Sankarea: Undying Love (Volume 1) – I Only Like Zombie Girls

Sankarea Volume 1 Cover

Rea wanted to escape from her overbearing father. Chihiro wanted to revive his dead cat. No one could have predicted that their plans would align or what that would have led to? I bet you’re dying to find out, though!

Sankarea: Undying Love (Volume 1) – I Only Like Zombie Girls

What happened?

Chihiro’s cat, Bub has been dead for several days. However, each night, Chihiro rides to an abandoned hotel and attempts to create a reanimation formula using an old hand-written manual that he found years ago. So far, he’s had no success and mostly because one page has been smudged and he can’t make out the last ingredient. He knows that it’s a poisonous plant, but that’s it.

Each night, his work has been interrupted by a girl sneaking into the hotel grounds and screaming into the well. She yells about her father, about her freedom, and how she wishes he’d stop taking naked photos of her to commemorate her birthday… Chihiro gave himself away with that last comment. She came inside and begged him to forget everything he heard.

Sankarea Volume 1 Rea screaming into the well

She says she’ll do whatever it takes. That’s fine, she can help him with his zombie formula. Rea is excited to help and even more curious when Chihiro shows her a zombie movie. However, Chihiro has run out of poisonous plants to try and thinks it’s time to let Bub go. Rea is aware of one plant he hasn’t tried and runs outside to grab some.

After a while, Chihiro starts to wonder where she’s got to. When he looks out the window, he’s surprised to find her climbing up a cliff. He hurries outside and catches her hand just as she’s about to fall. She did bring him a poisonous plant though – hydrangeas. He mixes the leaves in with the other ingredients and gives the potion to Bub. There’s no change. He decides that tomorrow, he’ll bury Bub and call it a day.

Sankarea Volume 1 Chihiro thinking about Rea

Rea hurt her ankle on the cliff so Chihiro gives her a ride home, however, her father is waiting for her and grounds her for life. She won’t even go to school. Trapped in her room, Rea pulls a small glass vial out of her pocket and looks at the zombie formula. It probably won’t work, but it does have poison inside. She drinks it and waits for her release from this awful life.

The next morning, she wakes disappointed that it didn’t work. She then learns that her father has discovered Chihiro’s identity and demands that he is castrated. Rea doesn’t know what that means but sneaks out to warn him. She heads to the hotel when she finds out he’s not at school. However, her father followed her and is demanding she comes home. She refuses and a horrific accident follows.

Sankarea Volume 1 Rea falls to her death

What did you think?

So, this one volume was pretty much four episodes of anime. It was a lot of fun, however, it was a bit of an oddity in the world of manga versus anime in that I think the anime gave us more details and felt less rushed. In fact, I think without having seen the anime, it could have been a lot to keep up with just because of how quickly it moved.

There were also a number of speech bubbles that were right in the middle of the book, making words unreadable without cracking open the spine. All that said, it was good and the anime followed the story pretty much to the letter. There were several images that appeared in the anime almost exactly as they did in the manga. I’m excited to keep reading because, at this rate, it should be past the end of the anime in three or four books. That leaves a lot of new story to get through.

Sankarea Volume 1 Chihiro and Ranko find Bub

What have you learnt?

I think the only thing I would have changed with this volume was the pace of the story. Coming from someone that writes fast action, this should be a concern. I like stories that get on with it and don’t spend pages listing details that don’t add anything to the story. I’m even guilty of writing like that, but since I became aware of it, it’s something I pay close attention to. It’s one of my weaknesses.

It just felt like everything happened so quickly and we weren’t given much time to get to know the characters. By this point in the anime, it’s clear that Chihiro is a massive zombie nerd and wants a zombie girlfriend. In the manga, it’s not really sold that point. It starts to push it towards the end of the book, but that’s the fourth episode in the anime. I feel like it was in such a hurry to kill Rea and bring her back that it didn’t have time to explore the characters.

Sankarea Volume 1 Rea comes back as a zombie

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What did you think?