Shiki – 17 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 27 Nov 2010 – Seishin still can’t get on board with Toshio’s methods, and this is driven home when he meets exactly what he’s been talking about: Toru, who is killing to live, not out of evil or hatred. Do vampires have just as much a right to kill humans as humans have to kill animals to live? Is this just the luck of the food chain? This seems to be his line of thinking: Killing vampires is still killing. He won’t kill. After a strange encounter with poor tormented Kaori, he goes to the Kirishikis’ mansion to hang out with Sunako. Will she bite him?

Meanwhile, Toshio is holed up in his clinic, carving stakes for the coming battle. He definitely seems resolved to go out fighting. When another victim arrives, he lets slip that it isn’t an epidemic. Ritsuko, remembering seeing Nao in action, asks Toshio what he meant, but the conversation stalls. When a fellow nurse is kidnapped, Ritsuko is drawn out into the night and bitten herself, and it’s over. It seemed she had come around to the conclusion about what was going on, but it was too late. She is glamored by her biter to refuse treatment and insist on being left alone.

Finally, Mrs. Kirishiki appears in the clinic, with her…interesting outfit. Toshio comes at her with a stake but Mr. Kirishiki shoots it to pieces with a sniper rifle. Is this...Game Over? Well, she bites him, and tells him to burn his data, and he does. But who said this wasn’t the next stage of the plan Natsuno suggested? Natsuno can think for himself; perhaps the risen Toshio will be rebellious as well.

Of course, first things first: Toshio has to die and rise. And his last words before being bitten suggested he didn’t care about the village anymore; it was full of idiots who did nothing to stop their plight. Excellent stuff.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

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Shiki – 16 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 26 Nov 2010 – One of the really neat aspects of any vampire-themed narratives is the ridiculously long lives vampires live. When Toru can’t seem to get over killing Natsuno, he’s summoned to the mansion to meet with Sunako. Who had been just your typical creepy little ghoul girl became orders of magnitude more interesting when she shared her rich and harrowing life experience with Toru. Killed, buried, then risen; she embarked on a quest to find her parents that spanned human lifetimes, all the while killing kind and weak humans for food. Compared to her, Toru has absolutely no reason to kvetch.

The Kirishikis would prefer all of their vampire servants to have an attitude more like Megumi. Parts of her human personality remain – her cheerfulness, fashion sense, and love for Natsuno, for instance – but she’s also become totally desensitized to the actions she now takes nightly as a risen. She’s not going to let anyone rain on her human-draining parade. But she’s still just a baby vampire;  perhaps decades or even centuries from fully understanding what she is.

This week Toshio meets covertly with Natsuno, who is a daywalker…and seems to now get fashion tips from Megumi (we’re not knocking it; after all some people have to look correct in this backwater village). However he’s dressed, he’s not interested in falling into line like Megumi; he wants to help Toshio get rid of the Shiki, including himself. But they must bide their time. We’re curious to learn how they’ll do it, and why they have to wait until the moment the vamps think they’ve achieved irreversible victory.

Not a party to these plans, Akira takes it upon himself to start the war early, but fails pretty quickly when the blue-haired daywalker appears. It would seem Akira is a goner, which will leave poor timid Kaori as the only living Tanaka – a family that’s gotten the short end of the stick in this series. One thing’s clear: if the living are to take back the village, an uncoordinated direct attack isn’t gonna cut it.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Shiki – 15 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 15 Nov 2010 – Seishin walks in on Toshio just having staked his dead wife through the heart. But however Toshio justifies it, Seishin is against all killing, be it human or risen. Considering he hasn’t been targeted yet, its as pragmatic a position as it is moral. Toshio then stops by the health office, only to find no one there during the day.

Everyone works at night, now that they’re risen. Chizuru Kirishiki happens to be lounging around in that very office when he visits. While that particular fact doesn’t make much sense, it is made quite clear to Toshio that he’s on their list. It’s only a matter of time before they come knockin’ on his door.

