Even by Sankarea standards that was a pretty weird episode.
Certain things I’ve come to expect from Sankarea. First, it’s going to look great – the best-looking TV anime DEEN has ever done, in my view. And second, the unexpected – because this show is all over the map and always has been. There’s the narrative choices – taking a two-week detour from the main plot without explanation, which combined with a one-week UEFA break means we’re basically means we’re picking up where we left off at the end of May. And just as baffling is the tone of the show, which is such a moving target I can never get a fix on it. And in terms of both visuals and surprises, the series was very true to form this week.
There was some stuff in the middle that sort of made sense, namely Chihiro’s interaction with Danichiro in the dojo. It was bizarre, but bizarre in what passes for a normal Sankarea fashion. But it was bookended by some inexplicable nonsense with cosplaying bondage maids at the front end, and some very annoying and incongruous Wanko stuff at the end. What’s really almost unique about this series is how little attempt it makes to reconcile the different aspects of itself – it almost feels as if every character except Chihiro and Rea is part of their own series. It’s fascinating but sometimes irritating.
As for that maid stuff, while I’m never confident in assuming with this mangaka and this director (they seem to slip some vital material in under the guise of nonsense at times) I can’t see any reason it existed, apart from otaku fanservice. At the very least Rea could have busted out of the bonds the two maids put on her at any time, that was obvious – and given that Chihiro might very well have been in mortal danger (and was), I don’t see any logical reason why she meekly protested and allowed herself to be turned into every fetish the maids could think of for so long. Probably pointless to look for logic behind it – at least Chihiro got to see his zombie bunny fantasy come true.
Speaking of pointless, my limited patience with Wanko is really wearing thin. She’s the worst example of a character who seems to be from a different series, because the one she’s from isn’t nearly as good as Sankarea. While Sankarea is usually quite original and an intriguing mix of mystery, horror, tragedy and comedy, Wanko is an instant transfusion of tropism at it’s least compelling. The minute she walks on the fanservice shots start and she breaks out every osananjimi cliché in the book. You would think that just maybe, given that Chihiro had just been run through and nearly bled to death, she might have given the abusive stuff a rest – bit not, this one is totally oblivious. I keep looking for her place in this series, what special thing she brings to it – and I still can’t find it. Sankarea is never as good when she’s on-screen as it is when she’s off.
Buried inside all that was some pretty decent stuff, as Furuya and Danichiro finally have the confrontation we’ve been awaiting for the last three weeks. Chihiro was certainly cool under pressure here – in fact, he seemed to be trying very hard to make Danichiro as angry as possible, though that might have been his zombie half talking. That’s right, apparently getting his wound licked by Rea turned him into a half-zombie, which was an interesting twist. Bottom line, Danichiro really is a sick bastard, and Chihiro was surprisingly eloquent in going straight to the point that Danichiro never stopped to consider Rea’s feelings when he could have easily challenged Danichiro on many other aspects of his twisted behavior. Indeed Chihiro’s big mistake was assuming the law would apply to Danichiro and offer him some protection, but rich men are a law unto themselves, and that’s where Chihiro’s zombie-ness paid big dividends – ironically keeping him alive.
How is this going to end? Don’t ask me – I’ve given up trying to figure this series out, and I haven’t read the manga for comparison’s sake anyway. With Danichiro having agreed to temporarily let Chihiro look after Rea while he jets off to find a “cure” (I think he got off way too easy) and Chihiro having apparently survived his impalement, I’m not sure what event will be placed as a season-finale. I say season-finale because it sure feels as if DEEN are going about this with a second season in mind. I suppose they could go with an anime-original ending, and it seemed almost as if the seeds were being planted for the finale to focus on the love rivalry between Rea and Ranko – but I can hardly believe either the series or the season would end on such a trivial note. As for the mystery of Chihiro and Mero’s mother, I’ve more or less given up hope on seeing that explored this cour – if there is to be a second season, hopefully it will happen then.