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« Sankarea – OAD

Sankarea – 12 (END)

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「あの瞬間…俺は…」 (Ano Shunkan… Ore wa…)
“At That Moment…I…”

To sum up the finale for Sankarea – I would say anti-climactic. I stated in last week’s episode that I thought they ended the main “issue” prematurely and that left very little story to be told for this week… I was so right. For a season finale, I felt like they didn’t want to dive into new issues, at the same time though – they wanted to leave it open enough for a potential season two. There is obviously more story to be told and I’m not sure how closely this follows the manga, but I think the anime tried to tie up as many loose ends as possible while still leaving it optional for more episodes to follow.

The episode itself revolved around several issues, never getting too deep into each one, but merely covering enough to give the audience a general outlook of what could potentially happen (in a non-existent epilogue). The general overarching issue was probably Rea’s slowly decomposing body. There is an overall depressing tone to the episode because she would constantly mention how she might not be around in the future… which I thought only made Chihiro more desperate to ensure that she got to experience everything she missed growing up. This included watching fireworks of course. However, even this final slice-of-life scene wasn’t as dramatic or impactful as I thought it would be. It almost seemed like Rea (and even Ranko) lost a lot of “life” after the previous episode.

We also get some form of conclusion with the love triangle… or rather, we get a confession between the girls at least. I found their conversation a little lacking; all things considering, it felt like they were both “just fine” with liking the same guy. I thought Ranko took a better approach by confronting the issue directly with Rea. Whereas Rea seemed to easily give up and just “give” Chihiro to Ranko without much of a fight. I understand why Rea would do that, but I’m sure Ranko thinks otherwise (already knowing that Chihiro likes Rea in return). Oh dear… girls are so crazy sometimes. I was hoping for more of a conclusion between our two heroines, however the romance has somehow taken a backseat in recent episodes and I was probably expecting too much.

Like I said, I think for a finale, this episode was a little lackluster. It didn’t really add value to the series as a whole and besides the ending (which surprised me a little); the entire mood of the episode was very mellow. The ending is definitely one that leaves an impression though, so I’m glad that the final scene reminds the audience that through and through, Rea is still a zombie.

Full-length images: I was expecting more from a final episode =(

Final Impressions:

I thought the series started off really strong. The characters were all refreshing to watch; especially Chihiro and Rea who both acted very differently than what I had in mind. Coming into the series, I had no prior knowledge of the manga and it was fun watching the series unfold and the circumstances that brought the two protagonists together. I loved the mystery around Rea’s family, Chihiro’s grandfather and even Chihiro’s mother. The first episodes gave a good base and starting point for the characters and I thought it was executed well – especially Rea’s cliff scene.

After Rea became a zombie though; the episodes started diverging between very good and just… mediocre. The storyline and continuity was still there, but I found some episodes to be filler-like or inappropriately placed (Mero’s episode anyone?). Meanwhile, I found some background episodes very entertaining and worthwhile (Aria’s storyline and even the OAD), so it really felt like a coin toss for me near the latter half of the series. The ending also left me with a feeling like there could never be a “happy ending” for the main couple, which really brings the entire mood of the series down for me. It’s an inevitable ending that is told off-screen, while still potentially giving the show a chance for a second season. I think there is a lot more story to be told and (having not read the manga) I would love to see what other challenges lie for Rea… besides the reoccurring body-decaying one.

I think it’s also note-worthy that Sankarea really blew my mind away with the animation and the way they told the story. The style was very SHAFT-like and I think my expectations of Studio DEEN just increased exponentially. Whether or not that they can keep it up, is debatable though. I definitely appreciated the close-up shots and the detailing in all their scenery; it made Sankarea pretty to watch and I thought everything was combined very nicely to create a certain mood for the story – whether that be horror, mystery or romance.

