After reading two chapters of the Sankarea manga, I came to the conclusion that it was something that would be average at best, a show to watch and immediately forget about afterward. While my prediction wasn’t far off, I found actually watching the first episode to be much more enjoyable than originally thought. Even if no prizes will be taken home for originality, it’s something that knows what it wants to be, and moves about with infinitely more confidence and poise than shows like Medaka Box. Then again, doing anything better than Medaka Box isn’t exactly the most difficult aspiration to aim for in this world, but I think the point’s been made.
So basically, Sankarea takes the modern obsession with zombies to the extreme with its main character, Chihiro, who’s so enraptured by the creatures that the only girl that he’d accept would be a zombie. He even admits that it’s his fetish, eschewing the possibility of getting with live women that inexplicably long for him in favor of those with just a little decay tinting their skin. However, what would actually happen if a girl came back as a zombie for him? Gasp!
The above may sound like it’s commentary on or even a deconstruction of the genre-savvy movie-obsessed nerd story, but I sincerely doubt that Sankarea’s smart enough to be intentional satire. It’s not that it’s an altogether dumb series, but it shoots itself in the foot by having the protagonist attempt to reenact the plot of Pet Semetery without graveyard visits, the words “BAD SHIT’S GOING TO DEFINITELY HAPPEN YOU FUCKING IDIOT” practically hovering over his head in big bold letters. What’s more, implying that it’s a deconstruction would also imply that there’s a market full of media about movie enthusiasts with an unquenchable taste for necrophilia left unmocked, something that I haven’t been made aware of as of late. Defining it as remotely snide commentary would be giving it too much credit, though it does deserve its fair amount.
Despite not being a show that leaves much of a lasting impression, the various elements combine together to form an enjoyable whole. Chihiro is just out of the ordinary enough to stick in one’s memory after the credits roll, his passion for zombie paraphernalia defining his life in the way that anime defines mine… except I’m not asking the world to bestow on me the presence of a 2D beauty. I’m not that far gone yet. Though we haven’t seen too much of him so far, he’s a reasonable individual that admits that his passion and the degree that he takes it to is out of the ordinary. The way he thinks about his life is refreshing, making him the first high school male lead in a long time that doesn’t make me want to cave in his skull. Rea, on the other hand, hasn’t had much time to develop. As far as I know, she’s just a blob meant to be the potential love interest, willing to die in order to end what she perceives as a miserable and lonely existence. With those paltry two personality traits, we don’t have much a character yet.
In short, though it may not be anywhere near brilliant, Sankarea has started as an above average zombie story with some serious potential for the odd bit of black humor and a likable enough main cast, coupled with well done drama. I may have said similar things about Zetman and the like, but this is the first show of the season that I have confidence will move up from just “Good” to “Possibly really good”.