Rea’s father is definitely a sick man. Too sick, maybe. Is he a pedophile? Does he harbor incestuous feelings for his daughter? Who knows? The creepy vibes are certainly there, but I won’t throw labels around nonchalantly. But this doesn’t matter anyway, because he is a terrible person regardless of whether or not he views his daughter as a sexual object. His possessiveness of Rea alone would horrify most of us. It is, however, his emotional manipulation (e.g. driving her loved ones away from her) of his poor daughter that is truly disgusting.
Sadly, there are a lot of people like him out there in the real world. There are countless parents, mother (Rea’s mother isn’t blameless either) or father, who treat their children as objects. There are countless parents who wouldn’t hesitate to emotionally abuse their children to get exactly what they want. In my opinion, then, Sankarea tackles a really serious problem–a problem that I really don’t think is right for this anime. Or maybe this anime just isn’t right for the problem.
Really, Rea’s situation is no joke. I definitely feel bad for her. Then all of a sudden, the anime cuts to Wanko’s giant, swinging tits. My reaction at that moment was basically “Really? We’re really doing this now?” It’s not just that I find the drastic tonal shift jarring. I actually feel as though it disrespects the gravity of Rea’s situation. Also, let’s not forget how the first episode played itself out like a stereotypical romantic comedy. We had the obligatory girl-crazy best friend. We had the (light) moments of fanservice. The tone was definitely comedic in nature. Unfortunately, Rea’s problem should be addressed seriously. I think her father should be taken away and locked up. At the very least, he should be justly punished for his crimes. This issue deserves better than cutting away to wet, slippery cousin boobs.
You might say that I’m taking Rea’s problem too seriously, but I don’t see how one wouldn’t. This is straight up child abuse before our very eyes, and the anime’s going to resume being a romantic comedy when Rea’s offscreen? I mean, it’s not like the show’s a dark comedy. There’s no cynicism here. No one’s throwing about sardonic quips. There’s no stunning irony to be had. All we have is a poor girl pouring her heart out, then suddenly, fanservice and flying cat zombies. It’s like, “Psst, Debbie Downer is gone now. We can get back to wacky shit!” We also know that Rea will, at one point, compete with Wanko for Chihiro’s affection. All of this just leaves a strange taste in my mouth. But hey, maybe I’m the only one who has a problem with it. Not that I’d take anything back if this turns out to be case, but I just wouldn’t be very surprised. Oh well.
I’m not even saying that this was a bad episode by any means. I was certainly captivated by the story up until Wanko’s appearance. I even think Chihiro and Rea share some chemistry. I just think it would have been best to either tone down Rea’s tragedy if we’re going to stick with the romantic comedy, or resist the tasteless fanservice until Rea’s situation is at least dealt with properly.