Sankarea: Undying Love Volume 1

“Once you’re dead, you’re made for life.” – Jimi Hendrix.

There is a theory called “Meme theory”, which states that ideas have a life of their own, and are transmitted from one mind to another. As a result, an idea in one place may occur around the other place at around the same time. You can sort of see this in the similarities between certain manga and Western works, which came out at the same time. For example, you could argue that serial kill series Death Note has similarities to Dexter, as the original printed works were published within just a few months of each and their TV adaptations were broadcast within a week of each other. You could claim that there are similarities between vampiric romances Vampire Knight and Twilight, that came out around a year apart in print and both were brought to screen in 2008. Therefore, you could say that the 2009 zombie romance Sankarea has connections to Warm Bodies, which came out in print at the same time too.

The story revolves around Chihiro Furuya, a schoolboy who is a huge fan of zombie movies. He is so keen on them that he would rather date an undead girl than a living one. However, he has recently experienced sadness at the death of his beloved cat Bub. So he decides to create a poisonous potion to bring him back to life.

He is discovered however by Sanka Rea, a student at the well-to-do elite girls school opposite Chihiro’s run-down school across the river and daughter of the principal at Sanka’s school. The two however become friends, partly because Sanka is glad of the company and to be away from her overprotective, abusive father.

However, Sanka’s father discovers their liaisons and bans her from leaving the house. During this time however, Chihiro learns that his potion works. A potion which Sanka steals and drinks in an attempt to commit suicide. She fails, and flees, but is discovered by her father. Just as she is about to be attacked, Sanka falls off a cliff to her death… and then comes back to life again as a zombie.

There is a little bit of everything to please the reader. For horror fans there are plenty of references to zombie films. Indeed the title of the manga itself is a reference to the film Zombi 2, which in Japan is called Sangeria.

The romance so far is beginning to flutter into life. The relationship between Chihiro and Sanka is blossoming already. There is also some fan service, but not too much at the moment. However, given that Sanka is a zombie, you feel that is not so much her breasts you want to be looking at, but her scarred body, and her mouth, just in case she gets too dangerous and zombie-like.

The book is also good in depicting Sanka’s journey into becoming a zombie after her death. Slowly her body is becoming more corpse-like, turning cold and starting to stiffen due to rigor mortis. This is a series that is developing nicely.

Sankarea is a series that has legs, and plenty of brains to drive it forward.

8 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and is also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. Outside of anime, he also is the editor of On The Box, data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, and has appeared on Mastermind.

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