Based in Japan’s Saga prefecture, the zombie idol group Franchouchou get their big break when they get a chance to perform at a major concert venue. Unfortunately, they only manage to sell one per cent of their tickets, and as a result the girls find themselves with a massive debt to the venue and needing to take on part-time jobs to make repayments. To make things worse, their manager has left the group to fend for themselves while he spends his days bemoaning their turn in fortune and getting extremely drunk. Looking for a fresh start after the abysmal concert, Franchouchou decided to return to the venue where they first performed together to rekindle their passion. They rose from the dead once already, is it possible for them to resurrect their idol careers?
Zombie Land Saga Revenge is the sequel series to Zombie Land Saga, and follows the exploits of a group of girls who have been raised from the dead by their self-proclaimed manager to form an idol group with the noble goal of revitalising Saga, the Japanese Prefecture where they are based. The eclectic idol group known as Franchouchou is made up of performers from different backgrounds and time periods, including 1980s idol sensation Junko Konno, 19th century courtesan Yugiri, and the more recently deceased high schooler and aspiring idol Sakura Minamoto, among others.
Like its predecessor, Zombie Land Saga Revenge is charming and spirited, with the Franchouchou group’s situation as zombies trying to make a career as idols offering a heightened reality that is extremely entertaining and endearing. With a group containing larger than life characters from a child star to a former biker, as well as their unhinged necromancer manager Kotaro Tatsumi, there is never a dull moment as the gang deal with their crippling debt and perform at increasingly odd locales. As a sequel series, Zombie Land Saga Revenge hits that sweet spot of showing how far the members of Franchouchou have come as a team and how much their performances have improved, while also providing new insights to the characters and placing new and interesting obstacles in their way. The group must contend with a rival band seeking to poach one of its members, take part in a talent show, and battle for the very fate of Saga itself while keeping their situations as zombies under wraps – and the series approaches these obstacles with the same tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness and sincerity that made the first season so oddly mesmerising and entertaining.
Working in tandem with its first season, characters that featured less prominently in Zombie Land Saga are given more focus in Zombie Land Saga Revenge. Tae Yamada, the most zombie-like member of the group whose humanity hasn’t fully awakened, gets an episode that follows her as she completes errands, showing how much of a following she’s gained for being the oddball of Franchouchou. Yugiri also receives a two-parter that goes into her life during the Meiji Era following her departure from the role of courtesan. It’s nice to see these characters get their time in the spotlight, and means that each member of Franchouchou by this point has had their time to shine and provide more context to their previous lives and their current lives as undead entertainers. Because the first season has also already done a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of introducing its concept of zombie idols and nurturing the relationship between the members of Franchouchou, Zombie Land Saga Revenge often gets to focus on stories of the group as a whole working together and looking after each other. It’s extremely charming, and a good reminder of how far Franchouchou has come, not just as performers, but as a family.
This release of Zombie Land Saga Revenge contains some fun bonuses, including several – what I can only describe as unhinged – announcements with the voice actor of Kotaro and a disconcerting interview with the series’ voice cast that seems to be trying to convince people to watch the show by delivering ominous statements. They’re quirky, odd, and a little bit unsettling, perfectly fitting with the vibes of the series. Additionally, the release includes three gorgeous art cards of the group, with eye-catching and colourful compositions, complete with holographic borders.
Zombie Land Saga Revenge has all the goodness of a fun and vibrant idol anime and pairs wonderfully with the outlandish concept of its members being literal zombies. This is yet another entertaining season with the members of Franchochou, and an easy recommendation for an odball series with a lot of sweetness at its core.
A review copy was provided by Crunchyroll to the author for the purpose of this review.