Anime Review: Shiki Episodes 16, 17, and 18

(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 12/20/10)

Anime Review:
Shiki Episodes 16, 17 and 18

Series Premise: 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.16 tl;dr review: Sunako explains her past; Akira goes vampire hunting like the little idiot that he is.

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Episode 16 Summary: Tohru is wracked with guilt over how he killed Natsuno, and is summoned for a meeting with Sunako. Fearing the worst, he lays bare his fears and feelings; unexpectedly Sunako expresses empathy, and explains a little of her past. The daughter of an extremely affluent family, when she was turned into the undead the family hid her away in a shed for years, but she finally escaped and walked the world in search of her family. Before she knew it, decades had passed and everyone she has known was dead. Nao is disconsolate that none of her family rose from the dead, and she is all alone. Tanaka is also angry and frustrated, and finds himself returning back to his old house. Before he knows it, he attacks his wife; the next day their children Akira and Kaori find out, and vow to fight. While Kaori prepares wooden stakes, Akira finds a darkened home where one of the undead is sleeping during the day. He tries to attack, but is ambushed, knocked out, tied up, and is left as food for the now-waking vampire.


ep.17 tl;dr review: Seishin disappears to the Dark Side; The good doctor finally gets his medicine.

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Episode 17 Summary: Seishin remains conflicted over how to respond to the vampires, outright rejecting violence but also realizing reasoning is not the answer. When his father, the head priest goes missing, he realizes that his father had invited the Kirishikis in to his room, allowing them to take him away. Outside his doorway, he finds a numb and exhausted Kaori, who has spent the day digging her own grave in anticipation of her own death. With all of her family dead or missing, her will is broken and now all she can think about is her impending demise. Nurse Ritsuko receives an urgent plea for help from her colleague, and runs out into the night to save her, but ends up getting attacked herself. Doctor Ozaki returns to his clinic to find Chizuru Kirishiki waiting, as she teases and toys with him — before she finally sinks her fangs into his neck.


ep.18 tl;dr review: Tatsumi pays a friendly visit to his rival vampire; Toshio’s been playing possum!

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Episode 18 Summary: Tatsumi pays a visit to Natsuno, confirming that both of them are a special breed of vampires called ‘werewolves’. While Tatsumi is more than ready to eliminate Natsuno, he’s only instructed to pass along an invitation — and warning — from the Kirishikis. Tohru meets with the newly-awakened Ritsuko, who explains that she understands the situation but wishes to cling to her own free will and not feed on blood. With Toshio Ozaki now under the control of the Kirishikis, Chizuru visits him in the hospital to gloat; Toshio expresses his desire to take Chizuru on one last date before he dies, leading her down to the town’s Fall festival. There, Chizuru has a grand time “playing human”, but becomes increasingly uncomfortable as they near the religious icons and symbols. Finally she can’t take any more, ordering Toshio to take her back; but he defies her demand, inadvertently revealing a second set of bite marks which shows that he was never truly under her control in the first place. Toshio also reveals to the crowd that Chizuru is cold, has no pulse and no heartbeat, and the angry mob turns on her.


My Thoughts: He dies, she dies, everybody dies! Seriously, is there going to be any humans left alive by the end of this series? There goes the doctor, there goes the nurse, there goes Akira…they’re being picked off at an alarming rate now. As I was watching the show, seeing the good Doctor Ozaki fall under the sway of the Kirishikis, I wondered who was really left to battle their invasion? Why, the answer remains…the good doctor, of course? I should have seen it coming from a mile away, I guess I just wasn’t paying close enough attention to realize that the doctor was not *really* under their spell, he was faking it on purpose. Tricky, tricky, tricky…volunarily (I assume) giving himself to Natsuno so that remain immune to Chizuru’s wiles.

Wait a minute…that means that Natsuno is feeding as well, right? Then that also means that he was faking his weakness in front of Tatsumi during his visit as well. Oh, tricky indeed! (Assuming, of course, my guess is correct). Speaking of Natsuno, I wondered how he was able to resist the control of the undead — now I know as he has been revealed as a “werewolf”. Kind of an awkward name, I think based on how they describe them perhaps a better descriptor would be “daywalker”. Definitions aside, perhaps he’s not as much of a useless whiner as I thought he was.

Okay, the Kirishikis have *finally* been publicly exposed to the whole village, it took such a major reveal to get them to accept what was happening to the town. Really, the town’s ability to pointedly avoid reality at all costs was amazing, they whole “just ignore it” philosophy so deeply ingrained it was almost comical if it wasn’t so tragic. (Then again, it’s not like the Japanese have a monopoly on that idea; just look at the large portion of the United States willing to vote republican despite the painfully obvious idiocy of doing so. Just keep whistling past the graveyard, America, as we slowly strangle ourselves to death…) Now that the ‘hidden war’ is exposed, will that force the Kirishiki’s hand to the point of direct assault? It’s not like they can sneak around anymore.

A few quick thoughts:
– I still don’t understand the senior monk’s motives for intentionally being spirited away by the Kirishikis. I am also equally unsure of Seishin’s plans. His whole passive resistance ideas don’t exactly seem to be effective.
– It would be nice if it was possible to feel empathy for Sunako, the poor little girl left all alone by the distance of time. But you have to remember that under that sweet, innocent demeanor that Sunako is the source of all of this. And does anyone else get a Claudia from Interview with the Vampire vibe from her? Cute, but evil…don’t touch!
– The truly tragic character in the series is Kaori, who has had everyone and everything stolen away from her, reduced to a hollow soul awaiting her own death. Then again, remember that we never saw Akira killed – it was just hinted at. I suspect he might turn up at just the right moment.
– Shiki has become my favorite show of the Summer 2010 season, after a slow start. I’m looking forward to how it will wrap up in the next several episodes.

The Verdict:

Coming up next: Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru (4-6), My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute (4-6), Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (4-6), Psychic Detective Yakumo (4-6), Shinryaku Ika Musume (4-6), Letter Bee Reverse (4-6), Bakuman (4-6), Kuragehime (4-6)

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