Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Sankarea, Vols. 9 – 11

Sankarea, Vols. 9 – 11

Welcome to another midweek manga review! This week I’ll be taking a look at the final three volumes of Sankarea with my review of Sankarea, Vols. 9 – 11, but first, some news items from Otakon and elsewhere!

And now, onto this week’s review of Sankarea, Vols. 9 – 11!

Sankarea, Vol. 11Sankarea, Vols. 9 – 11
by Mitsuru Hattori
Kodansha Comics,
Rating: Teen (13 +)

The climatic volumes of Mitsuru Hattori’s zombie horror/comedy/romance series, Sankarea, are here! After the life altering events at the ZOMA island, Chihiro and Rea return to Japan. Unfortunately, Rea’s memory has been altered and her relationship with Chihiro has fundamentally changed. Struggling to keep Rea ignorant of the truth of her nature as a flesh eating undead monstrosity drives Chihiro to look deep into his family’s past, finally uncovering the truth of the elixir and learning the ultimate fate of his late mother. Will this information prove to his advantage, or is Rea doomed to become a mindless zombie?

The final three volumes kick off with the conclusion of the ZOMA arc, before quickly whisking our heroes back to Japan where Mitsuru Hattori quickly establishes the new status quo of Rea’s and Chihiro’s relationship. Thankfully he doesn’t give us much time to settle in and things quickly go south as Rea’s taste for flesh quickly overtakes her, forcing Chihiro to uncover the mysterious origins of the elixir. Doing so not only gives us the low down on several of Sankarea’s big mysteries, but also provides Misuru Hattori a chance to change up his visual styling through an extended flashback sequence set in feudal Japan. If it sounds like I’m spending a lot of time talking about the plot rather than the characters or their development, that’s because these final three volumes are incredibly plot heavy. While the flashback is a lovely touch visually, it’s essentially a lengthy info dump with someone narrating and telling us what happened over the span of several hundred years prior to the start of the series. We don’t really have enough time left to see how Chihiro deals with the revelations about his family’s sordid and grim past, or how he really emotionally copes with his climatic encounter with Rea.

Page from Sankarea, Vol. 10

Page from the flashback sequence.

Sankarea’s art has always been ok. Nothing really amazing but not offensively bad at the same time. The horror bits were where Mitsuru Hattori’s visuals really shone and that hasn’t changed throughout the series. Once again the bouts of zombie attacks or Rea’s struggles with her hunger look fantastic, only to be broken and weakened by the inclusion of goofy chibi-humor which detracts from the otherwise serious mood that the story’s been building. This is especially apparent in the climatic showdown. The highlight of these three volumes is the aforementioned extended flashback, where Mitsuru Hattori alters his style, employing thicker line work to separate the feudal period story moments from the contemporary bits. It looks fantastic as a result as is a lovely creative treat that helps makes a 100 page explanation all the more palpable.

Sankarea, Vols. 9 – 11 provide a decent wrap up to the story. Most of the long term mysteries are wrapped up, but it all happens so fast that it almost feels a tad rushed. A little more time given to Chihiro coming to grips with his past, or Rea dealing with some of the events from the climax would have been nice. Otherwise, this was a satisfactory end to a fairly enjoyable series!

Sankarea, Vol. 9 – 11 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. August 7, 2015 at 5:05 pm

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