Zombieland Saga – Episode 11/12 [Final Impressions]

I’m going to come out and say it, I did not enjoy the amnesia arc for Sakura. However, the resolution and the later half of episode 12 was absolutely amazing.

So episode 10 ends with Sakura being hit by a truck [again] and losing her memory of her time as a zombie, but regaining her life memories. What she remembers about her life is less than happy, she’s spent her entire life cursed with bad luck. It seems no matter how hard she tries, something goes wrong for her and makes everything she worked for end up useless in the end. Such as practicing for a race and getting a cramp on the actual day of the race or studying to get into your dream school, but being too flustered by a busy and stressful morning to focus properly on the exam.
Or worst of all, picking yourself up and deciding your going to turn your life around and be more positive by auditioning to become an idol and then running out and getting hit by a truck. So with this in mind, she starts to wonder why she should even bother.
She’ll just bring everyone else down, it’s not worth trying.

Each of the girls tries to cheer her up out of her funk in various ways and that’s most of what episode 11 is, which is what made it so hard to sit and actually review on time. Thus the double post, because I just could NOT bring myself to care about Sakura’s moping session.
Though there was one moment of note in episode 11 that I want to sit and think about and that is who the hell is the guy behind the counter giving booze to Kotaro? He HAS to be a zombie or some kind of supernatural creature because he says that he “owes Yugiri”, and if you recall, Yugiri died over 100 years ago.
WHO is Kotaro? We get a flashback of Kotaro and Sakura in Highschool, he picks up her CD and gives it to her and she smiles brightly at him. Is he really just her classmate? Is he doing this insane zombie idol plan for her? What is his deal?
We aren’t getting any answers this season, that’s for sure.

Tae’s efforts to help Sakura are my favorite thing in episode 12 though. While she doesn’t awaken, she is just trying so hard for Sakura’s sake. Trying to help Sakura remember teaching her how to dance, or showing him things they did together. It’s really sweet honestly and I wish we had more about her too. The legendary Tae, what makes her a legend? What makes her different? I’ve read several theories on the fact that she is Number 0 in the group and thus might of been the first attempt at bringing back a zombie and thus not complete.
This is another thing we have no answer too.

The Arpino concert creeps up and at least Sakura’s muscle memory remembers the dance moves. After hearing from Yugiri that they would rather fail with her then put on a successful show without her, Sakura reluctantly joins them on stage. It’s said in the episode, but it’s true, they’re all zombies. None of them are lucky, hell Ai was struck by Lightning in the middle of a live show. If that isn’t unlucky, I don’t know what is. As it happens, the Arpino show is cursed with the bad luck of the heaviest snowfall in Saga record.
This does not stop Franchouchou’s dedicated fan base of the two punk dudes, Saki’s old gang, Lily’s dad, those two reporters and a ton of unnamed characters from turning out though! It’s time to rock, and roll and endure the area behind the stage breaking and caving in under the weight of the snow and destroying the stage.
As they say though, the show must go on and through it all. They keep going. Even when Sakura is ready to give up. The rest of them back her up, Kotaro included.

She regains her memory and everything is back to normal for one killer performance, bad CGI dancing and everything!

As the concert wraps, we cut to the two reporters and the pictures from the Arpino concert come in and as he looks and compares the pictures from the concert to the pictures he has of Lily, Ai and Junko. He is less and less sure of what’s going on and that’s where the series ends.

Overall impressions:

Nobody saw Zombieland Saga coming. It drove in out of left field faster than the truck that hit Sakura. They went out of their way to mislead you with everything from the first trailer to the promo art and honestly, I think that was brilliant. I remember finishing the first episode and thinking “I’m not sure what I just watched, but I loved it.” and only coming to love it more once we got to know the other characters better. Of course, no anime is without sin.
The CGI was clunky and awkward and I still can’t work out if that was done on purpose or not.
Sakura at least to me wasn’t a very engaging character and that made episode 11 hard for me to sit through and care about.
Otherwise, this show had a lot going for it.

-The music was always fantastic and on point, Lily’s song was a little awkward in the beginning but it managed to get better as it went and the emotional weight behind it was brilliant.
-Mamoru Miyano’s performance as Kotaro was just always a treasure. Anyone who knows me will know that I am the biggest dub supporter in the world, if there is a dub, i’m usually watching it and backing it and while the dub for Zombieland Saga isn’t bad. Nothing can hold a candle to the brilliant delivery that came from Mamoru. I am still here questioning if they are over utilizing his talent with all his crazy lines and out bursts or underutilizing him because they didn’t give him a singing role.
-The masterful handling of the reveal about Lily

The largest disadvantage this show has is the fact that it left far too many plot threads open and we have no current promise of a season 2. We still need…

-Yugiri’s backstory
-Kotaro’s story
-to go somewhere with the detectives
-to know about the guy behind the counter with Kotaro
-More information on Tae

If/when we get a promise of season 2 I will be through the roof with happiness. A few hiccups near the end aside, this was the most fun i’ve had watching and reviewing an anime in years. I woke up every Thursday basically bouncing and going “YAY Zombieland Saga!!!!”
I want to rate this as a perfect show, but the fact it baited a sequel but didn’t contain the promise of a sequel brings it down just a bit. A solid 8.5/10, if only for the sheer amount of hanging plot threads. It’s still hilarious, heartfelt and fun with great music and nobody can take that away from it.

7 thoughts on “Zombieland Saga – Episode 11/12 [Final Impressions]

  1. I definitely agree with all of the points you brought up about episode 11 & Sakura’s depression arc. While I personally liked it since I had my own string of bad luck when episode 11 aired last week & really related to Sakura at the time, I can see how people could be annoyed by how they hammered so many different moments & themes. That being said, I felt the way they resolved the arc was strong & relatable to anyone who feels like they may be struggling with life. Plus, Ai’s line, “I don’t think mistakes or failures are a bad thing,” has become my favorite anime quote of 2018 since it’s a simple, but powerful statement that anyone can follow.

    I’m a little bummed that Zombieland Saga ended on a semi-cliffhanger with no guarantee of the show continuing, but it was still a great series that exceeded a lot of people’s expectations nonetheless. All we can hope for is that the series gets either a season 2 or an OVA to wrap things up.

    1. Ai’s quote is both beautiful and inspiring and she’s right. Failures are just a way of setting up for future successes and thus they aren’t so bad, they are learning experiences. I agree with the sentiment about the semi-cliffhanger fully, I am really hoping we get a confirmation for more content soon because it was a very strong series. It just needs to fill out a little bit more and tie up some loose ends.

  2. Man…still haven’t seen the episodes yet, but despite what you said about Sakura, I still have hopes for her episode. She may not have an awesome background like the other girls, but that still doesn’t make her a bad character in my own opinion. I just hope that I have a more positive experience when I get the chance to see them.

    1. Yeah, I just personally wasn’t very invested in her and that made episode 11 kind of a slog to watch. No offense to her as a character at all, just not my type. Episode 12 really pulled the arc together though in my opinion! Hope the experience is more positive for you.

  3. The bar owner is speculated to be Xu Fu. A Chinese slchemist ordered by the First Qin Emperor Shi Huangdi to search for immortality. Xu never came back from his second voyage but a popular theory was he headed East.

    Helps that the name of the bar and the bar had a picture of Xu’s statue

  4. I hear both Zombieland Saga and SSSS Gridman were very popular with the Japanese fanbase.
    For Zombieland, the official Twitter acknowledges they’re not quite done with the series yet. There could be another installment incoming.

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