Zombie Land Saga Fans Can See Franchouchou in Real (Un)Life

Zombie Land Saga is leaking out into reality with the advent of series idol group Franchouchou in real life. The voice actors of the zombie girls from the show actually perform live for fans of the series at events. However, this isn't a new trend -- it dates all the way back to when Creamy Mami was at its peak in 1983.

Described as "media mixing," it's a marketing strategy that has led to the rise of up-and-coming idols taking on voice acting roles to launch their careers. Zombie Land Saga is just one of many idol anime to make use of this tactic, with other titles such as Senki Zesshou Symphogear, Love Live! and Bang Dream!: Girls Band Party having similar setups.

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The group went through two temporary names before finally landing on Franchouchou. The first was "Death Musume," or "Daughters of Death" and the second was "Green Face," referring to the girls' undead skintones. The group landed on "Franchouchou" when Sakura insisted that the group name starts with "Fran-" with the rest filled in by the sound of Tae sneezing. This is the name that they have stuck with since and the name that the voice actors perform under. It's speculated that the "Fran-" part was to be an homage to Frankenstein, since the girls are brought back from the dead while the "chuu" part is the Japanese onomatopoeia for kissing.

Franchouchou's voice actresses,  Kaede Hondo, Asami Tano, Risa Taneda, Maki Kawase, Rika Kinugawa and Minami Tanaka, have taken part in live events since the anime began, usually wearing something from their character in the show. During these performances, the girls sing and dance to songs from the anime while wearing costumes that are exact replicas or inspired by the ones worn in the series. They even go so far as to replicate the stage collapsing during their performance of "Yomigaere."

This is done by using smoke machines and lights to replicate the effect of snow while the girls act as though they've fallen due to the force of the stage falling. As they get up, they make their voices sound exhausted and hurt, while Sakura's VA Kaede Hondo hesitates as her character does. As they perform, a screen above them replays scenes from the corresponding performance from the series. It's also during these performances that individual character songs and duets are also sung, so each girl gets her chance to shine. They even bring in some of the side characters like Iron Frill to perform.

Because of the popularity of the anime, Saga Prefecture has seen increased tourism and the VAs have even taken part in events like the 2018 Saga Restoration Festival and the 34th Kashima Gatalympics while wearing T-shirts from Episode 5. Franchouchou has also been officially named as "Public Relations Ambassador of Saga Prefecture." On top of these events and performances, a stage play recounting the first seven episodes of the anime was produced with the name Zombie Land Saga Stage from Do-n!, though it does not feature the show's actors. Instead, a new cast takes on the roles of the idol group and their manager.

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