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"With the beginning of the Reiwa era, Saga will face a cataclysmic threat. A cataclysm wherin no one will think of Saga anymore, and it will vanish from their memories."

— Jofuku, on the prophecy of the curse

The Curse of the Saga Prefecture (佐賀の呪い Saga no noroi), also known as The Curse of Saga, is the primary antagonistic force which has plagued the Saga Prefecture since ancient times and continuing into the present day.

Its opposite is The Blessing of SAGA, which blesses Saga's future saviors with prosperity. The curse ensures that any person who may bring prosperity to Saga will be struck down before doing so, effectively dooming Saga to a path of ruin and destruction.

Origins

The curse of Saga (as it is known in the Zombie Land Saga universe) is inspired by the historical accounts of Xu Fu, an ancient Chinese alchemist who allegedly visited Saga in his search for the elixir of immortal life.[1] The curse also seems directly linked to Jofuku, as he is shown to visibly suffer as a direct consequence of its power.

The curse takes different forms throughout time.[2]For example, during the Meiji era, the curse tricked people into war and destruction.[3]In the late eighties, when there was a period of relative normalcy, the curse was embodied by sagako, demons with physical forms who terrorized the residents of Saga.[4]In modern day, the curse appears as natural disasters and/or freak accidents targeting Franchouchou's ascension.

Description

A mysterious and malevolent force that aims to erase Saga at all costs. Jofuku has been fighting the curse for centuries, as the curse threatening Saga means that his life is also at stake. It is responsible for endangering the people of Saga and trying to make the prefecture cease to exist. Franchouchou's bad luck is partly due to the curse, doing whatever it takes to prevent them from succeeding and spreading Saga's name. Once its subtle manipulations reach the point of not being able to defeat Franchouchou, it begins to look for more direct attacks such as "natural" disasters.

Its entire goal is to make Saga fade into obscurity and eventually cease to exist as a concept, and while it does so primarily by killing people, it is also open to manipulating situations to mentally break people so that constant artificial deaths don't are necessary to destroy Saga. The curse basically turned Sakura into its own personal cosmic toy so that she would never achieve anything in life before it finally decided would lead her to a car accident, and the fact that Ai and Lily went far enough to startbringing fame and recognition to Saga, only to have both careers tragically cut short, which largely implies that it intentionally held back and gave some points of hope to the prefecture so that it could instigate some incidents that destroyed Saga reputation.

Franchouchou itself was created by Kotaro Tatsumi as part of his Zombie Land Saga project, designed and ultimately purposed to defeat the curse and thereby save Saga. Because the curse promises to kill any individuals who may bring glory to Saga, the project is Kotaro's attempt to elude its power by producing an idol group made up entirely of undead zombies, since as zombies the curse cannot simply kill them again. The curse throws out everything it has to do to stop Franchouchou, including lightning, blizzards, and a devastating flood that destroys Saga. When neither of those works, it instead manifests an alien invasion.

Powers

Abilities

  • Ominous Presence - The curse manifests its power in response to a threat, the greater it is, the more effort it will make to stop it, which means that when Franchouchou's group were ready for their concert at the EFS and it itself would bring Saga recognition, Saga's curse would not hesitate to use all its available power to stop the girls or even destroy Saga days before they achieve their objective.[5]
    • Misfortune - Franchouchou's girls were cursed by the curse with bad luck, but being dead and with Kotaro on top of them, this bad luck is not effective, in fact the curse tried to take them to the sea and try to expose the girls multiple times during the last episodes because the curse does not want the people of Saga to have something to remember.
    • Accidents - The curse sees as a threat anyone who wants Saga to be more popular, so it will generate accidents or small or large inconveniences that will hinder Saga in his progress.
    • Deaths - It is implicit in these season 2 episodes that memory is the factor that allows Saga to persist, not its official recognition as a prefecture, because committing an assassination against Saga's rebels effectively reduced the number of people who remember Saga in their hearts. The death of the girls is the last measure of the curse to end anyone who dares to interfere with Saga's popularity.

