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YMMV / Zombie Land Saga

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Was Junko only against meeting fans face to face because that's not how they did things in her time or was her shyness the real motivator? Adjusting from having clearly defined lines to pictures and handshakes is a big jump but there are many other aspects of Franchouchou that break idol norms that Junko never comments upon.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: This was actually the consensus for the anime staff. Before the anime came out, the staff didn't think it would be as popular as it is.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Out of all the girls, Yugiri is the most unfazed by the fact that she's not only undead, but also living in a totally different time period from the rest. She explains in Episode 6 that just rolling with whatever comes her way is more productive than spending all her time being confused by everything.
    • Saki seems more annoyed about being a zombie than anything, mostly voicing her annoyance that her Tamagotchi is long dead. Even when Episode 9 focuses on her past, she takes it in stride and even repeats the very stunt that killed her in the past with gusto.
    • Policeman A plays the trope straight. He has two encounters with the living dead in short order and is totally scared out of his wits, but every time he returns, he seems completely fine and unfazed. This is in stark contrast to people like the pharmaceutical company president, who was so traumatized by the girls that she remained in total shock the next morning.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The OP, "Adabana Necromancy", is one of those songs you can just keep playing over and over again, particularly the TV version with the opening credits, Sakura's monologue, and SFX. The English version of the OP is just as amazing as the original version, too.
    • "Mezame RETURNER". The girls' first song performed in public and ultimately the one which led to their fame. An uplifting and emotional song.
    • "Saga Jihen", which is a brand new song included in the "Best Of" album, is entirely focused on Yuugiri (considering she never got her own song during the first season). From listening to the first 20 seconds of the song, you'd expect her to sing traditional Japanese folk music from her era, right? Nope. She actually performs an amazingly well-performed, fast-paced jazz number. And it is glorious.
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    • "Tokkou Dance", the power rock performance featured at the end of Episode 9 and putting Saki at the forefront. Just like the in-universe audience, this song gets you pumped like nobody's business.
    • ''Sensei ALIVE Sensation" is perhaps one of the most underrated songs from the franchise, but despite being placed as a bonus song at the end of the "Best Of" album, this particular song is without a doubt, Sakura's Image Song, and it shows. The cutesy vibes alongside the pop-rocking instrumentation, and of course, Sakura's amazing vocal talent, make up for one of the best solo songs in the series thus far.
  • Crazy Awesome: Kotaro. He raises the dead, acts as if it isn't anything special, and plans to save Saga by creating an idol group out of the undead. Totally crazy? Definitely. But both Mamoru Miyano and Ricco Fajardo's incredibly hammy performances are just too much fun to watch no matter the context, and Kotaro being a Renaissance Man on top of that means he is always surprising the audience in one way or another.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Tae. Despite being the least important character to the plot, she quickly became a fan-favorite due to being the only zombie who hasn't awakened, which in turn lead to her antics constantly causing trouble for the team. She even manages to become this In-Universe, garnering the most fans in the sixth episode for her chicken-based antics (much to the confusion of the other girls).
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Exactly why did Kotaro resurrect Sakura, who isn't famous in any shape or form? When Yugiri talks to him in Episode 10, she picks up how he has a certain fondness for Sakura, and he avoids answering her concerns, claiming that saving Saga is what's important. Some fans think he's the truck driver who hit Sakura by accident, and is trying to redeem himself by helping her accomplish her dreams as an idol. Another theory is that he's someone Sakura knew, or at least that he knew her, since he looks to be in his 20s, and Sakura died ten years prior. In any case, this brings some interesting topics for the two. (It turns out he knew Sakura while they were in high school, and his name was originally Inui.)
    • An alternative possibility that got suggested, based on her profile being left largely blanked out for most of the series, was that Sakura actually survived her initial accident and became a famous idol, only to die for real at some point. The last two episodes reveal that no, this is not the case or else Sakura might not have considered herself such a failure.
    • In related speculation about Kotaro's connections to the girls, why is Tae "Zombie 0", and why exactly is she legendary? One theory is that Tae was someone important to Kotaro in life, and when she died she became his first candidate for resurrection.
    • Tae's already awake and is either pretending to be unawakened, or was that way even when alive, possibly because she originally came from prehistory.
    • The wild theory that Tae has the brain of a dog, or part of one, based off of her Interspecies Friendship with Romero and her sometimes-animalistic behavior.
    • An early epileptic tree, before Lily and Saki's deaths were revealed, was that Kotaro was somehow involved in all the girls' deaths, even the ones that didn't match up with his apparent age, like Junko and Yugiri. Immortality or Time Travel were favored explanations.
