Sorry for the delay, folks. But I’m back from my trip now, which means it’s finally time to wade through some of these premieres I missed. I’m all ready to be picky and arbitrary in my anime preferences – let’s do this.
I spent most of the first episode of Zombieland Saga in a state of dazed yet slightly impressed disbelief. As usual, I went into things with little to no information about what I might be about to witness, so based on the premise expected something largely along the lines of a Gakkou Gurashi! rip-off. Instead, I got an irreverent comedy that doesn’t even seem to be attempting to make much sense in terms of plot, but is clearly having a ton of fun in its delivery (and boy does Miyano Mamoru in particular give a spirited delivery). Since there are already plenty of derivative anime out there, many of which take themselves far too seriously and/or fail miserably in their attempts to be deep and profound, I’m pretty okay with that.
On the other hand, I think it’s highly probable that Zombieland Saga, while poking fun at the Japanese idol industry and idol anime in general, will turn out to be little more than just another idol show itself, with the same old clichés and same old story patterns. The fact that all these girls are actually zombies (unbeknownst to their musical audience) is funny and weird, sure, and there’s a lot of associated dark, off-the-wall humour to match it. However, that aspect of the show feels more like window dressing than anything else – especially since said zombies are still sentient – so it comes across mostly as an amusing but repetitive gimmick for an otherwise tried-and-true formula. Zombieland Saga has earned enough brownie points from me to get at least another episode or two in, but it’s unlikely I’ll be keeping it on for the long haul.
I haven’t watched an anime this bland and generic for some time. Everything about it all but put me to sleep, from the uninspired and badly animated action sequences to the dully insipid dialogue and shitty character designs/costume choices. It’s so boring I don’t even have anything truly terrible to say about it – it’s just there; a below average, yet not bad enough to be actually interesting samurai show, where even the self-insert otome game heroine has been removed (quite possibly because even the creators themselves were bored enough that they decided to phone it in by that point). Don’t bother.
This was actually okay, which means it easily exceeded my expectations. As a long-time Sengoku Basara anime fan, I thought a sequel wholly unnecessary, but was compelled anyway to make sure I wasn’t somehow missing out on anything good. Granted, I’d probably call Gakuen Basara slightly above average rather than actually ‘good’, and still think the idea of putting these characters in a by-the-numbers high school setting basically ruins the entire premise. That said, the premiere was entertaining enough in its own right to keep me mostly interested for the full episode, so I admit I was a little too quick to judge. In a weaker season I might even have kept watching, but I’m fairly sure the jokes will get old pretty early on, if they’re not already. The set-up is mildly entertaining and most of the characters are recognizable enough from Sengoku that the nostalgia paves a lot of the way for the series, but the comedy is repetitive and isn’t really strong enough to stand on its own in any case. I’d recommend this for a bit of harmless fun, but suspect the majority of viewers will get bored after a while and look for something with a bit more originality and zing to it.
Question of the post: Which, if any, of these above shows tickled your fancy? Do you think there are there any better anime comedies than Zombieland Saga or Gakuen Basara out this season?