It’s pretty clear that in today’s society, anime seems to be churned out in droves. You bare witness to the regurgitation of carbon copies, causing the medium you hold dear to fade into the bleakest grey...
And then Zombieland Saga busts through the fucking window in a speeding minivan going 156 mph, shouting “FUCK YOU, GET IN!” before flooring it faster than you can say “The Legendary TAE YAMADA!” It’s fun, it’s quirky, it’s loud as all hell, and most importantly, it’s as vivid as a sunset. Sure, your weeaboo mancave of a room is busted and your waifu collection is in pieces, but we all know you’ll replace that with a shrine dedicated to a bunch of zombie idols in no time. You’ll get used to it anyway.
We should probably get the most colorful, charming parts of this show out of the way. These visuals pop. The colors strike like God’s lightning, especially in both the opening and ending. These character designs are as bombastic as the personalities of the girls when they’re off doing weird hijinks. Their facial expressions and clothes are so glorious that it’s easy to forget that you only give a shit about like half the characters until their pasts get revealed. Sure, there are some fugly CGI idol models in a couple of dance sequences early on, but then we get oil paintings for menus and real-life footage. Studio MAPPA poured their blood, sweat, and tears into injecting nothing but style into this show.
Speaking of hijinks, there’s a ton of variety in these spectacles. Horror movie/game parodying, playing hot potato with Tae’s severed head, fucking chicken performances and rap battles?! How can anyone object to this?! This is a perfect venue for vibrant character chemistry, as evidenced by the two best characters in the show, Saki and The Legendary Tae Yamada! These two embody the best aspects of the show, with them getting a majority of the best gags. Saki’s loud and abrasive personality makes for perfect chemistry fodder with the rest of the cast, and the inner machinations of Tae Yamada’s mind are an enigma. She is a joy to witness.
The rest of the characters took a while to become even remotely interesting, and this is for a few reasons. For one, several of the main characters are often more drama focused. While this isn’t a bad thing on its own, not only are the personalities of characters such as Junko and Ai not very interesting, but given the limited time spent on drama in comparison to everything else in the first 4 episodes, the drama often feels like a detour. Admittedly, very few of these characters are that great when they aren’t dealing with absurd scenarios, but some are especially dull early on. The latter half thankfully has episodes designed around fleshing out the characters and giving them an emotional arc, but not every character gets this luxury. Granted, none of the main 7 idols are as grating as their manager Kotaro (cuz that guy can get fucked by a cactus more than half the time) but the show still has a hard time giving everyone the spotlight. Thankfully some of the side characters introduced in some of these character-centric mini-stories are written and explored efficiently. Without them, the drama-centered focus of the second half would have felt like an agonizing shift considering how lackluster the more serious portions of the show felt beforehand.
The only thing left to touch on is the music. The background tracks are catchy, with neat jingles to compliment the lighthearted and comedic moments. However, the real meat comes in the form of the songs by everyone in this idol group: Franchouchou. The OP "Adabana Necromancy” is as vivid as the visuals that it plays over, and the watercolor visuals really help sell the emotional ED "Hikari e”. As for the insert idol tracks, several of them are pretty nice to listen to as well, with the only real exception being the ear-piercing Vocaloid-esque song that plays at the end of the 7th episode. It would be rather ghastly if these performances sounded dead, so thank the maker this ain’t the case.
It’s refreshing to have an anime run you over, screaming. It calms down, and there are some growing pains, but I’m happy to see some life here. There’s a vivid pulse to this one, a wild and unique expression so charming and sincere that I nearly overlook how uneven and easy to break this show can be. With this performance now over, it’s your turn to take part in the saga. What are you waiting for? Do it while you’re still alive!
Also, Tae Yamada dabs in episode 7, so that’s an Easter egg to look out for.
Written/Edited by: CodeBlazeFate
Proofread by: Peregrine