Zombie Rom-Com ‘Warm Bodies’ Takes a Page from ‘Sankarea’…Sorta

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by Marlan Moore | staff editor

One of the first things that came to mind when I saw the trailer for Warm Bodies was another off-beat zombie romance — the anime series Sankarea. Truth be told however, the two are worlds apart, with the only tie that binds being their focus on the same core concept - zombie love.

Warm Bodies is a new (romantically) comedic take on the zombie genre. Unlike most zombie flicks, this one is told from the brain-muncher’s point of view instead of that of the fresh meaty ones about to be devoured in hideously gruesome ways. Not only that, but it gives the zombies one thing they’re generally denied — humanity.

Are we human…or are we zombie?

Sankarea‘s zombie (yup, just the one…two if you count the cat) also has her humanity, even more than that shown in the trailer for Warm Bodies. She can speak proper English, walk without worry of rigor mortis, and other than the lack of basic human needs, she’s pretty much all there.

Besides the morbid love story and the more emotionally-stable zombies, the two don’t have much else in common. It was mostly just those two thoughts that tied them together — humanity and love. Everything else? Completely different.

Warm Bodies is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where undead zombies and undead-er boneys rule the land, and humans seem to be pulling together to take back what once was theirs.

Sankarea, though, looks to be set in modern Japan. No zombie apocalypse. No wasteland. Just, you know, some mad scientist-ish teen with an otaku-level obsession with zombies that brings his pet cat and a cute girl back to semi-life. Everything else? Life as we know it.

Yup, just like IRL.

Both stories seem to work their way through a typical love story in an atypical way. In Sankarea, Rea the Zombie and her human caretaker/zombie-maker Chihiro Furuya don’t immediately realize they have feelings for each other. It’s one of those things where you just know they’ll wind up together, it’s just a matter of when.

Warm Bodies looks to go the usual rom-com route, with a “meet cute” and probably some silly misunderstanding/betrayal of trust (although here it’ll probably be in the form of “accidentally” eating someone’s juicy arm or “accidentally” helping the military blow away some undead monster’s skull instead of overhearing a hushed conversation or misreading a situation) that leads to the girl leaving the guy until the (zombie) guy goes running through rainy streets to catch (but not eat!) the one he loves.

Or shambling through rainy streets. That works too.

Warm Bodies looks like it could be infinitely cuter (and action-packed) than Sankarea in the love story department, with a focus on the chemistry between the two characters that’s apparent from the start. Sankarea doesn’t worry about the chemistry between its two would-be love birds, instead going for a love that grows through one of them being a zombie and the other realizing they might just love a guy who loves zombies.

Seriously. I’m not entirely sure why they would wind up together other than some vague idea of “I love zombies and you’re a zombie let’s have zombie babies” or “I’m a zombie and you seem to care about me when no one else does (except for my creepy dad) so you’re probably my first, last, and only chance at a normal life so might as well go with it.” Then again, it’s been months since I watched the series, so who knows? Maybe they’re legit.

Warm Bodies shows a zombie’s journey back from the brink and his return to humanity, with love being the cure for the undead disease. Love in Sankarea is a slowly blossoming flower which, by the end of the anime, hasn’t completely bloomed. There’s no cure (yet) for Sanka Rea (that’s the zombie’s name), and it doesn’t look like love will be it.

And, of course, Warm Bodies is missing those anime tropes that Sankarea is full of. There’s no incest, fan service, or moe (in the trailer, anyway), and I’m 99% sure that’s for the better.

Moe, Incest and Fan Service, oh my!

Okay, so maybe it’s a bit far-fetched to compare the two when they’re so very dissimilar. But think about it this way — if Sankarea was made in the States, would it look more like Warm Bodies? And if Warm Bodies was made in Japan, would it look more like Sankarea? What do you think? Share with us your juicy brain-thoughts!

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