Sankarea 05 – Taking responsibility for ones actions
May 7, 2012 Leave a comment
The first four episodes of Sankarea largely focussed on Rea, exploring how her family and the household that she grew up in have affected her life, and in part warped her senses. This episode, however, focussed more on Chihiro, looking at his family and the life that he lives – a caring family that is shown in stark contrast to the self destructive Sanka household. It is a strange household full of eccentric people with odd hobbies and one of two little quirks that makes the entire family fascinating and entertaining to watch.
The central theme to this week’s episode had more to do with Chihiro taking responsibility for his actions, and his attempts to help Rea. What is so fascinating about Chihiro is that, despite his zombie fetish, he clearly deeply cares for everyone around him, although he may be unlikely to freely admit to such feelings. You might expect that having a semi-naked beautiful zombie in his room would turn Chihiro wild, and we did see a few nosebleeds before. But, rather than simply fetishise Rea as some sort of ideal figure, Chihiro instead deeply cares for her wellbeing. He worries about her current state of rigor mortis, and is clearly thinking about numerous possible solutions to the problem.
Furthermore, rather than merely jump on her at the first opportunity, Chihiro instead cares more about Rea’s comfort than fulfilling his own desires, and goes to immense lengths to keep her as cool as possible, while trying to figure out a way of helping her. This perhaps further suggests that Chihiro is not a character that is completely open to necrophilia and while he may have a zombie fetish, it is not all encompassing. It also further demonstrates Chihiro’s potential feelings for Rea, which appear to have developed since their first meeting at the abandoned hotel. Rea may be a zombie, but in a sense, she is viewed as a normal girl to Chihiro at times, wondering about her naivety, how she is amazed at the smallest of things, and how beautiful she is.
Rea’s constant insistence that Chihiro has to look after her and resurrect her if she were to die always seemed like a joke, not only to Chihiro himself, but also to the audience. As an audience, we know that Rea is destined to die and be resurrected as a zombie; however, there is something about the situation that almost can’t be believed. Her insistence therefore can be seen as darkly comic, but also worrying, for a girl who seems to be so full of life, smiling and laughing to also be so close to death further underlines the damage that her family life has done to her. What is fascinating however, is that Chihiro does not think or dream of her as a zombie, and instead his visions are those of the beautiful, laughing girl from when she was alive, not as a zombie. And while Chihiro may have viewed Rea’s insistence that he take care of her, and take responsibility for his actions, he now knows that she was serious and he must do so.
His actions may seem a little strange, such as putting the air conditioning on and effectively locking Rea in the closet, but they come from good intentions. But more than, he has begun to truly think about the life that Rea has lived up till this point, thinking about her actions and what she says, perhaps further questioning his own family life. His family is quite unique, especially since Chihiro’s, and Mero’s mother is dead, however, that Rea views such a family as normal, caring and kind once again underlines how destructive her home life has been.
For Rea, we have a further element to her life that is both wonderful, and yet at the same time drives home the idea of her hiding the reality behind a thin veneer of the perfect oujo-sama. The idea that Rea’s classmates look up to her, even idolising her demonstrates how loved she is at school, and how she is viewed as the ‘perfect beauty’ (Yamato Nadeshiko). However, it also further emphasises Rea’s inability to talk to anyone about her life, her worries, her pain, and her loneliness. The pictures that we as an audience, along with Ranko are shown show a beautiful, smiling Rea, but the smile is oddly hollow, as if she doesn’t believe that happiness is attainable in this life perhaps.
The smile in those pictures is not the same smile that she shows towards Chihiro, it is a polite smile, is a sense, a smile that helps to keep up the veneer that she has created for herself. It could therefore be argued that being idolised by so many girls at her school only helps to further isolate her, making her untouchable in a sense. But, it does demonstrate that she is loved, and that her life is not devoid of joy and hope as it may appear in places. What is also curious about the attention Rea gets is Ranko’s reaction, one of indifference or perhaps jealousy.
Ranko loves Chihiro, and cousins marrying each other in Japan are not uncommon, and often it is preferable to marrying outside of the family in order to maintain the family line and blood. However, she is perhaps jealous of Rea because of her looks, and how Chihiro seems to be interested in her, viewing Ranko as someone to mess around with. It is perhaps the case that Ranko and Chihiro are too close, Chihiro knows that Ranko is a girl, and a beautiful one at that, however, there is not enough distance between them for him to recognise her for who she is. The introduction of Rea seems to highlight how much Ranko, and perhaps Chihiro have taken for granted in their relationship. Although it does demonstrate how close they are, and Chihiro does clearly care for Ranko, even though his feelings are clearly different from those that Ranko holds.
As mentioned last week, Rea appears to hold Chihiro very close to her heart, too close perhaps. There is a certain element of her wishing to monopolise him, and seeing him as her only opportunity to have the life of a normal school girl. Her sudden change of character, along with attacking Ranko is both playful, but also dangerous. It is a curious mix of dark humour, mixed with slapstick, while also having a feeling of intense danger just under the surface that could escape at any minute. It further underlines Chihiro’s responsibilities as the one who created the potion which brought Rea back from the dead as well. When seeing Chihiro Rea immediately jumps on him, showing that even in her current state, and with apparently little control over her zombie desires, she still recognises him.
This does, once again show her wish, or perhaps need, to monopolise Chihiro, while at the same time showing clear signs of her growing feels of love for him as a person. Her kiss, while instinctual, is proof that somewhere in her mind, she loves him, and keep him for herself, as demonstrated by her grabbing him, and not letting him go. Rea’s actions demonstrate the danger that Chihiro is in, he has created a zombie, and one who wishes to monopolise him even when in the grip of their zombie instincts. But at the same time, it does demonstrate the strong bond that has formed between these two characters, one that seems to exist even beyond death, and one which may be impossible to break.