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Fridge / Zombie Land Saga

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Per wiki policy, Spoilers Off applies here and all spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.

Fridge Brilliance

In General
  • Yuugiri and Lily's Intergenerational Friendship makes sense when you realize Yuugiri's probably defaulted to treating Lily like she would her own kamuro (an oiran's child assistant who acted cute and endearing to get information out of the patrons and convince them to visit her "big sister" more often).
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  • The show's opening foreshadows the final arc of the season: the girls, dressed as Sentai heroes, save Sakura from a monster - her own depression. Notably, Tae is leading the charge.
  • Throughout the series, we are given some songs that focus on particular characters. Some characters like Saki and Ai get their songs based on the type of music they enjoy the most (Saki favoring the punk-rock genre; Ai being part of a J-Pop idol band). However, Lily and Yugiri's own songs have two genres that are more akin to who they were, rather than their own favorable genres of music.
    • "To My Dearest", Lily's song, is performed within the style of a Broadway-esque ballad number (such as the song "Tomorrow" from the Annie musical), as it fits Lily, who was as a child actress prodigy working on many hit dramas before she passed away. Naturally, the connections to her working on drama shows and how she performs as an idol, proves that her genre of choice is "show-tunes" rather than anything else.
    • As for Yugiri's song, "Saga Jihen", it begins with an intro that matches the traditional folk music of 19th century Japan, which would fit Yugiri, but segues into the main genre of her choice: jazz. While Yugiri died shortly before jazz was invented, she particularly prefers this genre as it fits her original lifestyle of being an adult entertainer (i.e. an Oiran) and how her human life was scandalous. Thus, this song works in conjunction with Yugiri's upbeat, yet dark and secretive personality.
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  • Ai practiced the routine nonstop in preparation for Saga Rock until she literally fell apart. If you look closely you can see extra bandages over her normal ones which are most likely the muscle ache strips they received from the pharmaceutical company. In addition to being a Continuity Nod, it's a subtle hint that Ai has been pushing herself too far while trying to act like she's fine.
  • Every time Saki calls Lily "Shrimpy", Lily irritably corrects her each time. Of course it would annoy her- she has had enough trouble as it is just getting people to address her as Lily.
  • Ai's idol outfit is the only one with tights. Considering that her legs are covered in bandages, once Franchouchou was starting to get booked for consistent gigs then it would be more cost effective to cover up her legs than to constantly paint over the bandages or risk removing them completely.
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  • Why is it that whenever Ai or Junko get to be lead vocals in Franchouchou, it's always as a duet? Because they're the two famous singers of the group, on their own their voices are too recognizable. If one of them got a solo song like Lily or Yugiri then someone might mistake it for one of their old songs - at least until they reach a level of fame to make fans go 'oh is that Number 3?" rather than 'is that Ai Mizuno' - so she and Junko have to share the spotlight with someone else for the time being.
  • Why does Yugiri default to slapping when someone sounds like they're giving up, even if they were just about to turn their words around? Because, at least in part, the concept of "listing bad stuff, but using it to become a Rousing Speech by the end" is completely foreign to her; it's mainly a modern-era speech pattern, which she'd be unfamiliar with (at first), and so it was completely lost upon her in-universe.

Episode 1

  • The audience may not realize Sakura is already a zombie upon waking up in the "haunted mansion", since she looks like a human. But there are hints throughout the whole sequence: an ankle shot shows that she is bandaged, she accidentally trips while running away from Tae and doesn't flinch in pain, and her face is kept in shadow after she steps out into the rain until after The Reveal. Kotaro already applied make-up to Sakura just before she woke up, and the rain completely washed it, revealing her zombified appearance. He even mentions later that she woke up and freaked out... although being Kotaro, he mostly seems nonplussed at her reaction.
  • As Sakura gets hit by a truck we get the staff credits to the tune of Death Metal. This is actually the next thing she hears before she wakes up as a zombie, as evidenced that zombies have an inherent connection with the genre, and the rest of the band woke up after hearing it too (except Tae). Kotaro must have exposed her to the music first, and after it worked he arranged the first gig at a metal venue in order to wake up the rest.
  • Sakura might be the only amnesiac zombie as a simply natural consequence of the way she died: massive head trauma.
  • This is fridge horror and fridge tear-jerker all mixed into one given the circumstance, but it's possible that Ai grabbed Sakura seeking protection because even unawakened, she's afraid of thunder.
    • To a lesser extent, the rest of the zombie group happen to be wanting Sakura's attention, despite the fact that they are all rotting, and cannot utter a single word due to their vegetable-minded state. Given that most of the zombies are reaching their own hands out to Sakura, they could have been waiting for her to help them out. Especially when you realise that Junko was dead for more than a few decades, and Yugiri being dead for an entire century for that matter.

