Zombieland Saga – Episode 9 [Biker Saga]
Alternative title: Best Girl Saga
God, I hope everyone is strapped in for me to spend the next 500+ words talking about how much I love Saki. As we get some insight into her and her gang, and of course, how she met her end.
The episode begins as the Franchouchou girls attempt appealing to a larger older audience. They plan to achieve this by joining the old folks in their practice for the Kashima Dance.
The Kashima Dance, like many things in Zombieland Saga so far is a real thing, the Japanese Sightseeing Association describes it as follows “It started when people wished for recovery from the flood disaster of 1962. The dance consists of three pieces of music, ‘Kashima Issei Buryu,’ ‘Kashima Bushi,’ and ‘Kashima Kouta.’ Everyone in the city participates in the dance, and the city is immersed in the feverish excitement and shouts of the dancers.”
So the girls dance with the elderly for a bit and as they are cooling off after an intense work out practicing for the Kashima Dance. Sakura, Tae and Lily are approached by a small gang of Biker Girls. When I say small, I mean like 3 girls and when I say biker girls. They’re actually riding scooters, bright pink scooters. That even Lily thinks look lame, when the grade school girl is looking at your bright pink scooter like it’s lame. You might have a problem.
These three biker girls are all that remains of Saki’s gang now. Their leader is the daughter of Saki’s partner in crime, Reiko.Saki steps in to save her band mates from being harassed by this pathetic group of biker girls. While they were still alive together, Reiko told Saki that her dream was to live a ‘normal’ life. Have a family, have a kid and not let her kid end up like her. Saki doesn’t understand the concept of a ‘normal’ life and even at the end of it all at the end of the episode. She doesn’t understand, and that’s fine.
What is normal anyway?
Well Reiko got half of her wish. She managed to become a mother, but her kid did end up in a biker gang. The very biker gang she’d been in when she was young. In a turf war with the very gang that had a turf war with them when they were riding. A game of chicken, how close can you come to the rail before breaking on the edge of a steep cliff. The challenge that killed Saki as she drove off the edge and her bike and her crashed and burned.
I think Saki’s death actually left a pretty deep scar on Reiko. That’s why she wasn’t as bold or assertive, why she was always apologizing and worrying about her daughter. Her daughter ends up in the same contest that killed Saki and Reiko rushes there to try to stop it. Saki does as well.
Kotaro earlier in the episode tries to tell her that violence is something that is absolutely off-limits for idols and if she picks fights and becomes violent. It will spell disaster not just for herself, but for Franchouchou as a whole. So when she heads out to help, when he asks her what she’s going to do she turns to him and goes “Idol stuff.”
Idol stuff being stepping in as the gangs ‘Captain for a day’ partaking in the race, crashing the bike in the same fashion she actually died in and crawling up like it’s no big deal. Bridging the gap between Reiko and her daughter and then going “Oh yeah, idol stuff.”
Throwing a concert on the spot for the two gangs and stragglers of their fans [How did those two Rock guys get there anyway?].
The ending credits treat us again to a perfect song and dance number as it’s Saki’s turn to take the center stage and just like last week, we get a beautiful traditionally animated dance number. I am now convinced that the early stilted and awkward CGI was used on purpose to make it seem like the group wasn’t as unified. In both Lily and Saki’s numbers, now that they’ve grown closer as a band and gotten more used to performing we’ve had none of the strange CGI.
It could of been to save the early budget so they could give good animation to the performances that really counted but somehow I doubt it.
I adored this episode, for a lot of reasons. It had a striking message about family, about what it means to be ‘normal’ and about friendships that last through time and even through death. It had it’s comedy moments for sure, but it was also deeply emotional. Once again showcasing Zombieland Saga as a show that can pull a perfect balance of comedy and stand up storytelling. Also, Saki is best zombie girl. Just saying.
I have no real frame of reference for what next weeks episode is going to be about, but Yugiri did the narration so perhaps like Lily it means we’ll be getting an episode about the oldest member and second best girl of the gang.
I’m joking by the way, they’re all best girl. I have known this zombies for nine weeks and I would already do anything to protect them…god that sounds weird.