason to reveal it. Which is kept up in Episode 7 of Revenge, as when Okoba tries to put the pieces together regarding Franchouchou's past, it only focuses on her picture and not the news report, if any, that accompanies it.
    • Eventually Subverted when she got a manga called The First Zombie, intended to reveal her origins without dragging out the anime.
  • Nice Girl: An interesting example of this considering she's a non verbal zombie who can only really talk through grunts, but Tae deeply adores her friends and is actually a very sweet zombie who wouldn't hurt a fly(although she has occasionally tried to eat chicken mascots). Her kindness is best shown by her trying to help Sakura out of her depressive episode by showing her the memories they made together.
  • Prefers Raw Meat: Has no qualms eating raw chicken. It makes sense though since she can't get sick from it.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Tae showing any kind of emotion is rare, but when she gets angry, Red Eyes, Take Warning. She crashes into the attic after being fed up with Sakura neglecting everyone.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Has red eyes both as a zombie and in makeup, and is the member of the group most likely to attack others, whether acting in defense or seeing if they're food. And when properly angered she gains Glowing Red Eyes, which accompanies a burst of strength.
  • Running on All Fours: She occasionally does this as a way of showing that she's still pretty feral and hasn't regained her higher mental processes.
  • Running Gag: Being a Big Eater and her tendency to bite anything she sees. Due to being a somewhat mindless zombie, she is always hungry to the point of eating almost anything from unpaid food, raw meat, and snacks gifted to her - including the packaging. She has a specific version of this with Maria where she'll bite on her Odango hair.
  • Simple-Minded Wisdom: When the girls get deep in debt after a failed concert in a large venue, Kotaro, who's makeup work allows them to pass for live humans, gets too busy drowning his sorrows to take care of that task. Soon, the girls are having a meeting to address the growing debt, their lack of money and their depleted food supply. During the discussion, Tae comes in wearing Uncanny Valley Makeup, turning out to have gone shopping after stealing Kotaro's savings. This allows the others to realize they can do each other's makeup and find jobs.
  • Sleepyhead: Tae occasionally nods off at moments where the other girls are discussing important matters, always with a big Snot Bubble.
  • Smarter Than You Look: While she started off as a shambling, moaning, bitey zombie, she starts to display increased signs of intelligence as the series progresses.
    • While she remains The Unintelligible, it's apparent that she's able to understand her friends and follow instructions. Episode 12 is the best indication of this, as she attempts to raise Sakura's spirits by reenacting their dance moves and her rooster crow from the "Drive-In Tori" commercial, and also bringing her an article showcasing their idol group's success.
  • Stop Copying Me: Does this a lot, not to annoy anyone but because she's regaining her mind. This copying is how she manages to do the complex dances with the other girls, though her speech comes out as a garbled mess.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Parodied briefly in Episode 4. When the girls relax on the foot bath, Tae's hair covers her face, resembling an onryo.
  • Super Window Jump: Actually introduced this way in the first episode when she crashes through a window out of the blue back into the manor, being the first zombie Sakura runs into. She does it again in Episode 11, and while it makes her appear monstrous to Sakura (who has regained the memories of her life at the cost of her memories as a zombie), it’s clear to the audience that Tae is deeply concerned for her.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Subverted. As a zombie, Tae lacks any of the class and intellect she had as a human, being reduced to a shambling corpse with basic, instinctive behaviors, even after the other girls besides Sakura were stimulated after the heavy metal concert in Episode 1 (though she does show a capacity for learning and growing in this form). However, Tae's undead body doesn't house her soul at all; it houses her sister's soul, which moved into the body after Tae's fusion with the spider Sagako.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: She'll try to eat just about anything, but she particularly loves dried squid, which Kotaro keeps in his pocket to pacify her bite-y tendencies. Her profile also mentions she particularly likes mentaiko.
  • Undying Loyalty: Pun aside, Episodes 11 and 12 cement her dedication and loyalty to Sakura. With Sakura having been taking care of her and trying to make sure she wouldn't just randomly bite anyone, Tae is the one who gets hit the hardest after Sakura's original memories return, but not her undead memories, and after being rejected too many times, Tae reinforces her loyalty by crashing into the attic just to drag her into the studio, and have her remember what Sakura taught her. After Sakura has all of her pre and post-mortem memories, she happily noms on her head. For a zombie who merely has a bit of humanity, this really speaks volumes.
  • The Unintelligible: Combined with The Speechless. As the only zombie who hasn't awakened, she is incapable of human speech and can only communicate through moans, gurgles, growls, and the occasional garbled imitations of others... as well as rooster crowing. Though she has had moments that were close:
    • In Episode 12, when, after having had enough of Sakura ignoring her and the others due to depression, she drags her to their rehearsal room and lets out an angry growl that sounds vaguely like "Get it together!"note 
    • In Revenge Episode 3, upon seeing Ai performing on TV, Tae happily barks "Ai! Ai!". It no doubt helps that Ai's name is only a single syllable long.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: As showcased in Revenge Episode 6, most outsiders familiar with Tae take her weird behavior in stride, even when it comes to things living people don't normally do, like eating food that's still in the wrapper.
  • Womanchild: Tae is an interesting variant. As time goes on, she goes from being mindless to demonstrating curiosity and interest in the world around her, albeit in a very basic manner, and shows an ability to understand her friends to a degree and listen to instructions. In essence, being a womanchild is a step up for her.
  • Wrestler of Beasts: Tae, a generally docile and mindless zombie, fights a wild boar to protect her bandmate, Sakura.

