Shiki – 08
Why does our protagonist insist on being an idiot? Yes its all very well and good that Natsuno is on the right track, but he’s not being consistent! Natsuno wants solid evidence that The Risen are behind the deaths in Sotoba, he wants to know their strengths/weaknesses and how to kill them off – but when he has a real life dead sample in his hands he lets it go! What the hell? This episode was an exercise in frustration for my logical side, but this week also ranked up the creepy factor though with some genuinely tense moments – as ever Shiki excels at creating atmosphere; such a brilliant soundtrack.
Ok so lets start with the main portion of the episode dealing with Natsuno, Akira and Kaori. Picking up from last week the trio actually do go the whole way and dig up Megumi’s grave. I did have my doubts that they’d actually get that far, and a few times throughout the digging I thought they were going to get caught (I blame the tension music), but they do get to the coffin and find it empty – confirmation that Megumi has risen from the grave. Just to further hammer home the point that something weird is going on with the dead in Sotoba, Kaori is attacked by a passing vampire and its only some quick spade to the head heroics from Natsuno that save her from being Mr Randomer’s lunch.
Now we have three teenagers who have just felled an adult by causing acute trauma to the head, they’re understandably freaked out (especially Natsuno who assumes he’s just killed someone), however I was impressed that Natsuno was clear-headed enough to realise that this man was dead before he was hit. Natsuno is smart – he’s still a bit of a prick, but he does have moments of intelligence. It’s just a pity his smart moment ended when he realised that Mr Randomer was one of the Risen!
Rather than experiment with this live sample to get firm evidence of the existence of vampires/the Risen, Natsuno decides to stick Mr Randomer in Megumi’s grave – although he appears to get bored midway and just leaves the man lightly dusted in soil! What the hell Natsuno?? I mean I get that you don’t want to be stuck in the woods at night for too long, but why even bother burying him if you’re not going to do it properly? The justification that maybe a passing adult will find Mr Randomer and suddenly jump to the conclusion that the dead are rising from their graves, was a bit much to hope for! Such incredibly frustrating behaviour.
I like the way Shiki really lets you get inside the characters heads. After the events at Megumi’s grave, the three teens understandably can’t sleep for fear of being attacked during the night. Natsuno is particularly shaken by his having to attack another person – whether living or dead, the fact that it’s a person he’s just whacked with a shovel isn’t easy to come to terms with, and its nice to see more sides to Natsuno rather than apathetic jerk.
Akira is still being very proactive in his attempt to save the village, although he is willing to let Natsuno take the lead since Natsuno is smarter and much more level-headed. Akira is willing to charge headlong into the issue – wanting to tell as many people as possible in the hope someone will believe him, and he even suggests storming the Kanemasa castle to take the vampires out during the day when they’re sleeping. It’s really a good thing that Natsuno has joined up with Akira and Kaori, without his stabilising force Akira would have probably become a victim by now – taking Kaori down with him!
When the trio return to Megumi’s grave the next morning, they’re not particularly shocked to find Mr Randomer gone and the grave filled back in. They then proceed to pool their knowledge of vampires and how to kill them – pity they didn’t do this the night before when they had one of the undead at their mercy! Natsuno points out that Tatsumi at least can move during the day, so attacking the Kanemasa castle wouldn’t be a good idea; he also points out that they’re out numbered given how many people have died in the area.
Natsuno once again takes the wait and see approach, building up his knowledge of the enemy – his next suggestion is to stalk a burial and drive a stake through the corpse’s heart before they have a chance to rise. A sound plan, but again they don’t want to be caught in the woods at night so they things off – stop dragging things out! People are dying! I’m thankful that there’s action, but really you’re taking things a bit too easy here – the protracted timescale kind of takes away from the superb tension that’s been built.
Unsurprisingly the vampires aren’t going to sit back and let Natsuno & co do whatever they want; cue creepy child ventriloquist turning up on Natsuno’s doorstep demanding to be invited in. Natsuno’s dad immediately senses something very ‘off’ about the little girl, who introduces herself as Shizuka Matsuo, and tries to turn the pushy little brat away. However Natsuno’s mother undermines his hard work and lets Shizuka in, and Shizuka promptly secures an invite for her ‘big brother’ too. Gah! Don’t invite them in!!! Natsuno is no longer safe in his own home, and his parent’s are now potential victims too. I wonder if another vampire went to Kaori and Akira’s as well? Things are definitely escalating, it will be interesting to see what Natsuno does next.
The only other thing of interest this week was Muroi & Sunako’s conversation about loneliness and the sense of being abandoned by god. Sunako claims that these are key themes in Muroi’s books and she previously felt that the author must feel these things very strongly himself, but upon meeting Muroi she’s changed her mind. Muroi says that rather than him feeling those things, Sunako herself seems to be afflicted. Sunako agrees to a point and I almost feel sorry for her – almost, those void eyes make sympathy difficult! I’m still half expecting Sunako to pounce on Muroi at any time – its like she’s toying with him the way she watches him and says things to trigger a reaction; its unsettling but I’m curious to see what she has planned.
This week I decided to watch the ED (I usually switch off soon as the episode finishes) and was so glad I did, since this week some preview shots were put in an insert during the ED! Really interesting stuff in there – Ozaki & Muroi seeing Nao(?) through a window, pitchforks, new characters and a creepy shot of a hand sliding down a window pane! Really looking forward to the upcoming episodes