Zombie Land Saga 2: Impromptu Rap Battle

As the girls adjust to life as a zombie, Kōtarō provides more idol work for them in this episode; the venue this time around is the Shachi-no-Mon Public Concert, sharing the bill with four other acts. Mizuno expresses her hesitation with following Kōtarō’s idea to Sakura when she, Sakura and Junko momentarily leave the house; she shows reluctance to become an idol (as does Junko), as it’s a bizarre situation brought about by Kōtarō reviving six people for the express purpose of establishing a music group. Kōtarō himself doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, as he mocks Mizuno for her seeming lack of knowledge about Saga prefecture – he appears rather insistent on having the girls perform as idols, and his motivation for forming the group seems to be promoting Saga prefecture through the efforts of the girls. Sakura, however, remains optimistic – she describes her enjoyment of the previous performance to Mizuno and Junko, and she is motivated to continue singing as an idol despite the unusual circumstance of her having been revived simply to be recruited as a performer. She is practically alone at the moment in her perspective, however; the anxiety expressed by Mizuno and Junko show that they are not exactly on-board with the idea, an approach that Saki agrees with. Saki is more defiant in her attitude – her conversation with Sakura reveals this rather well, as she antagonizes Sakura for her “goody two-shoes” personality. Her rebellious behavior fits well with her identity as the former leader of a biker gang – she comes across as assertive and unwilling to take crap from others. It’s abundantly clear that the team is largely unconvinced of the concept of a zombie idol group, and Kōtarō must take steps to make the idea appealing to the girls; Sakura expresses her desire to follow Kōtarō, though, as her time in the spotlight reminded her obliquely of her own aspiration toward singing.

The highlight of the episode is the impromptu rap between Sakura and Saki, prompted by the two arguing over Tae’s head (which unexpectedly falls off when Sakura tries to prevent her from taking an audience member’s squid) – the audience happens to enjoy the performance, thus preventing the accident from revealing the girls’ undead nature. This illustrates how the protagonists can improvise, allowing them to adapt to a situation that could inadvertently reveal them to be zombies; Sakura and Saki managed to perform a rap (with Kōtarō and Yugiri providing a back-up beat), thus saving themselves from exposing their zombification to the world. Saki develops some respect for Sakura because of her rap skills, complimenting her for being able to sing; this shows that Saki’s warming up to her fellow idol, after giving her a hard time earlier for following Kōtarō. Sakura shows an admirable ability to adapt, allowing herself to take command as an idol performer; although the two episodes thus far show her and the other girls in genres that are not traditionally associated with idols, Sakura can adjust to the circumstances and perform to the best of her abilities, which impresses Saki particularly (who admires the guts it took for Sakura to rap on the fly). The group is literally at the beginning of their careers as idols, playing in rather small, unremarkable venues in order to promote themselves to the world (while simultaneously attempting to keep their zombie identities a secret) – the first two episodes help show how the girls try to adjust to a highly unusual circumstance, and their initial trepidation can be understood in this context. Now back in the land of the living, they’re simply trying to figure out what to do; they may not be that enthusiastic with singing at first, but Sakura manages to rally them and bring out a good (if unexpected) rap performance for an appreciative audience.

Their future remains uncertain, but the group has two public appearances to their credit – they may have been unusual, but these performances allowed the girls to present their talents to people who appreciated them. The horizon looks a bit more positive, as the idols have some experience sing in front of small crowds; while small, these concerts were successes, and that’s still something. Sakura’s rap with Saki shows that she can be excellent in the genre; it allows for the two to establish a rapport, meaning they can come together as a group to overcome any anxieties they might have. They may still have some ways to go as an idol group, but they’re doing their best to adjust to their new lives as zombies brought back from the dead and placed into the idol role – it’s an odd situation, certainly, and the girls are simply adjusting to that reality. Sakura still doesn’t have her full memories yet, however, and it will take some time and effort for her to recover them; for now, she’s focused primarily on performing, and she can manage that well with the two times she sang for a group so far. She demonstrates her ability to improvise through the rap sequence – this shows she can go with the flow, even in such a bizarre situation as Tae’s head detaching from her body.

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