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Zombieland Saga should have been some cash-in to stake a claim on the idol anime zeitgeist with a shtick slapped on to make it stand out but it's not. This show has hundred of times the effort you'd expect from such a wild premise.
The show balances humor with emotional nuisance very well. It parodies and acknowledges every aspect of the idol industry- the overworking, the abusive manager, idols needing to be pure (can't get any more impure than death in Japanese culture) rather than ignoring them and treating it as easy work. I think a big reason on why the show works is because the show puts a lot of emphasis on the characters adapting to the situation. When you have an insane premise and wacky plots, giving the characters human struggles keeps things grounded and brings in the audience.
But also the songs tho. They could have very easily gotten girls who sing in ways that are popular right now. Instead each character's singing style matches their era and offers a wide range of voices that are immediately distinct from one another where as most idol groups tend to stick with girls who have higher registers. They don't stick to just pop, but when they do it's still influenced by other genres. Metal, rock, jazz, showtunes, the fact that they change it up each time makes the songs so much more distinct.
I wanna keep going on about the voice casting, if I start talking about the characters I'd run out of review space. Special shout out to Junko's VA, Maki Kawase, her range is so big that for a long time I thought a second person sang her parts, she sings an ETS on another anime and it's so different you wouldn't realize it was her, wow. Junko solo for season 2, I beg.
But something I really appreciate is how some of the girls don't sound like how you think they would. Junko is the shyest and quietest meanwhile Saki is a brash biker, I think on most shows they would have made Junko have one of the highest voices and Saki the lowest and gruffest but on this show Junko has the deepest voice and is a powerhouse of a singer while Saki has a feminine voice which makes her speak pattern stand out.
Wow that's three paragraphs on just the singing. That's not even getting into the fact that this show was backed by Saga's actual government, the ties to history and folklore, and the fact that it's just really funny.
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