A storm floods Saga in a few minutes

  • Natural Disasters - Shown in the latest Revenge episodes, Saga's curse is capable of causing natural disasters that will surely have killed multiple people.
  • Supernatural Beings - When the curse gains enough power from its counterpart, it can choose to physically manifest itself to make its job of eliminating Saga more effective.
    • Sagako - Spawn demons in Saga to destabilize the area and prevent people from thinking of Saga Prefecture. It can literally manifest itself as an alien ship in response to Franchouchou's benefit concert that became popular in various countries.
  • Possession - TBA
  • Apocalypse[6]  - The end of the world predicted by Jofuku.

Weaknesses

  • Onions - Onions are the method of sealing in Sagako's demons, a physical manifestation of Saga's curse that attempted to end the prefecture in 1989-1999[7].  Thanks to the power granted by Saga's blessing, these onions can seal Sagakos indefinitely.
  • Memory - Saga's collective memory is what allows Jofuku and possibly the girls to exist. This is Kotaro's plan and that is the way Kotaro plans to save Saga and why it has to be the way he is doing it, if all mankind remembers Saga, it is impossible to destroy her from people's hearts And since the curse only operates in the Saga area, it will be impossible for it to do anything.

Presence

The curse doesn't just need to kill, it just needs to negatively impact the area.

Season 1

  • Episode 1 - The truck driver that killed Sakura claims he was blinded by a sudden flash of light when he turned himself in for manslaughter, as revealed in the end credits scene of “Episode 17”.
  • Episode 2 - Ai and Junko didn’t listen to Sakura and the three almost got shot by Policeman A. Later on, their identities as zombies are revealed during their performance, though, they were able to cover it up just as quickly.
  • Episode 3 - Their guerrilla performance was a bust.
  • Episode 4 - They lost the sponsorship from the unnamed pharmaceutical company.
  • Episode 5 - Despite doing well with the commercial shoot for Drive-in Tori and having Tae win the Gatalympics, their efforts were at naught since they ended up giving Drive-in Tori the publicity they planned on advertising themselves with.
  • Episode 6 - Ai and Junko’s quarrel causes a rift between the girls’ relationship regarding their fans.
  • Episode 7 - The girls are struck by lightning only for them to find out they are immune to its effects and have instead been upgraded by its voltage.
  • Episode 10 - A wild boar disrupts their “training in the mountains” montage.
  • Episode 11 - The flashbacks portraying Sakura’s life before her death was filled with misfortune.
  • Episode 12 - The snowstorm caused the roof of the stadium to collapse on the girls during their performance.

Season 2

  • Episode 14 - Frustrating White Ryu's radio by causing his station to lose popularity.
  • Episode 15 - Kotaro tries to separate Ai from the girls so they could stop depending on her too much. This catches the attention of Shiori Baba who tries to (re-)invite Ai to join Iron Frill.
  • Episode 17 - Kotaro sabotages the Japanese Got Talent twice to avoid drawing the attention of the curse, first with his interpretation of the mudskipper making the prefecture look bad and secondly sabotaging Lily's song by giving Light her song. When Light won, the curse didn't focus on the girls this time. Besides that Light emphasizes that nobody in Saga triumphs.
  • Episode 18 - Having Tae run errands for the week just makes Ookoba follow his instincts, revealing the girls' true identities after following Yamada all day.
  • Episode 19 - After accidentally knocking out Maimai Yuzuriha, Tatsumi brings her unconscious body over to the mansion, thinking she’s dead and makes her a temporary member of the group. Although her skills were below subpar, forcing her to leave on her own accord.
  • Episode 20 - Kiichi Momzaki’s incompetence at his leadership skills accidentally causes a war within the prefecture.
  • Episode 21 - In an attempt to stop the rebellion, Itou attempts to get rid of Kiichi and Yugiri only to be stopped by her fatally injuring him, which subsequently led to Yugiri's beheading.
  • Episode 22 - The natural disasters are growing more prevalent as it has shown to have tried to off Kotaro twice in the present.
  • Episode 23 - The curse has tried to drown and kill Kotaro in different ways, but without success. It has also made Franchouchou homeless and without a place to practice the event
  • Episode 24 - Minor manipulations to prevent Franchouchou from reaching the stadium, causing it to constantly rain. It finally finds Kotaro's weak point by attacking his immune system.

