Shiki – 18
This episode! This is what we’ve been waiting for, the moment when a spanner gets thrown the works and things really start to snowball. Episode 18 marks this turning point – the counterattack starts here!
Nicely played Toshio! I thought that he was completely screwed last week when Chizuru bit him and placed him under hypnosis, and for most of this episode it seemed like Toshio had completely resigned himself to his fate. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and I literally cheered when Toshio shook back his sleeve to reveal a second set of bite marks and grinned at Chizuru! I believe the only one who could have bitten Ozaki after Chizuru claimed his neck is Natsuno. I figure that since Natsuno is the only shiki in Sotoba outside of the Kirishiki’s control, he’s the only one that would have gone after a human already claimed by another shiki – especially since the shiki that claimed Toshio was Chizuru Kirishiki herself!
When I was flicking back through the episode for screenshots I noticed that during that scene where Ozaki is treating himself with a blood transfusion and fighting with the hypnotic compulsion set on him by Chizuru, there was a brief flash of a pair of eyes that weren’t Chizuru’s and look suspiciously like Natsuno’s. My best guess is that by having another shiki bite him, the original hypnotic suggestion is overridden and Ozaki is freed of Chizuru’s control, but that it also required a lot of willpower on Ozaki’s part to shake off her hypnosis completely. (Also, I’d really like to see the scene were Natsuno bites Ozaki :P)
As for Chizuru herself, she actually got a lot of development this episode and became pretty sympathetic. She’s been a shiki from about the wartime era, and seems to just want a ‘normal’ lifestyle filled with shopping, socialising and other fun things that human women take for granted. Chizuru really seemed to be enjoying herself talking to the villagers and soaking in the festival atmosphere, and I actually felt really sorry for her when the religious trappings of the festival started to affect her. However I still felt some sort of twisted satisfaction when I realised what Toshio was up to – his clever manipulation of Chizuru’s latent curiousity and weakness for good-looking men, shows that he hasn’t been sitting around moping, he’s been planning and researching the enemy; I shouldn’t have doubted our protagonist.
So now thanks to Ozaki’s skillful manipulation and Natsuno’s meddling, the majority of the remaining villagers are aware of the existence of the shiki. I liked the way Toshio singled out Megumi’s father to start the mobbing. A grieving father searching for someone to blame for the death of his daughter would be much more open to the idea of undead monsters sucking blood than anyone who has been unaffected by the bloodletting. I did feel genuinely sorry for Chizuru at this point, her pitiful cries and ineffectual struggling against the pawing hands of the villagers was a far cry from her usual confident manner. Seishiro’s attempted rescue was also rendered redundant when an undead Atsushi fled from his father’s wrath with Seishiro still in the car!
It will be fascinating to see what happens now. The villagers can no longer bury their heads in the sand – Toshio has presented them with absolute proof that there are creatures attacking the village and the fact Atsushi showed himself to them proves that the dead aren’t staying dead. The mob mentality already started at the end of this episode when the villagers started stoning Chizuru, I would imagine this is going to spill over into an attack on the Kanemasa castle some time soon. Very excited about the next few episodes!
This episode also gave us further insight into the growing community of shiki in Sotoba. We were already aware that the dead were moving back into the village, but this episode highlights that a new hierarchy and organisational structure is starting to develop. There are now too many new shiki in Sotoba for the Kirishiki’s and their staff to directly control, so now they’re delegating the responsibility for initiating new shiki to those shiki that have been about for a while. Most seem pretty happy with this arrangement as it’s a kind of job for them and gives their new undead lives a kind of purpose. Rather than ruling through fear as they had been originally, the Kirishiki’s are now fostering a sense of community. It’s also further confirmed that at the very top of this pyramid of power is Sunako. She’s the one who came up with the idea of a town of shiki, and its to Sunako that everyone answers. It will be fascinating to see what will happen if Sunako decides to come out and face her challenger’s directly – just why is she so respected and feared?
Ritsuko rises this episode too, and we’re kind of unsubtlely reminded that Tohru had a crush on her once-upon-a-time. Really not feeling that though, Tohru shows much more emotion when Natsuno is involved, clearly he didn’t care about Ritsuko enough to stalk her! Ritsuko is also showing some remarkable willpower – she didn’t panic when she woke up in a hut in funeral clothing, and she quickly figured out how to speak and what was going on. Ritsuko also declares that she will not feed on blood – wonder how that will go down. Tohru says that its unbelievably difficult to resist the need to feed, and Masao’s case shows that Tatsumi at least does not look kindly upon those that won’t toe the line – will Ritsuko starve herself to death, or will she be killed first?
Finally we get to Natsuno’s meeting with Tatsumi. This was actually a hell of a lot more civilised than I thought it would be; Sunako really must rule with an iron fist to be able to earn Tatsumi’s unwavering loyalty. Tatsumi really does not like Natsuno, he feels that Natsuno is a dangerous existence since he’s clearly very smart. Natsuno has managed to figure out quite a lot about his new existence on his own, but Tatsumi lays it all out on the table. These two are a very rare sub-species of shiki, which Sunako has dubbed ‘werewolves’ as a nod to the old legends where a vampires usually go hand in hand with wolf-men. Tatsumi claims that he has only ever encountered 4 werewolves in his lifetime, and its for this reason that Sunako has not ordered Natsuno’s execution – as shiki with none of the usual weaknesses, the werewolves are extremely valuable allies for the nocturnal shiki. The ultimatum Tatsumi lays down is that Natsuno is to join their side or die – no other choices are acceptable.
Tatsumi also says that while werewolves can survive on normal food & drink, they can not reach the full potential of their abilities without drinking blood (perhaps this is why Tatsumi’s muscles sometimes seem to balloon? XD). So that answers my question of how Natsuno was surviving – he’s not susceptible to the same burning hunger and instinct to attack that other shiki are. However it seems that Natsuno has drunk blood on at least one occasion – Ozaki’s. Now that he’s tasted blood will Natsuno crave more??
It’s also interesting that Natsuno is back living at home. He’s obviously told his father all about the shiki, as Mr Yuuki attempts to knife Tatsumi and goes to his son for praise for ‘killing a Risen’. Mr Yuuki also lays down a very specific invitation to Tatsumi when he requests entrance; Mr Yuuki states that the showroom is open to the public, essentially restricting Tatsumi’s access to only that room and not the main house – the man may have gone off the rails, but some degree of his intelligence remains. You can kind of understand why Mr Yuuki has lost his shit though – his wife left him, his son died in front of his eyes, he sent the corpse off to a funeral parlour, and yet said son turns up one day looking right as rain and spouting tales of the undead…….I’d go nuts too!
So an excellent episode this week – all the buildup Shiki has done is starting to pay off now, and I’m absolutely dying for the next episode! The preview seems to suggest a Megumi centric episode – perhaps she comes face to face with her parents?? Chizuru isn’t looking too hot, and Muroi appears to have been bitten/further drugged. Really want to know what Sunako has planned for Sotoba now that the shiki’s have been exposed!