Posted on 15 January 2019 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Reviews by AidanAK47, Zombieland Saga

Zombieland Saga was a show that came out of the gate guns blazing, no one expected it nor did anyone predict it but it left a strong impression when it first aired it’s starting episodes. Originally considered to be another zombie apocalypse anime, it overthrew expectations by turning out to be a zombie idol anime. Outlandish though it may be this actually worked as the idol shows ranged from death metal to Rap and the comedy hit all the right notes with special mention to the manager who is equal parts ridiculous and bombastic. It looked like this was the series to take a look at the idol anime genre and poke fun at it’s ever so tiresome tropes.

But ultimately the greatest failing of Zombieland Saga was becoming that which it originally parodied. The end result isn’t something that I would consider a trainwreck like Kado as while Zombieland becomes something lesser, it’s still at least a decently enjoyable watch. The problem is that it’s opening episodes promised something greater and could have potentially been the anime to point out and mock the very nature of idol anime itself for it is something that has been long overdue such a scathing. Sadly the case is that once episode three hits the story gears more towards traditional idol anime and the fact that the idols are in themselves zombies becomes less and less relevant. What at once was a great surprising anime just became another idol anime.

There is fun to be had with the show and sometimes it can bump up from being alright to pretty good. The opening is quite excellent and the comedy has some great highlights with Yugiri’s mistimed slaps and Yamada Tae just being the legendary Yamada Tae. Though when the series aims to hit a more emotional tone this often contrasts far too greatly with the general slapstick nature of the show itself, often not making its mind up on whether it wants to make you cry or laugh. Episodes become more formulaic as well with each often starting that a pep talk session with the manager so he can ham it up for comedic effect. Coupled with an ending which acts more as a midpoint finish rather than a finale and you have a show that’s rather half baked in nature. Overall this show can be a fun watch but it once held the potential to be greater but then went for something more more marketable but more generic as a result.

Posted on 10 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

And so Zombieland ends…or more that it just decided to drop off for a bit. The last few episodes decided to focus on Sakura with the first being her overzealous preparation for a big concert and Kotaro’s efforts to just get her to chill out and relax, the second being the return of her memories with a new problem that the last episode ends up resolving. We did get at least some answers as to some of the overarching mysteries of the series but those answers certainly are underwhelming. FOr one it appear that the manager really was doing this all for Sakura’s sake and seemed to know her in his school days. At the return of Sakura’s memories many were theorising that her death was actually suicide and not the truck along with other rather dark theories. Personally I never thought it would go that way considering that the show generally has played as lighthearted as possible with the deaths of many of the franchuchu members being on the silly side.

Really Sakura’s problem basically boils down to cosmically incredible bad luck as anything she ever tried hard at resulted in her failing due to random coincidence. The universe certainly has it out for this girl and it’s likely her bad luck will result in many a incident to episodes to come. Yes, this is certainly not the end of this show as the ending itself just feels like a typical halfway point end. Considering Blu-ray sales and general reception it’s likely to get a second season but if it does I would say that I wouldn’t be all the stoked for one. Zombieland Saga certainly started with potential but much like I feared as the idol elements got introduced the show eventually became another idol show. The nature of the idols being zombies mattering less and less as the series progressed with it mainly just being used as a story device for backstory of the week.I know that sounds like I am brushing off a lot but having seen Love Live this formula is rather familiar.

That being each member getting there own episode that happens to deal with some personal problem which is overcome by episodes end with them ending on a song with them as the headliner. Simplifying it down but for any idol show that is business as usual and it is rather sad to see a show that was originally unpredictable turn into something so formulaic. I will say that what it ended up being didn’t ruin it completely as the show itself can be fun but it is disappointing in that it had the potential to be better but settles for the more unremarkable yet profitable option. If there is a second season I can easily see it doing the episodic character focused stories with the regular old idol training arcs and silly episodes. Which can be fun for some but for myself I just find myself drifting away from the series much like I did with love live. After all, I never finished Love Live. I stopped watching around the second season and never found the time or motivation to get back to it. Not out of hating the show as it was surprisingly entertaining but it was more just general apathy. So if there is a second season of Zombieland, I very much suspect to drift off it much like I did with Love live.

