Shiki – 03
The pace continues to be pretty slow in Shiki, still at least we get to meet the Kirishiki’s properly this week, although the primary focus was once again on Natsuno. Shiki is definitely good at building atmosphere, and I’m quite glad they are taking the time to establish the foundations for the story so meticulously. However that part of me that likes its quick fix of awesome, is getting a bit miffed at how slow things are going; there kind of needs to be a major upset or twist soon or I’ll get bored.
Natsuno isn’t just as big a prat this week as he was in the previous episodes. The fella seems to be utterly knackered and a bit on edge due to his being unable to sleep in his own room. That sense of something watching him has really disturbed him, although being the cool aloof type, Natsuno doesn’t really show this much. His unease is only shown by his tiredness and the fact he willingly heads to Tohru’s place for some respite.
Most of the episode is spent on establishing Tohru Muto as Natsuno’s only friend in Sotoba. He’s the kind of cheerful character that always makes me suspicious though – I can’t see why Tohru would go out of his way to be so nice to a jerk like Natsuno without some sort of ulterior motive – I’m weirdly getting Ookamikakushi vibes (not good!). Either that or Tohru isn’t long for this world; the nice ones are either hiding some sinister secret, or are among the first to die! 😆 The fact that the episode ends with Tohru inviting Tatsumi the cat-eared vampire to his house doesn’t really bode well for Tohru’s life expectancy.
The other teenager that’s focused on in the episode is Misao Murasako – now there’s a fella that’s even creepier than the vampire characters! Look at that character design, who could love that face!? I’m willing to bet that Misao’s issues stem from the fact he’s clearly fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down! Misao is prone to attention seeking temper tantrums, and seems to actively detest Natsuno because Natsuno’s cool collected personality rubs him the wrong way (I’m sure the fact Natsuno is so pretty is a bone of contention too).
Misao seems to be the youngest child in his family; his brother is already married and has a child. Misao doesn’t seem to have made any effort to get along with his new sister-in-law (who he goes out of his way to creep out when they 1st meet) or his little cousin. Misao throws a jealous fit when his father pays more attention to his little grandson than to Misao, destroying the childs’ lego house. Misao is clearly designed to annoy us, but at the same time he’s so childish that I actually feel a touch sorry for him. Not sure what Misao’s life expectancy will be – his temper may get him in trouble.
Over at the clinic, Mao becomes the latest victim and Ozaki gets more and more frustrated. Mao’s symptoms were very similar to Megumi’s – anaemia caused by massive blood loss, but with no visible wounds outside of some ‘insect’ bites or any signs of internal bleeding. The fact that Mao doesn’t seem to have come into contact with any one with similar symptoms and all of her family seem perfectly fine, momentarily stumps Dr Ozaki as if this is an epidemic there should be others with symptoms around the victim. The only people out of the usual that Mao has interacted with are the Kirishiki couple who dropped by; although Ozaki dismisses this as unimportant. I’m certain he’ll join the dots sooner or later; bites + blood loss + meeting the strange neighbours = vampirism (although Ozaki being a man of science it may be Mr Monk who puts the facts together instead).
The Kirishiki’s are much more wacky than I thought they’d be. Rather than being stand-offish, celeb types; Shoujiro and his wife are quite friendy and come across as a touch ditzy. Although they still retain that suspicious, uneasy edge that gives you the feeling that something is just a bit off with them – the fact that Mao’s son is very skittish around the couple just adds to that feeling.
Elsewhere the Kirishiki daughter, Sunako, goes to meet the monk Seishin Muroi. Muroi turns out to be a horror novelist, and Sunako claims that she and her parents are fans of his work; going so far as to move into the area after Muroi describes it as a ‘village enclosed by death’ in one of his books. I’m not surprised Muroi is a novelist, he does seem to have a way with words.
Sunako is probably the freakiest of the Kirishiki’s. She’s one of those creepy children that seem so much older than they look; the way the Kirishiki women are drawn with those void like eyes really ups their creepy factor too. Sunako vehemently protests at being addressed with the ‘chan’ suffix, which is odd for such a young girl. The way she also casually drops in reference to Muroi’s past suicide attempt clearly unnerves Muroi – the entire encounter seems to set him on edge, so I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Sunako.
The atmosphere in Shiki continues to be excellent, there’s a brilliant sense of tension and unease in the series; however I’m more than ready for some progress on the plot. More screentime for the Kirishiki’s is also required – they’re really colourful characters and seem like they’ll be interesting to watch. I think Tohru will be the next victim since he’s invited Takumi into his home (nice that they’re sticking to that aspect of the old vampire legends), although that may be a bit obvious so perhaps its a red herring? Looking forward to finding out next episode!