Story/Art: Mitsuru Hattori
Translation/Adaptation: Lindsey Akashi
What They Say
A HEARTY MEAL
In the wake of her hunger-fueled rampage, Rea has left a trail of destruction leading up to the auditorium of her school, and it seems as though the only way to stop her is to give her what all zombies truly desire—to devour the thing that they love. Chihiro believes that he knows how to stop Rea and he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to end her incessant desire to consume flesh, but with her memory of Chihiro seemingly gone since her time at ZoMA, will his plan really be enough to bring Rea back to her senses? Or will Rea succumb to her endless hunger, lost to the inevitable fate of all zombies—to become a “terminal eater?” This and more are revealed in the thrilling final volume of Sankarea!
The Review! (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Keeping the root of this story’s history on the zombie elixir a secret until the second to last volume was a great move on the writer’s part. It managed to keep that air of mystery for ten volumes with everything rushing to the climax in this eleventh volume. That helped make this a great series by not letting any one thing get too stale and not letting the story go more volumes than it needed to, which is a common problem with many manga. I believe most good manga stories can be covered in 8 – 12 volumes, so it becomes monotonous for many volumes that go longer.
Now that Chihiro remembers the truth of what happened to his mother and has learned about Grandpa’s true age and his reasons for creating the zombie elixir, Chihiro is ready to confront his own Frankenstein’s monster. Rea has not only forgotten who Chihiro is to her, but she has quit eating hydrangea leaves and attacked Chihiro’s family! Rea has reached full terminal eater zombie mode, but also maintained her massive strength. Making her both unique and the most dangerous zombie to ever live.
Chihiro finds the carnage Rea has left and follows the trail to her high school where her fellow students have managed to lock her in the gym. It seems like this is the very end, and Chihiro is willing to make the final sacrifice if it means Rea’s hunger for what she loves most will be satiated and she can live on. Before entering the gym, Chihiro says goodbye to Wanko and tells her to wait one full day before entering the gym, and that he wants her to take care of Rea for him.
Then Chihiro locks himself in the gym with the terminal eater zombie, Rea…
I am a fan of horror; zombies, supernatural, vampires, pretty much the gamut. But even I was skeptical of Sankarea when I picked up the first volume. Not only was I surprised by how much I enjoyed the first volume, but now by how much I enjoyed the entire series and this last volume. Final volumes are always difficult because part of me wants to see the saccharine ending so I know the characters that I have grown to care about will disappear into a happy land buried in the corner of my memory. However, that doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression, so I also appreciate the heartbreaking “kill ‘em all” style endings too. I am not going to spoil Sankarea’s ending for anyone, but it both surprised and pleased me.
So, if you enjoy zombies, or love stories but not so much the gore level of Walking Dead, then you should give Sankarea a chance. Sankarea travels the common path of teenage first love in an interesting zombie vehicle, which makes for an entertaining story easily elevated above most of those other coming of age love stories.
Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A+
Age Rating: Older Teens 16+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: March 24th, 2015