Sankarea: Undying Love(さんかれあ,Sankarea?) is a romantic comedy manga, written and illustrated by Mitsuru Hattori, about a deceased girl who becomes a zombie. The manga has been serialized in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine since December 2009, with 8 volumes released as of June 2013, and is published in North America by Kodansha USA. An anime television adaptation by Studio Deen aired in Japan from April 5 to June 28, 2012. A novel adaptation by Ryō Suzukaze was published by Kadokawa in July 2012.
Chihiro Furuya is a male high school student with a keen interest in zombies, collecting zombie-related videogames, film and manga, and even to the point of desiring to "kiss a zombie girl". Following the death of his pet cat, Babu, he attempts to revive it using an old manuscript, which describes the process of creating a potion for resurrection. At this time, he encounters a girl named Rea Sanka, who has run away from home. In an attempt to commit suicide, she drinks a sample of the "resurrection" potion which is created from the poisonous Hydrangea macrophylla flower, although this fails to kill her. Following an argument with her father, she falls from a cliff by accident and dies. However, as a result of the potion, she becomes a zombie who eats hydrangea leaves to survive. The story follows the life of Chihiro and his new 'zombie girlfriend'.
Chihiro is the protagonist of the story who has a zombie obsession/fetish. He uses an old manuscript to make a "resurrection" potion so that he can bring his dead cat back to life as a zombie. He goes to an abandoned building at night after his pet cat Babu's death. He performs his research of bringing the dead back to life in the old abandoned building; he sometimes see Rea going at the well near the building and shouting her problems about her lifestyle. He promised Rea that he'd take responsibility if she becomes a zombie. After Rea moved to his residence, he conducts research on preserving Rea's body in a tent in his own room. He wants his first kiss to be given by a female zombie, which he experienced firsthand when Rea kissed him, due to lack of the herb used for the potion. He also experienced becoming a half-zombie, revealed after being stabbed by Dan'ichirō with a fencing sword. In the Anime this is due to Rea licking clean a wound that he acquires after she prevents him from being hit by a car (although the effects were only temporary). In the Manga she had bitten his lip when she 'kissed' him. He also enjoys seeing Rea dressed as a Bunny Girl or a Nurse. Despite the fact that he's not interested in living girls, he managed to fall in love with Rea when she was still alive, and confesses to her while Rea tries to devour him, which brings her to her senses. He tries to approach her; however, he has difficulties given the incident and Rea's own embarrassment. In the Manga its hinted that his interest in zombies might be due to his mother being turned into a zombie. Apparently she died in a car accident and was brought back (probably by Jogorō) for a short period before becoming permanently dead.
Rea is the heroine of the story who steals and drinks some of the zombie potion made by Chihiro in an attempt to commit suicide because of years of abuse by her father. Although he didn't have sex with her (although it might have been leading up to that) he did touch her in a manner that made her uncomfortable, took nude pictures of her on her birthday "to note her growth", had her watched and photographed constantly, fired any maid that did something to her he considered wrong (like letting Rea play with a dirty cat,) and forced the family of the one friend she told about his behavior to move away. The potion wasn't poisonous enough to kill her, but she is resurrected as a zombie after her father accidentally knocks her off a cliff, where she died after her stomach was torn by a branch on the way down. As a zombie, she lives together with Chihiro in order to know how it feels to become free from her father's chains. In chapter 12, she does some gestures and calls Mero "Mero-chan", similar to how Mrs. Furuya was remembered by Mero. She likes Chihiro and feels like she is bothering or interrupting Chihiro and Ranko's relationship, although later Ranko encourages her that she should try harder, and does so, albeit with embarrassment. She seems to understand Bābu and is also revealed to be so far the only zombie that Jogorō and Darin have seen to defy her instincts at the 2nd stage of zombification, possibly due to her having drunk the medicine before dying (which Darin suggested that no other zombie has done). She's also physically strong, since her body is no longer restrained by her brain as a result of her death. (There are several 'governors' in the brain and body which limits action to prevent moving faster and stronger than the flesh can endure. So while Rea could punch a hole in a steel door the action would overstress her arm causing damage like torn muscles to occur. Like the muscle ache someone gets after pushing themselves too hard, but on a much more severe scale.) Currently, she suffers from memory loss due to the removal of her brain cells.
