Shiki – 13
As expected the focus switched back to Toshio and Muroi this week, but this episode was probably one of the bleakest in Shiki thus far (and that’s saying something!). There’s usually a bit of fight in one of the characters every week as they desperately try to repel the vampire attacks, but this week saw the death toll mount with very little being done by anyone to prevent it!
So this week Natsuno finally bites the dust, it’s rather scary just how quickly we lost one of the main protagonists of the series. The Natsuno in this episode had basically given up on life, not having enough energy to fight Tohru, and rather just asking him to get it over with. Natsuno’s final thoughts were still of running from Sotoba, but he had also accepted that he was never going to escape his fate or the village – it was heartbreaking to see him reduced to this state from the haughty, but proactive teenager he had been just a few episodes ago.
Meanwhile Tohru is still apologising for his new nature, but his crying and passivity are getting annoying. I get that he’s devastated by what he’s become and is scared out of his mind of the Kirishiki’s, but dear god, man up! I’m still thinking that Natsuno will also join the ranks of the Risen, so I desperately hope he shows a bit of his old backbone once he’s undead. Having Natsuno become as meek and depressed as Tohru would be terrible.
The other important death was Toshio’s wife Kyoko. It was inevitable she would become a victim since she was the one who opened the Ozaki clinic to Tatsumi. Whats interesting is Toshio’s reaction; rather than immediately get into a flap trying to save Kyoko’s life by guarding her day & night like he did with Setsuko, Toshio basically lets the vampires have their way with his wife. When Kyoko flatlined, Toshio just stands there and lets her die, and then he hides the fact she’s dead from the rest of the clinic, packing her corpse with ice to preserve it.
Clearly Toshio has gone off the deep end now and is hoping that Kyoko rises from the dead so that he can use her as a test subject, which is rather chilling behaviour. I know that Toshio is feeling frustrated by how the Risen are blocking his every attempt to save the villagers by ensuring that he can’t hospitalize any of the victims, but this detached clinical reaction to the death of his wife is rather frightening. It’s no wonder the rift between him and Seishin is widening.
Seishin continues to be the most passive of the protagonists in this series – he has yet to do anything to fight against the vampires that are slowly taking over the village. Where Toshio seems to be detaching himself from his humanity in order to get answers about the nature of the enemy, Seishin is finding himself effectively crippled by his own caring nature. There is also the fact that where Toshio’s primary role is saving the people, but Seishin’s is mourning the dead – the doctor deals with life and the monk with death. The dichotomy of this is recognised by the two men and they realise that there is a rift opening up between them which they have no idea how to breach; presenting a united front against the Risen seems impossible now.
Seishin’s father, Shinmei, is properly introduced in this episode. I had previously thought that Shinmei was completely catatonic, but in this episode its shown that he is still pretty with it (it’s also abundantly clear that Seishin got his looks from his mother – dear god his father is fecking creepy looking!). Shinmei makes some cryptic remarks which cause Seishin to question just how much his father knows about the situation in the village.
But just like the Ozaki clinic is now under attack, the Kirishiki’s haven’t forgotten the Muroi’s, and the temple staff are now becoming victims too. Truly no one is safe in Shiki, although I do hope they don’t just kill off the entire cast or completely wipe out the vampires – I’ve gotten attached to some of the characters now!
It was interesting to see the effect Natsuno’s death had on the other characters. His mother disappears, most likely the doing of the Kirishiki’s as she had clearly become a victim judging by her behaviour last episode, and his father has a mental breakdown. Can’t say I feel sorry for the fella, he was doing a stirling job of ignoring the blindingly obvious last episode and completely disregarded multiple warnings that something was not right in Sotoba. Also the fact that Mr Yuuki is so anti-religion means that Natsuno’s death is not announced or properly mourned; Kaori & Akira only find out from a passing postman that there’s been a death in the family, and Natsuno’s body is carted off to the new funeral parlour (clearly run by the Kirishiki’s, just like the new clinic) rather than being prepared for burial. Mr Yuuki’s days are numbered now, both his partner and son are dead and his home is wide open to the Risen – frankly he deserves to get bitten!
Things are also not looking good for Kaori & Akira’s family now that Megumi is delighting in torturing them. Their father is a dead man walking, and it won’t be long before Megumi sinks her fangs into one of them. The Kirishiki’s are merciless in their extermination of all that know of their true nature – this is a completely one-sided fight so far. I do hope someone does something soon, it’s all getting a bit depressing in Shiki – the vampires are having it a bit too easy while the humans are slowly being picked off with not much of a fight.
Next week seems to be sticking with Toshio, I wonder just how far he will go in his search for a way to fight the Risen, and how much of himself he will lose in the process.