Review: ‘Sankarea’ [Anime]

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by Marlan Moore | staff editor

Man, but do I love zombies.

At least I thought I loved zombies until I watched Sankarea. That’s when I realized that I don’t love zombies. I merely like zombies. Because Sankarea‘s Chihiro Furuya? That guy loves zombies.

Sankarea is a strange anime about a teen, Furuya, who adores zombies. Zombie flicks line his walls. His alarm clock is a zombie head. His toys are all zombie-related. Even his shirt in the promo image above says “zombie.” And his dream? To have a zombie girlfriend.

A little unrealistic of a goal? Sure. But hey, it’s anime and it’s comedy so just roll with it, all right?

So Furuya wants nothing more than to make out with some undead hotness. When Furuya’s cat Babu dies under the wheels of a car, Furuya tries to turn it into a zombie by putting together a resurrection potion he read about in a tattered book he carries around. While trying to get the formula just right, he meets Sanka Rea, a rich girl his age with an overbearing and incestuously creepy father.

Rea and Furuya become fast friends, with Rea trying to help Furuya revive Babu and making Furuya make promises about making her into a zombie and assuming responsibility for her if she does turn. Not that zombies are a normal thing in this anime world, just in case something so unlikely and insane would happen. Which it does.

Sankarea as a whole has some great comedic moments and comedic characters, like Furuya’s grandfather. That crazy, little old man cracks me up whenever he’s on screen. There’s a running gag throughout the series where he never knows what he’s eating and is surprised to find out that it’s not what he thinks it is. It’s not what he’s eating that’s funny, so much as his expression and response to the truth, as if the revelation was the one thing he least expected.

The first few episodes were really easy to get through. Watching Furuya trying to revive his cat and his meetings with Rea were all cute and interesting. This was also before Rea’s father was over-the-top creepy and just plain menacing and disgusting. Once the show gets to episode 5, however, it starts to jump the shark (or nuke the fridge, if  you prefer).

By the time episode 5 comes up, Rea’s a zombie and it’s really interesting to see Furuya and Rea figuring out how to deal with it. Sure, Rea and Babu aren’t of the flesh-eating variety (yet?), so that adds another interesting twist into the living dead idea. The problem arises when Rea loses control and her baser instincts take over. When this happens she gets, well, horny. Instead of sating her hunger on the flesh of humans, she wants to sate it with the big breasts of Furuya’s cousin and by kissing Furuya. And it absolutely makes no sense. Not that eating someone would make more sense, but…I guess the first 4 episodes seemed to be going in this interesting, surprisingly smart, unique direction. And once Rea starts going fan-service on Furuya’s cousin, it no longer felt that unique or that smart.

It’s after that point things get a little weird and the show starts to lose its focus, even adding a couple of filler-like episodes into the mix, which is surprising, since the show’s only 12 episodes. Why does a 12 episode series need filler? It’s also after this point that a love triangle blossoms between Rea, Furuya, and his cousin, Ranko. Furuya starts recording Rea to document her change, but instead of being done scientifically, it’s done creepily perversely. It’s reminiscent of Rea’s father taking naked pictures of her, especially with how intrusive Furuya seems to become and how uncomfortable Rea looks. Why she lets him do it, and why he’s so inconsiderate…I don’t know. Maybe it’s supposed to mirror her father?

In any case, Sankarea isn’t bad. It’s definitely got some good comedy bits and interesting character relationships. It just happens to take those relationships in strange directions sometimes. The series is based on a manga, and the final episode doesn’t give much closure, so maybe there’s more to the story that’ll come out in a second season or OVA or something else down the line.

Anyone interested in checking the series out can find it on Hulu and Funimation’s official site.

If you’ve already seen the series, please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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