The Power of Three: Sankarea

The premise of “The Power of Three” series of posts is that we’re going to be looking at some kind of three-way relationship to see how it works. You know, going beyond kicking the tires and popping the hood. We’re going to try to figure out how the electronic ignition works, or something like that.

I know how electronic ignition works. Want to know? (Whispered:) It’s magic. But that was a metaphor. What we’re really figuring out is writing. There’s some magic involved there, too.

The emotional heart of Sankarea is yet another Eternal Triangle, where two characters compete for the hand of a third, and as soon as I say that you say, “Well, sure, Rea and Wanko are both in love with Chihiro.”

I mean, they are, but that’s a red herring.

I love that phrase. Why does anyone give a crap if a herring is red? Never mind.

Y’see, while they try to play that game, it’s clear that Wanko doesn’t have a chance. First of all, she’s not the girl for Chihiro, who is, let’s remember, a teen-aged Japanese boy. Let’s see: Wanko is big, bold, blonde, and busty. You know what she is? She’s an AMERICAN girl, not literally, but in terms of her looks and behavior.

And Rea is delicate, refined, raven-haired, submissive. She’s a Japanese girl. Who do you think wins that battle?

And second of all, the writers know it. Wanko loves Chihiro, but she loves Rea, too, and she says right out, “I’m never going to get him to love me.” And you know what? She’s not. So that triangle is just smoke and mirrors, much ado signifying nothing.

The real triangle is Chihiro, Rea, and zombieism.

Chihiro (left) and Rea. You can tell by her eyes (red) that zombieism in present as well

That’s neat in part because the character at the apex of that triangle is Rea, not Chihiro. That’s disguised in the series because the central character is Chihiro.

Here come the three legs of the triangle: Zombieism doesn’t “love” anyone, per se. It HAS Rea. It WANTS Chihiro. Those two facts aren’t going to change until it gets Chihiro or he cures Rea.

Rea loves Chihiro. He is her savior, both because he saved her from her abusive father and because he is doing everything he can to save her life. Plus she already liked him anyway. But she’s TIED to zombieism. It has her and it is doing its best to control her.

Chihiro loves Rea. She’s the girl of his dreams, the Perfect Japanese Girl (TM) (see above) PLUS she’s a zombie and he’s got a zombie fetish.

The real tension is between Chihiro and zombieism. He loves zombies. He watches zombie movies with both Chihiro and Wanko when a normal boy would be going for some hot make-out action. He’s always wanted to zombie girlfriend and now he’s got one … and zombieism is threatening to take her way from him.

Worse, zombieism wants HIM, too. It sometimes grabs Rea, blanks her mind out, turns her into a vicious machine trying to eat his brains.

So the basic conflict is Man vs. Nature, which is cute. Most of the time when you have Man vs. Nature, Nature don’t give a crap. It’s just there. But here Nature is ACTIVE. It has Rea and it wants Chihiro. And Chihiro MUST resist. If he gives in, Rea, the girl he loves, goes under.

And like any other Eternal Triangle, the plot of Sankarea can resolve in two ways. SOMEONE’S going to end up with Rea, right? That’s how the Eternal Triangle works. Maybe it’s zombieism, it takes her and takes Chihiro, too. Boom. Tragedy for Chihiro, comedy for zombieism.

Or Chihiro finds a way to cure or stabilize her. He gets her and zombieism loses her. Boom. Comedy for Chihiro, tragedy for zombieism.

“Comedy” and “tragedy” are two of the seven basic plots, right? They mean “happy ending” and “sad ending.”

So the conflict will be resolved as comedy or tragedy from Chihiro’s perspective. Or something could come up somewhere in the manga after volume five – because that’s how far I’ve read so far – that throws all that out. But if it does, they just wasted five volumes setting up a plot the author didn’t like.

Oh, well, as long as people buy the book it’s not a problem.

I always look at comments and feedback, and I’m sure I’m not the first to see what I’ve seen, so have at it. Just keep it clean and keep it on target…no personal attacks, okay? Thanks.

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