Tropes exclusive to Human Tae

Tae Yamada, the Legendary Office Lady Warrior

"We are the Sagako Busters! …giving our lives for the sake of Saga's prosperity, a select unit of beauties, and I'm the leader... the legendary office lady warrior, Tae Yamada!!"

The stoic leader of the Sagako Busters, an elite group of demon hunters from The '80s.

  • Badass in a Nice Suit: A confident leader and demon hunter who wears business clothes at her group briefings.
  • Badass Normal: She fights Sagako with nothing more than her bare strength and a shovel. Though she can't seal the demons, and has to rely on the Hyodo twins to do that part.
  • Cold Ham: Normally she's quite composed, but she can be just as showy and flamboyant as her fellow busters, particularly Hanako, all while maintaining her stern confidence. (See the character quote above).
  • Cool Big Sis: To Yuko, who she met when the latter was a child. Yuko's one of the few people Tae shows a gentle side to. She begins to show this to Yuko's brother, Eikichi, as well.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Her death ends up being such: she fuses with the spider Sagako, that turned out to be her younger sister that her parents created through the use of science. While this doesn't outright change Tae physically, it damaged her body enough that it manages to kill her. For better or worse, it also makes it so that her mentality undergoes a permanent change, as her younger sister now inhabits Tae's body throughout the afterlife.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: She gives Eikichi a chance to walk away from his first mission in case he's not up to par, though she phrases it as not wanting him to be a burden to the Busters.
    "If you want to turn back and return to a normal life, now's your chance. Otherwise, I'm sure you'll only hold us back."
  • Death of Personality: Played With and also played straight. Tae's human consciousness has yet to be restored, meaning her original personality is currently inactive. She develops a new personality largely from scratch as a zombie, but it is very different from the person she was originally. One wonders how Tae would react to both her role in Franchouchou and her zombie antics on- and offstage, should she ever “awaken” fully (especially given she struggled with customer service in life). However, it is heavily implied by the end of Gaiden that after merging with the spider god Sagako, aka her sister, Tae's human mindset - and by extension, her identity - is replaced by her sister's instead, which is why Tae acts childish and animal-like throughout her afterlife.
  • Declaration of Protection: As Yuko is near-death, she asks that Tae look out for her brother, Eikichi. Tae eventually trains him to be a Sagako Buster.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: While training Eikichi, she subjects him to some pretty intense physical work.
  • Foregone Conclusion: She’s going to die before her 30th birthday, and judging by the bandages holding her together as a zombie, it’s not going to be pretty.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Could be rather cold and authoritative towards others, especially towards Eikichi. But she cared about Saga and protected it from demons.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: By the climax of Gaiden, she ends up pulling this off to save everyone from the threat of the spider Sagako, who turns out to be Tae's younger sister. Unfortunately, it required her to fuse herself with said Sagako in order to defeat it - this resulted in her death, as well as the fact that unlike the rest of Franchouchou, she stays "dead"; her sister ends up inhabiting her body in place upon revival.
  • Hypocritical Humor: She and the other Busters strip out of their work clothes to put on their demon-hunting gear, not particularly minding an embarrassed Eikichi who's mere feet away. When Tae walks in on a nude Eikichi later however, she's angered by him for being exposed like that.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's very hostile towards Eikichi at first, constantly berating him and thinking he won't live up to what his sister accomplished. But she also gives him a chance to walk away if he feels he's not fit for the job, and after his first mission she resolves to teach him how to be a better demon hunter.
  • Killed Off for Real: Downplayed, surprisingly- Tae is the only member of Franchouchou that didn't get revived, in a way. As in, the original Tae was truly killed off by the end of Gaiden, as she fused with her younger sister; said sibling takes over the original Tae even beyond death.
  • Lady in a Power Suit: Fittingly for the late 1980s, Tae practically radiated this energy while alive. She was the no-nonsense badass of her group, with massive shoulder pads to match.
  • The Leader: Of the Sagako Busters.
  • The Mentor: She takes it upon herself to train Eikichi to be a full-fledged demon hunter like the other Busters. She can be quite harsh with her guidance, but ultimately she cares for Eikichi's wellbeing and progress.
  • Office Lady: Invoked. Tae's actual day job is as a food truck worker, but she sees the truck as her office, and presents herself as an office lady when off the clock.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her parents were killed by the Sagako as a function of Saga’s curse. Jofuku raised her as his own, much as he did with Kiichi some 100 years prior.
  • Proud Beauty: Very confident in her looks like the other Busters. She's not even wrong.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: She's a confident badass while hunting Sagako, but struggles with customer service at her day job.
  • Shovel Strike: Uses her shovel as a weapon, the same one that Kotaro uses in the modern day.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Yuko's absence hits Tae hard, and she inadvertently takes a lot of that frustration out on Eikichi, constantly comparing the twins and placing Yuko on a pedestal.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After losing her parents, Tae lived only for revenge against Sagako, but meeting Yuko gave her a place to belong and helped her show more of her emotions.
  • Tsundere: Non-romantic example. She has a hard time admitting when she's proud or impressed by Eikichi, instead continuing to berate and judge him for his screw-ups.
  • Walking Spoiler: For the anime, as she reveals who Tae was before dying which is only addressed through the prequel manga.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: She uses a whip to intimidate Eikichi into complying with the Busters.

