Shiki – 12
So after its three-week hiatus Shiki is back complete with new OP & ED, and it gets stuck right back into the story – very excited about the second half of this series.
This week the focus is on Natsuno & Tohru, Natsuno’s frustrating father and Kaori & Akira – no Toshio or Muroi this episode.
First off though, there’s a new OP – “Calendula Requiem” by kanon X kanon. While the song is decent enough, it lacks the same eerie tone that the 1st OP invoked; this song is quite upbeat sounding in comparison so doesn’t really lend itself well to the atmospheric BGM in the actual episode. The animation on the other hand, is excellent with lots of interesting things going on (and do I spy even more new characters?) Sunako is very central in the OP too, so hoping she’ll be playing an even bigger role in this 2nd half of the show.
First off lets talk about Natsuno and Tohru. Now I am a fan of BL and its a well-known fact that BL fangirls can create pairing out of anything, regardless of whether there’s any canon to support their ship. However in Shiki the BL fangirl really does not have to try very hard to pair off Natsuno & Tohru – the series does a spectacular job of doing that without any embellishment from the corrupted minds of fujoshi!
Natsuno’s actions are a bit hard to understand in this episode, his emotions seem to be all over the place. At the start he’s withdrawn but still pretty proactive as he tells Kaori & Akira to leave the town and avoid contact with him. Natsuno also decides to take matters into his own hands by staking out the bushes outside his window to see if Tohru will come back to attack him, and he’s also prepared to repel any attack with anti-vampire tools. However Natsuno appears to very quickly throw all notions of killing Tohru out the window, when he takes stock of how miserable and conflicted Tohru seems to be. Natsuno would have no qualms about killing a monster who just so happens to look like his dead friend, but killing a Tohru that is just like he was when alive just with the compulsion to attack people in order to survive is too much for him.
Natsuno practically offers to become Tohru’s willing prey, proposing that he gives Tohru his blood whenever his levels are replenished, and suggests that they two of them run away from the control of the Kirishiki’s & Tatsumi and look for a cure together. It’s a very idealistic proposal, Natsuno is only a teenager after all and he can’t fully grasp just how intense the hunger the ‘shiki’ suffer is or how much their instincts demand they attack humans. Tohru had been showing tremendous self-control by resisting his urge to bite Natsuno, but Natsuno’s offering of his blood is too much for the poor fella and he loses to his hunger.
After this Natsuno seems to completely give up (although he does once again voice his wish to leave Sotoba in a rather heartbreaking manner) as he becomes bedridden from the blood loss induced anaemia and essentially waits for Tohru to come back and finish him off – it’s not looking good for Natsuno now. However since Natsuno features prominently in the OP & ED and has had so much development, I can’t see him straight out dying now – he’ll be joining the ranks of the Risen and will experience first hand just how hard it is to resist the call of the blood lust. It will be very interesting to see how Natsuno copes.
Interestingly Natsuno isn’t the only member of the Yuuki household who has become a vampire’s prey – his mother is also showing the tell-tale symptoms of lethargy, paleness and robotic responses; I wonder who bit her? My guess is either Shizuka the creepy loli ventriloquist (since she has open access to the house) or maybe Tohru bit her when he couldn’t bring himself to bite Natsuno. However since Mrs Yuuki seems to be parroting the same doubts about Ozaki’s competency and the superstitious nature of the villagers that Mr Kirishiki fed Mr Yuuki, I’m thinking it is more likely to have been Shizuka since that child is clearly working willing with the Kirishiki’s.
It’s interesting to note that Natsuno doesn’t seem to have any compulsion/hypnotic suggestion placed on him like so many other vampire victims. Is it because he’s a bit stronger willed, or is it because Tohru is inexperienced as a vamp and too soft-hearted to do that to his friend? Natsuno suffers the symptoms of anaemia, but pretty much remains himself (although I suppose his request to have the window opened when Tohru is clearly lurking outside could be interpreted as him finally succumbing).
I found myself incredibly frustrated by the actions of Natsuno’s father. He clearly see’s himself as being superior to the residents of Sotoba just because he and his partner come from the big city and have very liberal views about a lot of things; unfortunately this episode highlighted just how narrow-minded and stubborn he can be and to his family’s detriment. Natsuno is clearly unwell, and his condition goes downhill frightenly fast, just like a lot of the people who have died in the area. Mr Yuuki has suspicions about there being an epidemic in the area as he was at that coffee shop meeting where a few of the adults questioned Dr Ozaki. It’s therefore maddening when Mr Yuuki decides against going to the clinic for help when he runs into a fellow former resident of the city – Mr Kirishiki, who then echoes Mr Yuuki’s own doubts about the competency of a rural doctor and dismisses the rumours circling the town as the quaint country people being superstitious. It’s only Mr Yuuki’s own sense of elitism that lends any weight to these allegations.
Mr Yuuki also seems to dislike children. I had originally thought his adverse reaction to Shizuka when she turned up on the doorstep, was caused by him having sharp instincts. However having seen him have a similar reaction to Akira & Kaori, who are not only very normal and clearly live close by but are also closer in age to Natsuno and clearly very concerned about him, makes me think that perhaps Mr Yuuki just does not like kids! There’s also the fact that Mr Yuuki hasn’t noticed anything wrong with his partner’s behaviour. Natsuno’s mother was very chirpy the last time we saw her, now she’s gloomy and lethargic – I’ve clearly over estimated Mr Yuuki’s observation skills.
And then there’s the matter Mr Yuuki flipping out about the wards Akira & Kaori put up in Natsuno’s room in an attempt to protect him. Surely if your healthy son suddenly became distracted and sleep deprived, put wards & crosses all over his room and then very ill for no apparent reason, and then his friends come over, express deep concern and stick wards up all over the place again; you may take a hint and see that something is clearly not right here. Not so with Mr Yuuki, he seems to reject the very idea that the siblings are trying to help, strips Natsuno’s room of all the protective charms and makes damn sure Akira & Kaori (who once again prove they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed) don’t come near the house again – way to basically seal your son’s fate Mr Yuuki!
The only other thing of note this episode is that the Kirishiki’s are now targeting Akira & Kaori’s family. It just so happens that the siblings father is the only civil servant left in the town office, all the others have disappeared or moved and the only replacements are a pair of wan looking temps who only work at night……..hmmmm. Tatsumi delegates the job of taking out the sibling’s father to Megumi, because god knows Megumi’s stalkery jealous side will go on a murderous rampage if you drop hints that perhaps Kaori and Natsuno have been getting a touch too close recently. I had to laugh at Kaori’s dad though, seriously the siblings must take after their dad because the man is dense. “Hmmm all the staff members have mysteriously vanished and these temps only come out at night, but that’s not suspicious at all.” “Oh look there’s that nice Shimizu girl wandering about in the dead of night with a parasol; ‘hey Megumi-chan’………wait-a-minute didn’t she die last month!?” *chomp*. Yeah stupidity definitely runs in this family.
Finally there was the new ED, “Gekka Reijin” by Buck-Tick (who did the 1st OP). Now this ED is better than the first one in every way! Great song, has the perfect atmosphere for ending this show with, and its got some really great imagery of select characters (mostly the women, aside from Natsuno & Tohru) naked and slowly being submerged in a pool of blood(?).
There was also a preview played in an insert – seems we’re going back to Muroi & Ozaki next week, with a bit more on Natsuno’s family too. Really looking forward to it – its great to have Shiki back again!