Shiki – 10
What an exciting episode! Shiki just gets better and better with each successive episode. I didn’t think the major plot twist in this episode would happen so quickly – I knew it would happen at some point; but it was pretty daring to pull it so early. Shiki has just solidified its place as my favourite of the Summer season (although it doesn’t really have much competition), however news that show is taking a 3 week hiatus after episode 11 is most upsetting – it’s just getting really good!!
So the major reveal of this episode was the fact that, as suspected, Tohru has joined the ranks of the undead in Sotoba. It’s nice to see that the newly turned vampires retain so much of their original personality rather than becoming mindless drones. Megumi is still a stalker with a superiority complex, Mao just wants to be with her family (although killing them off in the hope they’ll rise is a touch misguided), and Tohru is still a kind-hearted softie.
You can see that Tohru is struggling with what he’s become, and Tatsumi is really pressuring him to tow the line – either Tohru silences Natsuno or Tohru’s siblings are the next victims. It’s interesting how Tatsumi picks the one thing thats most likely to get Tohru to act – a threat to his own life would be unlikely to work since Tohru has no love for his new life. However, a threat to his family is an entirely different matter given Tohru’s innately kind, loving nature; just how does Tatsumi know so much about these people? I felt really sorry for Tohru, he’s in tears for the majority of the episode, and clearly ashamed by what he’s become.
The time line was bit hard to follow this week (dates do not help much), so I was mostly trying to piece together things from what clothes the characters were wearing (so glad Shiki mixes up their characters wardrobes). Seems like the assault on the Ozaki clinic took place while Tohru was making his half-hearted attempt to get into Natsuno’s house, which was a full two days after Shizuka gained entrance to Natsuno’s home.
A randomly placed flashback (right in the middle of Tohru’s stakeout of Natsuno’s room) reveals why Natsuno has such a major chip on his shoulder, and why he’s not completely at ease with his parents. Turns out that Natsuno’s parents aren’t married (they don’t believe in it) which is why Natsuno has his mother’s surname of Koide on all official documentation rather than his father’s name Yuuki. I can imagine that being annoying to explain to everyone when growing up, and figure Natsuno just gave up trying to make friends and fit in at some point, turning him into the sullen withdrawn teenager we met at the beginning of the series.
Natsuno’s father is a bit of a strange one. He’s got good instincts, he immediately catches that there’s something very wrong about Natsuno’s reaction to finding out about Shizuka; but he doesn’t make any kind of connection between that and Natsuno suddenly plastering his room with hastily made crosses and ofuda! Instead Natsuno’s da makes it explicit to his son that he shuns all superstitions and religion as nonsense, throws out all the wards and unlocks the doors because that’s the way things are in the country. Way to leave your family open to attack when you know something’s not right Mr Yuuki; there’s no point having good instincts if you’re not going to act on them the way Natsuno did!
Natsuno himself acts a bit rashly when confronted with vampire!Tohru, but he’s refreshingly aware that he’s being stupid by unlocking his window and rushing out into the woods after his undead friend. Its kind of understandable though. Natsuno recognises that Tohru is very kind person; why else would he go out of his way to befriend the angsty loner Natsuno and weird unlikable Masao? It hit Natsuno quite hard when Tohru died, especially knowing in hindsight that it was Megumi’s jealously of their close friendship that caused it. Tohru’s death was the catalyst for Natsuno becoming a, as Tatsumi put it, ‘Hunter’; revenge for his friend and attempting to keep others safe where what drove Natsuno to try to find out as much about the Risen as possible; and ultimately what caused him to become their primary target.
When Natsuno comes face to face with Tatsumi, Tatsumi remarks that its Natsuno’s intelligence, bravery and kindness that caused him to become the Kirishiki’s target – if Natsuno had have been the kind to just run, hide and leave Sotoba to fend for itself he would have been left alone. Tatsumi also reveals to Natsuno that Dr Ozaki is thinking along the same lines as Natsuno – so I’m curious about how that snippet of information is going to be used (if at all).
I was really surprised when it seemed like Natsuno was going to be cornered and drained by both Megumi and Tatsumi, only to have Tohru pop up behind him. Part of me thought that Tohru was going to save Natsuno, but then he chomped down on his neck and that thought flew out the window! I really never thought that Natsuno would be bitten so early in the series – we’re only approaching the midpoint and already the primary protagonist has become a victim! Of course Natsuno isn’t dead yet; it’s already been established that it takes about four feedings to kill a person and there seems to be some vague vampire rules about rights to prey – Natsuno is Tohru’s since he’s bitten him (which is probably why Megumi looked horrified – no way is Tohru going to invite Megumi to share Natsuno’s blood). I’m also supposing that at this point Natsuno is bound to become one of the Risen – way too much time has been spent developing Natsuno for him to die off completely now. It will be very interesting indeed to see what impact he’ll make on the undead faction – Natsuno is not one to cow to Tatsumi’s threats.
Tatsumi also clears up that it is indeed the Kirishiki’s pulling the strings in the background – it’s on their orders that Tatsumi and his group of recently deceased attack Ozaki’s clinic and Natsuno in order to keep the secret of the vampires quiet a bit longer. Next week’s preview seems to indicate that the Kirishiki’s themselves are making their real entrance into the series. Up to this point, outside of a brief appearance from Mr & Mrs Kirishiki, its only been Sunako in the limelight – I’m really looking forward to seeing what these senior vampires are really like. The preview also seems to indicate that Muroi’s time is limited – which will again be a bit of a surprise. At this rate Ozaki, Kaori and Akira will be the only humans left with knowledge of the Risen!
Gah! I really don’t want this show to go on hiatus – hopefully ep11 won’t leave us on a cliffhanger, because waiting three weeks for a resolution will kill me!