Shiki – 21 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 26 Dec 2010 – As if there was any remaining doubt about whether there is a distinct good or bad guy in Shiki, this episode drives the point home: there isn’t. The vampires and werewolves mostly kill to survive, as the humans do. But just as some vamps kill for sport, the humans kill other humans they believe to be collaborating. Things have gotten out of hand, and Toshio is so focused on victory he can’t see the ultimate tragedy: even if the living win, they’ve lost: they’ve cast away too much of their humanity to do so.

This is perfectly illustrated in a prologue that makes one’s skin crawl, as Chizuko and the gals cluck it up after a hard evening’s transporting dead vampire bodies. They have a meal right in the midst of corpses, without even washing the blood of their hands. This isn’t just getting used to a tough situation: to me, this is a form of insanity brought on by the need to cope with one’s hellish reality. They’ve hardened themselves to the point that cutting a person into pieces appears as easy as throwing a load of towels in the wash. Win or lose, things will never go back to the way they were; not for these people. Society’s rabid compulsion to survive has led to its own collapse.

Seishin finally asks Tatsumi why he does so much to serve Sunako, despite werewolves seemingly superior to vampires in all ways. Tatsumi scoffs at this: it has nothing to do with superiority and everything to do with feelings. He loves Sunako because amidst the cycles of society collapsing and rebuilding – the centuries of humans and their civilizations tearing themselves down and building themselves back up again – only Sunako remains and endures to see the next phase, the next world.

Her timelessness is a source of awe. Those who know and admire her cannot bear to think of her demise. Their own existence is meaningless compared to hers, and they’re willing to sacrifice themselves if it means her continued existence. Seishin obviously believes this as well, as he exerts all his remaining energies to help Sunako escape her hunters. But they’re hot on his trail, and his blood will lead them right to her. Will she wake up in time? I think we all know the answer to that!


Rating: 9 (Superior)

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