  • Fanon:
    • That Lily's dad Takeo was a construction worker before leaving his job to become Lily's manager, based on her love of heavy machinery magazines and his flashback to them sitting in a power shovel. However, that last one could also be explained by them taking a tour at some point.
    • This very wiki appears to have spawned one particular piece of fanon - namely, the mention on the Funny tab that kiseru were also used to smoke opium has led to speculation that Yugiri's stoned on the stuff.
    • Given that her favorite and most hated foods are grilled meat and carbs respectively, some fans interpret Ai as to having been on an extremely restricted diet in her life time by either her own volition or manager's orders. Considering the idol's industry's nasty track record with this sort of thing, some fans present this as a fact.
    • Many fans speculate that Junko was much more outgoing prior to her death due to stills of her in the 80's always showing her to be very happy, even backstage.
    • It is widely agreed upon that Junko's plane crashed landed into a mountain. There is nothing in the show to support this but Junko's death seems to be heavily inspired by the crash of Japan Air Flight 123 and when keeping with the Bagua philosophy theory, Junko most closely fits mountain.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: While the show seems to hint Ai/Sakura, possibly due to Sakura being fan of Ai's while they were alive, after their mini-arc, Ai/Junko exploded in popularity and is easily the largest ship tag related to the series on Pixiv. Incidentally, Sakura's most popular ship would be with Saki (due to their status as co-leaders of the group and the engaging, supportive relationship that develops from this), and once Ai/Junko became popular, we got a lot of official art with the two, so season 2 may move towards those instead.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Calling Lily a crossdressing boy is a surefire way to piss off fans, in light of confirmations that she is a transgender girl.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Magical Girl Site of all things, due to having its anime come out the same year and both having a positively-written trans girl.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The debut of the show came just as the suicide of a 16-year-old regional idol (from Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku) made the news when her parents sued her management for abusive behavior, including for extortionate threats when she decided to leave the group. With that, Kotaro's constant physical and verbal smackdowns of the girls—Played for Laughs almost exclusively—may become harder for viewers to swallow.
  • Gateway Series: The anime has led a number of Western fans to take an interest in other idol series.
  • Gotta Ship 'Em All: Sakura, Saki, and Ai have all been shipped with each other, and each has at least one unique ship to themselves. Ai gets paired with Junko most frequently, Saki and Reiko are speculated to have been together (and might even still hold a torch for each other), and Kotaro is often assumed to have been an old boyfriend of Sakura's from before she died. Tae is also sometimes depicted as being romantically fond of either Sakura or Junko, but not being able to express it properly. The only zombies who aren't shipped as of this writing are Yugiri, Lily, and Romero.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • A 2012-2013 TV series was proposed for the similarly titled Zombieland film, but the idea was rejected by fans. Years later, there now exists a TV series with "Zombie Land" in its title, and it has proven to be a huge Sleeper Hit.
      • In the film, Bill Murray uses his Hollywood makeup skills to blend in with the zombies. Now in the show, Kotaro uses his Hollywood makeup skills to make the zombies blend in with the humans.
      • A sequel to the film was announced in July 2019, catching a few fans who were hoping for a sequel to the anime off-guard… only to be happily surprised a couple of days later, when the anime actually did get a sequel announced.
      • And it all finally comes to fruition, as the Japanese release of Zombieland’s sequel is being promoted… with the help of Zombie Land Saga. To the point where they made a special version of the movie poster, with the zombies replaced with all 7 members of Franchouchou.
    • Anyone who is aware of Cygames' almost-regular trend of re-using character designs and concepts into the works they are involved into, would notice a minor subversion of the trend. Jeanne d'Arc is a recurring character of Cygames franchises such as Rage of Bahamut (and its two animated series), Knights of Glory, Granblue Fantasy, Shadowverse and Dragalia Lost. But in this anime, her name is mentioned instead, as one of Saki's proposed names for their idol group. As of Zombie Land Saga, that's eight Cygames-related titles referencing Jeanne d'Arc.
    • This is not the first time a Cygames-MAPPA collaboration title presents a female zombie with detachable limbs, sunken eyes and pale skin, who also retains her original personality at some point after being zombified. All of these traits already existed with another zombie, Rita from Rage of Bahamut: Genesis, one of the older Cygames-MAPPA anime titles. Even the Hand Wave trope exists along the zombified characters (i.e. when Rita explains how she is able to perform such necromancy feats, such as detaching limbs in Rage of Bahamut and when Kotaro tries to explain how zombification happens in the first episode of Zombie Land Saga).
    • Tae Yamada is an example of an Unfortunate Name if you know the meaning of "tae" in Filipino.note  This would also give a literal denotation of the "Your Waifu Is Shit!" meme.
