English Dub Review: ZOMBIE LAND SAGA “I <3 HIP HOP SAGA"

Can zombies really be idols? Music can make their hearts beat together!

Overview (Spoilers Below):

After coming to life at the end of the premiere episode, Ai and Junko make an attempt at escape, but quickly realize the human world isn’t ready to meet real life zombies, no matter how well-behaved and polite they act. Later on, they show up to their second gig where all manner of chaos breaks out, including a disembodied head and a rap battle. Saki, the rebel zombie, decides Sakura isn’t such a pushover after all, and the group decides to commit to being idols.

Our Take:

In the second episode, ZOMBIE LAND SAGA is still a lot to take in. Sakura was a normal high school girl with hopes and dreams until she died and was resurrected as a zombie idol tasked with revitalizing the Saga prefecture. All the other girls are now going through this same kind of realization, and most of them don’t take things as well as Sakura. While she at least makes attempts at learning dance steps, the others just stare into space, goof off, or site in the back talking.

Ai and Junko’s attempt at an ill-fated escape with Sakura tagging along out of concern for their safety was funny to see but felt a little like a repeat of Sakura’s encounter with the policeman last episode. At least it set the scene for the rap battle, I guess. And boy, is the rap battle cool. It shows Sakura has a lot of spunk behind her passive demeanor, and I’m really excited to see how she’ll move forward after this performance.

Now that Sakura’s fellow zombies are awakening, we get a few basic introductions to how they roll. Saki is probably the most interestingly colorful of the zombies so far. Her wild hair betrays her personality to a tee. She’s someone who helpfully asks, “Want me to kick your ass?” to Sakura as a way of bonding. Mourning the death of her Tamagotchi is another fun quirk to her, and betrays more depth of character than simply being the bad chick. Ai and Junko are fairly bland at this point, but we do know they’re former famous idols who just want to go back to the big city. Koutarou remains as overbearing as ever, but he at least gets a funny line about Wikipedia. (Also, does he really expect them to sing without writing lyrics?) beatboxing skills

The English dub is a mixed bag this week. Brina Palencia continues to do a great job as main character Sakura, and I think all of the other zombies’ voices sound okay thus far. Unfortunately, the songs are not being dubbed for the weekly simuldub. I know that even dubbing dialogue is difficult on such a brisk schedule, but in a show that has music as such an integral part of it, getting taken out of the scene every time they start singing is not ideal. I remember loving the rap battle when I watched it subbed a few weeks ago, but it just doesn’t have the same magic shoved in-between different VA’s spouting English dialogue. I assume that Funimation will be dubbing the songs for the home video release, at least.

ZOMBIE LAND SAGA rises to new levels of insanity in its second episode. We learn basic backstories about several of Sakura’s fellow idol members, like Ai and Saki. Saki is a fun character to watch unless she’s giving Sakura a hard time. Luckily, Sakura shows off her mettle during their second show. The rap battle is incredible – I just wish it would’ve been delivered by the actual English performers. Knowing this is going to be the pattern from now on, I’m looking forward to the musical numbers a lot less.

Score
7.5/10

Caleb

graphic designer, writer, and animation addict. when i'm not writing words about my favorite shows, you can usually find me skulking about on Twitter. if you want, leave a comment or send me a tweet; i'd love to chat!

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