Zombie Land Saga Gaiden

  • Chapter 1 - Eikichi suffers a shoulder injury that prevents him from being a better baseball player.
  • Chapter 2 - A Sagako makes couples start fighting each other.
  • Chapter 3 - The Maryina club is attacked by Sagako due to its popularity.
  • Chapter 4 - Karatsu Burger stores begin to close due to the influence of the curse.
  • Chapter 6 - A Sagako prevents high school students from confessing, Takeo is repeatedly struck by this curse.
  • Chapter 7 - A Sagako on the coast and a missing Anna cause the group to weaken.
  • Chapter 8 - A storm seems to approach Saga, the Sagako is defeated

Deaths

Franchouchou and co.

  • Sakura Minamoto - Now it makes a lot of sense why Sakura was the reason for Sakura's bad luck. It wasn't because SHE was unlucky herself, the curse of the Saga prevented her from succeeding and pursuing her dreams, since then she would have saved the entire Saga, and the universe set out to make sure that didn't happen. And after trying and failing several times to demotivate Sakura, only for her to still not give up, he finally decided that the only way to stop her would be to kill her and according to Arata's files, the truck driver was skewed by a mysterious light and that his truck was pulled by this light towards Sakura. And when Sakura proved physically impossible to kill due to her being a zombie, the curse tried to kill her in an emotional sense by recreating the incident that killed her and gave her amnesia, leading to her losing memories of her time in Franchouchou get depressed again and not wanting to continue. Although thanks to the efforts of her friends, Sakura was able to move on and finally regain her passion for being an idol as well as her memories
  • Saki Nikaido - She is the leader of a cycling gang that wants to take over the island of Kyushu and then their country. Due to her influence and the gang's growth, the curse tried to stop Saki and as a last resort left her to die in a motorcycle accident which she initially survived, but leaving her alive for her gang to see what happened, with the gang traumatized they stop the project to take over Kyushu.
  • Ai Mizuno - Iron Frill is a very popular group and Ai is its center, a living legend. Their concert at EFS will be one of the largest in the area. The curse killed her before the concert became a success. The curse killed her in a way that will leave a negative impact on the place, so no one wanted to remember the place. Even newspaper articles highlight the rarity of the incident.
  • Junko Konno - She has already become popular and well known, a living legend similar to Ai. She when she went to Kyushu near Saga to bring popularity to the place. The curse stopped her immediately after the plane crashed and it had no restrictions on collateral damage, as Junko was in a plane crash with hundreds of other passengers.
  • Yugiri - Victim of the curse or, more accurately, of an exchange. Kiichi was a nameless boy who wanted to get Saga back, but who became a potential victim of the curse (and politics) in the process. Meanwhile, Yugiri had friends in high places and her death was almost covered up and wiped off the map. If her death had been made public in some way and it had been made public that by helping a child to recover Saga, it was accidentally started caused a riot/attempted revolution. Saga would have gotten a lot of attention from that kind of news, like news worthy of a history book. The curse would have had a harder time keeping Saga "forgettable", preferably non-existent."
    • This also implies that the wars that destroyed Saga after its prosperity were the fault of the curse itself in the area.
  • Lily Hoshikawa - She was a popular actress in Saga. She makes Saga popular and known for her going against the intentions of her curse, which is why it killed her by growing her hair out at a young age and triggering stress cardiac arrest.
  • Tae Yamada - The curse is already stopping her to "save Saga" by spawning Sagakos to stop her group, we still don't know anything about Tae but most likely she was brutally killed by a very powerful curse.
  • Kotaro Tatsumi - The curse has tried to kill him many times trying to drown him in the sea and in the bar where he is, as well as trying to crush him with a figure from Tosu's stadium.
  • Romero - Though it is currently unknown what caused his death, he is the first ever known zombie to be successfully ressurected by Jofuku.