Ranko is the first cousin of Chihiro. Often called Wanko by Chihiro, at times she also keeps on saying that Chihiro should use "-san" after her name. She likes teasing Chihiro and Rea as well. She likes Chihiro and develops a rivalry with Rea. She eventually confesses to Chihiro, but realizes before answering that he loves Rea; however, she is fine with her unrequited love. Although she hasn't given up and occasionally does something reckless. Such as swiping and gulping down a bottle of Resurrection Pills to turn herself into a zombie. However, this fails as the pills were a different medication (Darin was too lazy to change the bottle label and determins which pills were which by size and shape,) although she did pass out from a minor allergic reaction. Her interest in Chihiro stems from him saving her from a dog when she was about 6 years old. Thing is, at the time he was worried the movie she was shielding herself with would get damaged which is what prompted him into action.
Mero is the younger sister of Chihiro. She's named after George Romero. Unlike Chihiro, she is obsessed with ghosts. She doesn't remember much about her mother except for the fact that her hands are wrapped in bandages. In some of her memories of her mother, she remembered her mother asking about her fever, stating that she forgot that she can't tell temperature. She sees her mother's image in Rea, accidentally calling her mother.
Jogorō is Chihiro and Mero's grandfather also known as Professor Boil. He's the creator of the recipe for the Resurrection potion. He was a well respected professor in the United States researching zombies, and performed a multitude of experiments with them. He however left his research for unknown reasons, and although he still has great knowledge of zombies he rarely says something useful due to his senility. After discovering Rea in the shower, he mistakes her for someone by the name of Sada. He occasionally states how Sada has been resurrected but no one ever knows who he is talking about, considering that was not his wife's name. People then dismiss it as being caused by his senility. Later its revealed that his senility and bad eyesight were side effects of exposure to fatal amounts of poison (mostly likely bites from feral zombies during his researching days.) However, some things will trigger a brief period of sanity allowing him to tell Chihiro things about zombies such as the Resurrection potion being incomplete along with how to keep Rea conscious and in good shape. Although the measures only slow down, not stop, decay so eventually she'll rot away unless Chihiro comes up with a better solution.
Chihiro and Mero's late mother, who died prior to the series. It's hinted that after a fatal car accident she was revived as a zombie for a short while, most likely by Grandfather Jogorō. Such as in Mero's flashbacks where her mother has bandaged hands and remarks she can't tell Mero's temperature from her forehead with her hand anymore. Some of the flashbacks are triggered by Rea acting in a similar manner to Yuzune like when she tried to check Mero's temperature. At some point she says goodbye (most likely because she started hungering for the flesh of her loved ones) and dies completely.
Babu is Chihiro's pet cat that died in a car accident three days prior to the start of the series. He's named after the tamed zombie in the movie Day of the Dead. He was brought back to life by Chihiro while doing research of resurrection on him. Rea seems to understand Babu as a zombie. Like Rea, his body is not restrained by his brain and was able to kill a much bigger fox. However, unlike Rea, he has not been able to starve off his zombie instincts. This causes him to entered a 'Confused' state at night where he goes hunting other animals for prey. Although he hasn't attacked any humans yet, as time passes he'll eventually degenerate to the point where he'll not only be confused during the day too, but will become a mindless zombie seeking the flesh of the living just like the feral zombies in movies. Rea has the same future to look forward to as well.
Dan'ichirō is the overprotective father of Rea. His "love" for his daughter is almost incestuous, although he hadn't gotten to the point where he was having sex with her (at least not yet). However, he has a habit of taking pictures of his daughter and having her watched whenever she leaves the mansion. On her birthdays he would take naked pictures of Rea claiming it was to 'note her development.' After facing Chihiro and Rea in his fencing room, he accepts Chihiro as Rea's protector. With a firm warning to Chihiro that there should be no "sexual intercourse before marriage". He heads to the US shortly after to search for a way to help stop Rea from rotting away. His obsession with Rea seems to be a twisted form of the love he had for his first wife, who Rea greatly resembles, who died giving birth to Rea. She had been one of the spectators at a Sanka endorsed match and had complemented him for the skill he showed, even if the match had been set up. (He was angry that his opponents weren't fighting him seriously because the Sanka family had rigged the entire event to make him look good.)
