WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 9, "The Saga Incident, Part 2," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
"The Saga Incident, Part 1" began the tale of Yugiri's past while also including many hints about Zombie Land Saga's greater mythology. Part 2 finishes the legend of Yugiri's heroically tragic life, but those expecting more explanations about the details will have to wait longer. How the zombies came back from the dead and what it means for them to "save Saga" remain as cryptic as ever, but "The Saga Incident" two-parter offers fuel for a new theory: what if Saga isn't just a place, but is also the person who gave them new life?
Part 2 confirms that the old man whom Kotaro's presumed ancestor, Kiichi, called his "grandfather" is the same person as the bartender working in the present day. In the 1880s, this man seemed to have lost his mind over Nagasaki erasing Saga from the map, claiming that he "is Saga." Today, he's clearly doing better, mentally together enough to hold a successful career. While he's still very old, he's seemingly in better physical shape as well, with a fuller head of hair.
Yugiri and the bartender remember each other clearly. When Yugiri took the fall for Kiichi's Saga independence campaign and let herself be executed, she wrote her final testament to the old man. In the present, he's still awed by her act of self-sacrifice and how Kiichi's idealism actually paid off. He's even held onto the photograph taken of her, Kiichi and Itou. Their connection was foreshadowed in earlier episodes when the bartender mentioned that he owes Yugiri a lot of money.
What if Kiichi's grandpa wasn't actually delusional in the 1880s and really is the human incarnation of Saga? His fluctuating health seems to be based on the health of Saga. He'd owe Yugiri money because Saga's very existence today owes itself to Yugiri. Kiichi's enthusiastic campaigning to save Saga was motivated by a desire to help his grandpa. Perhaps Kotaro's desire to save Saga is also motivated by helping the same person. The old man is also said to be able to raise the dead, so if he's Saga, there's a narrative logic to the idea that the city itself is resurrecting its greatest legends.
The idea of cities or countries being anthropomorphized as human avatars isn't a new one. In the literary realm, for example, there's N.K. Jemisin's Hugo-nominated novel The City We Became, in which five ordinary New Yorkers are transformed into the physical manifestations of their home boroughs. Of course, there's also an example that's far more infamous among otaku: Hetalia, the anime comedy in which World War II and other historical events are reenacted by bishounen representing different countries.
There are only three episodes left of Zombie Land Saga Revenge. Between the questions about the old man, Kotaro's limited time to complete his mission and the reporter continuing to build his case to expose the Franchouchou girls as zombies, there's a lot of plot still to cover, so it seems likely some of these issues will either remain mysterious or be held off for a potential third season. Will this theory be proven, disproven or remain a mystery when the season ends?
New episodes of Zombie Land Saga Revenge premiere Thursdays on Crunchyroll.
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