Episode 3

  • Tae might have been sucking that black marker pen because it produces black pigment, much like Cephalopod ink, which squids (her Trademark Favorite Food) release as an escape mechanism.
  • Sakura insists on a group name that starts with "Fran", then adds the sound effect Tae made while sneezing. This is likely in reference to Frankenstein, as the girls share physical features with the film appearance of the iconic monster, especially Junko who seems to have been stitched back together.

Episode 5

  • So, Tae's inability to talk and wearing that Drive-In Tori shirt ruined Franchuuchuu's chances of advertising themselves? Not quite. Their commercial for the dive was already out and seen by millions of Sagans by the time of the Gatalympics, with the crowing girl being probably the most memorable bit. So by outing herself as the same Crowing girl like that, anyone even remotely familiar with the restaurant's newest ad would connect the group to that incident at the Gatalympics. We see this in a later episode when the fans beg Tae to do the crow, which she obliges, soon enough getting the whole audience into it. That's right, Tae advertised the group through the Power of Memetic Mutation. As expected of THE LEGENDARY TAE YAMADA!!!!!

Episode 7

  • The CG was very stiff, dull, and low resolution in episodes 3 and 4's performances; but why has the CG suddenly gotten brighter and smoother in this one? It's empathetic CG! This is the first time that the girls (minus Tae) have all acted in sync with each other as professional idols where they had been a fragmented and internally conflicted Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. The level of detail in their performances matches the group's progress as idols.

Episode 8

  • "Neverland Saga" as a title refers to Lily and her inability to grow up after dying young, but Neverland is also the land of Peter Pan, who never wanted to grow up.
  • Junko, who died in the 1980s, takes a little time to understand the notion of transgender since the topic was not spoken of much during her lifetime. Yugiri however, who dates from the 1800s, has no such problems. This may be because she is familiar with onnagata actors (men who take female roles) from her own time period. It is not that big a leap from men who perform as women on the stage to someone who lives as one full time for someone from an era where entertainers were expected to live their craft.
    • It may help Junko that she was likely familiar with the Takarazuka Revue and otokoyaku actresses, who are women acting in men's roles and are indeed expected to present male even off stage and outside the theatre. The Revue had been popular already in her age.
  • The episode has a flashback from Takeo, about how his daughter Lily wanted to go to the park to spend time with her father. Unfortunately, Takeo was too addicted to seeing Lily on TV that, sadly, he never got to take her to the park by the time of Lily's untimely death. What makes this more sad is that we actually see Takeo himself at the very same park Lily wanted to go to, in the cold open of this episode. And he gets more anxious when he sees a little girl at the park, possibly reminding him of Lily. And then he manages to read the article that featured Lily from the Saga Rock Festival...
    • During that aforementioned flashback, we see Takeo smashing his own TV in a fit of rage. Now, remember his appearance throughout the episode. In the present, he has a visible scar on his face, which he never had during the flashbacks. That is, until you realise that the impact of the TV being smashed into the ground (during the final flashback), most likely caused glass shards to hit him. That is possibly the only reason behind the scar on his face.

Episode 9

  • During Tokkou Dance, there's a point where all of the girls point upwards as a part of their dance routine, except Ai, whose hand is tilted sideways. Knowing her skill and experience as an idol, it's unlikely she would make mess up the routine, until you realize that the position the rest are in is almost identical to the one she died in. Becomes Heartwarming in Hindsight when you realize Franchouchou respected Ai's trauma and accommodated her instead of forcing her to do the pose.