Temporary/Former Members of Franchouchou

    Maimai Yuzuriha — #7 

Voiced by: Kana Hanazawa (Japanese), Cherami Leigh (English)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga Revenge E 01 (Cameo), Zombie Land Saga Revenge E07 (Major Appearance)

For tropes relating to Maimai Yuzuriha, see her section in Zombie Land Saga: The Living & Others.

The Producer

    Kotaro Tatsumi 

Kotaro Tatsumi (巽 幸太郎) (formerly known as Inui)

Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (Japanese), Ricco Fajardo (English)
Live actor: Noriyuki Ohashi (stage play)
First Appearance: Zombie Land Saga E01
Born: Unknown
Height/Weight: Unknown

"Your job is to become pop sensations and save Saga from oblivion! Using all your legendary qualities, we can put this prefecture ON THE MAP!"

The eccentric and mysterious manager of the all-zombie idol group Franchouchou, temporarily known as Death Musume and Green Face. He seems to be obsessed with using the living dead to revitalize the Saga Prefecture, but no one knows the exact details of his plan, and he has a knack for dodging all questions about it using the most outrageous answers.

As a producer, he's got a questionable attitude towards his idols, frequently belittling them and acting like a general ass, but he's also capable of being down to earth when needed. He employs a wide set of skills like music production, cosmetics, show booking, and so on.
  • #1 Dime: He is quite attached to his electric guitar, having owned it for years and using it as a source of inspiration to keep moving forward... and then Junko smashes it to pieces during her performance.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Whenever he tries to gain sponsorship from someone, he tends to seduce them (regardless of gender), making them blush.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In the second season's last episode, after sending the girls out to continue with their encore, it's shown that during his brief sobbing that he coughed up blood and quickly smears it off. What this entails is currently uncertain.
  • Anti-Hero: Of the Good Is Not Nice variety. He has good intentions and is genuinely caring to his zombie girls, but he's often a rude jerk to them.
  • Beneath the Mask: There are moments where he becomes uncharacteristically meek, usually whenever he has no direct power. This suggests his abrasive persona is all just an act he puts on as a producer and he's actually a rather withdrawn individual deep down.
    • He steps in to compete with Franchouchou at the Gatalympics and is asked a question for the audience.
      MC: Next up we have!...
      Kotaro: Uh- Kotaro Tatsumi...
      MC: Do you have any comments?
      Kotaro: I'll uh... t-try my best...
    • Yugiri slapping him turns him into a nervous wreck.
    • When Lily completely takes over Franchouchou's morning briefing for an episode, she does her own take on Kotaro's obnoxious heckling (though she's much cuter doing it). All he can do is walk to her empty chair and sit down in silence, Trying Not to Cry by the end of it. Not soon after, he gives a miserable performance for the talent show due to not being his usual confident self.
    • When he thinks he killed Maimai, he becomes an even bigger wreck than the previous examples.
      "I DIDN'T DO IT!!"
  • Bishie Sparkle: Sparks form around Kotaro when he charms two would-be sponsors, and when taking a bath in Episode 6.
  • Blood from the Mouth: In the last episode of Revenge, after he cries over Franchouchou's determination, it turns out to have been to hide himself coughing blood before smearing it off the floor.
  • Brutal Honesty: This guy does not mince words when managing idols. In Episode 3, when Junko explains that she prefers solo performances over groups, Kotaro immediately calls her a "loner".
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's loud-mouthed and seems totally out of his mind to make an idol group out of zombies, but he's incredibly effective in putting together hit performances, and is such a skilled makeup artist that he can make rotting corpses pass off as stunning, fully living people.
  • Catchphrase: Several.
    “GO! GO! GO! GO!-“
  • Character Development:
    • The big turning point in Kotaro's portrayal comes with Episode 7, when he helps Junko out of her funk and then accidentally runs her over. After that, he starts getting more involved as a helper and mentor for the girls, such as composing a song for Lily to sing to her father, warning Saki against using violence to sort out Dorami's problems, or trying to get Sakura to realize her flaws, and the audience starts getting a look at the sides he tries to hide from the girls, like his vulnerabilities or the wider mysteries he's involved in.
    • He ends up in a Heroic BSoD by the opening of Revenge (not helped by it being down to his own self-satisfaction and overconfidence), and while he manages something of a recovery, it's clear over the rest of the season that he's still not on top of his game.
    • By the finale of Revenge, he takes a major level in kindness towards the girls and works to be a better producer.
