Idols are a recurring theme in musical anime, including the semi-satirical series Zombie Land Saga, which is still very popular. Whether or not it is satire, Zombie Land Saga's two seasons contain some excellent idol music and vibrant visuals. Behind the glitzy exterior, Sakura and her idol friends are actually going through a real struggle that makes it feel like they are attending a live concert.
The struggles of an obscure, impoverished musical group are depicted in Zombie Land Saga, which may be relatable to many real-life musicians and artists. More recently, Bocchi the Rock!, a surprise smash-hit musical anime, features an all-girl musical band that is struggling to take off, and it is a reflection of each member's insecurities and personal baggage. These two musical anime series can be directly compared to determine which best captures the relatable, sympathetic struggles of aspiring musicians.
Explore the Logistics of Japan's Idol Industry with Zombie Land Saga
Zombie Land Saga blends quite a few anime storytelling elements, starting with a fresh zombie twist on the concept of isekai. The deredere protagonist Sakura Minamoto gets hit and killed by Truck-kun and ends up not in a fantasy world but in the realm of undeath and the idol industry. It's a whole new life, and it's also Sakura's only real chance to realize her dream of becoming an idol, albeit a zombie one. Sakura was terrified at first but then pulled herself together and became a pillar of support for her new all-zombie idol group.
Sakura and her manager Kotaro Tatsumi are both passionate about their new idol group, named Franchouchou, but almost everything is working against them. Worst of all, Franchouchou is trying to make it big in Saga prefecture, which is actually a terrible place to start a musical group of any kind. Kotaro is determined to put Saga back on the map, but with some money issues, comedic mishaps, a lack of exposure and the tiresome need to hide the girls' zombie status, it's slow going. Many of their musical concerts become comedic tragedies where tiny audience turnouts, zombie body parts coming off and even just the weather hold Franchouchou back.
Despite these many mishaps, Sakura and Kotaro keep giving it their all, and they deliver more than a few pep talks to the other six group members. These idols have everything to prove for both Franchouchou and Saga prefecture itself, and at one point, even Kotaro loses hope until Sakura brings him back from the brink. It's financially, physically, creatively and emotionally exhausting to keep fighting this uphill musical battle, but Sakura will do it to the bitter end so her undead idol group can realize its dreams and deliver a show the likes of which Saga prefecture has never seen.
Hitori Gotoh's Journey to Rock Stardom
In contrast to Zombie Land Saga, the popular Bocchi the Rock! anime explored the musical industry in a more intimate and personal way during the Fall 2022 anime season. Hitori Gotoh, the dandere protagonist, was already a highly skilled musician by Episode 1, but her extreme shyness and lack of self-confidence held her back. Even when her new friends Ikuyo, Nijika, and Ryo supported her as friends and bandmates, Hitori would perform inside a large cardboard box to deal with her extreme social anxiety.
Hitori's bandmates have their individual hangups, including the lively blonde drummer, Nijika Ijichi. She used to despise rock bands since they kept her tsundere older sister Seika away from her, and she felt terribly lonely, especially after her mother died. Then Nijika saw how hard Seika was working at the STARRY club to make it big in the music industry, and Nijika was inspired to keep practicing the drums and form her own band. On a more humorous note, the kuudere Ryo Yamada keeps borrowing money to afford new musical instruments and accessories, to the point where she can't afford proper meals and simply eats weeds she finds outdoors.
All four girls must also contend with many typical challenges for a new band, such as agreeing on a band name, deciding who the leader is, getting exposure, designing merchandise and earning money from performances to keep the whole enterprise going.
Which musical anime depicts the struggles of starving artists the most realistically?
Zombie Land Saga and Bocchi the Rock! are both highly entertaining musical anime with lovable all-girl bands and some terrific music and comedy. However, when it comes to the heroic struggles of starving artists, Zombie Land Saga does it better. While Bocchi the Rock! is mostly about personal drama, comedy and "cute girls doing cute things," Zombie Land Saga dives more deeply into the logistics of running a band and scales things up far beyond the scope of playing in a single club.
The main characters of Zombie Land Saga are frequently seen practicing their dance moves, for instance, and they must create their own costumes for performances, which is always difficult. Their Franchouchou band is frequently in such need of recognition, money, and opportunities that they will act in ridiculous commercials while dressed as crazy chickens just because it will pay the bills. Franchouchou also experienced a fatal setback when their major concert fizzled, and they later battled a tropical storm to perform again in the same enormous stadium.
At the last moment, a legion of Franchouchou's loyal fans showed up despite the miserable post-storm weather, and it was the musical success of an undead lifetime. It was a long-overdue victory for this struggling idol group, ending Season 2 of Zombie Land Saga on a euphoric note.