Our favorite undead idol group is back and they’re still kicking it with a pitch-perfect sequel. Steve and Nicky check in on Franchouchou to see how they’re handling crippling debt, the trials of being a local idol group, and you know, undeath.
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Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
Nicky, I come to you today bearing some very serious news.
We haven’t talked about Zombie Land Saga yet this season.
That’s a pretty dire mistake on our part! If we keep going like this we’re gonna have to shut down the whole column due to our severe incompetence. But before that, we’re gonna do our best to redeem ourselves for our dear readers by actually talking about the surprise comeback of our favorite undead idol group.
This is Zombie Land Saga Revenge!!
I mean I love the girls, and I feel bad for them, but also lmaoooo
Oh. Oh no.
I guess, yet again, the real lesson of Zombie Land Saga is that not even the ravages of death are enough to free yourself from capitalism’s iron claws.
Except they really need their manager to do their make-up for them.
Just an absolute mad lad, that Miyano.
But with the return of their one-man movie make-up crew, the gang is ready to take on the world once again! (While still working day jobs!)
Yeah, maybe the best thing I can say about Revenge is that it feels like a direct continuation of the first season, which I enjoyed quite a bit. For me, it straddles that line between idol parody and quirky idol sincerity. The result is that no other show feels quite the same as ZLS. So far, I think this sequel season might actually be more consistent than the first. There’s a lot of very good and wacky stuff.
Even though you’d think it’d be easy to slap a more stock narrative with a zombie-motif on top, one of the things that made season one so charming was that it didn’t just recycle the beats of its genre. Instead, it used its episodic structure to focus on fleshing out the people of Saga and the past lives of the girls. Even beyond the absurdity of the premise, ZLS has a good handle on fleshing out everyday people as performers, without being just about trying to market yourself. We see this firsthand when rough-‘n-tough Saki encounters her favorite local singer and radio host now years past his prime.
Sakura is so emotional that she’s literally falling apart at any kind of attempt to be empathetic and it’s wonderful.
And I actually think ZLS‘ refusal to take itself too seriously is what lets it get away with schmaltzy stuff that might have weighed it down otherwise.
Again, I was really laughing out loud! Most of the time I just stare blank-faced at my computer screen whenever I watch stuff regardless of how I’m actually feeling.
Beyond that, though, this evolves into a surprisingly strong arc about the girls learning not to lean on Ai’s idol expertise so much, while Junko also has to wrestle with the possibility of getting NTR’d by Ai’s old idol buddies. There’s a lot going on.
The really nice thing about the second season is that all the fans from season one make little cameos and it helps make Saga feel like a very lived-in community. I might cry every time I see Lily’s dad sticking out in the crowd because he’s so goddamn tall.
I don’t know what it is, but I feel called out for some reason. [A short person]
That’s right, this season has Lily perform rakugo, because this season kicks ass.
Lily had a pretty standout episode in season one that also somehow lead to her visage terrorizing the members of U.K parliament. She’s a precious little zombified-bean and I would do anything for her. Though, maybe I wouldn’t flop like a mudskipper in front of a live studio audience.
Also that rakugo pun isn’t even close to the dumbest joke in Lily’s episode.
Behold, a Death Note reference in 2021.
Anyway, Lily enters a talent competition where this child star tries to use it as his own publicity stunt by being a big fish making a splash in a small pond. He tries to be all smiles at first but underneath he’s a real Boss Baby.
And this leads into the slice of fanservice we’ve all been waiting so patiently for: an entire episode about Tae running errands.
Also she’s stalked by the reporter from season one the whole time so he can be equally baffled by her shenanigans.
After all, maybe the best idol is the person who doesn’t try to be an idol. Or maybe the best idol is the one who loves dried squid the most. Either way, the answer is still Tae.
What I’m saying is that I think Tae should be replaced as the new manager from now on.
Not that it’s difficult to be more competent than Kotaro, but Tae clearly deserves a promotion. She’s got a good brain hiding in that usually detached skull of hers.
TBH I think I have a good case after Kotaro both landed them in severe debt and then immediately the next episode almost accidentally causes a scandal.
Love the Jeb Bush energy there, Kotaro.
Yugiri is out for BLOOD
Still excited for Yugiri’s upcoming episode where I’m definitely gonna see someone get murdered.
Oh yeah, after waiting so long, I’m hype as hell to see the Saga of yore and find out what Yugiri was up to in her non-undead days. Which, yes, probably involved murder.
And not just the weird and humorous accidental kind! Anyways, let’s bring it back to Maimai. She’s overall pretty average, she’s actually a big fan of Franchouchou, and they come to agreement that she can become their new member in order to keep their secret safe (and prevent lawsuits).
It’s also a bit about the nature of the relationship between idols and their fans, and what being a “zombie” means in a more metaphorical sense. But it’s also about Kotaro doing this a lot.
That’s why we love these dumb zombies.
Overall, I’d say ZLS is a lot like Franchouchou. It’s by no means the most amazing out there but there’s always something a little fun and hopeful about it. Definitely an odd bunch, but adorable.