  • The Charmer: Despite being a shrieking martinet to the girls, he's got a surprisingly good way with the living when working out business deals with them, with a seductive gaze that enthralls men and women alike.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Pretty much everything this guy says and does is over-the-top dramatic, which makes it all the more impactful when he's truly serious.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He's strange enough to assemble an idol group of the undead, formed with girls from different eras, and keep dried squid in his front pocket at all times. Even that aside, his speaking patterns are very bizarre to say the least.
  • Coat Cape: He tends to wear his blazer on his shoulders.
  • Companion Cube: As he explains in Episode 4 of Revenge, Kotaro treats his red electric guitar as a comrade who has awakened the legendary producer within him.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: His plan to save Saga from the curse; he picks several deceased celebrities and other influential figures already killed by the curse, raises them from the dead, and has them gain popularity as a regional idol group, all in the hope that it will spread Saga's name and keep the curse from erasing it. So far it's worked out in his favor; even Jofuku can't believe it.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: As goofy as he is, he's managed to save Sakura from Policeman A twice by knocking said character out. He also kicked down a door that Junko had barricaded.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The manga version of the series focuses more on the work Kotaro does to promote and secure gigs for Franchouchou in the background, while heavily abridging the girls' events (to the point where both the rap battle and the guerrilla show are only covered in single page flashbacks; so far the rock concert is the only event from the show covered in full).
  • Determinator: Barring a few rare moments, Kotaro will not stop once he's set his mind to something he plans on doing, for better or worse. His internal thoughts after Sakura's death spell out as much too, regarding his dream to have Franchouchou get a second chance at life, along with the chance to save Saga while doing so:
    No matter who hates me for it
    Even if it means taking on God or the Devil
    I will do it!
  • Didn't Think This Through: Kotaro acts immature, explains things poorly, and makes many rushed, spontaneous choices. Some of which have cost the zombie idols the chance of a smooth, successful performance, while others he's managed to turn around by having his plans being on-a-dime flexible.
  • Ditzy Genius: He's absolutely an intelligent, skilled and competent man, just extremely eccentric, outlandish and with no common sense. For all of his buffoonery, he is genuinely skilled at music production, creating effortlessly most of the tracks the girls sing and dance to. And he's so good at makeup that he can disguise a group of zombies as living people. Even Sakura can't help but be impressed.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After the critical failure of the EFS concert which left Franchouchou in a massive debt, Kotaro loses it and spends weeks drinking in his own sorrow.
  • Emotionally Tongue-Tied: Yugiri notes that for all his hamminess, he's not good at expressing how he actually feels.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • In his first speaking appearance, he calmly explains to Sakura that she's a zombie and must "save Saga Prefecture". He's not very reassuring though.
      As long you follow my instructions exactly, I promise you'll probably be fine.
    • Much of his dialogue as he's briefing Sakura on the idol project is all delivered at the top of his lungs. He also doesn't bother explaining how he revived the girls. He just expects Sakura to roll with it.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: His tactic of charming his business partners works on any gender.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: He actually went to high school with Sakura.
  • Fantastic Racism: As part of his Mean Boss behavior, he has no qualms about rubbing it in that the girls are now undead reanimated corpses, providing minimal help and otherwise being quite aggressive toward them. However, this is all just an act he puts up, as beneath it - which the girls understand to some degree - he does genuinely care about them, and helps ensure that they can succeed at being idols.
  • Fatal Flaw: Impatience; he rushes through the steps of trying make Franchouchou as big as possible, making a lot of hasty and impulsive decisions that are detrimental to the group's progress. Given the pressure of combatting a deadly curse, there is some cause to it, yet it still does as much harm as good in the long run.
    • The first performance he organizes is at a death metal venue where six out of seven of the girls are still mindless zombies. He also gave them no time to rehearse or even find out what song they were performing. The performance ends with the zombies going berserk and attacking the audience.
    • He doesn't even have a definitive name for the group until the third episode where the girls decide the name. Until then he cycled through calling them "Death Musume" and "Green Face".
    • For the girls' third performance, he has them rehearse a song to perform in less than a day. This causes them to fumble in the actual performance due to not having the lyrics and choreography down.
