Sankarea 03 – Death becomes her
April 22, 2012 Leave a comment
There is a surreal irony in Sanka Rea’s life; that she comes from a wealthy family, has had a privileged childhood in many ways, and due to her looks, status and abilities is viewed as a true ‘ojou-sama’. And yet, she is miserable, cursing her life, cursing her family and viewing death as her only escape; it is this juxtaposition between the realities of her life and what her social status is mean to portray that make her such a fascinating character. Especially with regards to Chihiro, and to a lesser extent Ranko, neither of whom are from privileged backgrounds, and yet, both of them to enjoy themselves while living life to its fullest.
Rea is struggling against the almost unstoppable force that is her father, she feels complete caught up, unable to move, unable to change anything, as if she is destined to be controlled by her father until death. Her father is portrayed as a spirit or deity, ruling over Rea from on high, omnipresent, with control over every little detail of her life, something from which there is no escape. Danichirou is portrayed as a spirit or deity from eastern mythology, perhaps even a god from Greek or Roman myths, one that can show love, but is also dangerous, uncontrollable and unpredictable, giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
Rea tries to commit suicide, viewing it as her only way out of what she views as purgatory, caught between worlds, without any chance of ever living a normal and happy life. And yet, she cannot escape, as if Danichirou is keeping her in this world forcefully. Arguably it may also be her growing feelings for Chihiro that keep her in the world of the living; he is the first person who has ever been able to talk to her normally. He treats her like a normal girl, joking around and while there are still elements of being viewed as a rich ojou-sama, there is normality in their relationship, something that Rea has never experienced before. And yet, she still cannot escape the grasp of her father, someone who maintains strict control over her life.
He might love Rea, but his love is dangerous all consuming, it is a destructive love that will ultimately lead to not only his own downfall, but also the death of the object of his affection. Furthermore, Danichirou is a jealous and vindictive god, who cannot accept that Rea has a life, which does not revolve around him. His jealousy is dangerous, and destructive to the town itself, somewhere that he is portrayed as having almost absolute control over. And yet, like with all ancient gods, they are not all-powerful, and will eventually have to give up, admit defeat and be judged themselves.
Ultimately, his love for Rea will cause her downfall, his attempts to control her only result in her trying to push back and escape his grasp. And yet, he is not the only one to blame, Aria, Rea’s stepmother barely registers her existence. Instead of worrying about what Rea might be going through, she is instead more concerned about the implications of Rea’s actions on her own standing within society. Much like goddesses from eastern mythology and Greek mythology, she is more concerned with her own standing than the concerns of Rea, someone she appears to view as a nuisance, someone who gets between her and Danichirou.
That Rea even decides to try and save Chihiro from what would be a painful and undeserving fate shows that she still has the will to live. She cares for Chihiro so much that she would risk to wrath of her father to warn him and truly appears to try and protect him at all costs. And yet, her father still has a grip firmly on her mind, while she may resist at first, it is as if she has effectively given up all hope of living a normal life. That the moment when Rea finally musters up the courage to stand against her father ultimately leads to her demise further demonstrates the cruelty that she has lived in all her life.
But, she does not die and is resurrected, as if, despite all her pain she can never truly be allowed to die, and of course, the supreme irony will be that the only way she can live a normal life is to die. That her death can affect Chihiro so much however, demonstrates that despite his zombie fetish and fixation on necrophilia, he can be a normal teenage boy. He may not have realised it yet, but he loves Rea, and fell in love with her from the very moment that they met.
There was a strange, fixating beauty about this episode, with Rea’s death portrayed as almost beautiful, while clearly horrifying, but also captivating. There was a surreal quality to the episode, with the family lives of Chihiro and Rea viewed in stark contrast. That the moment of Rea’s death had a beautiful quality to it while she fell through the air, while at the same time being horrifying helps to further demonstrate the destructive quality of love and affection. And it may be possible to suggest that the mutual feelings of love (although as yet unnoticed) that kept Rea alive and kept Chihiro making that potion.