Shiki – 20 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 18 Dec 2010 – We were initially a bit dubious of Shiki’s unique, out-there character design, just as we were with House of Five Leaves, but in both cases, simply watching them through has totally eliminated that stigma. And having so intricately built up a story with so many characters and motivations, the final payoff is made all the more awesome. Toshio and his followers (led by Ookawa) go on a staking spree, but only succeed in destroying a third of the Shiki; there are other hiding places.

Some Shiki have resorted to desperate measures: murdering Toshio’s mother as retaliation and to send a message to other humans; an enraged Seishin picking off humans with his rifle; and even glamored humans being sent out as assassins. It’s all underhanded and not what Sunako wanted at all. She’s still in the basement with Seishin, growing more and more afraid of her expectant demise. You can’t help but sympathize with her: though she’s killed thousands in her centuries of life, it was always so she wouldn’t starve. She now questions whether it would have been better to starve; if her life itself is a sin that shouldn’t be.

Meanwhile, Tohru finally surrenders to Ritsuko’s refusal to feed off of her friend. She wishes to avoid detesting herself by not killing anyone, even at the cost of her life. She wishes she had never risen. Tohru’s pleas are no use; all he can do is make her comfortable in her waning hours. At some point, Sunako, Tohru, and all the others made the choice to live and live with the guilt, a choice Ritsuko isn’t capable of making. She is a nurse, after all. It is truly heart-wrenching to see her suffer, but breaking her will would be worse.

Which brings us to Toshio’s dilemma: their enemies aren’t just Shiki, but the humans they control through drinking their blood. Ookawa splits the village into black-and-white: good guys (them) versus bad guys (the Shiki and the “traitors”). Ookawa even stakes the human assassin, disturbing Toshio. He absolutely does not want humans murdering other humans, but what choice do they have when they’re coming to kill them? We’re in for a hell of a final two episodes.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

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Shiki – 18 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 3 Dec 2010Oho! Now things are getting interesting…and they were already plenty interesting before. Toshio replenished the blood he lost with an infusion at the clinic, which lessons the effect of Chizuru’s glamor. Allowing her to bite him was an immense risk (though it was going to happen anyway), but it seems to have paid off big.

Sunako is the vampire queen, not Chizuru. Chizuru, it would seem, is her daughter, who lived part of her adult life as a human, and even had a husband. Toshio taps into that and lays on the charm, with good results: asking her out for a harmless date to help her mingle more with the still-living villagers and allay their fears, Toshio is able to get her close enough to a temple so that her worst fears surface. The fear weakens her, and Toshio gets everyone’s attention that this is indeed a okiagiri – including Megumi’s dad, who remembers the scent of her perfume. This scene where Toshio turns the tables is delicious – and vicious – in its justice.

This is huge, as for once a good chunk of the living are forced to shed their denial and face facts. It also raises the stakes considerably for the vamps: a full-on assault to finish the villagers seems necessary. Meanwhile, Tatsumi, the blue-haired daywalker pays Natsuno (and his now-crazed dad) a visit. Tatsumi and Natsuno are called jinrou, the best of both worlds. But he won’t let Natsuno keep living if he won’t suck blood. Oh yeah, Ritsuko rose and doesn’t want to suck blood either. More power, more problems.


Rating: 8
 (Great)

Another – 06

Sakakibara gets used to being ignored along with Misaki in his class, and he uses the time to learn more about Misaki and the “curse”, which defies both memories and records and is more like a force of nature than anything overtly evil or malicious. He even learns his mother was in Class 3. He wants to know if there’s any precedent for the killing ending midyear, and if they can stop it this year, but their teacher enters class one day with a butcher’s knife…

As the pieces of the picture fall into place one by one for Sakakibara, this episode plays mostly like slice-of-life, or more accurately, slice-of-near-death, since his class now pretends he doesn’t exist. The more he talks to and learns about Misaki, the more intrigued he is by her, particularly the strength and dedication needed to accept being the pariah that she is. She says she’s glad it was her, so she didn’t have to pretend someone else didn’t exist. She says she understands that the class has to do everything it can – but we’re with Sakakibara when we say we can’t believe this is how things go down, especially when it only avoids deaths half of the time, at best.

Above all, we’re impressed with Sakakibara’s poise so far. He’s taking his situation in stride. Because hey, things could be worse, right? At least he has a pretty girl to talk to. The meat of the episode was some really nice dialogue between the two, mostly about their situation. His growing fondness for Misaki culminates in a hilarious daydream that caught us totally by surprise in which the two of them get up in the middle of a silent study session and start laughing and dancing. After all the dark, brooding atmosphere built up thus far, it was nice to know the series doesn’t completely lack a sense of humor.


Rating: 4