Hello everyone and Happy New Year! What are your New Year’s resolutions? My New Year’s resolution is to watch more idol shows.
For as long as I can remember, I had two rules for watching anime:
- No sports shows. I’ve never played a sport, and frankly, I don’t really care about them.
- No idol shows. I’ve seen some of my friends fall into idol hell and I wanted to stay far away from that.
Well, it looks like I only have one rule now, because I am now a true believer in FranChouChou having walked down that path into the fist circle of idol hell.
Anyways, it’s time to “review” ZOMBIE LAND SAGA and this time it’s going to (hopefully) be a little shorter than the other reviews I’ve written. I went into this show blind, and I think the best way to watch this show is to go into it with as little knowledge as possible. That does mean that I’m breaking away from my usual format and I will be vague, while still trying to pique your interest.
With that said, let’s get into it.
WATCH ZOMBIE LAND SAGA
This concludes my review thank you very much.
For real though, I cannot recommend this show enough. As you can probably tell from the first few paragraphs, I will say this much: ZOMBIE LAND SAGA is an idol show. But not in the traditional sense. For me, ZOMBIE LAND SAGA is to idol shows, what Konosuba is to isekai shows.
Let’s break it down into the five categories:
The overall plot of ZOMBIE LAND SAGA is fairly straightforward. People have a goal and work toward it, encountering obstacles along the way. The real power of the show, though, comes from the individual episodes. I never expected a show about zombies to make me feel the heart-wrenching emotion of realizing that the very thing that bound you and your loved ones together can drive you apart, or the sense of nihilism that accompanies the realization that no matter how hard you try, everything ends in failure. At the same time, I never expected an advertisement for a real-life grill-it-yourself chicken restaurant to be in this show. That’s the beauty of the show. It keeps subverting expectations. As soon as you think that you’ve got it figured out, it blindsides you like a truck with a tonal change. At some point I gave up trying to guess what would happen in the next episode and just let the show take me along for the ride.
I do have some minor issues with a few details though: zombies are dead, so they shouldn’t be able to blush, sweat, or have a heartbeat. That is all.
Characters and Character Designs
I love all the characters. I do. Truly. Mamoru Miyano as Kotaro Tatsumi is a treasure, and his frenetic energy balanced by his moments of clarity and wisdom make for a character that you cannot predict. Kotaro’s character design is clean, sharp, and made out of real clothes. He dresses like a human being and not so much like an anime character, and I love that.
The other characters are great too, and the combination of people from so many different walks of life allow for great interactions and different ways of approaching problems. Each member of the main cast has a design and wardrobe that is unique, but also realistic enough that one could reasonably cosplay them using regular clothes. Almost everyone is given time to fully develop their characters, with most of the main cast each get an episode that is centered on them.
The voice acting in this show is solid. All the actors had to portray many different emotions. From wild excitement to helpless frustration, to quiet reflection, to intense fear, all the members of the main cast did stellar jobs. This show might have my favorite performance from Mamoru Miyano. We get the full range of emotions from this man, with the exception of sorrow (For sorrow, please watch Steins;Gate 0). There is no point in the show where anyone didn’t sound genuine.
Art and Animation
ZOMBIE LAND SAGA is also the home of the smoothest(?) half second of animation I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why it enchants me so, but the half second in episode one, around the thirty second mark, when Sakura turns around from the mirror and does bounces away from it. The second one of those “bounces” is so smooth. It will stay in my memory for a very long time.
Having heaped praise on that tiny bit of animation, it’s time to address the rest of the show. I didn’t like the CG in the show. It feels very stiff, but I understand the need for it. Also, due to the nature of the show, ZOMBIE LAND SAGA might be trying to make a point with their CG, especially the first time it’s used for a performance in episode three. While the CG might be an issue, the rest of the animation is great. The movement is dynamic, the facial expressions are emphatic, and the backgrounds are detailed.
The opening sequence is fantastic. The sequence showcases many different art styles, including the painted-look at the beginning, the comic book panel shot, the scenes with the thicker black lines drawn on the outlines, etc. I particularly enjoyed Kotaro’s moonwalk-like dance move.
This is a show with a heavy emphasis on music. If you couldn’t tell by the intro, this is an “idol” show, and idols sing. So how good is the singing? In my opinion, it’s pretty solid stuff. Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot of songs that I can compare it to, since I hadn’t watched an idol show prior to ZOMBIE LAND SAGA. Most of the songs sound like standard J-Pop, which is not my favorite, but I like the singers’ voices, and the songs are mixed well with no glaring errors.
I like the OST quite a bit. I’ll admit I wasn’t super attentive the first time around, mostly because I was enjoying the writing and animation too much, but there were a few tracks that stood out to me. I enjoyed the upbeat music that plays in the PV and at the beginning of the first episode. I also really like the track that plays about fifteen and a half minutes into episode six has a very “lonely cowboy” feel to it, with its solo trumpet and acoustic guitar. The ending theme, “Hikarie”, with its lone piano accompaniment, really allows the voice actors to show off their singing chops, and the harmonization makes for a relaxing song that is not only easy to listen to, but it also helps the viewer relax after all the excitement that happened in the episode prior.
But the crown jewel of the shows’ music is the opening theme, “Adabana Necromancy”. This song is one of my favorite themes of 2018. I adore this song. Honestly, I want to kiss the composers and thank them for writing such a masterpiece. Songs like this make me want to practice my instrument again just so I can play some part of it. The dynamic changes throughout the piece allow both the vocals and instruments to shine. The instrumentation has a powerful horn section that plays dynamic lines and emphasized pops, plus a driving drum and bass part that remind me of a James Bond theme like “The Man with the Golden Gun” or a Tokusatsu Show like Turboranger. The low male voices in the chorus and the instrumental interlude, and the harmonization of the voice actors fill the music with rich warmth and boldness. The singers sing in a lower register than their speaking voices, and that really lets them use their chest voices to belt out their lyrics. It also prevents the song from sounding shrill.
I cannot recommend ZOMBIE LAND SAGA enough. It’s one of the greatest comedies I have ever seen. This show has brought forth within me the desire to go on an anime pilgrimage. I implore you, please watch ZOMBIE LAND SAGA.
Time for the numbers. 5 is average, and 10 is the pinnacle of anime. Each category is scored 0-10, and at the end, the subtotal is multiplied.
Voice Acting: 10
Art and Animation: 8.5
Arbitrary Multiplier: 2