Sankarea: Undying Love
I am an unabashed lover and fan of zombie rom-coms. You name it – Shaun of the Dead, Warm Bodies, Life After Beth, I love them all. So if you have exhausted all those options, including the recently released Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, allow me to turn your attention to the fantastic anime series Sankarea: Undying Love.
Chihiro Furuya is a young high school student obsessed with zombies. Video games, manga, movies – you name it, he’s got it. (As far as I am concerned, he and I are blood brothers.) Above all, he wishes to have a zombie girlfriend… but that’s impossible, right?
Desperate to find a way to resurrect his dead cat, Babu, he crafts a resurrection potion made from poisonous flowers while at the same time meeting Rea Sanka – a girl with a bad streak of misfortunes following her at the behest of an abusive and controlling father. While working on the potion under the cover of night, the two form a budding friendship and relationship as Rea feels free for the time with Chihiro.
However, her father continues to make her home life become increasingly dysfunctional and unbearable. At her wit’s end, she attempts to commit suicide by drinking the potion but it does not kill her… but an accidental fall from a cliff does. Sure enough, the resurrection potion actually works and turns Rea into the zombie girlfriend of Chihiro’s dreams. But having an undead sweetheart carries more than its share of challenges. Whether living or dead, the show follows the ups and downs it takes to resurrect something that can’t simply be cured by a potion – the true meaning of living and happiness.
The show is sweet and charming (though not without the occasional dark humor – it IS about zombies after all) as it traces the growth of a platonic and romantic relationship that shows resilience and tenacity in the face of odds to comedic effect. However, it surprisingly dives deep into a myriad of dark and unsettling topics include child abuse, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, social isolation, unhappy marriages, and patriarchy of the worst kind. Yet this dark exposition is necessary to give way to powerful message – of how liberating and freeing friendship and love could be. As it is in life and death, love is a powerful catalyst for change and transition.
Encapsulate that powerful message with surprising, touching slice-of-life stories & a happy dose of zombie gag humor and Easter Eggs from Dawn of the Dead to Shaun of the Dead, I’m implore you to watch this show immediately! (Out of all of these, Sankarea is the one I am most heavily emotionally invested in *flail*)
Sankarea: Undying Love is available for streaming on Hulu and Funimation.
Which ones in this list have you seen or enjoyed? Also, there are plenty of other romantic anime out there, and I certainly have not seen or heard of all them. So do me a solid and give shout outs to your favorite romance anime! Cheers, and Happy Valentine’s Day weekend everyone!
Chris Samson thinks it’s time to blow this scene, get everybody and their stuff together… Can be found on Twitter at @KyoNinjaForHire and @FanimeshonDesu… Okay – three, two, one let’s jam.