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Franchouchou

Sakura Minamoto (Zombie #1)

“I have what it takes! Whether or not you have what it takes is irrelevant because I DO!
And I’m telling you this, I will never and I mean NEVER abandon you!”

— Kotaro to a depressed Sakura, “Episode 11

He often intimidates her in morning gatherings but also tends to be friendlier with her than other girls, as pointed out by Yugiri in the eleventh episode. Though, whenever this is brought up, he always either dodges or dismisses their statement.

Albeit Kotaro’s unwillingness to admit that he cares deeply for Sakura, it has been shown throughout the series, as described by Yugiri, on how he is “especially kind to her (Sakura)” compared to the rest of Franchouchou. As evident from how he often consults Sakura’s opinions on his plans for the day before consulting the rest of Franchouchou.

In the first episode, he saves her from the police officer by knocking him unconscious with his shovel. Later on, he gives her a quick pep talk on how he is going to make her an idol, but not before bringing her face closely to his, which visibly makes her blush. He later encourages her to do her best in her first ever performance with the girls, she is visibly inspired by this but simply responds that she could not do it.

In the third episode, he compliments Sakura on her rapping skills despite the performance being done by (mainly) both her and Saki, he quickly covers this up by yelling at Sakura saying how she should not get carried away.

In the fifth episode, he purposefully does the Drive-In Tori dance incorrectly so Sakura could correct him with him playfully going along, to cover this up, he starts yelling at Sakura saying how it does not matter if he does the dance moves wrong.

In the seventh episode, he tells the girls that he wants to have a good look at all of them before they go on with their performance, his gaze lingering on Sakura, whose face (alongside the other girls) is then sprayed with shoe spray in order to preserve their make-up in the rain.

In the tenth episode, he overhears Franchouchou talking about how Sakura’s moving too fast during their choreography making the rest of girls think she should take a break, this prompted him to take them mountain climbing for a training montage telling them he would go back and fetch them once they have learned what they were supposed to do there. After they have all gone back home to the mansion, Yugiri pays Kotaro a visit in a local cafe terrace, exclaiming how she has observed that he is especially kind to Sakura and that she personally has a soft spot for people who can’t outright express their feelings, as he was not willing to admit that he’s doing this all for Sakura and instead hiding it behind the reasoning that he is only doing this to save Saga’s declining popularity. After Sakura snaps and later on realizes that she was on the wrong, she quickly apologizes to her team with Kotaro leaning by the doorframe telling her how it took her long enough to realize that he only bought them up there so that Sakura could come to her senses. Yugiri approaches Kotaro one last time to tell him how she is glad that his plan worked out, but yet again, Kotaro covers this up by pretending to not know what she is talking about.

Kotaro in his flashback

After getting hit by another truck and regaining her memories, Sakura spirals into a depressive state. After Franchouchou’s many attempts to try and cheer Sakura up and bring her back, Kotaro finally has enough and decides to talk to her himself. He later finds Sakura sulking by a swingset, being confronted by the same policeman from before, and launches Romero at the policeman, effectively knocking him out. Since she does not have any memories of when she was a zombie, she asks him who he is and he gets a bit irritated before telling her that he is Kotaro Tatsumi. He later brings her over a cliff with the view of the prefecture, and has a one-on-one talk with her about how she should not give up so easily despite her terrible luck. And that he does not care if she thinks she does not have what it takes, as long as he himself has what it takes, he makes it clear that he would never abandon her and would help her get through her troubles whether she likes it or not. In the end, he tells her to "respond to her feelings”, which encourages her to get back into Franchouchou and do her best.

In the twelfth episode, it is confirmed that they were classmates in high school, but the nature of this relationship is currently unknown.

Because of Sakura's death, he decides to take up lessons on necromancy and resurrection in order to bring Sakura back so she could live out her dream. Sakura's dream is also the alternate reason why he decided to start up The Zombie Land Saga project.