Episode 11

  • The episode manages to demonstrate another Fatal Flaw of Sakura - she's trying to put all of her efforts in achieving her goals even if she overworks herself without rest, and she fails them due to some insanely bad luck and keeps moping about them until she became a zombie. Earlier episodes actually Foreshadow this overworking trait of hers, albeit in subtle ways:
    • From Episode 2, the other girls, particularly Saki even call out on Sakura for playing right into Kotaro's hands - immediately following his training sessions while the rest of them don't bother doing so.
    • In episode 3, the moment they mess up in practice and during the guerilla performance, Sakura immediately loses all her cheer and goes into a depressive episode.
    • In Episode 10, she tries to remind the rest to keep on practicing despite having to stay on a snowy mountain.
  • Sakura's backstory shows that she also was "legendary", at least in her own school and neighborhood. Sakura is a Legendary Jinx, a girl with talent, smarts and drive who never succeeds where it counts due to her bad luck.
  • Why does Sakura think she's so much worse off than the others, and why does Ai's speech that none of them are lucky have such a profound effect on her? Part of it is because Sakura's forgotten everything she learned about the other zombies- their personal struggles, their untimely deaths and how much she helped them in the past- as well as the fact that she's come to see Ai as a friend rather than a role model. Without those memories, or her memories of how much she's contributed to Franchouchou, she naturally thinks of herself as the only unlucky person surrounded by legends.
  • The 'Next Episode Preview' for Episode 11 has Lily talk about how Franchouchou is going to be more successful in the future, and she doesn't bring up the plot of the episode at all. This actually makes sense if you realize that the entire episode's plot is spoiler-heavy, and is probably the biggest Wham Episode of the first season.

Episode 12

  • Another reason that Sakura is actually "legendary" to Kotaro, despite his bluster otherwise: he went to school with her while she was alive. Regardless of the exact nature of his feelings toward her, she was the primary inspiration for his Crazy Awesome plan, which he pursued simply so that Sakura could have another shot at idolhood. And related to this, part of the reason Kotaro always wears his Cool Shades is likely so that Sakura can avoid recognizing him.

Fridge Horror

In General
  • The state of the girls' bodies has some pretty terrible implications in regards to their deaths. Sakura does have scars and bandages befitting a truck-impact victim, and as of Episode 6, we do have implicit confirmation that method of death is related to Ai and Junko's current bandaging and stitches. Looking at the other girls' scars, and some unnerving implications are risen—Yugiri's neck stitches, the scar on Saki's cheek, Lily's exposed heart... and what had to happen to Tae to also be covered in bandages, anyway?
    • At least Lily's heart has a comparatively tame reason: her heart literally beat out of her chest when she saw facial hair and it stayed like that.
    • Junko's patchwork body raises some concerning questions of just where did they get those parts and are they only skin deep? Given how not a single one of her extremities are in one piece, could she have been put back together from the bodies of the other plane crash victims?

Episode 1

  • The zombies are mostly young girls, their deaths must have been a horrific experience for all of their parents. Sakura's parents had to find their daughter run over by a plot device right outside their home, and given that Sakura announces that she's leaving, they may well have heard the accident occur. In the scene where Sakura puts on her shoes for school, a pair of men's office shoes were also there on the veranda ready for use so it is likely that her father at least was home at the time.
    • This is partially confirmed as of Ep.8, with Lily's dad still in pain 7 years later. Also, while not her parents, Saki's best friend who saw her death 21 years ago has not wholly recovered from the trauma.
    • And then there is the distinct possibility that Ai's parents watched her die live on stage.
  • Halfway through the episode (just after the eye-catch), we see the mindless zombies (sans Sakura, who awakened before they did) roam around the room where Kotaro would usually gives out his briefings. By paying close attention to their mindless actions, you can actually see that each member of the group are doing specific actions...that can be tailored to what happened to them at the moment of their deaths.
    • Saki, who died in a fiery (and also explosive) motorcycle crash, reaches her hands out, as if she was holding onto handlebars.
    • Ai, who died center stage during an outdoor concert via lightning striking down onto her, tries to get to the center of the room, as if she was going to do her big finish for the song she performed at the moment of death.
    • Junko, who was fatally blown into pieces from a fatal plane crash accident, tries to grab onto the cell-bars of the room, as if she was looking out from the plane's windows.
    • Lily, who died from a fatal heart attack that was due to sheer stress thanks to her father (as well as the fact she was about to go through the early parts of puberty), waits at the door of the room, as if she was waiting for her father to come in.
    • Finally, Yugiri, who currently is the only zombie (besides Tae) that has yet to reveal her backstory (and her death), rests her head against the wall, as she slumps down. This could actually give us a hint of her actual death: being beheaded. This is because of how she places her head against the wall, as if she was placing her head a la execution (via beheading). And considering her neck scars, it is slightly safe to say that her death was exactly what you'd think it would be.
    • The idea that the girls were trapped living out their final moments is horrific enough but then you realize that Tae still hasn't woken up yet. While it seems like she is slowly waking up herself, does that mean in the first few episodes she's still reliving her final days? Given that her whole body seems to be bandaged and barely hanging together, and that her behavior in the scene listed above is her appearing on and off screen (which many fans interpret has her being in hiding), it's easy to assume that her death wasn't pretty which makes all of this even more horrifying.