    • This comes to a head with the disastrous EFS concert. He doesn't properly advertise the show and tries to rush the girls into the venue in a matter of weeks. This results in a bad audience turnout, a massive load of debt, and Franchouchou's popularity taking a dive. At this point he realizes how badly he screwed over the girls, and suffers a Heroic BSoD.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes:
    • Because of how he usually treats them, combined with him keeping them in the dark about their circumstances, it's no surprise that none of the zombie girls liked him at first.
    • Later on it's downplayed though, as they know better than to take most of his antics personally, and the help he gives toward allowing them to live out a new life (both period, and as Franchouchou) outweighs this in their minds. Though their relationship is professional-only for the most part, they would rather manage with him than without.
  • Giver of Lame Names: According to the girls, on the grounds that names like Death Musume and Green Face aren't really that good for an Idol Singer group, and they they spend a good portion of the third episode trying to come up with a new name.
  • Good Is Not Nice: For all of his dickish Mean Boss attitude and Brutal Honesty, he does have a good heart deep down to revive numerous zombie girls so they can have another chance at (un)life, along with his goal being to save Saga. And then Revenge reveals there's even greater stakes at play and he created Franchouchou to combat a centuries old curse.
  • Gratuitous French: Uses it for one of the morning meetings with the girls, complete with baguette and beret.
  • Hand Wave: When Sakura asks Kotaro how she became a zombie:
    Kotaro: Come on. Haven't you seen a zombie movie before?
    Sakura: I have, for the record.
    Kotaro: Well there you go, then.
    [extended Beat]
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • In Season 2 Episode 1, Kotaro became depressed after the disastrous failure of Franchouchou's Ekimae Real Estate Stadium concert, saddling the crew with a massive debt with a very short deadline. As a result, he spent weeks isolated from the girls, drinking heavily, and having his hair grow out. He fortunately snaps out of his depression after a conversation with the bartender at New Jofuku, just in time to salvage Franchouchou's performance at the metal venue.
    • In S2 Episode 7, he sees Maimai accidentally enter the male bathhouse (on account of being Blind Without 'Em), slip on a bar of soap, and get knocked unconscious. Kotaro believes she's dead and freaks out big time, but recovers once he realises she's still alive.
  • He's Back!: By the end of Revenge Episode 1, Kotaro recovers from his Heroic BSoD just in time to support the girls in their attempts to win back their fanbase after the Ekimae debacle. By the end of the episode they're back to having their regular morning briefings and dressed for success.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Despite being in Large Ham mode most of his on-screen time, he will drop all pretenses and silliness, and go out of his way to give a zombie girl genuine help when needed, such as giving a touching talk to Junko by telling her to be herself, writing music and special directional coordination for Lily's song for her father to honor him, and telling Saki that Violence Is Not an Option after finding out her best friend's daughter is involved with a biker gang.
    • Episode 10 shows him having a level of vulnerability within himself, admitting uncertainty over his ability to bring the girls to their goals and, in Yugiri's words, showing an oddly particular affection for Sakura.
    • Beneath this boisterous Large Ham-inducing music writer and director lies a withdrawn, sad man who lost a friend he went to high school with, and aims to help her accomplish her goals alongside saving Saga. That girl? Sakura Minamoto.
  • Hunk: Leanly muscular, with broad shoulders and a well-toned physique, attractive, tall and manly. For all his behavior...
  • Image Song: Even though he's not one of the performing members of Franchouchou, Kotaro managed to get his own uplifting character theme in Revenge's penultimate episode ("All It Takes Is For You To Be There SAGA") known as "Never Ending Saga", sung by his voice actor.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: He's essentially an animated version of Mamoru Miyano, who has even made live appearances in-character as him.
  • Insane Troll Logic: A lot of the answers and explanations he gives fall under this, such as his adamant belief that a zombie idol group is the key to saving Saga. Subverted for the "saving Saga" part when it's revealed that Saga is cursed, killing anyone who could bring the prefecture fame before they can do so, and ultimately dooming it to be forgotten entirely. Kotaro is using zombies as a Loophole Abuse to try and get around this so that Saga might be saved, since they can't die again.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Out of all the girls, he's the closest to Sakura. When he's not enforcing his Bad Boss persona, he's quite gentle with her and does what he can to help her achieve her idol fantasy.
