Ever since he was a child, zombie-obsessed Chihiro Furuya has wanted an undead girlfriend. Soon enough, his love for all things zombie comes in handy when his cat Baabu gets run over, prompting Chihiro to try to make a resurrection potion and bring him back to life. During his endeavor, he sees a rich girl named Rea Sanka yelling into an old well every day about her oppressive life. After meeting and bonding with her, Chihiro is convinced by Rea to persevere in saving Baabu. Eventually, he succeeds with the help of the poisonous hydrangea flowers from Rea’s family garden. Unaware of the potion’s success and seeking to escape the burdens of her life, Rea drinks the resurrection potion, mistakenly thinking she will die. Though it doesn’t kill her, the effects still linger and her death from a fatal accident causes her to be reborn as a zombie. With help from Chihiro, Rea strives to adjust to her new—albeit undead—life. For a boy wanting a zombie girlfriend, this situation would seem like a dream come true. But in Sankarea, Chihiro’s life becomes stranger than usual as he deals with Rea’s odd new cravings and the unforeseen consequences of her transformation. – My Anime List
Based on 23 review scores:
CTRL Geek Pod
Sankarea is the perfectly ideal horror-gothic anime for geeks. With a brilliantly composed disturbing plot of hybrid genres and unique characters, it’s great entertainment that doesn’t take things too seriously. Yet, it tests the audience’s patience by continuously proving to us that it can play the dark card as well. By having this attitude, we are immersed in its confident storytelling as it knows how to work the horror genre in its uniquely mysterious way. A must-watch for anime viewers out there!
Long-term readers may be familiar with my aversion to the horror genre, but while there’s certainly a fair bit of gore and a bit of suspense, that’s really not the point of this show. What we get instead is a surprisingly genuine, sweet romance between Chihiro (Ryōhei Kimura – Shōma Takakura in Mawaru Penguindrum) and Rea (Maaya Uchida in her first major role), which is rendered all the more poignant by the emotional trauma brought on by her incredibly abusive upbringing and the physical trauma of her being, well, dead. Fortunately, Rea (for now) maintains her personality and free will thanks to doses of the potion’s key ingredient, hydrangea, and proves more interesting than the typical “yamato nadeshiko” in personality (it doesn’t hurt that, as a zombie, her brain limiters are off, so she is now unnaturally strong), while Chihiro is hardly a mere fetishist, showing uncommon bravery at several points in the show.
Whoever said zombies can’t be sexy obviously hasn’t watched Sankarea which turns the zombie genre on its head. So whether you’re a zombie freak looking for your next shot of the macabre or looking for a love story with a twist, Sankarea: Undying Love has enough to offer to raise the dead.
Sankarea is a series that plays with your expectations. It looks like a cutesy show about a young couple that happens to include a zombie, but quickly becomes something far darker. The mix of plot devices leads to an incredibly entertaining experience. While the end of Sankarea feels disappointing, it can be forgiven considering what a hidden gem the series ultimately is. If you’re looking for a unique take on the horror anime genre, give Sankarea a watch. Maybe you too will become obsessed with the idea of a zombie girlfriend.
Anime News Network
Sankarea was on track to be one of the year’s best series before it let its story get bogged down in its second half. An OVA episode which is not yet available in streaming form adds in some insightful background on Chihiro and his family, but what the series really needs is another season to finish out the story threads it has established and elaborate on the shocking turn of events in the series’ final minute. As is, it is merely a good series which missed on the potential to be a great one.
Much of the plot was weird and disturbing, but if those points could be over looked then it becomes a nice, cute romantic comedy.
The Visual Medium
This is another hard show to rate. On one hand, it does a lot of things right and the director knows how to create tension. Visually, it looks beautiful and is mostly consistent, not something you can usually say about Studio DEEN. However, its inconsistencies and penchant for fan service just rubs me the wrong way. Chalk it up to unrealistic expectations after the first few episodes.
Sankarea is the perfect combination of romance, comedy, and the supernatural. It loses points primarily due to the incompleteness of the ‘Complete Collection’, though the blame for this does not lie with MVM. In addition, the sensitive subject matter of incest, being a major plot point, is likely to alienate and deter some from seeing this anime through from start to finish. Despite only being available on DVD, the quality of the anime does not suffer. It is a worthwhile purchase for those that want a quirky romantic comedy.
Attack On Geek
Sankarea’s constant tightrope between gentle slice-of-life drama and zombie suspense earns the respect and admiration of this normally horror-shy reviewer. People expecting a fanservice action series may be disappointed; conversely, people who are even less tolerant of gory material than me may give this a pass. Drop a star if you need every series to have a clean, cut-and-dried ending because you won’t get it here.
A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.
