I haven’t had a great experience with zombie anime (Highschool of the Dead comes to mind), but Sankarea really started off as a refreshing and heartwarming type of romance that I haven’t seen in a while. Key word is “started off”, because this show really loves to forget what it does the episode prior and its priorities are never really established. Still, for a show by the infamous Studio DEEN, it’s definitely a nice little series that probably won’t get a sequel.
The last episode was a huge departure from the funny and light-hearted nature of this series. Gee, let’s introduce Rea and Wanko as love rivals on the last episode, that totally makes sense! No, that was completely pointless and should have been done much earlier: Heck, it could have been done in place of that boring Mero episode – still not a good place, but better than shoehorning it on the last episode. This is Sankarea’s biggest flaw: its really not consistent with its narration, and thus its hard to say if it’s a rom-com, a dramedy, black humor or slice of life with supernatural elements: It has elements of those, but none of which constitute a large majority of what this show is. And this last episode proved it: from a nice fireworks viewing scene to…wait how did they get to the bowling alley? Oh well, I guess it’s not that important but what followed was clearly DEEN baiting us into thinking it’ll get a second season. Actually, they have a good trackrecord on giving shows more seasons, most of which didn’t deserve it but I digress.
I am pleasantly surprised that for an episode with a lot of Wanko, there wasn’t hardly any fanservice with her. Good job, Deen? Still, this was not the kind of ending I had in mind for this show. Last episode was really weird with that fencing scene between Chihiro and Danichirou, and it ended on a reasonably well note but yet this episode totally went in the opposite direction. Again, this show doesn’t know how to set its priorities well at all.I don’t like comparing another anime while writing these posts but even though Highschool of the Dead was ridiculous with its fanservice (remember the Matrix boob scene?), it knew from start one what it wanted to do: flash some tits and kick some zombie ass. Not something to be proud of, but hey I’ll give HOTD props for at least sticking to its guns (both in the literal sense and…yeah), and it’s a great contrast to the meandering and wavering Sankarea.
On to the good, or great: The soundtrack was pretty great, while nowhere as amazing as Sakamichi’s, it conveyed the emotions and feelings of what the actual series should have set on doing instead of fidgeting on what to do. Yukari Hashimoto isn’t one of the well known composers, but her recent work was Mawaru Penguindrum and that was a pretty darn amazing soundtrack. I really enjoyed her music here, and hope to see her compose more. Seiyuu corner! Again, Ryouhei Kimura is dominating the spring series..right after the Sakamichi post here he is again as Chihiro and he does a great job sounding snarky and witty, in addition to the great emotional scenes he’s great it. Next is Maaya Uchida as Rea, and she’s one of the many new faces in the industry. A really great performance as Rea, conveying the right emotions smoothly. Sayuri Yahagi…I haven’t heard much from her but glancing at her credits she seems to be stuck with the childhood friend characters. A really nice talent that’s stuck voicing these lame characters, meh she did a good job with Wanko. On to the animation: for a show by Studio DEEN, you’d expect the show to look awful. Well it still kinda has notable drops in quality, but people immediately noticed the Shaft style employed in this series. No one knew why until the director, Mamoru Hatakeyama, was a pen name for Shinichi Omata – a guy with A LOT of Shaft series: episode director of Arakawa, Hidamari Sketch, Denpa Onna and Madoka Magica. See folks, it’s good to know your anime directors so you can take a guess at whether or not the guy directing is using a pen name…I’m curious about who’s really writing the script to Eureka Seven: AO and BONES confirmed it’s a pen-name but won’t say who. Ahem, anyways this was the good kind of Shaft style: The vivid backgrounds, the closeups of the faces – things like that are more of what I like from Shaft and not the flashing text crap that I saw in Bakemonogatari. Sankarea has a lot of style, but hardly any substance or at least consistent substance.
- Animation – 8/10: A DEEN show with Shaft visuals? Correction: A DEEN show with visuals that aren’t their usual cheap smoke and mirrors visuals.
- Story – 9/15: Pacing is a huge issue, just when the most important thing happening with Chihiro’s kidnapping the next two are about Wanko and Mero. Good job, Deen, way too set your priorites.
- Sound – 8.5/10: Probably the best part of the series is the soundtrack while not as great as Sakamichi’s it’s pretty nice to listen to. Loved both opening and ending themes and the voices were well acted.
- Characters – 13/20: Our main characters were great, everyone else..ugh. Wanko was useless, I didn’t care about Mero (the grandpa was annoying), I hated Danichirou (I hope everyone else does) and Chihiro’s friends…could Rea just kill them?
- Enjoyment – 31/45: Great visuals, a nice soundtrack and an interesting premise is all Sankarea has. The rest…well it’s there but at the same time it almost feels like there’s no reason for everything else to be there.
- Total Score – 69.5/100