Posted on 4 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

Zombieland Saga is a confusing show to me. It’s been on a decline since episode 3 which it chucked out it’s rather unpredictable but beautifully chaotic nature for what seems to be a formula closer and more sincere of an idol show. It’s jumping between modes wherein the show can be wacky and surreal yet wants you to take it seriously. Mizuno was struck by lightning while performing, which is absurd yet the story treats her trauma regarding lightning very seriously. Miyu is a trap who died from shock after finding a chin hair, yet the anime treats his death with absolute genuine heartbreak with it even hinting that while his/her death may be silly the circumstances of overwork and mental stress leading up to it most certainly were not. Meanwhile Saki died from playing a game of chicken and driving off a cliff yet the effect on her best friend appears to be a deep rooted trauma. These elements cannot coexist as they just clash too much for it’s hard to truly feel the sadness of the situation when the nercomanager can just pop in and Hououin Kyouma it up to high heaven.

I miss the freestyle performances and while the lightning giving them magic autotune was rather novel, I just find these idol performances to be poor replacements for the creativity of the first two episodes. The only saving grace is that they have appeared to abandon CGI for 2D performances which may be less animated but at least don’t detract from the experience. I am disappointed that Zombieland ultimately went the route of glorifying the idol industry while ignoring it’s dirty underbelly of exploitation. They made one joke about how the girls being undead meant that they can literally be worked to death without worry but other than that it’s been the usual piel of idols giving people hopes and dreams with all the sugar coated nonsense. I thought the girls encountering old relations would bring some new interest to the series but sadly they have decided to have the girls keep things secret and pretend to be unrelated. I still advocate that the show isn’t bad but if the beginning episodes were a 9/10 then we have dropped down to a 6/10.

At this point the zombie thing has become a bit of a gimmick while the show has more or less begun to follow idol show formula of having an individual episode on each girl coupled with a character song. Sure in this case the girls episodes generally have to due with their untimely passing but overall the episodic nature has made the show more predictable. We know that manager is going to have a scene where he pep talks the team, we know there’s going to be an idol song, we know that each episode is going to focus on a specific girl. At this point the only things keeping this show going is the small jokes it nails and the mystery regarding just what Tatsumi’s goal or motives are in all this. And I have to say that I am not quite interested enough in those things to be heavily invested here.

Posted on 11 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

Forgive me for my lack of coverage on this series but you may have guessed that my enthusiasm for it has died down considerably. I always felt that Zombieland Saga was in danger of losing what made it great in its first two episodes and sadly that has come to pass. This show has ultimately become that which it wished to parody. I will preface this by saying that at least the show hasn’t become bad for it’s still pretty watchable and decently enjoyable. But the spark that was in the first two episodes has sadly died out with this show is not having any more surprises under its sleeve. We have a bit of a formula created with each episode starting with Miyano the necroducer doing his jam and introducing the episodes gimmick. Sadly the freestyle performances are gone and we have gone straight idol much to my dismay. With the comedy generally being hijinks related to them nearly being found out to be zombies.

So far the group dynamic seems to have saved the show as it is somewhat interesting to see how they individually interact with whatever they face. Yugiri i find the most fascinating as she is essentially from a completely different time period and has more or less decided to just roll with whatever is going on. She has no real idea how to approach anything so she just goes with whatever she knows and hopes for the best. The latest episode does bring up an interesting point between the conflicting nature of old and new idol culture represented by Junko and Ai’s conflicting views. With Junko representing the old style of keeping an idol at a distance where Ai is more on the modern end with a Idol interacting with her fans on a more personal level. While the show looks like it’s going to push Junko towards Ai’s perspective but I gotta say that she’s got a pretty good point. The barrier between idol and fanbase is important as it’s a reminder of the positions of the two but with the advent of the internet and social media, idols are encouraged to close that gap between the two. Ultimately what AI is talking about is fostering parasocial relationships which isn’t a good thing because it’s predatory to the fanbase and absolutely life ruining for the idol.

There does seem to be more intrigue into the circumstances as well for despite the comedic nature of the show there are some oddly dark aspects here. In particular the means which the nercoducer keeps the girls there seems oddly restrictive with them not allowed access to the internet or otherwise. How he managed to get all this girls corpses as well is certainly a point of question as they all seem to have died in a variety of ways. With it revealed that Junko died in a plane accident while Ai went out in the most metal way possible by being struck by lightning while performing. If she was in a rock band instead of an idol group that would be the most legendary way to die. The next episode holds the cliffhanger of her possibly meeting her old idol group which is certainly a reaction I want to see. i mean dying by lightning and then returning from the dead to perform again? Seriously if Ai wasn’t an idol singer this would be one legendary badass comeback. I really do miss the spontaneous nature of the show as it looks like I won’t be getting the Thriller performance and the narrative does look to be going in a more sincere and serious direction than I would have liked. It’s my hope that at least it doesn’t downgrade itself further or maybe brings back a moment of the potential it had in the beginning before it reaches it’s end.