Sankarea is not the typical romantic/comedy that I think people judge it to be. There are different moods/genres and even psychological analysis that can be done on a certain set of characters. The premiere definitely tried to set it apart and exceeded all my expectations… it was only past episode 5 that it started coming up short – and especially the ending, I’m left with a hollow feeling. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a romance/life-hearted show, with a twist that keeps you intrigued. The whole zombie-ploy is not just a device to carry the show (it’s actually a main issue). And I think the characters did a very good job in bringing life to the show on their own.

June 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm
36 comments »
  • June 29, 2012 at 12:20 pmWW

    Would anyone who follows the manga tell me how the ending turns out (Rea losing her sanity again and biting Chihiro)? I’m assuming it’s not anime original.

    • June 29, 2012 at 12:50 pmJulibe

      the manga isn´t finished but she is back to her normal self…

  • June 29, 2012 at 12:25 pmdatdo

    I agree. The ending seemed to just lack umph. Especially considering the other finales over the past week, it fell short.

    • June 29, 2012 at 1:01 pmUnknownSoldier

      On the other hand I feel this is kinda like Chihayafuru where I don’t mind if they’re ending it like this in order to stick with the manga and [hopefully] provide us with a second season.

  • June 29, 2012 at 1:32 pmKurisu Vi Britannia

    T_T I hate it when they do this to my favorite mangas. Start off good then end it with anime originals =(

  • June 29, 2012 at 1:44 pmmonomo

    I totally don’t get that ending. It feels derped. (lol no better expression found)

  • June 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm1Lau

    She looked more like a Sexy Vampire than a Zombie
    Studio Deen ran out of money sadly

  • June 29, 2012 at 2:32 pmAnanas

    God creates man, man destroys God, Chihiro creates zombies, Rea eat man, Ranko inherits the earth.

  • June 29, 2012 at 3:19 pmDa5id

    See, Chihiro? THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE BANGED YOUR COUSIN.

    …wow, I never thought I’d be saying that.

  • June 29, 2012 at 4:07 pmvirox

    There’s still one more OVA and another episode on the 6th Bluray volume to come

    • June 29, 2012 at 4:20 pmAnanas

      One OVA to save them all and in Blu-ray bind them.

  • June 29, 2012 at 5:57 pminfinite

    I agree with your final impression’s especially on the show going from intriguing to just average when Rea turned into a zombie. You would think her turning into a zombie would’ve gave the story more “life”.

  • June 29, 2012 at 6:09 pmKen Sanders

    HERE GOES ANOTHER GREAT SAYING,

    “A KISS FROM A (ZOMBIE) GIRL IS WORTH DYING FOR”

    THIS REALLY APPLIES TO CHIHIRO FOR THIS SERIES FINALE.

    WELL, THE ANIME HAS ITS GOOD POINTS FOR THE PAST THREE MONTHS. ALL I CAN SAY ID THAT THE WHOLE THING IS GOOD FOR AN ANIME ENDING.

    HOPE FOR A GOOD ENDING IN THE MANGA VERSION AS WELL FOR THESE COUPLE.

    THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES….SANKAREA!!

  • June 29, 2012 at 6:39 pmNymphetamine2791

    Well this series has me feeling that it’s incomplete at the end, but looks like Chihiro would have some interesting oral…

    …just saying.

  • June 29, 2012 at 7:00 pmb.i.t.w.

    In the finale episode

    Days have past since Rea’s dad let them go all good as usual oh fireworks event rea like to see. Cat hair boy bit worry keep rea safe and her body well all time. Then mero appear why rea keep in house give rea want go out more? Next day rain come no fireworks so next day here Wanko oh do home fireworks party.

    Rea swept & broke boom here cat hair boy arrive do home fireworks with Wanko. Then Wanko arrive during which alone time and talking with Rea about Cat hair boy, zombie life, and rest. So home fireworks doing well with Babu goes down from sprial fireworks.

    Next day rea arrive home get her stuff so she can go school and brief talk with step-mom. Rea & cat hair boy doing wonder to do then here come zombie bite kiss.

