Shiki 20.5

Last summer’s Shiki was a series that always made you question whose side you should pick. At first, when vampires were picking off innocent characters we’d barely gotten to know, one by one, they seemed like the bad guys. But once we got to know some of those so-called baddies, and learned that for the most part they maintained their personalities, we started to sympathize with them and question the ruthlessness of the remaining humans. After all, both sides wanted the same thing: to survive.

This extra episode, taking place before the final climactic two episodes that answers the question ‘who will win the village’ (answer: no one), definitely paints the humans as the bad guys. The vampires here, including a beside-herself Nao, are at their wits’ end, running from hunters and running out of places to hide. Cornered in a sewer that gets progressively narrower as they climb deeper in – like a nightmarish H.R. Giger drawing – they couldn’t get more desperate.

Yet, to the humans, led by an overzealous young man who seems to enjoy killing them a bit too much considering they retain a lot of their human qualities, basically bullies the less assertive members of his hunting party to wipe out these remaining vamps. When they run out of stakes, they tie them all up (including Nao) and wait for the sun. It’s a truly horrible scene – graphic and hard to watch, and another sign that the humans here may have pulses, but otherwise have lost their humanity. They had a choice in their actions, the vamps don’t (beyond suicide). You can’t help but lament Nao for her hideous plight. Rating: 3.5