Anime Review: Shiki Episodes 7, 8, and 9

(Originally published on Livejournal on 10/9/10)

Anime Review:
Shiki Episodes 7, 8, and 9

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.7 tl;dr review: Natsuno plots with Akira and Kaori to go grave-digging; Masao learns the ins and outs of being the living dead.

Episode 7 Synopsis: Akira and Kaori suspect something’s hinkie with the mansion; Natsuno runs into them and explains his concerns as well. With Natsuno as the ringleader, they plot (overheard by Tatsumi) to dig up Megumi’s grave to prove she has become a “risen doll”. Meanwhile, Masao awakens inside his coffin, and is rescued by Tatsumi, who explains he died and is essentially a vampire (cannot bear direct sunlight, must drink blood, no heartbeat, etc). He also explains how he must now attack his fellow villagers to survive. Toshio, now convinced that the village is now beset with vampires, confesses his ideas to Seishin, who remains skeptical. To help prove his theory, Toshio confines the latest victim to his hospital, where he will watch over her all evening.

ep.8 tl;dr review: As expected, Megumi’s grave is empty, the dead are among us! Creepy girl with puppet at the door, and it’s not a land-shark.

Episode 8 Synopsis: Despite Kaori’s reluctance, the trio dig up Megumi’s grave, only to find the coffin empty. Kaori is unexpectedly attacked from the dark, Natsuno strikes the attacker who they discover is actually one of the undead. They leave his partially-buried body in Megumi’s grave, expecting it will be discovered in the morning. Meanwhile, a creepy little girl speaking through a life-size puppet arrives at Natsuno’s house, and convinces her parents to let her wait for him in his room.

ep.9 tl;dr review: Toshio and Seishin hold vigil over the latest victim to keep the vampires at bay; Good plan, except for one little flaw…

Episode 9 Synopsis: Toshio and Seishin spend the night watching over the latest victim, and in the morning she is stable. Toshio’s staff, as well as his neglected wife and overbearing mother, notice how exhausted Toshio has become. The next night a scratching at the window turns out the be Nao, the victim’s undead daughter, coming to suck her blood — more than enough proof for Toshio and Seishin. With Nao thwarted, the victim begins to improve; but the next night Nao comes with reinforcements, including Tatsumi who enters the hospital and attacks Toshio. No longer a secret, the battle lines are being drawn.

My Thoughts: We’ve now entered the second act of Shiki. The first six episodes were all about the mystery, not knowing what is going on, trying to piece together the clues. But with Toshio’s revelation at the end of the sixth episode, we’ve turned the corner and it has gone from a mystery into the beginnings of a battle. On one side, we have the doctor Toshio, the priest Seishin, and the students Natsuno, Kaori and Akira who have figured out what is truly happening to Sotoba Village. On the other side, the key players are not yet fully identified, except for Tatsumi who is a “special” vampire able to during the day and serves as a ring-leader for the growing band of rising dolls, including whiny-ass Masao, Nao, the librarian and, of course, Megumi (who could be a bit of a wild card). Then there is the family on the hill, who have barely shown up in public so far, motives unclear, except for Sunako’s unnerving conversations with Seishin. Both opposing forces are still feeling each other out, but it’s clear the chess pieces are now in motion.

A few quick thoughts:

– Despite some of my initial misgivings, Shiki is shaping up to be on the short list of what I consider the best anime shows of 2010. I really like how this is coming together.
– I’m a little pissed at Toshio’s bullheadedness, trying to do everything himself (or with Seishin’s assistance alone) and as a result driving himself to exhaustion, causing dissension, and underestimating the threat. Really, dude, get some help! You’re way over your head!
– The family on the hill is definitely the source and “den” of the vampires, but is Tatsumi a pawn of the family or the leader of them?
– Megumi’s lingering feelings for Natsuno may ultimately prove the tiny crack into the vampire organization that could lead to their downfall. Just prognosticating.
– We really know so little about the Kirishiki family so far, it’s been all about the protagonists Natsuno and Toshio. Looking forward to figuring exactly how they fit into this equation.

The Verdict:

Up Next: Legend of Legendary Heroes, Shukufuku no Campanella (second chance), Kuttsukiboshi, MonHun Diary: Felyne Village in Danger, Aki Sora: Yume no Naka, Armored Trooper Votoms: Phantom Arc, Hen Zemi

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