Aria is Rea's stepmother. She used to be a maid for Dan'ichirō and was trained under a long-standing tradition in the Sanka family that future heirs are to marry the best of the maids. The maids were selected from good families and taught how to be ladies in areas such as deportment, grace, etc. as to be great trophy wives if selected to marry into the family. Dan'ichirō however met and married Rea's mother which he loved dearly until her death while giving birth to Rea. Although Dan'ichirō married Aria, he does not give her real attention instead watching over Rea, which has made their relationship a strained one at best. As a result she treats Rea coldly, tries to get Dan'ichirō interested in her, and drunk most of the time she's not working at school (She's the Chairwoman of Rea's school.) She secretly despises Rea due to how she's loved by everyone and the sole target of Dan'ichirō's obesssion. She tried to seduce Chihiro after finding out Rea is zombie, but he coldly rejects her when he says he only loves undead girls.
Jogorō Furuya's former assistant, who wishes to use Rea as a research subject. She has great knowledge of zombies but is still inferior to Jogorō's, although the fact that she's more reliable than Jogorō for information creates a give-and-take relationship with both Chihiro and Rea. Although she slowly begins to change this given that Rea treats her as a friend. She has a modified zombie cyborg owl named 18 (トワ,Towa?). She also works for Jogorō's former organization, ZoMA. She got interested in Zombie Research as that was the only time her father ever paid any attention to her and not zombies. Her high interest in Rea is to use her as a means of getting her father's attention again. However, due to a lack of empathy on his part, (along with severe psychological issues and insanity) she'll never be more important than his own obsessions. She is the first to realize that part of the reason Rea is able to hold onto her personality better than other zombies is because she took the Resurrection potion while still alive. All the zombie test subjects Darin's researched had been dead for at least a few hours before given the potion. Despite looking and acting like a mature young woman she is only 14 years old. She also gives herself small doses of zombie poison to disable her limiters while remaining alive. As the doses are small they won't kill her or cause loss of vision and brain damage. Although since her ability to feel pain is suppressed as well she can damage herself without realizing it if she's not careful. So if she runs at superhuman speeds, for example, she won't feel her legs straining or ripping itself apart and not realize anythings wrong until the damage is too much for her legs to function anymore.
The original manga by Mitsuru Hattori began serialization in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine. The series' first chapter was published on December 9, 2009, in the magazine's January 2010 issue. As of June 7, 2013, there have been 8 volumes published, and a 9th is scheduled for release on January 9, 2014. The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th volumes were published simultaneously with limited editions. The 5th volume's limited edition was bundled with drama CD, telling an original story. The limited editions of the 6th and 7th volumes were bundled with a DVD containing an original anime episode each. The limited edition of the 8th volume was bundled with three bathroom posters with erotic depictions of the series' heroines.
Kodansha Comics USA have licensed the series in North America under the title Sankarea: Undying Love and began releasing it from June 11, 2013. As of December 24, 2013, the first four volumes have been released in English.
A 12-episode anime television series based on the manga was announced in the October 2011 issue of Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine, and aired in Japan between April 5 and June 28, 2012. Two original video animation episodes were released with the limited edition of the 6th and 7th volumes of the manga on June 8 and November 9, 2012. A third OVA episode was released with the 6th Blu-ray Disc and DVD volumes on November 30, 2012. The opening theme is "Figment" (絵空事,Esoragoto?) by nano.RIPE while the ending theme is "Above Your Hand" by Annabel. The series has been licensed in North America by Funimation, released the series dubbed in English on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on October 1, 2013.MVM Films has licensed the series in the United Kingdom.
A novel adaptation was published by Kodansha under their Kodansha Ranobe Bunko imprint on July 2, 2012. The novel, titled Sankarea: All Night-Rea Long(さんかれあ おーる・ないとれあ・ろんぐ?), was written by Ryō Suzukaze and illustrated by Mitsuru Hattori.
According to Oricon, the complete third volume compilation of the manga sold 24,363 copies, while the fourth volume sold 44,120 copies (making it rank #19 of Japanese manga sales in mid-August 2011).