Crunchyroll hosted a special two-part panel featuring two of Studio MAPPA’s latest series “Zombie Land Saga” and “To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts” on Day Two of Anime Expo 2019. The following covered the “Zombie Land Saga” portion. Check out this article for the “Sacred Beasts” content.

Moderator Evan Minto first invited MAPPA CEO and producer Manabu Otsuka along with “Zombie Land Saga” director Munehisa Sakai and the Japanese voice of Junko Konno, Maki Kawase. The panel looked back on the show, focusing certain scenes from Episode Seven.

Please check out the episode on Crunchyroll to understand the following content from the event.

The first scene was a touching moment with Junko and producer Kotaro Tatsumi before an outdoor concert. When Minto asked Kawase about how she approached that performance and she replied that it was an incredible important scene for Junko for it encompassed everything for the Showa idol and her obligation to go on stage. Minto also asked her if this was the first time playing a character that was hit by a car and she agreed it was. Director Sakai spoke, saying that “Zombie Land Saga” was a gag anime in its core but the characters were very serious so the team had to find a balance. He also said he wanted to show how the girls were living though they’re zombies. Otsuka noticed that both Episode One (shown in a promotional video at the panel) and Seven had car crash scenes got the same reaction from the audience and said he appreciated the laughter.

The second and last scene brought to the stage was when the group performed on stage, even after getting hit by lightning. During that screening, attendees with their own light sticks brought them out and matched the waving. The guests gave their thoughts on the clip, starting with Kawase. She said it was a very significant moment for Junko’s “rival” Ai Mizuno since she died by a lightning strike and the laser fingers really surprised her. Sakai share the same thoughts as Kawase and said that one of the scriptwriters brought the idea for the scene. It was something very silly but done in a serious manner that people will become emotionally invested. Otsuka said that the performance was the end of Junko and Ai’s disputes by using a very crazy situation to overcome.

The panel opened up for audience questions and the first person asked if they will ever know about the deaths of Tae Yamada and Yugiri. Kawase said she also wanted to know. Sakai replied and said for Tae, the development team thought a lot but would like to leave it to the fans’ imagination. As for Yugiri, there were a lot of ideas made while writing the script but could not fit her backstory within the 12 episodes.

The next question was about the collaboration with companies and why they chose Saga prefecture as the main location. Otsuka said he spoke in previous interviews how the studio had a hard time finding people and companies to back the project. One of the companies led them to choose Saga since its CEO lived there.

An audience member asked about the source of Lily’s backstory (revealed in Episode Eight.) Sakai said that he was thinking about what kind of idols to have in Franchouchou and wanted to include a little girl type. Initially planned to have twins that would switch heads but production found it difficult later in the show. He said she was a really preppy and sparkly character.

Another person asked if there was a chance for a “Zombie Land Saga” live show in the United States. Kawase said “I hope so.” Otsuka said they’re “really considering” and hoped to make it a reality one day.

Kawase’s final comment were that Anime Expo 2019 was her first overseas visit as a voice actor. The technical difficulties during the panel reminded her of Episode 12’s mishap but was happy to see the fans. She said that they were a great boost, hope they visit Saga prefecture and hope for a U.S. live event. Sakai said that the series was a challenge with several struggles. He said he was incredibly happy the U.S. fans received it so well. He wanted to work to expand and bring more of the show and asked for continued support. Otsuka concluded that plans are in the works with announcements to come. He thanked the fans for coming and the big turnout for the panel.

In case you haven’t seen all of “Zombie Land Saga”, the series is all available on Crunchyroll.

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