This recap contains spoilers for the Zombie Land Saga Revenge episode “All It Takes Is for You to Be There SAGA.”
Last week’s Zombie Land Saga Revenge episode ended with a hurricane hitting Saga, knocking power out to most of the prefecture. I and I think a lot of people assumed this week’s episode would deal with the challenge of trying to put on a concert after such a disaster. But “All It Takes Is for You to Be There SAGA” isn’t quite that simple. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Zombie Land Saga Revenge likes to subvert expectations whenever possible.
Instead, the episode’s first scene is a surreal one. We open on Franchouchou’s manor set adrift at sea, literally ripped out of its foundation by the hurricane. Thankfully, it washes up on shore in a different part of Saga not long after. But still, “All It Takes Is for You to Be There SAGA” has one of the weirder openings of any anime this season.
After one of Ai’s coworkers recognizes her, Franchouchou are invited to a makeshift shelter. There, they help the other citizens of Saga get back on their feet. Lily has a particularly great scene here, where she cheers up some unhappy kids by performing her scat-singing routine from episode five. The journalist Shinba shows up, too. Obviously skeptical of Franchouchou’s intentions, but unwilling to do anything, at least for the moment.
Franchouchou put on an all a capella concert in the shelter as the episode’s first half ends. It’s simple and sweet.
You may be wondering where the group’s manager Kotaro is, during all this. It’s a question that “All It Takes Is for You to Be There SAGA” holds off on answering for a bit. Eventually, it reveals that he and Xu Fu survived the bar’s collapse, although the latter only just so, and he’s quickly rushed to the hospital. The sequence that immediately follows this is a wonderful thing. It’s a short little miniature music video in which the manager travels across Saga to find Franchouchou. The backing track is a ballad, sung by the manager himself, the only song of his own Zombie Land Saga Revenge has ever given him. If he never gets another, it’ll be enough.
The back half of “All It Takes Is for You to Be There SAGA” sees Shinba’s sleuth attitude toward Franchouchou fall apart. They’re “exposed” as zombies before a crowd of children. Who, naturally, just refuse to accept that they’re actually zombies. In a particularly heartwarming moment, they refuse to call them such. One boy in the crowd puzzles over what they actually are for a moment, before coming up with the obvious answer. They’re Franchouchou.
There is, at the end of “All It Takes Is for You to Be There SAGA”, a very real place where Zombie Land Saga Revenge could’ve entirely botched it. Kotaro and Sakura have an emotionally-charged conversation on the stairs. He reaffirms that they’re still doing the concert. It comes close to, but thankfully is not, a confession. (We’ve known since the first season that Kotaro knew Sakura before her death, so him holding lingering and complicated feelings for her is understandable. For him to act on them very much would not be.)
Thankfully Zombie Land Saga Revenge seems to understand the fact that while Kotaro is part of this story, it isn’t his. It’s Franchouchou’s.
And the final concert? Well, that’s for next time. See you then, anime fans.