This recap contains spoilers for the Zombie Land Saga Revenge episode “The SAGA of an Almost-Broken Radio.”
With last week’s slightly more serious season premiere, it might’ve been easy to temporarily forget that Zombie Land Saga‘s main strength is just that it’s really, really funny. “The SAGA of an Almost-Broken Radio” will quickly fix that, if you’ve forgotten. The episode revolves around Franchouchou’s first promotional spot since their return. It’s fairly simple in theory; promote a small tourist destination complete with hot springs and a shrine, both common in that part of Japan. However, things are complicated by one of Zombie Land Saga‘s one-off characters; a washed-up rocker named White Ryu.
At a Hot Spring in Saga
“The SAGA of an Almost-Broken Radio” opens with the manager back in top shape. On a character level, it’s good to see, compared to how he was last week. But beyond that, his “chalkboard rants” serve as bookends for most episodes of Zombie Land Saga. The presence of one here is a sign that things are returning to normal. Or at least what passes for normal in this series.
White Ryu himself is an interesting figure. He’s patterned on classic Japanese rocker tropes; he’s got a huge finned car and an even bigger pompadour. But age has had its effect on him, and his hair now comically droops over his face. He’s also fond of dispensing glam rock zen like “you’ve got yourself all mixed up” and “the answer is always in Saga”. He’s amusing enough that he carries the first half of “The SAGA of an Almost-Broken Radio” almost entirely on his own. Simply recounting jokes robs them of some of their power, so you’ll have to take my word for things here. Still, he’s one of the strongest one-off characters Zombie Land Saga‘s ever had.
All of this in mind, it’s no real surprise that Saki, the former gang leader who is the most rambunctious member of Franchouchou, has a huge amount of respect for him. She even, as becomes clear by the end of the episode, has a bit of a crush on him. (Which is a little weird if you think about it, but there’s no accounting for taste.) Furthermore, the radio show he hosts–confusingly titled So Saga Can Be Saga–is apparently how Saki met Reiko, her former delinquent compatriot.
It’s here where “The SAGA of an Almost-Broken Radio” takes a left turn into the more serious. The one-two punch of making you laugh in the first half of the episode and then hitting you right in your emotions in the second is something Zombie Land Saga has historically excelled at. It does it again, here, marking the strong return of one of the series’ signature tricks. After a chain of events that sees Franchouchou inheriting White Ryu’s radio show, Saki confesses her crush to him. He waves it off with a chuckle, and tells her to call him after she’s grown up.
Zombie Land Saga has never been shy about equating Franchouchou’s profession with their status as literal undead. Teen idols are figuratively frozen in time, the girls of Franchouchou, much more literally so. Saki’s circumstance catches up to her all at once, and she breaks into tears. Sakura, being as empathic as she is, follows suit. It’s only the girls’ reaffirmed commitment to each other, and to Saga itself, that lets them soldier on and cap the episode with another song. (Quite a good one, I might add.)
This all does beg the question of where Zombie Land Saga will eventually go with all of this. The final episode of the first season demonstrated that there are some people outside of Franchouchou’s immediate circle who have caught on to their undead nature. The obvious mystery of what will be done when they are confronted goes unexplored here, but perhaps that’s fine. We are only two episodes into a twelve-episode season, after all.
Until next time, anime fans!
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