    Indeed series quite good of sorts give likely a season 2 might happen and also looking forward to dub on it.

    • June 29, 2012 at 7:56 pmBanana Furikake

      There better be a season 2 or I’ll be peeved.

    • June 29, 2012 at 8:48 pmMash

      Why do you recap the episode?

      • June 29, 2012 at 9:04 pmb.i.t.w.

        it called spread the message to everywhere give based on point of view sum up each eps.

        besides give they have ova of this showing.

  • June 29, 2012 at 8:14 pmEveraldo

    This season of the anime ends at volume 03 of the manga that is currently in volume 06, then surely we have a new season with Darin appear and decaying of Rea as theme.

    I think too that currently chapter of manga would be a probably season 2 end.

    Sorry if my english is too bad :(

  • June 29, 2012 at 8:40 pmDvalinn

    I think the ending kind of encompasses the problems with the series as a whole; while the episode wasn’t bad in my opinion, it was awkwardly placed and it would have definitely been better if the previous ep was the last one. This kind of odd episode placement has happened before, like with the Mero ep, and caused the shows to kinda feel out of whack at times. Sloppy.

    Regardless, I still very much enjoyed this show. It really did a nice job with its premise (and was a lot more geared towards the drama side than I thought it would be) and kept me interested in the problems these (often well-developed) characters were going through. Sure going to miss watching this every Friday. Hoping for a second season, anyway.

  • June 29, 2012 at 9:07 pmewok40k

    salivating for possible second season… especially Darin! my fave mad scientist girl with cyber-zombie-owl familar…

  • June 29, 2012 at 10:38 pmAcario

    there’s essentially two ways to go about this:

    - They blatantly tease a 2nd Season but don’t do it being assholes (al a HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD)

    - They blatantly tease 2nd Season like an asshole, but actually do it (al a Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka?)

  • June 29, 2012 at 11:10 pmEclipse

    Really, that final scene left me in stitches. After their short talk about the futures Chihiro and Rea were hoping for, the irony that both of their ideals were completely wishful and unrealistic hits right away with that “kiss”. I suppose I hadn’t been expecting a happy ending for a while now, but the way it ended was hilariously raw, while showing precisely what was bound to happen sooner or later.

    That being said, I have to disagree that it was an anti-climactic episode. I always felt like the conflict with Rea’s father was a backseat issue to the conflict of Rea’s humanity and the main couple’s contrasting desires. Rea’s father never ever felt like a “main antagonist”, and his agenda just never felt serious or threatening in any way. His job as a character felt over when he perpetuated Rea’s death, and nothing he did after that felt relevant to the newer, more pertinent issues that grew out of that. The thing that made me feel uneasy from the moment she became a zombie was that their relationship was a bubble waiting to burst, and while they found ways to avoid, ignore, and prolong the inevitable throughout the series, and with that in mind, I think it was a good decision to end Rea’s father’s conflict first, and save the more important issues for the last episode here.

    I haven’t read the manga, and I have no knowledge of where it goes from here, but from that aside, I really do think the series can stand alone as it was.

    Great ending to a not bad series.

  • June 30, 2012 at 12:08 amJason Isenberg

    Second Season, no doubt. If they don’t, then it makes no sense at all lol

  • June 30, 2012 at 4:11 amSSichigo

    there is a sequence 100%. This is too popular to end, plus, the mangaka is helping with this project too, no way is it ending.

  • June 30, 2012 at 8:34 amTingster013

    Great, put a bloody big cliffhanger at the end of the episode of the series, how nice, make me feel like it is gonna continue on episode 13, then I realise only have 12 episodes. Nice job making me wait for season 2, but I believe it will be worth the wait, kudos to the team!! Looking forward to the next season!!

  • June 30, 2012 at 8:58 amWW

    What chapter of the manga does the anime end on?

