It’s no secret that I went into Sankarea fully expecting to hate it, considering that I had no fond feelings toward what little I read of the manga. Granted, I probably gave up on it too early, but I still felt that the overall experience was painfully mediocre, and something about the art style rubbed me in a way that I didn’t particularly care for. After watching the first three episodes of the adaptation, I can comfortably say that there was a surprisingly well developed story buried under those undesirable trappings, and it was up to the anime to bring it out and let it shine. And thus far, it’s shone brighter than almost every other star this season. Yeah, it’s a little early for a retrospective, but there’s a serious dearth of good ideas on my end so that’s all I’ve got.
One thing that Sankarea has excelled at so far, without a shadow of a doubt, has been foreshadowing. Even when you know that Rea will soon be a zombie, something not so subtly given away in the first episode and blatantly hinted at in the plot synopsis, it still does a great job of not showing its hand too early. Sankarea is a show that knows how to pace itself, pulling the viewer in to its fucked up story while parceling out tiny bits of relevant plot information as it sees fit. There’s never so much said at one time that it feels like a needless exposition dump, but neither is the audience left wanting for information.
Each episode so far has shown an increase in the unhealthy influence Rea’s father has over her, most jarring (a compliment, in this context) in the entirety of episode two. The true depths of her father’s depravity, coupled with her mother’s negligence, paint a picture of a home life that would make even the most hardened abuse counselor sick with disgust toward her parents; when you don’t think that Rea’s life can get any worse, it does.
Finally, her climactic fall was built up all nice and metaphorical-like. As her father pushed her to the literal edge, she jumped into the yawning abyss of death (eucalyptus) below her, accidentally disemboweling herself on the way down and staining the blue flowers with her blood. However, it wasn’t the end for our poor heroine since she became a zombie soon after. There’s a kind of dark irony in her being unable to die despite existence being a living hell for her, but also a chance for her to correct what went wrong the first time and enjoy her second chance at life relatively consequence free.
So by bringing together the elements of well-placed metaphors, an abusive household that’s legitimately terrifying, and expert use of foreshadowing that doesn’t ruin any of the surprises leading up to Rea’s inevitable reanimation, Sankarea’s been absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait to see how Zombirea behaves toward Furuya in the future.