Sankarea 04 – That which does not kill us makes us stronger
May 1, 2012 Leave a comment
This week further demonstrated how fractured the Sanka house truly is, one that, while large, is bereft of life or warmth. We further saw the complicated relationship that Rea and Chihiro have, along with the curious notion that Rea had to die in order to live the life of a ’normal’ girl. This further demonstrates the irony of Rea’s life, that she comes from a wealthy family, and yet has to die and move into a temple house in order to experience love, friendship, and a family life that has until now, been missing from her everyday life. Her freedom from the Sanka house came at a high cost, and while she may have come back to life as a zombie, Rea now has to contend with new problems.
Danichirou was ultimately the cause of her death; his love had turned into obsession, his obsession to jealousy, which ultimately led to him pushing Rea to far, both metaphorically and physically. His fall from grace is curious in that he almost refuses to believe that it is happening, instead choosing to continue his pursuit of Rea. While the control he has over Rea’s life can be viewed as similar to that of gods from Greek mythology, or perhaps spirits from Japanese Shinto and Animist beliefs, Danichirou’s characterisation here suggests something a little different.
He can be viewed as a character from a Greek tragedy, continuing to pursue his beliefs even though he and everyone around know that it will ultimately lead to ruin. It could ultimately be suggested that his belief that he is the only one truly capable of loving Rea, his Hubris if you will, leads to his fall from grace. What makes it tragic, and leads to a certain pathos for his character however, is that he continues to believe in this ideal, despite the audience his fall in graphic detail. It could be argued that his inability to understand that his desires are wrong, and that he will never truly win can make you feel sorry for him, knowing that he is ultimately doomed, regardless of what he may try to do.
Similarly, Aria is a character who it is possible to feel sorry for in some way, and while she is at fault, there is something in her predicament that perhaps suggests a lack of control over her own life. Her character is like that of a jealous goddess/spirit, or perhaps a simple lover who has been spurned for someone younger. She is chairwoman of Sanka School, married to a rich husband and is still young with beauty and a certain amount of charm. However, she is as abandoned as Rea is, and while Rea may not know what it is like to have a normal life with friends, Aria does not now what love is. She has never truly experienced love from Danichirou who has been so obsessed with Rea, and thus resents her for it.
Her alcoholic behaviour, along with her constant visits to host clubs and likely numerous affairs can be viewed as a cry for help. She is effectively creating these situations in an attempt to get Danichirou to notice her, hoping that her adulterous ways may make him show emotions or feelings towards her. And yet, she still worries that Rea’s behaviour may reflect poorly upon her as chairwoman of the school, it is as if that is her anchor, her only real grip on reality and her life as a member of Sanka family. Without her social standing and position as chairwoman, she has nothing; her husband ignores her instead focussing on his daughter, and the Sanka family’s servants continually gossip about her drunken behaviour.
That Rea grew up in such a house further reflects upon her behaviour and ability to adapt to her surroundings and current situation. She was already quite a mentally twisted character before her death and resurrection, being fascinated by zombies, along with her focus on saving Babu. In part his can be attributed to her sheltered upbringing, as an oujo-sama, she is quite naïve about the wider world, and her fascination with what Chihiro was doing demonstrated her complete lack of understanding to do with the world outside of her home.
And yet, her calm demeanour and ability to accept her sudden change of circumstances perhaps points to something deeper and potentially dangerous. She can sew herself up, and merely accept that she is now a zombie without batting an eyelid, suggesting that it is incredibly convenient that zombies don’t feel any pain. Her defencelessness is something that perhaps worries Chihiro, but also continues to show how her upbringing has had an impact on how she views the world. Rea has never had to deal with boys, or even being in someone else’s house, and sees this as something novel and strange.
The idea of being in such a small bathroom for example is new to her and a wonderful experience, but also suggests that she does not have the firmest grip on reality. And yet, she also seems like a normal, beautiful girl at times, asking Chihiro to take her shopping, the cinema and other activities that could be viewed as ‘normal’, but for her are something new and exciting. Her relationship with Chihiro can perhaps be viewed as a surreal twist on the normal boy meets rich girl story, and while she may have turned into a zombie, Rea may already have a tenuous grip on reality as it was.
The strange twist to the story comes when we see that Rea may be as obsessed with Chihiro as much as her father is obsessed with her, he is unable to control her desire, and is shocked when noticing what was happening, as if it was an alien thought or reaction to her. Partly this may be down to her (now) zombie nature, and yet, her desire to possess and perhaps monopolise Chihiro is something that may have gradually changed and increased from her first encounter with him at the abandoned hotel. Chihiro was the person who gave her hope that it could be possible to live life outside of her father grasp, and earlier on in this series she suggested that he would definitely resurrect her if she ever died.
Her family and her upbringing have clearly had an impact on Rea’s attitude towards Chihiro. That he was (perhaps) the first person to show her kindness and treat her like a normal girl, rather than the daughter of the Sanka family have further increased her longing for him. There is the suggestion that these desires have been subtly twisted by her current zombie nature, and that she no longer has as much control over them as she died when alive. It is also suggested that she may have been close to biting Chihiro rather than simply kissing him, and that this was her desire to monopolise and obtain his love twisted and changed into something more powerful and dangerous. As a series, Sankarea has given us an interesting look at family life, and how wealth and prestige in this series bring only pain and anguish, whereas the poorer family is content and happy. We have yet to really explore Ranko’s side of the story, and while it is clear that she is in love with Chihiro, there has yet been a chance to really see her in action. The plot has been focussing on Rea, and as a character she is beautiful, naïve, but also dangerous.