No one else who’s still alive is interested in what Toshio has to say. They either don’t or won’t believe him (or in Seishin’s case, cannot help him). Things look pretty bleak, until BAM, Yuuki’s back! Despite being risen, he still has his regular purple eyes, but his get-up is much more Vampire Chic (I’m going to assume he’s risen unless they say otherwise). He isn’t there to kill Toshio. He’s there to tell him he’s not the only one who believes Megumi is still walking around. Tasty…now what’s gonna happen next?


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Shiki – 14 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 13 Nov 2010 – Yowza…just when we think Toshio’s checked out emotionally, he springs into action once his wife rises. He even gets it all on tape. It must take an ungodly amount of dedication to treat one’s recently-deceased wife like, well, a fetal pig in biology class, and treat her arm like a pincushion. Toshio won’t let the risen corpse speak, even though she knows his name. As far as he’s concerned, his wife is dead. Whatever this is, it’s a golden opportunity to discover what makes the vamps tick.

Even so, you can’t help but sympathize with his corpse-wife: he’s doing these terrible things to her while she’s wide awake, listening and watching. Even for a vamp, this is clearly torture, which then leads to a staking, Toshio’s last resort to extinguish her. We all know staking and beheading vampires is the only way to get rid of them, but he had to be scientifically sure. With possession of this concrete knowledge, he’s perhaps the only one who can save the town.

Meanwhile, Megumi kills the Tanaka kids’ dad, and later expresses her concern that Yuuki hasn’t risen yet. We love how she still has the hots for him. It would be a shame if Yuuki ended up cremated in the “big city”, since the first half spent so much time on his character. When the creepy effeminate guy (bad with names) who did rise rubs it in Megumi’s face, she has a rock and Chuck Taylor ready for his face. We’ll admit a macabre satisfaction when this kid’s big mouth gets him in trouble.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Shiki – 13 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 29 Oct 2010 – Things just keep getting worse in the ol’ village. Tohru ends up drinking enough of Natsuno’s blood to finally do him in. He’s definitely not gone, though, he’s sure to become the newest okiagari (vampire), which will have all kinds of ramifications. Meanwhile, even Toshio’s wife ensnared by the risen, and he’s powerless to stop her death.

When Natsuno’s dad emerges from his workshop to find his wife has run off and his son is dead, he has Natsuno’s body taken away by the new funeral home (apparently, word’s gotten out there’s mad mortuary money to be made in this village), but the good doctor decides to put his recently deceased spouse on ice, presumably to wait for her to…rise.

Both deaths are surprisingly austere and there isn’t much exposition, a testament to how accustomed everyone is getting to death. With one of the main characters sure to become a vampire, and no sure solutions in sight, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how anyone is going to survive this.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Shiki – 07 thru 09 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 8 Sept 2010 – So just about all the cats are out of the bag: this village has a nest of vampires, and they’re sucking everyone dry. We feel even worse for the poor tortured doc after his piece-of-work wife and battleaxe mother stop by and tell him to wuss out and let someone else handle the ‘epidemic’. Great advice, gals.

We also feel pretty bad after he does everything he possibly can to keep a bite victim alive (and actually succeeds for a time) but it’s all for naught, as the blue-haired daywalker intervenes. This marks the first time the doctor has had direct contact with his pointy-toothed nemeses.

Having watched a lot of True Blood, we believe the solution to the village’s problem is fairly simple: stake the daywalker(s) and burn down the nest(s) in the daytime. PROBLEM SOLVED. Of course, there’s the matter of getting them all, and with thirteen episodes left, doing so will be no simple task. Still, now that things are moving and all the important people know the score, I’m enjoying this dark and unrelenting series, goofy hairstyles and all.

Special mention to the OP – “Kuchizuke” by Buck-Tick – an angsty, twisted J-rock ballad filled with despair and longing, fitting the series rather perfectly.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)