  • It Was His Sled: The Reveal of Lily being a trans girl in Episode 8 spread like wildfire within hours of its airing.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Episode 2's Rap Battle was what pulled in a lot more fans who had not yet joined in from the initial airing.
    • Many viewers, especially fans of Mamoru Miyano, admitted that they watch the show for the chance to hear his over-the-top hammy performance again.
    • Lily being a trans girl attracted attention from members and supporters of the LGBT community who overlooked or were unfamiliar with the series after it was revealed in Episode 8.
  • LGBT Fanbase:
    • The Reveal of Lily being transgender in Episode 8 was warmly received by the LGBT community, as was her peers’ acceptance of her, praising its subtlety and considering it to be a respectful depiction of a trans person.
    • The show has drawn in a lesbian fandom partly for its appealing mashup of genres and aesthetics, and partly for having a likeable female cast who all (un)live and work together. Saki in particular gets ID’d as butch due to her rough and ready attitude, her relationship with Sakura, and her past with an all-female biker gang.
    • Some have speculated that Saki’s old friend Reiko is bisexual, based not only on her very deep friendship with Saki (despite later getting married and having a daughter), but also the color of her hair back then resembling the bi flag.
  • Memetic Badass: The "Legendary" Tae Yamada. Whereas the other girls’ titles explain why they’re legendary (“Legendary Biker Boss: Saki Nikaido”, “Legendary Heisei Idol: Ai Mizuno”, etc.), Tae's does not. Thus, viewers take her and every little thing she does to simply be legendary. Adding fuel to the fire was the later revelation that she is played by a real-life legend in the anime industry, Kotono Mitsuishi, who voiced the title character of the ground-breakingly popular Sailor Moon series.
  • Memetic Mutation: Enough to have its own page.
  • Moe: Even as zombies, Sakura, Ai, Lily, and Junko are still very huggable. Even Saki and Tae occasionally have their moments of being adorable.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Junko's deep singing voice is this for many judging by the comments.
    • Contrasting with Junko's amazing (and also rough-sounding) vocal talent, some fans have really appreciated Yugiri's smooth, buttery singing voice. Her signature song, Saga Jihen, takes this trope Up to Eleven due to her amazing performance.
  • Narm Charm:
    • While the CGI is incredibly distracting for some, others find that it better enhances the Zombie Gait that they incorporate into their dance routines, particularly Tae, who already moves the most awkwardly out of all the girls.
    • Ai's High-Voltage Death is treated very seriously for the profound psychological impact it had on her. However, the actual presentation of the death—her running out stage and getting burnt to a crisp on stage by a freak lightning bolt—makes it look like something out of the Looney Tunes, making it harder to take seriously. However, Word of God said that the girls’ death scenes had intentionally ridiculous elements added to them so they wouldn’t detract too much from the show’s comedy.
    • The song the group sings in Episode 8 in order for Lily to get some much-needed closure with her father isn’t the most professionally-written one out there; in the first verse, there are way too many words awkwardly crammed in, to the point that it's almost in spoken word rather than song. Still, it's likely that this was intentional, and it's also both genuinely heartwarming and tearjerking since Lily finally gets to tell her father she's sorry about the argument they had before she died, and she still loves him.
  • Older Than They Think: While the series is often credited with boosting tourism in Saga by taking place in a largely overlooked prefecture, it isn't the first anime to attract fans there; Yuri!!! on Ice, which came out two years earlier, has also managed to draw tourists to Karatsu since Yuri Katsuki's hometown of Hasetsu is heavily based on that city. Also, while Zombie Land Saga provided a major Colbert Bump for the restaurant Drive-In Tori, Yuri!!! on Ice also had advertisements for the restaurant hidden in the background during the first episode.
  • Ship Mates: Saki/Sakura and Ai/Junko fans tend to overlap. Sakura/Tae also have several supporters.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The opening scene wherein Sakura excitedly narrates about wanting to become an idol before stepping outside and immediately being hit by a truck, firmly establishing the Black Comedy that would drive the story right out the gate.
    • The unexpected Rap Battle between Sakura and Saki in Episode 2. It’s often cited as the reason why people gave the anime a chance.
    • Lily revealing herself to her bandmates as a Transgender and their ultimate acceptance of her, which was warmly received by the LGBT Fanbase.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • While one's sexuality is a very sensitive topic, it would be for the best of everyone to just accept if someone reveals themself to be transgender. It is not something that should break relationships even if it was shocking at first. This is demonstrated when Franchouchou still gladly accepts Lily no matter how she sees herself. On the professional/work side of things, Kotaru also displays another realistic approach: accept the revelation, move on and don't make a fuss about it, since he already knew Lily's gender identity even before she awakened.