Posted on 21 October 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

In some regard my last comment of calling this zombie love live in my last post could be considered prophetic as this episode definitely went the Love Live route. Unfortunately this is also the weakest episode of the show to date. Antics before the halfway point were still fun as that manager still cracks me up with the best moment being him trying to spell Guerilla in english, screwing up on the second letter and giving up by writing it in japanese. There were other good moments as well like Sakura being about to give a speech to inspire the others only to get slapped and for someone else to say what she was about to say. Along with regular legendary Yamada Tae antics.

But when compared to the previous episodes this one fell very short which is done to two things in my opinion. One was that this episode just took itself far too seriously when it came to the idol stuff which some have deemed parody but to me it was just played too straight to distinguish itself as such.The episode title may be a parody on love Live and even the waay the episode played out was rather like a Love live episode complete with training montage and full crappy CGI dance sequence. But the only thing that could consider it a parody was that this was their worst performance out of three with only a little girl caring to pay attention to them and the joke about the inspirational speech getting cut off by a slap and another inspiration speech.

It could be my particular hatred for Idol J-Pop driving this opinion but I prefered the freestyle performances of the last two episodes. It was a lot more spontaneous and hilarious then this rather routine idol episode. In fact this episode to me could mark a transition point which could kill this series for if they truly wish to push the idol aspect then this series could tank hard and lose all my goodwill. So next week we have a hot spring episode which isn’t what I would consider a good way to win back the audience but considering that the girls are undead and they made a joke about wow they are likely beginning to stink seeing as they are undead corpses I see the logic of having a hot spring episode. But hopefully it’s more than just a hot spring episode and we push this series away for the pitfall of becoming another idol show.

Posted on 17 October 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

Zombieland Saga is madness. Pure insanity that could be complete genius or absolute idiocy. So for those who haven’t heard this anime is not the zombie apocalypse show that was initially thought, as a matter of fact the zombie apocalypse footage in the trailer was in fact a video the producer showed the girls to illustrate what happens to zombies if humans realised that they existed. No, Zombieland Saga is not that kind of show for it is an idol show. An idol show whose idols do screamo death metal and scare the hell out of people when they walk around at night. Also our idols happen to be the living dead who subside on squid for reasons unknown. I truly wish I could have been at the pitch meeting for this anime and shake the hand of the man mad enough to greenlight it. This is truly why I love anime as this is the kind of story that could only see the light of day here and not to mention, actually be pretty good.

It’s fairly safe to say that the voice actor for the producer is having a real fun time Houyon Kyouma-ing it up and his interaction is pretty damn funny. Particularly when someone calling him on his lies and all he can do to respond is throw a tantrum. What is real goals are at this point certainly seem elusive as it’s hard to tell if he has any agenda at all or is just doing this for kicks. There are mysteries that he refused to elaborate on like how the girls became zombies in the first place which he dodged by just saying to watch a zombie movie, which is pretty amusing considering that most zombie movies do not elaborate at all on what actually causes the outbreak. There is also the matter of the legendary Yamada Tae who is the only zombie not to wake up, seems to be the first zombie that the producer brought to life based on her designation of the number 0 and that she is literally known only as the legendary Yamada Tae without any info on what in particular that makes her legendary. He doesn’t even state as to why an idol group would save the saga region or even why he is interested in doing so in the first place. But then again this guy can’t seem to decide what the bands name is and just throws them on a stage with little in the way of preparation. both times which somehow worked out

I died when they started rapping on stage as I watched this show go from Love Live to 8 mile out of nowhere. The manager beatboxing, the courtson putting in a beat with a shamisen and Sakura bobbing to the music while having a rap battle a undead fromer motorcycle gang leader who is pissed cause her tamagotchi died. All of it had me smiling ear to ear and not to mention the rap actually sounded good despite it being used for the plot for Sakura to finally get the girls on board with the idol idea. So the question is whether this show will eventually have them performing idol songs or are they just going to jump from genre to genre? Cause I hope it’s the latter option because it is far too entertaining to just have them spontaneously jump into unfamiliar genres and if they ended with a version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller then…well greatness shall have been achieved. But admittedly that does run the risk of making this show rather formulaic when surprise is it’s greatest factor and this episode did follow a similar plotline to the first episode. As a last note I hear that Funimation have decided to simudub this series for this season and god have mercy on them. This second episode is going to be a nightmare to dub but hopefully they can pull it off and hopefully the actresses they got can rap as well as sing provided they dub it and don’t just switch to japanese for the rap. So will the girls finally sing an idol song next time? Will the legendary Yamada Tae wake up? Will they finally decide on a group name? Will Saki get over the death of her tamagotchi? Find out next time on zombie love live.

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