    • Played With when it's revealed that the two were close in high school, meaning Kotaro is actually chronologically in the same age group as her, even though she's still physically seventeen.
  • Jerkass to One: Zig-zagged with Sakura. He comes off as harder on her than he is with everyone else especially in the first season, but Yugiri proposes that he's kindest to her in his own way, and it turns out that he used to know her when she was alive. In Season 2, he seemingly switches focus more onto Saki, but Sakura is still given a decent amount of attention from him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite coming off as a selfish and rude Mean Boss, deep down he does care about his zombie girls. When the time calls, he will go out of his way to comfort them and lift their spirits. Yugiri calls him out on this specifically in regards to Sakura in Episode 10 — that underneath it all, he seems to be particularly kind to her, trying to act as a Stealth Mentor and help her figure out and overcome her flaws — but he avoids giving her a straight answer. Episode 11 outright has him telling a dejected Sakura that he will never abandon or give up on her.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: In his depressed state at the beginning of Revenge, Kotaro is incredibly hostile to Sakura, prompting her to call him out.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Inverted. His introduction is what switches the tone of the series from straightforward horror to absurd Horror Comedy.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He pretends to know everything of value, until he is pressed further for information. He tries to leverage his superior knowledge of Saga against Ai, but completely buckles up when pressed on a basic question,.
    Ai: "What's the population?"
    Kotaro: "That's easy. I'll tell you to the decimal!"
    Ai: "Great! Let's hear it!"
    Kotaro : (meekly) "... it's small..."
  • Large Ham: Like you wouldn't believe. He almost always talks in a bombastic and dramatic manner, usually screaming at the top of lungs. His morning briefings are laden with goofy props and personas he puts to work like a drill sergent or a kabuki actor. Though Episode 4 shows that he can act calm and professional when the situation requires it.
  • Made of Iron: After a massive flood sweeps through Saga, Kotaro is trapped inside the flooded New Jofuku bar, with the flood water up to his mouth, for three whole days. When he is finally rescued, not only is he perfectly fine, but he immediately sprints all the way to Franchouchou's mansion, then most of the way to the disaster shelter after learning that the mansion was destroyed. And he isn't even slightly tired by the end of it all.
  • Manchild: As broad as his knowledge and skill sets are, he's a bit old to be bullying a group of teenage girls like he often does. If grappling with Sakura's death for a decade is any indication, he's probably got some unresolved maturity issues to work through.
  • Mathematician's Answer: He always uses these to handwave any big questions. How did he raise the seven girls from the dead? Well, just like in a zombie movie! Why are they alive after they died? Well they're zombies, duh! Does he know what the population of Saga is? Of course he does, it's small! Needless to say, the girls are very frustrated by this.
  • Mean Boss: Most of his interaction with the girls is him screaming at them and calling them names for being zombies. He once openly stated that as zombies, he can work them as hard as he wants and they can't die from overwork. However, this is merely an act he puts on as a producer, with numerous actions hinting that his real self is a more withdrawn and compassionate individual.
  • Meaningful Rename: In the East Asian directional system of the Earthly Branches, Inui, his true family name, is the northwest. Tatsumi, the pseudonym he adopts to hide his identity from Sakura, is the southeast.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He's had numerous scenes being shirtless, sparkly, charming someone's pants off, or all of the above.
  • Mysterious Past: All we know about his past is that he learned his makeup skills in Hollywood, that he went to high school with Sakura, and that he has an immortal acquaintance he told about the Zombie Land Saga Project.
  • Necromancer: He discovered a way to bring the dead back to life as zombies, but only ever explains it to Sakura as "Haven't you seen a zombie movie before?" and that undeath doesn't need any complex explanation. However, the Bartender - back in the Meiji era, when Yugiri was alive - rants about how if he still had his old power, he'd bring people back from the dead, meaning Kotaro likely learned how to do so from him.
  • Necromantic: Possibly. The brief, nondescript flashbacks to his past has caused much speculation by fans that he was once in love with Sakura.
