Friday’s Feature: The Not-So-Wonderful Wizard of Saga

Zombieland Saga Episode 1 - Zakura and Tatsumi

Three episodes in to Zombieland Saga, and I spent a good hour of my life staring at a blank blog post thinking of how to actually review episodes 2 and 3 without just throwing the entire thing into the trash and calling it a day. As much as the first episode had left a strong impression and made me interested in the show to follow, episodes 2 and 3 (watched together) essentially brought the worst of my expectations to life in that while the anime had a concept (Zombie girls become idol group) it felt devoid of direction or actual theme. Simply parodying other musical scenes while occasionally throwing in a zombie limb separation joke isn’t enough to build a series around unless the comedy is really landing its mark which after the shock of the episode one opening act hasn’t managed to reach such a height again.

Zombieland Saga Episode 1 - Sakura
Admittedly, this would be a hard act to top in terms of shock and comedic timing.

But while there are a myriad of problems facing Zombieland Saga in terms of actually crafting a story worth paying attention to over the next couple of months, perhaps my biggest concern at this point came in the form of Kotarou, the manager and he one who more or less proclaimed he brought the girls back to life. So while I delay writing a draft of my review of the episodes yet further (it is due out later today but that’s neither here nor there at this point), I’d like to consider Kotarou as a character in the past three episodes and why he has become the face of my problems with the anime.

Zombieland Saga Episode 3

The Wizard of Oz reference in the post title also wasn’t just for my own amusement or because I’m suffering from a creative block (though I’d probably agree that there might be a bit of both of those behind it). After carefully contemplating the hollowness of Kotarou’s character the comparison seemed beautifully apt. While he may not be hiding behind a curtain, everything about Kotarou’s interactions with the girls seems scripted, over the top, and designed to distract from seeing the man behind the shades and the inability to actually use jacket sleeves (those who remember my Top 5 questions after rewatching Snow White with the Red Hair will know that Prince Izana also bothered me to no end because of his inability to actually wear a jacket the way it was intended).

Yes, sometimes I’m petty. Okay a lot of the time I’m petty but I usually try to minimise the truly petty criticisms when writing a blog post (usually).

Zombieland Saga Episode 1 - Tatsumi

There’s also the manner in which he deflect questions or providing explanations. Kotarou quickly goes on the attack when Sakura wants to know how they became a zombie. Whenever asked about the specifics of the idol group or Saga he launches into a rant or some other distraction and the question is swiftly forgotten. While there might be another reason for this, like he could just be a jerk, it kind of feels like perhaps he just doesn’t know the answers and is hoping to bluff and bluster his way through. Though that in turn leaves me with bigger questions about how the girls became zombies if Kotarou either didn’t do it or doesn’t know how (somehow I doubt the show is that deep but maybe we could give it the benefit of the doubt that we’ll get a bit reveal later on that someone else in fact resurrected the girls).


Alas, that is where the relatively favourable comparison of Kotarou to the mostly charlatan Wizard of Oz will end and we just have to look at his actions at face value.

Whether he raised the girls from the dead or not, he has claimed responsibility for turning the girls into literal monsters that other people want to kill on sight. He has offered no apology for this. Having raised them from the dead, he has forced his plan of them forming an idol group upon them and accepted no criticism, questions or refusal. The girls have nowhere else that they can go and are seemingly entirely dependent upon this eccentric ‘manager’ who has a vision but no plan and seems to be rushing on some agenda that he hasn’t fully explained.┬áHis only reaction when something doesn’t go to plan is to shout loudly. Like literally getting inches from one of the girls’ faces and shouting at them.

Zombieland Saga Episode 2

While Zombieland Saga still has some potential, the problematic character of Kotarou may very well see me bail on the show long before it ever realises that potential. Or maybe that theory I saw floating around on other blogs that Kotarou is also a zombie and just wearing make-up will pan out as true and while that won’t excuse his actions, it would certainly make him a bit easier to empathise with depending on how that situation came about.

For now, I’m going to go back and try and write my episode reviews but I’d love to know your thoughts on Zombieland Saga so far and Kotarou as a character so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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