Others

  • Mr. Hibiya - Who bought Yugiri and brought her to Saga was the victim of the curse as he was someone very powerful and who could bring prosperity to Saga, he was killed from a "sudden illness".
  • Tae's parents - killed by the physical manifestation of the curse when they planned to bring prosperity to Saga Prefecture. It is unknown how both died.
  • Kiichi's father - Who were in the Saga revolt and were killed by the enemy.
  • Sachika - She died shortly after giving birth to Lily due to her frail heart condition.

Influence

Since the gaiden manga takes place about three decades from the anime’s setting, there could still be people living in Saga who remember the times when monsters once roamed the prefecture and spread stories about them which explain why almost everyone who sees the girls in their zombie states immediately pegs them as monsters.[8]

As for the various reactions to the girls’ supernaturality, that could depend on the age of the characters.

  • In the second episode, the audience at the old folks' home hardly react at Tae's head falling off which could be them attributing it to special effects. However, given that they wouldve been old enough to be living in Saga when the Sagako were prevalent, it's possible that they did recognize Franchouchou as supernatural but since they were clearly non-hostile with Tae only eating the squid and not going after the humans in the audience and Sakura inspiring them to make the most of their lives with her rap, they decided not to make a fuss about it
  • The cops and the rappers being young adults wouldn't have been around when the Sagako were prevalent but would've have heard stories of monsters attacking people in Saga so when a bunch of reanimated corpses prop out at night, naturally their reaction would be to freak out
  • The pharmaceutical lady at the bath house like the old folks would've been living in Saga during the Gaiden manga. Unlike the old folks who saw the girls in a more neutral setting in a performance, the company lady had the misfortune of seeing the girls at night with them seemingly acting hostile (screaming and chasing her around). The fact that the bath house was apparently the earlier site of a Sagako attack as shown in the Gaiden manga would've just reinforced the company lady's fear that these 'beings' were clearly malevolent.
  • Then there's Maimai immediately recognizing the girls as zombies and accepting them. Like the cop, she would've heard stories of supernatural monsters prowling around Saga. Unlike the cop, who had no idea who these zombies were, Maimai recognized them as Franchouchou and being a fan of theirs who'd been regularly attending their concerts wasn't afraid of them; it also helps that she wasn't wearing her glasses so she couldnt see their zombie forms clearly making them look less horrifying
  • Finally, the kids at the refugee didn't believe Franchouchou to be real zombies at all, ironically compared to the older characters. Being little kids, they wouldnt have been around when the Sagako existed in Saga and it's possible their families avoided telling tales of the Sagako to avoid scaring them so they wouldnt know that actual monsters like zombies could exist outside fiction. Like Maimai, they would've gotten used to Franchouchou so that they wouldnt see them as a threat plus the zombie reveal taking place during a performance making it easier for Franchouchou to pass it off as zombie makeup.

Relationship with the Bagua

The curse generates bad luck to those who curse, therefore they even Franchouchou's bad luck coughs were generated by the intentional curse or as a result of their deaths, this is because all the girls died or Butsumetsu on a bad day and therefore the by-product is that in post-life they have bad luck. But the eight girls had extreme bad luck, in Bagua philosophy, going too far to one extreme will take you to the other extreme, so the extreme bad luck of the girls really gives the group great luck to counter the effects of the curse of Saga.

The only people with good luck in the series are Kotaro and Tae, with Kotaro explaining his name change based on the Bagua system which gave him the good luck necessary to prevent Saga's curse from reaching him easily as it did with the girls. Tae for her part is shown in episode 16 that she has good luck to a surprising level since in one day she earned 20 million yen to pay the debt of the girls and Kotaro, so even with that excessive amount of good luck Curse found a way to kill her, surely in a brutal way.

Trivia

  • After being mentioned by Jofuku in the anime, the curse manifests a devastating storm that destroys Saga and leaves Jofuku incapacitated.
  • It does not appear to be a living being in the traditional sense, but rather a force of nature that can influence the events of Saga and its people.

References

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