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Sankarea, Vol. 7

Welcome! This week I’ll be taking a look at Sankarea, Vol. 7, but before we get to that, let’s have a look at what news, announcements and other manga related tidbits have caught my eye this past week.

 

 

 

Without further ado, my review of Sankarea, Vol. 7!

Sankarea, Vol. 7Sankarea, Vol. 7
By Mitsuru Hattori
Kodansha Comics, 176 pp.
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

After a few volumes off, it’s time to take a look at what’s happening with the romantic comedy/horror series that is Sankarea! With Bub’s condition worsening and acting as a potential prelude to what could eventually happen to Rea, Furuya and Rea take the plunge and agree to head off to the top secret zombie research facility that his uncle and Kurumiya have worked with in the past known as Zoma. Is this a case of the cure being worse than the disease, or will things go well for our duo?

Things go horribly wrong for our duo and that’s a good thing! A very good thing! The series has done its best to tread the line between out and out horror and cutesy romantic comedy. This volume, thankfully, spends most of its time dealing with the horror aspect and as a result it’s incredibly enjoyable! Hattori does a great job with this volume, mixing in the relationship elements with the horror to wonderful affect. Once again, the area where the story sags is when it tries to be humorous and deal with Furuya’s bizarre zombie fetish. Establishing him as a zombie otaku from the outset was fine, and even his fascination with them is fine, but the way Hattori tries to tease a sexual fascination out of it for comedic purposes is just weird and creepy. In fact it gets even creepier here with the introduction of Rosalie, Zoma’s pet zombie who also happens to be a very young girl. Easily the most humorous moments in this volume come via Rea and Furuya’s interactions rather than the common over reaction zaniness that plagues most manga.

Another thing worth mentioning, and that I found rather fascinating, has been the chapter titles. Throughout the series each chapter title is a reference to another zombie work. It’s nothing major, just a little something extra for horror fans, but in this volume I was pretty surprised to see a reference to Steven Nile’s Remains! I barely even remember that movie existing, so seeing it referenced here along side things like more well known zombie movies and entertainment, like The Walking Dead and Zombie Land jumped out at me. This isn’t terribly surprising, several characters have names which reference famous horror movie directors and the like, but it’s a lovely little Easter Egg for fans of the horror genre. It also has me wondering what Mitsuru Hattori might do if he ever took on a straight horror series. Maybe someday we’ll find out.

A page from Sankarea, Vol. 7

Not funny!

At any rate, Mitsuru Hattori’s artwork is solid, but not terribly amazing. Hattori often injects humor into the series via chibified characters and cartoonish overreactions. It’s one of my pet peeves for manga in general, but when juxtaposed against the subject matter of Sankarea it just feels really out of place and intrusive. Speaking of horror, Hattori does an amazing job with the creepier and more disturbing moments. Whether it’s the medical procedures and examinations performed on Rea, or the nightmarish Fulci-esque sequence of rotted corpses attacking, they’re all handled well. His character designs have generally been nothing to write home about, but in this volume he manages to create a striking and memorable character in the form of Kurumiya Salvo Arciento. The androgynous, heavily scarred Salvo immediately jumps out at the reader, the heavily scarred figured stands out from the rest of the contemporary looking cast, and the body language Hattori employs for Salvo wonderfully creepy and threatening. Definitely the stand out design for the series to date.

With only four volumes left to go, it certainly feels like Sankarea is starting to move into it’s final phase. The visit to Zoma, revelations about Rea’s biology and more all give the story the sense that it’s moving forward and heading towards something big. The weird mix of romantic comedy and horror might not appeal to everyone, but there’s definitely something there for fans of horror who are willing to step outside their comfort zone. It’ll be interesting to see what Mitsuru Hattori does next, and as I mentioned before, I really, really hope it’s a straight horror tale.

Sankarea, Vol. 7 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. August 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm

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