Review: Zombie Land Saga — Episode 1: Good Morning SAGA
Cooper D Barham
I knew nothing about this series going into it besides the knowledge that Yasaharu Takanashi, famous for the soundtracks of Naruto: Shippuuden and Fairy Tail, was designated as the musical composer. I mean, that, and it was obviously somehow about zombies (I say obviously, but Robot x Laserbeam is about golf and Bleach has nothing to do with laundry, so…). Whatever I’d been expecting, this isn’t that, and honestly I prefer it this way. This is zombies in a completely new territory.
As a quick primer, you have a cute girl named Sakura Minamoto, right? Imagine a typical cookie-cuter moe girl: all tasteful blundering and goofball spirit. Then on her way out the door to her first day of school, BAM! she’s hit by a truck. Ten years later and presto-chango, she’s now a zombie. How? Producer Kotaro Tatsumi certainly doesn’t know, nor is he particularly concerned with the details. All he cares about is using this to his advantage, for by combining Sakura with a handful of other legendary zombies, he can resurrect the idol singers scene in Japan with the first ever ZOMBIE-IDOL SINGING GROUP.
I’m not going to lie, this isn’t what my tastes normally land on for anime, but I was grinning like a fool through most of this episode, so I’m going to latch on just to see where it goes. It’s full of simple shenanigans, has an unusual premise, and not abhorrent writing. Plus the promise of other zombie idols “waking” into consciousness allows for character introductions on two different levels: first as physical creatures, and again as personalities unto themselves. The music also doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, riding a line between pop aesthetic and metal sound.
There’s nothing too interesting in this pilot, but it seems like a fun romp. Until it does anything more, I’ll treat it as such—and if that’s all it is, that’s okay, because it’s set itself up to hit a lot of story beats between both the idol and dark humor storytelling conventions. If it can commit to those categories, then I think it stands a good chance of succeeding in its own right.
Zombie Land Saga can be found streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll/VRV.
Spiritual Content: Well, there’s zombies, which qualifies as a sort of afterlife. The particulars of this specific zombification is kept deliberately vague.
Violence: Person is hit by a car, creating a pool of blood. There are watermarks used in the introduction which are made of blood spatters. One zombie barrels viciously through a wall. Other zombies attack people, though there’s no gory quality to any of it.
Language/Crude Humor: I watched the Crunchyroll subbed translation. In that iteration, at the time of this writing, there was only a single “d**n.”
Sexual Content: No concerning material.
Drug/Alcohol Use: No concerning material.
Other Negative Themes: No concerning material.
Positive Content: As an uplifting and harmless spin on the zombie sub-genre, this series promises more humor than it does blood and guts, with a healthy dash of optimism and friendship along the edges.