Barring a few rare moments, Kotaro won't stop once he's set his mind to something he plans to do. His inner thoughts after Sakura's death also explain it, regarding his dream of Franchouchou having a second chance at life, along with a chance to save Saga while he does so.

His relationship with Sakura takes a step on the wrong foot at the beginning of the second season, after failing at the Ekimae Fudosan Stadium, Kotaro plunges into alcoholism and forgets about the Franchouchou girls. Although Sakura tries to get him out of his state repeatedly by reminding him of what Kotaro told her about never abandon her, she ends up getting frustrated by Kotaro's state. Later and thanks to a provocation from Jofuku, Kotaro returns to his old personality and is willing to resume the project.

Although he continues to annoy Sakura, he tries not to hurt her like he did before and plays with her a bit during episode 2 of Revenge, annoying her with the day's activities and rubbing a microphone in her face, causing Saki to hit him for being an asshole. This bullying also took place during a scene in episode 3 referencing Full Metal Jacket with a water pistol pointing first at Sakura and firing again until it was completely filled with water.

More than 12 years ago, the young Inui admired Sakura practicing in the classroom while it was afternoon, one day those happy moments came to an end with a tragic accident that could end Sakura's life, hurt and destroyed inside he swear this wouldn't end here It doesn't matter who hates him for what he did, even if it means facing God or the devil, he will do it!

Kabedon EP 11.PNG

Saga suffers from floods, and Kotaro goes in search of Franchouchou and Sakura to secure makeup for the girls. After finishing their makeup, Sakura goes behind him to say something to him. After more than a year of being in Franchouchou, she has seen the group grow and her dream of being an idol, inspiring people like Maimai to follow in her footsteps. Sakura thanks Kotaro for turning her into an idol, which triggers Inui's flashbacks in high school, where he remembered Sakura's smile, on the verge of tears, Kotaro throws himself on Sakura to tell her that he will always have what he needs And he will always be there to support Franchouchou, whatever happens he will make the 7 girls achieve their dream of being immortalized as the best idols in the world.

By the end of Revenge, he becomes much more responsible as a producer, being generally kinder to the girls and trying to make better decisions that will improve them as a group. Her relationship with Sakura also improves tremendously, and she is genuinely grateful that he helped her turn her into an idol.

Saki Nikaido (Zombie #2)

“You can’t get near violence, it’s a taboo for idols. Just one of you slips up, and it could ruin everything. Don’t forget that.”

— Kotaro warning Saki, “Episode 9

Saki hits kotaro

In the fourth episode, annoys the girls so much that Saki decides to put him in his place with a blow, In the fifth episode when he hit Saki with a baseball on the head, she threw it back, the ball sank into his right thigh with a force that seemed to penetrate.

They were both excited about going to the Drive-in Tori and the Gatalympics, so much that they started screaming with excitement. Still, he tries to keep Saki from getting into trouble with other gangs and for her fortune she heard his words about not using violence.

Despite being a complete jerk most of his screen time, he will drop all pretense and nonsense, and go out of his way to provide genuine help to the zombie girls when needed, when Saki steps in to save Maria from a gang. As a rival motorcyclist, he is serious when he tells her that if he gets into trouble like that, she could put Franchouchou in danger. He is surprised to find out later that she actually paid attention to these words.

He's tougher on Sakura during season one than everyone else, especially season one, in season 2 he seemingly shifts the teasing focus more towards Saki, but Sakura still gets a decent amount of attention from him.

Ai Mizuno (Zombie #3)

Before getting motivated, was suspicious of Kotaro's plan, so much that she tried to escape from the mansion but the police made her return.

After Saga Rock, she managed to reconcile with the group and get along better with Kotaro and his crazy plan, even so, she maintains his seriousness with him.

She has presented herself as being quite cold and insensitive towards Kotaro and the other girls due to considering the Zombie Land Saga project to be a bad idea. But over time, she is inspired by others to give her a chance at being a zombie idol, rekindling her love of acting and teamwork.

