Zombieland Saga Revenge: Night of the Living Idols

One of the most surprising anime hits of the last couple years was Zombieland Saga. With humor, great music, cute girls, and an interesting take on the genre. It was a surprise to many that simply smashing together undead zombie girls and idols together would work so well, but boy it sure as hell did. For someone like myself, who has always viewed idol culture as the place where I “get off the bus” in terms of Japan, it was shocking at just how much I enjoyed the show.

So when new of a second season came out, you can bet people were excited about it. Would the show continue to have the same magic, or would it suffer the same fate as other series. Well after the cut let’s take a dive into Zombieland Saga Revenge and find out!

Down, but not out!

Right off the bat, I can thankfully that Revenge, despite being a sequel, does not fall into the same trap as other second season often to. There is no feeling of a rushed production, or scrambling around to find a story. Instead Revenge, with most of the legwork involving the main characters done, is content in pushing them in new directions, while also having some fun and of course, plenty of dances.

Picking up after the first season left off, Franchouchou, fueled by their success in their last concern ended up taking a page from Icarus’s book and flying too close to the sun. By bombing at EFS, a popular and massive concert stage, we find that zombie girls humbled, shaken and well into the red in terms of debt. Sporting blooding noses, and a heartbroken manager, the girls have to decide whether or not they will continue being idols and get their revenge, or if their rise to idol superstardom ends right here. Since the seasons has 12 episodes, you can tell which way they end up leaning.

Revenge bringing the characters back down to zero is an interesting choice, but it does allow for girls like Junko to get more development. Her guitar shredding was one of the best scenes.

Now as I said before, with most of the character work done in the first outing, Revenge is able to put the characters into new directions. As an episodic series with an overall general plot (getting back to EFS), Revenge allows the girls to try new and interesting things as they try to claw their way back to fame. Characters who were mostly on the sidelines last season (Junko and especially Yugiri) get their time in the spotlight which helps fill in the gaps in some of their histories. While some may question the ‘soft reset’ the show does in terms of slapping them back down to unknown idols. I think it was pretty smart idea, allowing the show to keep things stakes small and personal, and most all in the prefecture of Saga. Being an idol group is no doubt hard, and I know enough about music and creative endeavors that being a ‘one-hit wonder’ is very possible. Sometimes creating that second book, or album, is harder than getting your big break, and Revenge does a good job in showing how after being knocked down, you gotta work hard to climb back up.

When Yugiri’s backstory is more samurai than other samurai anime. That’s saying something. Absolutely a highlight of the season.

And thankfully that climb is full of all the same humor that made the first season so successful. While some of the “omg, this is so new and fresh!” shine has worn off, Revenge never forgets that the reality of trying to be idols while also being zombies was one of the main reasons people watched this show. I found myself laughing several times at many moments, especially with the Legendary Tae Yamada, who gets her own episode to show us all why she is the most legendary idol of them all. This is helped by musical numbers and performances that look and play even better than the last outing. Seeing Sagajihen, probably the girls best song, in the actual anime itself was a damn treat, and the continued use of 3D models keeps getting better and better. Revenge might be one of the only shows that actually is able to make it work, which is a cause enough for celebration.

Tae Yamada continues to steal every moment she’s one screen, and her own episode was wonderful.

Zombieland Saga Revenge is a good sequel to a great series. The freshness of the series may have worn off, but there is enough effort and time put into this second outing that makes it leagues better than what some anime sequels, especially original series, end up getting. It doesn’t keep things static, builds off what came before, and never forgets what people came here for. This could have been a cynical cash-grab, but instead Revenge is able to remind people who everyone fell in love with this series in the first place. And if that post-credits scene is any indication, then god only knows what the writers have cooked up for us next. If you love idol shows and somehow skipped out on this one, then absolutely give it a look. It’s absolutely worth your time, and as someone who has no love for idols or idol culture, that is the highest compliment I can give it.

And fuck if Sagajihen isn’t amazing.

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