  • No Indoor Voice: Half of his dialogue is screamed at the top of his voice, not at all helped when's he up in the girls' faces.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: He gets all up in the girls' faces as he spouts his ridiculous Rousing Speeches.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: At least a little, and possibly a lot. He repeatedly refuses to deal with potentially serious issues, then when he does step in, his advice is often unhelpful or counterproductive. All the same, things normally work out due to the girls' hard work, and it's notable that when they don't, he will drop all his normal silliness and move to sort it out himself with a competence he doesn't normally display. Several times the girls have assumed they've pulled the wool over his eyes (Junko and Ai running away, and them using the computer while he was in the bath), yet it's been revealed he was aware of their actions the whole time.
  • Oh, Crap!: He has two of them in Episode 7, both related to Junko. First when he kicks down Junko's barricade and sees that he also knocked her out, then when he accidentally runs her over with the van.
  • Once an Episode: Introduces each of his briefings in a completely different manner.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • There'll be times where Kotaro becomes genuinely angry, such as Sakura breaking The Masquerade and ruining their first sponsorship, to which he tells her he'll shave her if she screws up again. Junko refusing to take pictures with the fans at the photoshoot also riles him up so much he is reduced to shouting Angrish at the girls. When Saki intervenes to save Maria from a rival biker gang, he's dead serious when he tells her that if she gets mixed up in trouble like that, she could put Franchouchou itself at risk.
    • Then there's the revelation that his goofy exterior is a guise and his real self is a Sad Clown hiding grief over losing his high school friend Sakura.
    • In the first episode of Season 2, Kotaro became depressed enough to isolate himself from Franchouchou for a long time. It got to the point where the girls had to check his room in order to find something that could explain his circumstances. A conversation with the New Jofuku bartender reveals that the previous concert's failure and debt affected him immensely, especially when his Zombie Land Saga Project is running out of time.
    • When he thinks he killed Maimai, he's on the constant verge of a panic attack, trying to keep up his morning routine but eventually breaking down, desperately denying any culpability. Thankfully he was innocent on that front.
    • Taken even further in Revenge episode 10. He becomes disconcertingly serious when discussing his plans for another EFS concert, and later when Okoba confronts him, having finally learned the secret of Franchouchou.
  • Pet the Dog: What helps compensate for his Jerkass Mean Boss charade.
    • He's usually there to give Romero lots of pets and treats when they're together.
    • He genuinely supports Sakura's dream to become an idol and helps her through a lot of tough situations, be it giving her words of encouragement or helping her work through her depression.
    • He helps Junko recover from her Heroic BSoD by convincing her to keep owning her persona as a Showa idol, when she thinks there's no longer a place for her in the modern day. He does the same in Revenge when she has to be the group's leader in place of Ai and is overcome with doubt.
    • He helps Lily compose a song to sing to her father.
  • Quit Your Whining: Gives this to the girls whenever they drop into a funk that requires a little more firmness. An extremely poignant example is during episode 4 of Revenge, where he tells Junko that she needs to buck up and show Ai that Franchouchou can more than hack it with national level idols.
  • Renaissance Man: For an idol producer, he has demonstrated several talents on-screen. First and foremost, Kotaro can take care of zombie girls, teach them how to dance and even apply make-up that makes them look alive again. In later episodes, he is shown to be quite skilled at beatboxing, driving vehicles and bicycling. He also personally composes and coordinates all the songs and dances the group uses and is strikingly effective at setting up deals for shows and merchandise.
  • The Reveal: Episode 12 reveals that he was a classmate of Sakura's in high school, that "Kotaro Tatsumi" isn't his original name, and that his original family name is "Inui".
  • Running Gag: In the manga, he has a tendency to react in joy to whatever food he's eating at Food Wars!-esque levels, up to imagining things.
  • Sad Clown: Kotaro may be cartoonishly hammy, but behind the scenes he is in rather low spirits about Saga's situation and was friends with Sakura when she was alive, with some implication that he may be blaming himself for her death (inspiring her to audition, only for Sakura to die before she even got the chance to).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In Season 2 Episode 1, a drunken Kotaro stumbles into the bar where Yugiri works... and promptly (but politely) leaves the moment he sees her.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: Kotaro's methods for whipping the girls into shape can get somewhat extreme, even unfair.
    • In epsidoe 3, he has the girls set to do a guerilla performance in less than a day, forcing them to learn the whole song and dance routine overnight while having to juggle any personal issues thrown into the mix.
    • In episode 3 of Revenge, he has Ai take a break from the group to focus on solo performances, wanting the other girls to learn how to work without overrelying on her experience.
