Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Anime Review: Sankarea

In case some people are wondering how I'm currently tackling my anime backlog, since it's certainly been all over the place, I'm trying to rotate between my queue on hulu, my queue on Crunchyroll, and any DVDs I/a friend/a local library might have, I'm determined to get this to-watch list down to a more manageable size by the new year! And this title was a long time coming anyway, I actually wanted to watch it when it came out last spring but by the time Funimation got the simulcast up on their site (I think they were three weeks behind this time, sheesh) my schedule was already set and I just didn't have room to add anything in. So I waited until I found time and made sure to do it before the DVD/BR set came out just in case I fell in love with the show so much that I wanted to get the LE edition of it. 


Summary: Chihiro has an obsession with zombies that goes beyond healthy and is rather creepy, poetically enough. So his family isn't entirely surprised to find out that he experimented on the late family cat, what is surprising is that he succeeds and accidentally resurrects a local girl as well!

The Good: When the show focused on what I expected, some rom-com with zombies, then I really enjoyed the show. Chihiro isn't the most likable character but he's alright and I rather liked Rea as well. I feel like the writing was a bit above the average for a shonen rom-com (which isn't the best moniker for the show but I don't know of a better one), both of the characters grow as people and closer to each other and stay that way, there's no one episode development to have it rescinded later for the sake of drawing out the story. And when the show focuses on that it's genuinely good and if anyone's worried about the gore don't be, there's actually barely any in the show.

The Bad: Whenever either the grandfather or the childhood friend/cousin (Wanko) appeared on screen my interest in the show sharply dropped since then it would bring out all of it's unfunny running gags and really generic love triangle antics (made even more annoying by the fact that there IS no love triangle and Wanko seems to acknowledge this half the time and the other half she's just to immature to know when to butt out). Sadly this happens pretty often and combine that with the fact that the show just didn't have quite enough material for 12 episodes (I do wonder why they didn't switch the Mero-centric episode out with the first OVA episode, 13, however, that would have made much more sense) so it seemed to wander a bit at times and I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped. 

The Production Values: Holy moley, someone at Studio Deen actually has some design skills! It varies from episode to episode, and it pops up more in the earlier episodes than the later one, but a lot of the scenes are styled and laid out very stylistically (for those who don't understand how that works, think of how deliberate Utena or Penguindrum were with their designs, just not at that level) and that was really nice to see. I even flipped through the first volume of the manga (since Kodansha Comics just put it out a month ago) and yup, this was all the anime's doing, I really wonder who was in charge of that. Other than that the story looks and sounds pretty average but even then those artistic moments are enough to make it stand out in a crowd, or at least from nearly everything else Studio Deen has produced.

In the end I'm giving this show a 3 out of 5 for having some great parts and then a lot of parts I didn't like (I still have no idea what was up with the second ova, episode 14, just, what the hell). There was enough I disliked that I don't feel the need to rewatch the series and/or buy it yet I would watch a second season since the show hinted at some even greater plots lurking in the backgrond and I'd like to see those. However, I doubt I'll read the manga since what I saw on my flip through didn't catch my eye, I'd have to see a lot of people praising it for me to pick it up. For those who want to try this out head on over to hulu where funimation has the 12 episodes of the tv series streaming (not the OVAs sadly).

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