If I have to describe my first impression of Sankarea with any word, it would be: weird. Maybe cliche, too. In fact, let’s make a list of everything I’ve gathered from this first episode that falls under either of those two categories.
What’s cliche: Sankarea is about a teenage boy named Furuya Chihiro who goes to an all-boys school [+1]. He has a cute little sister [+1], a goofy relative (his grandpa) [+1], and a female relative whose sexuality can be exploited as much as the creators like without the risk of a romance because she is the main character’s relative and incest isn’t his thing [+1]. Since he’s in an all-boys school, there arises the dilemma of how to make contact with the girls from the all-girls school [+1], which has one famously beautiful girl [+1], Sanka Rea, that the main character meets [+1]. I haven’t seen the episode yet, but it definitely seems like Rea will become his love interest, so I’ll give it another [+1].
What’s weird: Furuya Chihiro is “in love” with zombies [+1], meaning his dream is to meet a cute zombie girl who he can love. After his cat dies, he tries to revive his cat with necromancy [+1] in an abandoned building, and though he doesn’t meet a zombie girl (the anime is still rooted in reality after all, even with Chihiro’s necromancy), he does see human girl Sanka Rea scream her furies into a well near the abandoned building [+1]. At first, Chihiro just quietly watches her with mild amusement, but Rea finally realizes his presence one night when he accidentally dropped his drink out of the shock of hearing Rea scream about her frustration with her father for taking nude pictures of her on her birthday to document her development. [+1000000000 to the power of infinity]
Cliches – 8.
Weirdness – ∞.
Oh look it’s 8 and sideways 8
But seriously, even though Sankarea sports more cliches than Hyouka, I’m not as concerned about it dulling down its potential because Sankarea is so quirky that it makes up for it. The zombie obsession does seem a bit like it’s trying too hard, but I don’t even mind because it’s sure to take the story in an interesting direction (if Sanka Rea’s secret wasn’t interesting enough already).
I have to mention that right from the start, I loved the background artwork in Sankarea. The detail and colors are amazing, and I only wish they put even a small percent of that effort into making the animated characters more distinctive. Sure, Chihiro’s two cowlicks make it look like he has cat ears, but take those away and he’s unrecognizable. Same with Rea’s asymmetrical bangs. Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree here, as most anime styles rely heavily on clothes and hair to distinguish their characters, but with some promising artistic potential, I can’t help but imagine what the studio could have done to really make this anime stand out artistically.