Anime Review: Shiki Episode 2

(Originally published on Livejournal on 8/13/10)

Anime Review in a Minute:
Shiki Episode 2

Anime Review in a Minute: What this is all about. — I watch the shows you so you don’t HAVE to!

About the Series: Tucked away in the mountains, isolated from the modern world is the small, sleepy village of Sotoba. Nothing much seems to happen here, until one hot summer when the residents slowly and mysteriously begin to die. As the deaths mount, the town doctor suspects it might be a dangerous epidemic, but the evidence just doesn’t seem to add up. Others think it might be related to the strange, reticent family that recently built a mansion on a high hill outside of town. Can the mystery be solved before the town is doomed?

ep.2 tl;dr review: More people die for unknown reasons; The town doctor raises the possibility of an epidemic.

In this episode: Funeral arrangements for young Megumi are prepared, as she is laid to rest among the fir trees in the mountains. While Natsuno really couldn’t care less about Megumi’s obsession with him, it seems he can’t really shake thinking about her…as if she is still watching him from afar. Meanwhile, Doctor Ozaki has a troubling feeling that something may be afoot, when the corpses begin piling up around town. After some research, he discovers that ten of the town’s residents have passed away in the current month…all of them from unexplained causes. Consulting with the town priest Muroi, he is forced to assume the worst case scenario and raises the specter of a possible epidemic.

My Thoughts: For a horror series, it’s a slow, slow build of tension. Last time I likened the first episode a bit to the first episodes of Paranoia Agent or Shigofumi; however, I think a better comparison would be to Monster. The show is very coolly and calculated laying out the pieces on the chessboard, the game hasn’t even really started yet. In fact, the main character in the series, Sunako, hasn’t even appeared yet. The danger with the show is that it may end up moving *too* slowly to really get off the ground. Again, comparing it to Monster, which as actually an intriguing and masterful anime series, it was soooooo slow and took forever to get going that I eventually lost interest after a couple *dozen* episodes, a whole lot of buildup and the climax nowhere in sight. Let’s hope Shiki isn’t as similarly lethargic.

So….anyone want to place bets on who will end up dying of mysterious circumstances next? I gotta feeling sweet, innocent Kaori has a target painted on her back. A shame, because she may be a plain-jane wallflower but hardly deserving of death. I have a feeling we’ll see a whole lot more corpses in the near future.

I am still very annoyed at the disparate and sometimes-outrageous character designs. The largely-unnamed background characters, such as the local yokels, are drawn like normal people befitting of the tense, dramatic situation. All the main characters, though, have spiky colored anime hairstyles and exaggerated features, and they just stick out like sore thumbs. And it’s so bothersome because it’s all so *unnecessary* – why add the distraction? We’ll see if I’m able to overcome this distraction like I did with the intentionally-repulsive character designs on House of Five Leaves.

For more info:

Star Crossed Anime Review: http://psgels.blogsome.com/2010/07/15/shiki-02/
Abandoned Factory review:http://abandonedfactory.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/shiki-2-worst-case-scenario/
Opening Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OowvzGhUAFQ – sounding like a Japanese version of The Editors.

The Verdict: – Even though Megumi’s DEAD, she’s the center of this episode as well.

Second episodes up for review next: Legend of Legendary Heroes, then it’s on the third episodes of the summer shows.

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