He pretends to know everything about Saga, until he is pressed further for information. He tries to harness his superior Saga knowledge against Ai, but is found to be completely incompetent when Ai pressures him with a basic question.

There are hints that he chose to have the band sing in particularly bad weather in Episode 7, considering Ai's fate. Actually, he works to her favor as Ai was able to overcome her fear, and the girls put on quite a shocking performance when the beam automatically tuned into her voice and gave them the ability to fire lasers.

Throughout the entire series, Ai is notably the team member who is least amused by Kotaro's antics, and she doesn't share a single moment of antics with him.

Ai v Kotaro.png

In season 2, Ai goes by the name "San Tatsumi" when she works a part-time job. Although that last name is taken from Kotaro's, the first name "San" is also a play on words; It is number 3 in Japanese, and Ai is identified as "Zombie #3".

Since the girls have become extremely dependent on Ai's opinion in almost everything, the others are so dependent on her knowledge and experience that Kotaro excludes her from the group's performance as the opening act of Iron Frill, under the (false) pretense of not wanting to be recognized by her former bandmates, so others are forced to act on their own initiative rather than constantly seeking her advice. When Ai asks him about why he rejects invitation letters from other prefectures, Kotaro vaguely says that it is to prevent other prefectures from stealing Saga's popularity, this angers Ai because he thinks Kotaro is a complete goofball.

Junko Konno (Zombie #4)

“Get up, Junko! You’re not the kind of girl who would be stopped by something so small.”

— Kotaro to Junko, after he hits her with his van, “Episode 7

Like Ai, she distrusted Kotaro's plan to go back to being an idol, not because it was very crazy, but because of how things have changed, this was seen in episode 6 of the series, where Junko says that she cannot be an idol because of how their world has changed in the years she has been dead, locking herself in the attic of the mansion.

The big turning point in Kotaro's portrayal comes with Episode 7, when he helps Junko out of his bad mood and then accidentally runs her over.

He helps Junko recover from her past by convincing her to continue owning her personality as a Showa idol, when she believes that there is no longer a place for her today. As they all prepare to leave, Junko leaves the mansion to meet everyone, only to be rammed by Kotaro's truck "by" pure "chance" as she stands in front to try to stop him. Being a zombie, she is fine.

After Kotaro knocks down a door by its hinges to give her a pep talk, he nonchalantly asks Junko to fix the door after him. Surprisingly, she just grabs some power tools and reopens the door competently. Episode 12 reveals that she reinforced it as an added measure.

When she's in a rush on how to lead Franchouchou into an upcoming performance with Iron Frill, Kotaro advises her to overcome her limitations. After the group's success, she takes on Kotaro's expression "Break it all, Junko!" in the sense of literally crushing his guitar, which she does at the end of her solo concert.

Yugiri (Zombie #5)

Episode 10 shows him with a level of vulnerability within himself, admitting uncertainty about his ability to lead the girls to their goals and, in Yugiri's words, showing strangely particular affection for Sakura. Yugiri talks to him about this specifically in regards to Sakura in Episode 10, who underneath all seems to be particularly kind to her, trying to act as a stealth mentor and help her discover and overcome her flaws, but avoid giving her away a direct answer.

In Episode 1 of Season 2, a drunken Kotaro stumbles upon the bar where Yugiri works... and quickly (but politely) leaves the moment he sees her.

She seems to be the only one besides Kotaro who knows about Jofuku, sitting down with him for a drink and calmly reminiscing about their past together, all while being aware of Jofuku's immortality and necromantic powers.

Lily Hoshikawa (Zombie #6)

“So you’ve got room for Lily in your little girly club but Masao’s not welcome?!; Right! She’s not Masao, she’s Lily. You guys are Masao and I’m Lily!”