Seriously, you are not going to be watching this for the plot. And this rather disappointing, since unlike most ecchi shows I really like the premise in this one and I can imagine several interesting arcs coming out of it. Yet I get nothing since the fan service is there all the time, jumping in the spotlight and kicking to the side any attempts to make something intellectual out of it. And yes, I say intellectual since this is the only way a show won’t be forgotten a month after it is completed. No matter how outrageously hilarious the premise sounds, if they go completely GAGA with it, you will forget it very fast or won’t like it for long altogether. And this is the case with Sankarea. If you really think about it, almost half of the show was filler, since it was wasted on the hot cousin, the oblivious family of the protagonist, and the sick family of Rea. They weren’t even important to the longrun, since the core theme was about “what to do with a zombie” and not random incest side stories. Unless of course random softporn scenes count as important to you.
Seriously, it really feels like the writers only read parts of “writing 101”. It’s got a whopping three characters who are entirely dedicated to just one side-character in order to give them background and development, but in the meantime, it forgets to be interesting. I would really recommend watching up to episode three of this series, because that really is where this series shines. After that though, it dabbles on a bit with a good moment here and there, but not really enough to stand out anymore, which is a shame because this really had the potential to go somewhere.
My Anime List
Overall, I’m enjoying this series as it is so far. It’s not something I’ll be obsessed about as much as the main character for zombies but definitely enjoying it at an anime fan level. The story (although somewhat easy to predict) has drama with an emotional background mixed in with comedy and possible romance. The characters are appealing and the soundtrack fits well. My only concern at this point is Studio DEEN as it’s definitely not my favorite anime studio of this world. But beyond that, I see potential for this rare little gem this Spring Season.
Sankarea is an amusing series that worked really well as an examination of some mental health issues. Some of the sexualization was a bit troubling, but it is still enjoyable for fans of the zombie sub-genre.
The animation was cool and the characters were interesting, but it was fairly light-hearted stuff, considering the subject matter…I would have preferred them to go down a darker path and make it more for adults, but that’s just me…anyway, it’s still pretty good…
Uneven pacing and a non-event of an ending strip away some of its enjoyment, but there’s still a charming show with a lot of heart to be found here.
The Nihon Review
Sankarea shows elements of visual brilliance and a basic premise that could have been completely refreshing, but the two protagonists never really pull their weight. Chihiro is a typical dunce when it comes to picking up on the romantic affections of the girls around him and offers nothing particularly interesting when it comes to insights on the behavior of zombies. Rea, though lovable, remains stuck in her timid rich girl role. It’s only when the story forces their hand that we see any development in their interaction, and even when we do, the show’s alternate themes of parenting seem to take a far more prominent role than the main romance.
Overall, I did want to like Sankarea but it doesn’t really deliver. The plot is slow and messy, the comedy is simply awkward in a show that I anticipated to be lighthearted. There are good moments but they’re buried and you kind of wish you got to see more of them. In fact, awkward just might be the best description of the show, but if you’re a zombie buff or have a thing for monster girls you might get a kick out of it as a “there’s nothing else better on” kind of show. Though I will say I might check out the manga though, since it is complete and might be a good romp to see what the directors were planning to adapt in the season 2 that never was. The Inverseman gives Sankarea: Undying Love a so-so 3.0 out of 5. Join me next time when you can tune in for Mero.
While I might have been a bit harsh on it, Sankarea was an enjoyable series that had a certain charm to it. It had well developed lead characters and a nice story, however the whole Necrophilia-Incest-Pedophile thing was weird to say the least.
The Fullmetal Narcissist
Sankarea is far from perfect, but I still have to stick to my guns on one thing I said two years ago… It’s the best zombie anime I’d seen at the time, although it’s since been dethroned by School Live. It creates it’s own logic from scratch instead of clumsily trying to reinterpret and reinvent the existing logic, choosing to paint the many established zombie lores as the works of fiction that they are. It’s love of the zombie sub-genre and dedication towards being a new and distinctive entry into said sub-genre is what ties the series together with a note of other-wise sorely lacking consistency, and to it’s credit, the off-kilter execution just serves as one more thing that’s unique about it. It’s bigger problems are a little too serious to ignore, and there are parts of it that feel jarring and uncomfortable, but I really like it’s brand of weirdness, and would easily recommend it to anyone who loves zombies, but is sick and tired of watching the same old genre fare. Even as a Halloween title, it might not be for everyone, but with it’s high production values, offbeat campiness and unwavering devotion to the undead, I still recommend checking it out. Unfortunately, when the title of “Halloween treat” is removed, it’s not very good.
The Anime Accord
I’m not really sure how to feel about this anime. It sets itself up as a unique romance anime, but I found that for the most part there was very little romance at all. As a matter of fact, I thought that the whole show was unremarkable. As the possibility of a second season is minimal at best I’d say we will never get anything further. One thing I did really like about it was the characters, in particular, Rea’s relationship with her father, as creepy as it was. I just thought that it was something that doesn’t really get explored too often, the fact that it leads up to her death was pretty interesting and I would have liked to see that get explored in deeper detail than it was.