This extra episode, curiously not available until after episode “14”, is a “The Story So Far” as told by Babu the cat (who we’ve never heard talk before, let alone narrate), and an exercise in slice-of-life – or slice-of-undead, as it were. Babu enjoys his only slightly-different cat life, while Rea enjoys her new-found freedom and immense strength. Furuya is ever the scolding, worry-prone companion, but both Babu and Rea are on the same page: they’re living “life” to the fullest, for they never know if or when their bodies will rot away to nothing.
And then, just when you thought this was just one last parting peek into their lives, a plane flies overhead, with a woman on board with a zombie owl, who may be a zombie herself, musing on a zombie’s “Confused Period”, in which it mindlessly devours its family and friends. Which seems to be a prelude to some kind of continuation of Sankarea down the road. Which wouldn’t be unwelcome; just surprising. After all, it’s been a most enjoyable series, and it was nice to hear that hauntingly beautiful ED theme one more time.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Furuya starts wavering in the face of the responsibility of caring for Rea. Is it posssible to give her the normal life he promised, or is he holding her back? Rea insists she’s fine with the way things are, but wants to start going to school. When the fireworks festival rains out, Ranko suggests they have their own. Rea continues to feel uncomfortable with Ranko, but they have a talk while Ranko helps her into a yukata, and make their rivalry official. Furuya and Rea return to the bowling alley where they met, where Rea converts to zombie mode and bite-kisses him.
With Dan’Ichiro’s reluctant blessing and bestowing of his daughter’s welfare upon Furuya, the final episode of Sankarea marks mostly a return to the status quo; a comfortable resting spot upon which to wrap things up (although the very end was a little confusing; more on that later). Furuya doesn’t find a miracle remedy for Rea’s body rot; Gramps doesn’t have another lucid moment in which he reveals anything useful, and even though he has two girls gunning for him, he’s still not interested in making a choice between the two, because he’s more concerned with other things.
Ranko was thankfully toned-down in this episode, with her boobs never occupying a full frame, and her quick, direct “Yes, I love him” to Rea was as good a way as any to make her understand she won’t just let her have Furuya without a fight (Not a physical fight, obvviously; Rea would win easily). So much is left unresolved. Then there was the final scene, where Rea suddenly becomes dead-eyed and embraces Furuya. We imagine forget her hydrangea leaves, but with the series ending right there, it’s one final statement about how neither Rea nor Furuya have an easy road ahead. Perhaps the second OVA will expound on that.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Seven months prior to the events of Episode 01, Furuya travels to Tohoku with his father, Mero, and Ranko to help an uncle donate his large book collection. Dan’ichiro just happens to choose the same village as the setting for his latest photo shoot with Rea. A drunken Aria takes her frustrations out on Rea, leading Rea to consider “disappearing.” While sifting through books, Furuya finds an old photo of his deceased mother, and the wind blows it to a hole in the floor where he finds the occult recipe book. When he gets separated from Mero and Ranko, he happens upon the very hot spring where Rea is bathing, leading to their meeting for the first time.
Yes, Rea and Furuya met before he saw her yelling into a well at an abandoned hotel – though it was so brief (and stressful to both), perhaps it was struck from their memories. It matters not; from that point onward they were fated to meet again. After all, this is where Furuya found a book containing just the thing that would help Rea escape her life and become reborn as someone else. It is a book we know his gramps knows about (or knew about before he got senile), and for all we know, whatever happened to his and Mero’s mom may have involved the same dark powers he employed to bring Babu and Rea back.
As extra episodes go, this is a good meaty one, painting a picture of the horrible life Rea lived that led her to start screaming into wells in the first place. Her dad is a freak and she knows what he’s doing isn’t right, but is too frightened and cowed to fight him. She’s respectful to her “mother” Aria, but gets only contempt and disgust from her. Divorcing Dan’ichiro, while a good and sensible idea in theory, would mean giving up on all the wealth and power she worked so hard for, so she sticks around, drowning her sorrows. More than anything, this episode perfectly illustrates how much better off Rea is with Furuya and his family than she was with her fucked up parents…even if she had to die to be free.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameos: Furuya’s family piles into an original Mini Cooper. A flash BMW 6-Series follows them through the tollbooth.
Tied up in a dark room, Furuya is approached by Aria, Dan’ichiro’s wife and Rea’s stepmother. She tells him the story of how she became a trusted member of the Sanka family’s household staff, but like the other maids, could not seduce Dan’ichiro, who ended up marrying a sickly 15-year-old who attended a charity fencing event at his house. She died giving birth to Rea, and Dan went into a spiral of despair, nearly starving himself. Aria nursed him back to health and Dan married her, but only so Rea could have a mother. Meanwhile, Rea races to her former home to rescue Furuya.
With Furuya firmly in Dan’ichiro’s clutches, we truly didn’t know what would happen. His judgement upon Furuya was ultimately delayed this week, but not without good reason: this episode was all about Aria, Dan’ichiro’s bitter, drunk, tanned wife, and how she came to be there in the first place. Furuya mostly sits there and listens, which is fine with us; she told quite a stirring and sad story. We learn why she is the way she is, and gain a lot more sympathy and pity for her. What it boils down to is, all she ever wanted from him was Dan’ichiro’s love, but he only had love for Rea, the gift his beloved teenage wife gave him before passing away. For Rea’s whole childhood – fifteen years – Aria has been on the sidelines. Her scheme to possess Dan’ichiro’s heart backfired, and badly.
It’s a pretty heartrending moment when the butler shows Aria why she shouldn’t hold out hope Dan’ichiro will ever give her the time of day: he’s utterly obsessed with Rea, and not in a healthy, fatherly way. Aria’s disgust and despair turned to bitterness and hopelessnes. She gave up, and now mills around the mansion with a flask in her garterbelt, aimless and useless. And while Dan’ichiro can claim child porn among his crimes, we can’t help but feel a degree of pity for him too, considering who quite possibly was the love of his life, snatched away before hertime. We’re not sure if losing Rea to Furuya even caused him to snap – he had snapped long ago, and was always touched in the head. The point is, he and Aria aren’t evil villains, just deeply flawed human beings. But as Furuya says to a maid, that doesn’t give them the right to kidnap him.
Rating: 8 (Great)