— Kotaro Tatsumi, “Episode 8

In keeping with her age, Lily is prone to saying exactly what she has in mind without thinking it through or, sometimes, simply not caring. For example, when Kotaro reveals Franchouchou's shirts that they must wear for the Gatalympics, she immediately and cheerfully declares that they are the ugliest shirts he has ever seen.

Like the quiet Junko, who often approaches her and intimidates her, he knew Lily's secret but doesn't seem to care because "Lily is Lily" after all.

Lily always cooperated with the zombie land saga plan seeing that she in her new life would never grow old and she would always be the girl she wanted to be.

Kotaro does not perform any kind of physical abuse towards Lily, but resorts to childish teasing of her so as not to hurt her.

During season two episode 5, twelve year old Lily decides to take over the morning briefing for a change, completely sapping all her authority, she does her own version of Kotaro's nasty boos (though is much cuter doing it), and gives him a little of his own medicine. All he can do is walk to his empty chair and sit quietly, trying not to cry at the end. Not shortly after, he gives a miserable performance for the talent show due to not having his usual self-confidence.

Tae Yamada (Zombie #0)

“The Legendary TAE YAMADA!”

— Kotaro to Sakura, introducing Tae, “Episode 1

It tends to bite and gnaw on anyone or anything it can get its hands on, including its own hair. However, according to Kotaro, she is totally harmless.

Kotaro gives a basic description of each girl to Sakura when she first wakes up. But with Tae, he simply says that she is "The Legendary Tae Yamada". When Sakura asks again, he just repeats himself and never gives background information on her.

He although he shows no interest in Tae, and even in his own diary mentions that she does her thing in Franchouchou. He is upset when in Revenge episode 6, Saki mentions that Tae turned out to be more useful than him.

Others

Romero

“Morning, Romero. Good job wrangling the girls as always!”

— Kotaro to Romero, before feeding him dried squid, “Episode 1

Kotaro's pet dog, he helped him bring the girls to the meetings when they were not awake and also dressed them, as a reward he gave him dried squid.

Mysterious Man (manga only)

After meeting the mysterious man in Drive-in Tori they become good companions, but apparently he has hidden intentions, both visit Saga restaurants frequently.

Jofuku

Jofuku 2.jpg

It is shown in the eleventh episode that they are acquaintances, and that it seems that he knows more than Kotaro himself, it is mentioned that like Kotaro he has a past with Yugiri that he still cannot forget. In the beginning of the second season, the bartender makes fun of his appearance since he is very careless, and although Kotaro does not mind this, it does bother him that he messes with the girls since he is a father to them to the point in which when the bartender tells him to give up and tell them that everything is over, he gets angry breaking a glass in his hand. This makes him reconsider and go to the girls to support them, however all this was the bartender's plan to make him see reason.

After meeting with Arata Ookoba, Tatsumi goes to talk to Jofuku about his problems with the identity of the girls, Jofuku comments that the dark young boy he met 12 years ago has come very far, and that although the curse killed the girls, he recruited them to be part of his group of idols who saved Saga. Their conversation is interrupted by a storm that cuts off the power in Saga, the following days pass in the flooded bar until police officer A arrives to rescue both men, Kotaro assures that he will not let Jofuku die and that Franchouchou save Saga.

Arata Ookoba

Arata confronts him at the EEF stadium about the true identity of the Franchouchou girls and threatens not to allow the revenge concert to take place. However after the floods of Saga, Arata manages to see that the Franchouchou girls are not under Kotaro's control and Kotaro himself decides to talk to Arata to ask him for a favor.

In the twelfth episode of Revenge, it is revealed that this favor was asking Arata to get a helicopter for Franchouchou's concert. Although Arata still mistrusts him, but sets his plan in motion by remembering Franchouchou's girls.

The next day, thanks to Arata's support. Franchouchou's benefit concert is publicized throughout Japan and turns out to be a complete success filling the stadium in a matter of hours.

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