  • Stealth Mentor:
    • There are indications that he chose to have the band sing in particularly bad weather in Episode 7, considering Ai's fate. It actually works in his favor as Ai was able to get over her fear, and the girls gave a rather shocking performance as the lightning autotuned their voice and gave them the ability to shoot lasers.
    • He sends the girls into the mountains in Episode 10 in the hope that Sakura would cool down and remember she's part of a group. It doesn't work, but she gets it after getting an outside look at the others practicing together.
    • In Season 2 Episode 3, Kotaro announces that the girls will be opening for Iron Frill, but that Ai won't be taking part, claiming the risk of her being recognised by her old bandmates is too great. The "stealth" part is downplayed here, as none of the girls buy this excuse, but only during the concert itself does Ai realise why he actually did this: the others had been relying on her too much, and Kotaro wanted to force them to become more independent (as well as forcing Junko out of her shell a bit more).
  • Sunglasses at Night: He's never seen without his shades, including on a rainy night, inside a sauna, or when bathing. When he does remove them, or they get knocked off, we never see what's underneath.
  • Terrible Artist: Despite being in charge of things like merchandising and creating promotional material, his art skills really suck. His morning briefings always feature crappy whiteboard art to flavor his presentation, and one of the first pieces of merchandise he makes for the group are a set of gaudy t-shirts. Ai is the only one who's seen Franchouchou's web page design, and she says it "would make them all want to die again".
  • Throw It In!: Invoked on his end. When the girls' concerts don't go exactly as planned, he'll improvise on the spot, especially during bad weather.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: By the finale of Revenge, he becomes a lot more responsible as a producer, being overall nicer to the girls and trying to make better decisions that will improve them as a group. His relationship with Sakura also greatly improves, with her being genuinely grateful for him helping to make her an idol.
  • Tough Love: It's later suggested that many of his eccentric and more Jerkass actions towards the girls are done out of a desire to help them learn and grow independently. His belligerence towards Sakura especially stands out as he tries to usher her out of her Heroic BSoD in season 1, not mincing his words even in her fragile state of mind.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: This is revealed as the reason for Franchouchou's debt in Season 2. Feeling as though time was running out to revive Saga before the curse's disaster would strike, he attempted to ride the rising hype of Franchouchou to book the EFS concert and sell tickets the very day it was happening. This, of course, only resulted in a mass failure and crippling debt due to rushing through such a big event.
  • Tsundere: He may be an eccentric Mean Boss towards the girls including Sakura, but he's also Sakura's classmate who may have held a high school flame for her, and keeps looking out for her even after her resurrection.
  • Undying Loyalty: While he claims he has no faith in Sakura, it turns out he's not willing to give up on her even when she's in the depths of depression.
  • Vague Age: Assuming he isn't immortal, or had been zombified since, his age should be around 26-27 as he was Sakura's classmate.
  • Violence Is Not an Option: For the sake of Franchouchou's reputation, Kotaro tells this to Saki when he figures out she intends to interfere with a gang dispute related to the gang she left behind. He is surprised to find out later that she really did heed these words. That said, Saki (or any of the idols) are fine if they act in self defense.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Downplayed. When Kotaro becomes depressed in Season 2's first episode, he's isolated from the members of Franchouchou for about a month. In that time, while the girls try and manage without him, they quickly realize that they're in trouble - after all, he's their main composer and choreographer, he's much more talented at booking gigs, and only he can give the girls' makeup that special touch that actually makes them look alive (whereas their own efforts look “sickly” at best, and unsettling at worst). They don't want Kotaro to act like a jerk toward them, but they definitely want him out of his funk so that he can continue doing what he does best on their behalf.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Played for Laughs, in that he'd sometimes get physical with the girls, such as striking a baseball onto Saki or smacking Ai with a baguette for snarkily responding to his questionnaire.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: He doesn't perform any kind of physical actions towards Lily, instead resorting to childish teasing.

Alternative Title(s): Zombie Land Saga Zombies, Zombie Land Saga Kotaro Tatsumi


Polaroids (ENG)

Sakura tries to explain digital photography to Junko<br>(English Dub)

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Main / FishOutOfTemporalWater

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