I’m finally home, and with the final season of anime for 2018 finished, it’s about time to give my recommendation for one of the most surprising shows of the year. The reason that I think this was such a surprise is because it takes what’s been a pretty stale genre, the idol anime, and given it such life (pun intended) that it really stands out. Frankly, 2018 was possibly the best year we’ve seen in anime in over a decade. Titles such as A Place Further Than the Universe, Hinamatsuri, Megalobox, Laid-back Camp among many others were such outstanding offerings that if you didn’t find something to enjoy this past year, then you just plain don’t like anime anymore. But there’s been so many mediocre idol anime since Love Live lit up the charts that I was convinced that the genre was dead (more puns!). But Zombie Land Saga came around and proved that there still can be good, compelling stories told about idols.
The basic premise of the show is that the producer makes an idol group by reanimating the corpses of some famous and no so famous idols and idol wannabes from the past. He says that it’s to help revitalize the Japanese prefecture of Saga (It’s an actual prefecture and it works to make the title sound epic. Will the puns never end?) and while that might be part of his goal, other reasons are revealed throughout the course of the show.
Each of the girls is considered a legend, but none are more legendary than the most legendary of legends, Tae Yamada. Sure, nothing about her past is revealed in the show, and she’s the only girl who never actually “awakens” and remains in classical zombie state, but she is clearly the top idol in the whole group, even though the protagonist is technically Sakura, and the leader, or center, of the group is Saki. Still, with her voice actress being Kotono Mitsuishi, who is eternally famous for being the voice of Sailor Moon, among many other prominent roles from the 90’s, Tae is definitely worthy of being called a legend.
The main thing that I think is great about this show is the fact that it’s an anime original. Unlike most anime these days, it isn’t an adaptation of an existing manga, light novel, or video game. The anime came up with its own ideas, and while there is in fact a manga adaptation, it came out after the fact. This is rare, and it’s very refreshing to see, because a lot of anime that comes out these days are essentially advertisements for their source material. Wanna know what happens next? Read the manga/light novel or play the game! That said, thankfully this anime has apparently done very well, because it ends with a big cliffhanger. As one would expect, since these girls were legends in their own time, it was only a matter of time before someone recognized them from their past lives, and the final episode ends with a reporter putting two and two together. Based on sales of the video, I think it’s safe to say there will be a second season that further explores this, and I’m personally looking forward to it.
Now I’ll leave you all with one of the moments from the show that made me look forward to it week after week, the epic rap battle between protagonist Sakura and the group leader Saki.