Episode 3

  • Yugiri mentions "Oh, like testing a sword on someone who's passing by" when the other girls describe a guerrilla performance. This refers to Tsujigiri (辻斬り) a real (though likely exaggerated by popular telling) practice, though stamped out centuries before her time.

Episode 4

  • Most of the girls scare the sponsor only by accident - It started when Sakura unintentionally popped her head after hitting a rock, while Saki and Junko jumping out of the water to call her out and head straight back to their room. Ai and Yugiri are woken up by the commotion, the former only screaming back after the sponsor screamed at her, and Yugiri calmly asking if the old woman needs help (but her face gave it away). But Lily? Ho boy, with the number of Nightmare Fuel Horror tropes associated with her scene, especially when she lunged face-to-face with the sponsor and contorting her zombie body in unusual ways all without even talking, it can be easily assumed that Lily scared her on purpose. How would a zombie perfectly take advantage of teleporting when the light flickers? Only ghosts do that!
    • While Lily did do some light based movement and didn't say a word to the sponsor, it was Tae, not Lily, who dropped from the ceiling, fell over backwards and kinda lunged at her. Why she did this I couldn't say, but I'd chalk it up the same reason she attacked Sakura in the first episode. Maybe zombies are unconsciously attracted to fear?

Episode 6

  • Ai's and Junko's deaths were very gruesome, but how can Ai remember being struck by lightning? In real life lightning strikes don't usually insta-kill, and have been described as feeling like "100 gunshots from the inside". Ai was still alive on that stage, all her nerve endings crying out in pure agony, until her charred body finally collapsed in front of her fans. She even might have lived long enough for the paramedics to get there. To think how many were traumatized for life seeing that live.
    • Glimpses of the article Ai reads shows that she actually did survive the initial shock and succumbed to her burns in the ambulance ride. One can only hope that Ai immediately went into shock (no pun intended) and was barely conscious through the experience and hope that Junko was similarly out of it before impact due to hypoxia.
    • While Ai's death was painful in both physical and mental ways, Junko's death was most likely even more painful, especially when it comes to her mentality and personality as a zombie. Considering Junko was stuck on a plane that was plummeting straight into the ground, she was forced to hear the painful screams of many, many passengers that all succumbed to their sudden death alongside Junko. While Junko was a lot more confident when she was a human, the whole death experience she went through, literally broke her mentality. This explains why Junko is the most cowardly, the most shy, and the most quiet of the bunch. Because she never got over her traumatic death.

Episode 8

  • Yuugiri is the one to mention that being recognized as a celebrity can be dangerous, and given her Mysterious Past and neck scar, this lends credence to the fan theory that she was executed for associating with the wrong people.
    • Alternatively, considering that she brings this up after the incident in which Saki thought Takeo was trying to harm Lily and kicked him in the head, it's possible that she was abducted and murdered.

Episode 11

  • If Sakura hadn’t been hit by that truck, she would have lived to see her idol get killed by a lightning strike. Imagine what that would have done to her confidence.

Episode 12

  • During Kotaro's flashback to his school days, he hands Sakura a CD: Iron Frill's "Fantastic Lovers", the song Sakura was listening to just before she died. Was that one of his last memories of living Sakura, maybe? His last interaction with her?

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