    • The later episodes also give some messages regarding Depression. One of the common causes of depression stems from the belief that countless things won't go the way you actually expected them to be, which can make one lose hope and motivation in life. Sakura just showed this for being the Butt-Monkey when she was still alive - She wasn't able to achieve her dreams no matter how hard her efforts were. Likewise, the others also showed the best way on how to deal with a depressed friend - When Sakura recovers her past memories and reveals herself to be a self-deprecating individual, friends were there to talk and comfort her in an attempt to break her out of depression. This shows that the depressed need others so that they may realize that they are actually not alone.
  • Special Effects Failure: The third and fourth episodes use computer animation for the dance routines the girls perform; while it does the job, the models used are distinctly less characterful than that of traditional animation, particularly compared to the on-point expressions and motion from Episode 2’s rap battle.
  • Spiritual Licensee: It can be viewed as an idol anime spin-off of Death Becomes Her, especially the premise and its shared lore revolving around the living dead amongst an entertainment industry, the aspect of make-up applied to the zombies to appear alive and the source of the necromancy implied to be a result of one's quest for immortality.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: “Tokkō Dance” seems to take some cues from Kishidan’s “One Night Carnival,” particularly with the “woo-hoo” bits.
  • Take That!: After some fans tried to claim that Lily being trans was the translators pushing an agenda, the creators responded by incorporating the trans pride flag into the background of various promotional art.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Episode 4 has Franchouchou shilling a pharmaceutical company's product at their retreat. The episode seems to be setting up some hijinx where the product interferes with their unusual zombie body chemistry during the live performance, but nothing happens at all and it goes off without a hitch.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • The girls are walking corpses who have remained dead for a lot of time, including one who died in the 19th century, but that doesn't stops them from having their charm and cuteness, even when they behave like your typical mindless zombies.
    • Romero. He's a zombie dog who develops a fierce expression when he eats, but most of the time, he has a cute appearance proper for a small dog.
  • Watch It for the Meme: The truck scene from the first minute of Episode 1 and the rap scene from Episode 2 have drawn in a lot of watchers from meme communities, further making those the most-watched and most-memed clips from this anime.
  • The Woobie:
    • Sakura gets unexpectedly killed, terrorized by the other girls as unawakened zombies, discovers she's a zombie herself, gets shot, realizes she's lost her memory, finds herself having to put up with Kotaro’s lunacy, gets terrorized by Saki for being a pushover, then gets shot at again… suffice to say, she doesn't have a very fun first couple of episodes. Then come the final two episodes of the season, as it's revealed how a life of having her best efforts continually thwarted by bad luck left her depressed about ever actually achieving anything, and the knowledge that her last try at something in life left her dead results in her finally surrendering and giving up on (un)life, verging on the suicidal and being a Jerkass Woobie due to being more moody and bitter. It’s only thanks to Kotaro and the others’ extraordinary efforts, and their refusal to give up on her, that she manages to rediscover her hope and optimism.
    • Neither Ai or Junko take being recruited into Kotaro’s project well - Ai can't take the insanity, Junko can’t take being terrorized by Tae, and both of them are struggling to cope with their situation - and discovering how much people are scared of them in their current condition only makes it worse. As a result, they’re left isolated from the others, unwilling to join in, until they’re spurred to save the failing guerrilla performance. Then comes their shared mini-arc at Saga Rock, as Ai reveals she’s still very much traumatized by the way she died, left trembling and curled up into a ball, and Junko's alienation from the modern idol industry and the difficulties she has with public interaction result in her withdrawing into the attic for weeks. In the end, they both find ways to deal with their respective issues, with Saki and Junko supporting Ai in the face of her Trauma Button, and Kotaro encouraging Junko to be herself and arranging things so she doesn't have to deal with the public.
    • Lily had a happy relationship with her father Takeo, but wanted to make him happy from inside the TV... and it inadvertantly wrecked their relationship, as he became more interested in her career than her personal life and she became increasingly overworked. Then she discovered she'd started puberty, and her terror as a transgender girl at the thought of ending up with a male body was the final straw, the culminative mental stress from everything in her life triggering a fatal heart attack. Her realization that Takeo still loved her after all this time, and of her true feelings for him, hurts.
    • Takeo qualifies too, as we see just how much losing Lily traumatized him, haunted by the fact he might have unintentionally caused her death, and unable to watch the TV he'd once loved because it had too many painful memories. Both of them manage to find some measure of closure after Episode 8, however.


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