Shiki – 07
So last episode we had characters start to turn to the occult for answers to the epidemic sweeping Sotoba. This week continues that and gives us a lot more information on the vampires themselves, through the eyes of one of the recently turned.
So Masao is our newest vampire. I suppose it was too much to hope that he would just die off given the amount of screentime Masao has had. Instead we get a window into how the newly turned are initiated into the world of the ‘Risen’ / vampire, which is pretty interesting. Tatsumi explains that not every vampire victim becomes a vampire themselves, rather it is only a select few that rise from the dead – they’re ‘special’, ‘the chosen’. Tatsumi chooses his words carefully to inflate Masao’s ego and make him more pliable when introducing him to the fact that Masao must hunt humans if he wishes to survive. A bit of ego-boosting and a fair bit of fear ensure that Masao will toe the line as a new member of the vampire ranks.
It’s nice to see that the vampires in Shiki have gone right back to the traditional vampire lore – blood sucking, the need to be invited in, sleep during the day, die when exposed to sunlight, beheaded or staked through the heart. It’s actually good to see traditional vampires rather than the recent spate of our vampires are different that has saturated the genre. The vampires in Shiki are proper members of the undead – they have no heartbeat or need to breathe. In this episode we see Masao struggle to speak because he longer has the instinctive need to breathe; without any breath in your lungs you can’t talk, which is why Tatsumi tells him to speak as if he’s breathing.
There’s also an element of hypnotism were a vampire can place a compulsion on its victim to:
- allow the successive nights of feeding
- not tell anyone about it
- refuse to seek medical help
- quit their jobs
- move out of the area.
It’s also noted that even amongst the Shiki vampires, Tatsumi is a special case. Tatsumi feels no compulsion to sleep during the day, and he’s fine under sunlight. As a special case his threats to cast Masao out if he doesn’t quickly comply with the rules of vampirism, carry a lot more weight, and ultimately Tatsumi’s threats are probably the reason why Masao embraces his vampire insitincts in the end. It will be interesting to see how the oh so very creepy Masao turns out, he didn’t need supernatural powers to be creepier than anyone else in the series!
Over at the clinic, in the quickest turn-around ever, Ozaki has completely embraced the idea that the ‘Risen’ or vampires are the cause of the deaths and weirdness in Sotoba and presents his theory to Muroi. Muroi seems a bit skeptical about the whole thing, and is probably a bit concerned about his friends sanity. I know that if I was Muroi and my doctor best friend (who was stressed to the hilt over a spate of inexplicable deaths) suddenly came out with ‘vampires did it’; I’d be looking for a psychologist!
Ozaki plans to fully go down the occult route now, and is keeping the latest villager to show symptoms in the clinic so he can keep a 24hr watch for any undead visitors who come calling. I don’t know if this will be successful, since these vampires clearly need to be invited in; but then again the clinic is a public building which, in theory, anyone is allowed into, so maybe Ozaki and his patient will be visited in the dead of night.
Muroi also brings to our attention the fact that Ishida, the civil servant in charge of recording deaths in the village, has gone missing along with all reports on the death toll and number of families that have moved. Muroi states that without these records they can not hope for any assistance from the government or outside bodies; Sotoba is all on its own with this problem.
The remainder of the episode is spent with Natsuno, Akira and Kaori as they too come to the conclusion that the dead are rising from their graves, since Akira has seen Mikiyasu and Natsuno has seen Megumi. The trio also place the Kirishiki’s at the top of the suspect list since they know that Ms Kirishiki met with Mikiyasu and Megumi prior to their deaths. So of course the next logical step is dig up Megumi’s grave!
Natsuno is way too into this idea – I know he didn’t like the girl when she was alive, and is a touch pissed off that she’s probably responsible for killing off his boyfriend (speaking of which, wonder if Tohru has become one of the undead?); but really, he could at least pretend to be apprehensive about desecrating the girls grave! Kaori is behaving much more realistically, even if Megumi was a bit of a bitch to Kaori, Kaori still considers her a close friend and is grieving her death – digging up her grave is understandably difficult. Akira is just a child and is a bit over excited by the fact Natsuno believes his wild conspiracy theories and actually harbours the same thoughts; as such Akira is willing to go along with anything Natsuno suggests, but I think he’ll start to panic once the really start digging.
Looking forward to next week to see if they really do dig up Megumi’s coffin or if some adult will wander in and stop them before they get too far. Natsuno and Ozaki need to meet up to discuss their mad theories, and the Kirishiki’s really need to get in some screentime – so far Tatsumi and Sunako are the only two who have had any real time spent on them. Hopefully now that the vampire aspect is firmly established the plot will really start to snowball.