    • June 30, 2012 at 5:59 pmbertman4

      Technically this arc covered the first 9 chapters of the manga. Of course, that’s not enough to they padded the episode count. The Mero episode was from chapter 12. The Aria episode was from chapter 17. Rea’s high school girlfriend bit was an anime original. And this final episode was a mish-mash of things.

  • June 30, 2012 at 10:39 ammac65

    I enjoyed the ending, and especially the zombie kiss. Yes, the episodes
    kind of mellowed, but if you think of Rea’s wish, to become a normal girl,
    all of the plot elements led to that point in the story in this final episode,
    and I wouldn’t expect to see anyone wielding a chainsaw.

    There are still challenges – how will she survive in the winter, e.g.?

    Now, we still have her father looking for a cure and many other issues that
    while not resolved, didn’t leave me feeling empty at the end of this series.

    This could be the end, and I wouldn’t feel bad about, but the way it was ended
    makes me expect/believe another season is planned.

  • June 30, 2012 at 12:05 pmkav

    Can someone tell me the importance of the zombie kiss at the end?

    • June 30, 2012 at 1:18 pmD-LaN

      Fan service? Some sort of symbolism?

    • June 30, 2012 at 3:17 pmmac65

      I think you’ll be lost if you look for significance beyond that it’s what a normal girl may/would
      do to confess her feelings to someone she loves, and Rea wants to do normal girl things.
      It’s a nice way to end the series, too, knowing that he did not reject her kiss and he (should)
      clearly know her feelings now, IMHO. He’s much more than a caretaker to her.

    • June 30, 2012 at 4:07 pmEclipse

      Oh, the bite/kiss was way more than fanservice. That whole scene was so loaded. Rea wants to be a normal girl, and Chihiro wants to extend her life as long as possible, right? With those two ideal scenarios fresh in mind (they were just speaking about them) the reality of their situation kicks in: Rea is a ZOMBIE. She is a dead, blood-sucking zombie. She can’t be a normal girl, so her ideal scenario is moot. Chihiro can’t extend her life forever because zombies don’t have a life to extend, so his ideal scenario is moot too. Rea’s momentary lapse into full-on zombiedom reminds us of how much really is left unresolved because of that inescapable truth. Also, I interpreted it first and foremost as a bite from a zombie, and Rea’s affection came through, so the bite had the extra overtones as a kiss after that, though that point is pleasantly ambiguous.

      Yeah, the more I think about it, I don’t care if it was anime-original or not. That was my favourite scene of the whole series.

      • July 1, 2012 at 2:27 amewok40k

        to put it mildly, “zombies dont live happily ever after…”
        Manga later focuses a LOT on the twin aspects of physical and psychical decay…

  • July 4, 2012 at 12:06 amseethrough

    what would be the aftermath of that last kiss/bite (whatever..) ?

  • July 12, 2012 at 7:23 amjreding

    The best thing of Sankarea for me was Rea herself. She had such an innocent, cheerful and loveable personality (and looked awesome besides) that she alone already made this show worth watching for me. I also agree with you, Cherrie, re the visuals. I particularly liked the use of colours and patterns in the ED.

    What somewhat dragged this series down for me were the side characters. The main plot and conflict was good and inventive but Rea’s parents were just caricatures not to speak of their maids. This felt completely out of place for me as the abuse theme is quite a serious one. Chihiro’s classmates were an additional nuisance. The other side characters were interesting but mostly underdeveloped. I would have liked to learn more about Mero and how her relation to Rea changed and developed but her sidestory was just bland. Only Ranko’s sidestory made me understand and like her better.

    Also, there were too many open ends (or am I just missing something?). Is Chihiro’s grandfather a zombie himself or knows about this stuff? Is Rea’s mother somewhat related to Chihiro’s family? Are Chihiro and Rea cousins?

    Less would have been more in the case of this series. I would have preferred had the creators focused more on the main conflict which easily would have yielded enough material for 12 awesome episodes.

    In any case, thanks for blogging this show, Cherrie!