— Shiori to Number 3
”The Acoustic SAGA of Love and Youth” (愛と青春のアコースティックSAGA Ai to seishun no akōsutikku SAGA) is the third episode of the second season of the Zombie Land Saga series and is the fifteenth episode overall.
Synopsis (Kotaro’s Diary)
(Note: This is an unofficial English translation of the synopsis from the website.)
"With the radio media, Franchouchou's name will become even more widespread. From here, we have to gain more momentum and fill the tomb that was opened due to the failure of the station star. Just when I was thinking that, ridiculous information came in. They attack Saga. To counter it, we must significantly strengthen our strength. He's the one who has the key, but... I don't think the enemy thought about it, either."
Ai Mizuno looks up to the performance of another idol, Iron Frill, her old group from before she became a zombie, but keeps it hidden from Sakura Minamoto and Junko Konno. In every other aspect their own group is finding success, hosting a radio show and regular performances filling out their schedule. However, Ai admonishes them not to become complacent, and to continue honing their skills. Everyone agrees and they begin practicing more. As they train, they come to rely on Ai for advice on how to succeed, and she begins directing everyone in the group.
Kotaro Tatsumi then arrives and blasts them all with a water gun, and begins discussing the new Saga Arena venue, where Iron Frill will be performing. Better still, Kotaro has managed to book Franchouchou as the openers for Iron Frill. Determined, Ai rises to the challenge and inspires everyone to succeed, only for Kotaro to say that Ai will not be performing because she was previously Iron Frill's famous center performer, and would be recognized. The other girls protest this, but Kotaro is unmoved, insisting that he has solo acts for Ai instead and that they must get to work immediately. Dejected, Ai tasks Junko with leading in her stead.
After several solo acts, including an interview where Ai brushes off her similarity to Iron Frill's center, Ai speaks to Kotaro and questions splitting up their group at such an important performance. Kotaro then questions her faith in the rest of the group, and when she admits she thinks they are talented enough to succeed, he brushes off her concerns. The argument escalates, but when a stage manager enters they both turn with artificial smiles and cheerful attitudes toward the man.
Meanwhile, Junko is concerned that they aren't making progress fast enough, and that a repeat of EFS is imminent. She is clearly unsettled and the others pick up on this, but she brushes it off and assures them that they are improving. Others notice it throughout the day as well, and when she returns home and sees some of Ai's solo performances, Junko admonishes herself to pull it together and redouble her efforts to improve Franchouchou's performance. At the same time, Iron Frill appear on TV and assert their intentions to continue evolving, and that their original center is watching over them — even as Ai herself watches the TV screen.
Junko returns home to find the rest of Franchouchou dancing and playing strange instruments, like that of a street performance. She leaves, asking for time to consider whether this kind of performance would leave a strong impact, and then goes up to the roof to play the guitar and sing to herself. Sakura, hearing this, applauds Junko, but then starts to fall off the roof. Junko grabs ahold of her hair, but her head simply comes off while her body falls off the roof. They talk while Sakura's body makes its way back, with Junko saying she doesn't really know how to translate her solo experience to group performance, but Sakura emphatically reassures her that her teaching is excellent. Sakura then suggests asking for Ai's input, even if Ai cannot perform herself.
Before Junko and Sakura can reach Ai, one of Iron Frill's group reaches out to Ai and walks with her, telling her that her appearance is almost identical to their old center performer. She says that Franchouchou is a bad group for Ai, and that she should join Iron Frill, expecting Ai's decision after the show. Junko and Sakura witness this and are unsettled.
- Kotaro Tatsumi
- Iron Frill
- Skull and Bull (cameo)
- Journalists (cameo)
- Female Student A (Episode 11) (cameo)
- Female Student B (Episode 11) (cameo)
- Saga Prefecture
- Fukuoka (mentioned)
- Nagasaki Hydrangeas Festival (mentioned)
- Beppu’s Hot Springs Inn (mentioned)
- It is revealed that Junko can play the guitar.
- This episode takes place during the first two weeks of June 2019.
- Kotaro’s diary entry for the episode was presumably written during the scene wherein Junko and Sakura eavesdrop on Ai and Shiori’s conversation, albeit, offscreen.
- The title of the episode refers to the names of the girls: "The Acoustic SAGA of Love and Youth" Ai (愛) = Love/Junko (ko 子) = girl, youth.
- Additionally, the episode title having the term “acoustic” included indirectly references the type of guitar Junko plays throughout the latter half of the episode. Which is the exact opposite of an electric guitar, with “electric” being used in the title of the following episode.
- Junko’s chronological age is indirectly referred to in the title of her solo in the episode, “50 and 4 Things Left Behind”, with the numbers in the song title adding up to her actual age of 54.
- This was also the song that Ai was about to listen to on Kotaro’s computer before being interrupted by Sakura and Junko herself.
- This is the first episode wherein Yugiri is present but does not have a speaking role.
- Since the Japanese spelling for the word “impact” differs greatly from its English counterpart, Junko’s line of verbally spelling out the word while also trying to type it out was changed to “This…is…how…you…type.” as she types on what she assumes are the right characters to spell “impact” in Japanese.
- Kotaro rejecting the out-of-Saga show offers for Ai was changed from him saying “REJECTED!” repeatedly as he slams away at his keyboard from the original dub to him saying “Why don’t you take up those offers and shove ‘em up your pride!” in the English dub.
- The website Ai uses to watch Iron Frill’s music video is called “MyTube”, which is a parody of YouTube.
- The search engine Junko tries to use is called “Cookle”, a parody of Google.
- Kotaro's morning assembly for the day is a parody of the famous Stanley Kubrick movie, Full Metal Jacket. Kotaro acts as Sergeant Hartman, who, in the original film, insults his recruits and gives them degrading nicknames.
- This is the second episode to have parts of Kotaro’s lines censored. This first happened in “Episode 2” where he was prohibited from mentioning the word “Wikipedia” whereas in this episode’s case it was from all the unnecessary cursing he did.
- This is the third episode to focus around Ai and Junko, with the first being “Episode 6” and the second being “Episode 7”.
- The girls continue to not let Kotaro know they have been using his computer in secret.
- Several mentions and flashbacks of their failed performance at Ekimae Stadium from “Episode 13” were shown in this episode.
- This is the third episode to not have the word “Saga” at the end of the title, but instead it is put somewhere upfront.
- Another variation of "Mezame RETURNER" is performed during the episode.
- The girls still try to hide the fact that they have been using Kotaro’s computer behind his back despite Kotaro telling Junko that he already knew about it in “Episode 7”.
- Ai’s arms were drawn smaller than usual during the scene wherein she and Kotaro had their one-on-one talk.
- Saki mentions how the mansion does not have any roof access in “Episode 10” although Junko was able to get to the roof in this episode as well as Tae and Romero on multiple occasions.
- Shiori refers to “Number 3” as “Ai” when she tries to convince her to join Iron Frill in the English dub, even though Shiori is only supposed to be under the impression that the undead former center of Iron Frill is just a really convincing doppelganger of her.