Can I say finally? Finally in a sense that the adaptation of Sankarea has reached the finale. What I’m going to say isn’t going to be sugar-coated, but I felt that up till the very last moment the whole episode in general was still “watchable”. More on that later.
Maybe it’s the trend these days or something to do with the spacing out of content, but I’ve noticed that the climax of certain anime happen on the second-last episode and instead the last episode is dedicated to mostly an epilogue of sorts, in other words the “what happens next”-type of conclusion. I don’t have a problem with these types of endings in general but I much prefer finales to end with a bang and not a whimper.
Despite that, as I’ve said, the episode itself is very much watchable, for the most part. With Rea’s family mostly out of the picture now, the focus is on her daily life – as a zombie. The use of the “summer festival + fireworks” theme isn’t anything original but as the saying goes: “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” I honestly thought that if things ended like that, it wouldn’t be too bad, but not anything spectacular either. Nothing really worthy of mention apart from the point that I really find it odd that Chihiro’s family are surprisingly understanding when it comes to having Rea as a freeloader.
However, in the last moments of the episode, things ended in what I would say as a very bizarre cliffhanger. Like many, I instantly went – “what the hell was that?“, but now when I think back on it and using what knowledge I have on the manga, that particular scene seemed like a logical move for the writers to end the adaptation at. I used the word “seemed”, because in the end while the idea was there, the execution of it was poorly done.
In a sense, it is like writing a story but only telling half of it to the audience and then ending it abruptly. Since I do know the events that happen next by virtue of having already read the manga, I do understand what that whole cliffhanger was supposed to mean. Unfortunately, due to the poorly thought out sequencing, things ended up more confusing and ambiguous rather than the intended message of “hey guys this is actually what happens next in the manga so check it out!”
The reason why I was initially confused was because I thought the whole episode is going to be original since I do not recall any fireworks nor potential yuri yukata moments happening at all (although I might be mistaken). Thus it lead me to think that they are just going to end things on the notion that all’s well that ends well before suddenly pulling that 180 degree turn. In retrospect it was an unusual move for an anime original episode to jump back into original content, and ultimately I feel that it would have been a better move not to include that ending at all since it was so poorly executed.
Once again, I would like to emphasize that the actual plan was fairly well thought-out, from the shift in scenes from the Sanka house to the abandoned building (since when was it changed to a bowling alley?) where they first met, from anime original content back into actual manga content. Alas things backfired at the very last moment and that kinda affects the image of the anime as a whole. I don’t really know what should have been done instead but I could certainly see an alternative ending or simply a removal on the cliffhanger part since the dialogue before that was actually decent.
- Definition of a klutz?
- Bandages with bloodstains? Seems fishy.
- Having an understanding family is nice, but really..eating nothing but Hydrangea leaves does not raise an inch of suspicion?
I’m going to be frank right off the bat, this adaptation is average at best, mediocre at worse. It isn’t unwatchable by any means, but it isn’t anything worth the recommendation either. The main problem is for me is definitely the slow pacing issues that the whole anime suffers from.
It might just be me but even when looking back at the series as a whole, I can’t help but notice that almost every Sankarea episode only has a couple of different scenes in its entirety. In addition to the presence of anime original episodes, which are mostly misses, it really goes to show that the anime is intentionally being dragged out for this specific ending point.
As for the characters themselves, the biggest issue I have is that the adaptation downplayed the importance of gramps too much. Being the creator of the resurrection potion, he definitely has a bigger role to play especially when he isn’t in idiot mode, but I guess the anime wanted the focus to be on the main characters themselves. If that is the case though, why have an original episode based on Mero and Wanko?
The saving grace is that the visuals were definitely a step up from the manga, and considerably good except that random drop in quality can be spotted from time to time. A neutral point to note is that the fan-service elements is also considerably ramped up in the anime version (which either works for the viewers or not). The most important plus point is actually that the adaptation follows the original work very closely, which is something that lots of adaptations fail to achieve these days and therefore commendable.
The final verdict though is: read the manga instead. It is much faster and somehow it flows better due to the absence of anime original content. Without spoiling too much the first major arc was definitely worth the read, everything after that is starts to get debatable (somewhat like bleach). Watch if you have the time to spare, read the manga if you don’t.