by Mitsuru Hattori
published by Kodansha Comics; $10.99 US
I don’t read zombie comics. Most frequent readers of this site know that. So it took me a while to decide to try Sankarea: Undying Love, the romance between a boy, Chihiro, and a zombie girl, Rea. I was willing to try it because it’s not really about her being a zombie — instead, it’s about her trying to fit in and be normal, given unusual circumstances. She could as easily have been a foreigner as undead, only that wouldn’t be as hip.
I was able to start with Book 3 thanks to Kodansha providing a useful “cast of characters” introductory page. The goofy grandpa, who lives with Chihiro at his family temple, reminds me a bit of the kind of side characters in Ranma 1/2, there to provide some humor and plot developments, as needed. In this case, he’s chained up by a new visitor, a “Western” woman scientist who shows up wearing a low-cut, high-slit gown. In addition to providing some eye candy, she’s also got an important story revelation — that Rea is going to lose her reason as a human in a few weeks as decay continues.
There’s lots of setup in this volume, not so much actual movement. There’s talk of an upcoming festival, where Rea wants to go with Chihiro but he doesn’t know how to ask her, in a very typical school romance plot. The scientist is creepy, but nothing specific comes to a head regarding her (we don’t even know where grandpa is taken!) although plenty is implied. We’re told bad things are coming, but it’s all anticipation here, told at a relatively slow pace.
I found it all a bit silly. I wasn’t put off by it, but I don’t see a need to continue with the series, either. Not enough happened to keep my interest in light of the other series I want to catch up with. Plus, the cover to the fourth volume is gross. (The publisher provided a review copy.)