Sankarea: Undying Love (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 15-Apr-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Audio Commentary-x 2
More…-Textless Opening Song
More…-Textless Closing Song
Trailer-US Trailer
Trailer-x 7 for other anime titles
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 314:23 (Case: 325)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mamoru Hatakeyama
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Ryohei Kimura
Aaron Dismuke
Maaya Uchida
Ballard
Unsho Ishizuka
David Wald
Yuko Iguchi
Felecia Angella
Sayuri Yahagi
Jamie Marchi
Case ?
RPI ? Music Yukari Hashimoto


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Chihiro (voiced by Ryohei Kimura / Aaron Dismuke) is a high school student who lives in the temple where his father Do’on is the priest with the rest of his family including grandfather Jogoro, his younger sister Mero (Yuko Iguchi / Felecia Angella) and his pet cat Babu. It is a happy, normal family, so it is a bit unusual that for all his life Chihiro has been fascinated with all things zombie; he loves zombie movies, reads zombie comics and fantasises about having a cute zombie girlfriend. When Babu is accidentally killed by a truck Chihiro is distraught, but he has a plan. He has in his possession an old book in which there is a recipe, which includes poisons, for a potion that will bring creatures back from the dead so he takes Babu’s body to an abandoned building and over the course of a few days tries to make the potion without success. One evening he watches as a young girl comes and screams into the well outside the building. When she comes the next night also, she sees Chihiro.

     The young girl is Rea Sanka (Maaya Uchida / Tia Ballard). She is from a very wealthy family and her home life is, to put it mildly, distressing. Her father Dan’ichiro (Unsho Ishizuka / David Wald) is both creepy and overprotective: he insists on taking naked pictures of Rea on her every birthday and removes from around Rea anyone who shows her affection, including maids, a cat or a school friend. Because of her father’s fixation, her mother is hostile to Rea and has turned to alcohol. Rea is trapped and lonely so she readily throws herself into Chihiro’s reanimation experiments over the next few nights. They concoct what will be their final brew before giving up but it also seems not to work. Because the potion is poisonous Rea takes some home and drinks it to try to commit suicide, but she wakes up alive. Back at the temple Chihiro and his busty cousin Ranko (Sayuri Yahagi / Jamie Marchi), who loves Chihiro, find that Babu has indeed come back to life, although more than a little different.

     Rea overhears her father say he is going to castrate Chihiro and flees the house to warn him. Pursued by Dan’ichiro she falls to her death from a cliff. But the reanimation potion she drunk now works and she comes back as one of the living dead. Chihiro takes Rea to his house to look after her; Rea does not mind being dead, in fact she now feels more free and alive than she ever felt and wants to experience “life” as a normal girl. Chihiro may well have found the zombie girl of his dreams, but Chihiro finds that being responsible for a zombie girl creates a diverse range of problems while, of course, Dan’ichiro is not going to let his daughter go.

     Sankarea; Undying Love is a boy meets girl of his dreams story with a twist; it is romantic, funny, bitter sweet, sad and dark, and it mostly manages to pull this mixture off successfully. The situations involving Chihiro’s very broadminded family add poignancy and humour to the series although Dan’ichiro, with his unhealthy fixation on his daughter, is dark and creepy. Chihiro, Rea and the over-exuberant Ranko are all likeable characters, while Mero, the unfazed little sister, wise beyond her years, is good value. And while the antics of Grandpa quickly get boring, Babu is priceless.

     Sankarea: Undying Love is based on the manga by Mitsuru Hattori that ended in November 2014 after, I think, 10 volumes. Sankarea: Undying Love ran for one season on Japanese TV from April to June 2012 and is based roughly on the first two volumes of the manga with a few bits added from volumes 3 and 4. The thirteenth episode is more a recap of the series thus far, partly narrated by Babu, and it ends with the introduction of a new character and the promise of darker themes to come.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Sankarea: Undying Love is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The series does not have the strongest animation but detail is fine and it has some nice added grain. The colours are generally soft and muted, although some images such as Rea’s red dress, the crimson blood, green grass, yellow flowers or the blue of the hydrangeas or the sky are vivid and vibrant. Blacks are rock solid and shadow detail good.

     There is ghosting, such as at 104:44 during episode 5, but otherwise marks and artefacts are absent.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.

     The English subtitles are in American English in a clear white font. The subtitles are burnt in when the Japanese dub is selected so cannot be removed for Japanese speakers. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     As is the case with many Funimation releases, audio is a choice of the original Japanese in Dolby TrueHD 2.0 while the English dub is TrueHD 5.1. I listened to a number of the episodes in each (the audio cannot be changed on the fly with the remote – you must do it through the set up menu).

     The Japanese is surround encoded so the rears featured music and effects such as voices, footsteps and ambient sound such as the rain. This audio was reasonably good although the English 5.1 dub was crisper and more enveloping although the main beneficiary is the music. The sub-woofer did add some depth to the music.

     The English voice cast were pretty good and although I prefer to listen to the original Japanese audio this one is a more difficult choice than usual.

     The score by Yukari Hashimoto is great and very effective in assisting with the film’s tone.

     Sankarea: Undying Love is not an action anime, so either audio track is satisfactory.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Disc 1

Start-up Trailer

     A trailer for HAL (1:18) plays on start-up. It cannot be selected from the menu.

Commentary – Episode 3

     Tia Ballard and Aaron Dismuke (the voices of Rea and Chihiro) sit together, drink coffee and laugh very loudly (especially Ballard). They chat briefly about the mature themes in the show then ramble on about previous things they have done together, pets that have died, horror movies and other voice actors. This commentary is pretty typical of Funimation, full of laughing and with almost no information about the series itself.

Disc 2

Start-up Trailer

     A trailer for Attack on Titan (1:50) plays on start-up. It cannot be selected from the menu.

Commentary – Episode 11

     US ADR director Joel McDonald joins with Terry Doody (zombie expert) and David Wald (voice of Dan’ichiro). They still do not talk much about the series as such but there is much less inane chatter as they discuss zombie films and the influences of various horror and zombie films on the series. I found this one of the more interesting Funimation commentaries.

Textless Opening Song “Esoragato” (1:32)

     The opening song without the credits.

Textless Closing Song “Above Your Hand” (1:32)

     The closing song without the credits.

US Trailer (1:02)

     The US trailer for the Blu-ray.

Trailers

     Trailers for Black Butler (1:32), Princess Jellyfish (1:51), Dragonball Z: Battle of the Gods (1:49), A Certain Magical Index II (1:05), Fairy Tale (1:01), Ghost in the Shell Arise (1:44), The Devil is a Part-Timer! (1:18), and Funimation.com (0:32).

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our local release of Sankarea: Undying Love – Complete Collection is the same as the Region A US version including the FBI piracy warning.

Summary

     Sankarea: Undying Love is an interesting twist on the boy meets girl story with romance and humour mixed with a dark undercurrent. The characters and situations are fun and the series certainly did drag me in.

     Sankarea: Undying Love ran for one season on Japanese TV and the thirteenth episode ends with the introduction of a new character and the promise of darker themes to come. However no more episodes were made so if you need to know what happened you have only the manga to fall back on. Sankarea: Undying Love – Complete Collection thus includes all the series’ episodes.

     The video and audio are fine. The extras are not extensive but are the same as are available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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