Sankarea: Undying Love (2009) – Love of the Living Dead

“Sankarea” is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” where there is a good and bad side. Both sides want to unite in one another. In short, just read the manga and stop waiting for the second season. The first season with only 12 episodes with three extra episodes doesn’t really guarantee that “Sankarea” is a walking dead. No, the first season only covers the first two volumes while the rest is more than that.

The best part why I like the show because it tries to combine romance, horror, and a little ecchi. “Warm Bodies” also one of them that uses the same material. The horror element is a bit scary if you want to say horror. If you say so but it’s more disgusting because of the gore. Well, Mitsuru Hattori doesn’t seem to be playing with this. “Sankarea” isn’t equal to “Shaun of the Dead” but is different from such a romzom-com.

In short, “Sankarea” is a weird story about love. For some people, we all know what a summary of this manga is like. We had the exact same story thousands of times about love between a vampire, artificial intelligence, mermaid, or whatever. Yet, we got another zombie love story about Chihiro Furuya with Rea Sanka or you could just say, she is the zombie. It’s a story about Chihiro who wants to revive his cat died in an accident. He brought it to life using a few potions from where they came from and at the same time met Rea. Now, I don’t really want to explain the main points or brief synopsis of this manga because I think I’ve said this a lot. So, I will focus more on the story with the anime aired until the second volume.

After her introduction still vaguely adapted in the anime, Darin Arnschent Kurumiya came to Japan to meet Jogorou Furuya again or his nickname twist, Professor Boil. Darin once worked as an assistant for Professor Boil and once again wanted to do research which was ordered directly by her father. It’s sad that the anime is so hanging from here especially for this introduction of one important character after the anime. Darin’s role is actually very important in this manga. She tried to find a way to cure Rea, help Chihiro, and others.

She has a good character development from her background a bit of anti-social and why she also becomes so obsessed with zombies – even though it’s not as fanatic as Chihiro – has a reason behind it all. Until now, there have been so many long stories from zero to the major problem. One brief thing, we know that Rea will eventually die. Various stories, plot holes, and background that still vaguely explained in this manga. Jogorou’s real intention why he created a medicine that can revive the dead, Chihiro’s mother’s background, vague memories, why did Chihiro and Mero lose their mother’s memory and all.

There many plots contained in it. Not only focusing on Rea, the manga still has such a complex relationship. In fact, we’re more familiar with Danichirou and Aria at the same time but this is just a minor problem. The author didn’t really tell Danichirou’s background until the anime finished. He traveled around the world to find medicine for his son. His role is so small at the end of the story that this character has forgotten without losing track. In fact, I almost forgot that there was still one character missing again.

There is also Darin’s relationship with her father, Salva Arnschent Kurumiya, which is only to be part of the character depth for Darin. Ranko’s relationship with Chihiro and Rea is a bit more complex than the anime adaptation. In addition to being friendly and rivals, Ranko and Rea have good relationships in order to reach one thing they want. Ranko told in a deeper way and more complex relationship with Chihiro when it comes to romance or something like which. Even Baabu also told in-depth way. Another minor sub-plot such as Mero Furuya with her school friends, Ichie Shinoda, and Miko Yasaka, is part of fanservice just to make the tone so caring.

Enough for the plot, the ending makes you like someone who feels a dilemma. I warned, just don’t be serious about carrying out the author who seems to be a prank because the twist is so deceptive. Just, don’t go down very seriously or you will get into such a trap. In addition, it’s quite ambiguous after the story. Especially, the last sentence said by Rea Sanka refers to the interpretation of the reader.

Yeah, that’s what Mitsuru Hattori said. The ending after the story relies more on the interpretation of each reader. So, enough for spoilers as well. On the other hand, this manga is so different from the adaptation of the anime. The introduction of the characters are quite slow and some of the thing not too memorable as well. This is not your everyday manga. There are some fillers that aren’t very important and repeated. Some of them seem forced, too encouraged to push the characters.

The artwork is great, a redeeming quality for a manga horror. Just love the Chihiro’s design that is made like a cat. Some parts of the chibi moments, especially in scenes that are more seriously impressed is just to reduce the tone. As I said, don’t be serious. Rea also has much attention from this aspect. Some of the character designs, some are impressed bland. The ecchi is well illustrated if you could say. There is not some non-sense thing like light to cover all the mature content and less mature even though it is hard to say hentai too. Only to fill the fanservice parts. There is no other reason. Bottom line, just love for this aspect.

“Sankarea” is a weird rom-zom-com manga. The problem is, the anime adaptation is more open-minded and interpretation. In fact, there is more if you read the manga after the anime or even read it from the beginning. The plot goes more complicated and complex. The manga is a dilemma which is so special than others. It was mixed with the good and bad sides who tried to be put together. Various depths of character and thousands of questions that you think still feel ambiguous have been answered in their entirety in this manga. The art is great, some of the characters just impressed like a quirky. “Sankarea” is indeed not the right recommendation for all people regardless of the genre is horror. But, it’s that weird impression that makes it unique.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

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