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Shiki – 19

December 11, 2010

More people need to watch Shiki, this series has done nothing but get better and better every week!  The painstaking build up has meant that these episodes at the climax of the series have been nothing short of amazing!  This is what we’ve been waiting for, the moment when the human characters pull their heads out of their collective arses and actually do something; episode 19 was all at once heartbreaking, thrilling and horrific – it is a very special series that can draw out so many emotions in me!

There is now a proper ‘Us Vs Them’ mentality in Sotoba.  Both sides have ordered an all out extermination of the other – Ozaki wants every shiki culled regardless of who they once were, and Sunako has ordered her shiki to hurry up with the extermination of the human populace……its a very grim situation.

Lets talk about the human side first though, as it’s the humans that were the instigators of all the action this week.  Ozaki was pretty damn cool this episode, as he matter-of-factly lays down the law about the shiki to the shocked villagers, and he has immediately gained two strong allies in the grief-striken Mr Shimizu and Mr Firey-beard dude.  These three men quickly whip the villagers up into a frenzy of action to oust the shiki threat – there are of course dissenters who don’t agree with the violent options presented to them, and can’t stomach the thought of killing any family members that may have risen, but on the whole Sotoba seems to finally be fighting back.

I wonder how calm Ozaki really is underneath it all though – all this death and violence can not be good for anyone’s mental state, yet Ozaki’s professional veneer remains unscathed to date.  I would imagine that if Ozaki didn’t have his professional facade and position of authority to fall back on, he would be a jabbering wreck by now – friends, acquaintances & family members dropping dead left, right & center, experimenting on and eventually killing your undead wife, being preyed upon by a Lady Gaga lookalike vampire, ending up working with a teenaged werewolf and then having your best friend defect to the vampire side – Ozaki has had a pretty rough time of it!

Ozaki makes a good leader – he’s calm and confident, has a lot of charisma and doesn’t suffer fools.  As the town doctor he commands respect and he doesn’t shirk his responsibilities, appearing quite comfortable in his role as a leader of the village.  It throws up a stark contrast with Muroi’s situation.  Muroi doesn’t want to be trapped by his responsibilities or the village, he accepts his role as the village priest grudgingly and is pretty wishy-washy about performing his duties or acting as an authority figure.  Where Ozaki embraces his role, Muroi runs from it – these two men may have been close friends but they could not be more different.

While the humans are getting all fired up, things in the shiki camp are tense.  The weakness of the shiki is really highlighted here, as they are pretty much helpless during the day and aside from their invulnerability to most things other than being staked/beheaded, the shiki don’t really have any special skills.  The normal shiki have only the werewolves and humans that have sided with them to defend them – and that basically boils down to Tatsumi, Yoshie, Seishiro and Seishin………not exactly a huge force even when you count Tatsumi’s strength and Seishiro’s gun skills.

It’s amazing how swiftly the tide has turned.  It wasn’t long ago that I was proclaiming the utter doom of the entire human population of Sotoba, but now things are looking grim for the shiki instead!  Its testament to how well thought-out the shiki plan of attack was, that they survived so long without retaliation – Sunako was very clever about how she planned out her attack on Sotoba.  However it only takes one strong-willed and clever human to derail the whole situation.  The shiki’s plan depended on secrecy and the ignorance of the villagers, now that Ozaki has blown the lid on their nature, it’s an entirely different ballgame.

I have mixed feeling about this reversal in fortune, mainly because so many of the characters I like are now shiki, but I also think this upheaval of the playing field is what the shiki had coming to them!  Regardless of what way things go down it will be upsetting in some way, solely due to how the show has built up its cast so well.

No post on Shiki is complete without some Muroi speculation!  In this episode its abundantly clear that Muroi is on his last legs, and that he’s completely OK with that – Muroi has some major self-destructive tendencies and I don’t think he’s going to last the series given the way he looked this week and the fact Sunako is shown crying over him in the preview.  It struck me as really strange that Tatsumi would intrust a comatose Sunako to a dying priest who has never shown any survival instinct!  Muroi has let Sunako feed on him, he’s refusing to eat (which is just making him even weaker) and then her lets Tatsumi feed on him in order to unlock his full werewolf potential (which Tatsumi will use to rip out Ozaki’s throat given half a chance – what are you thinking Seishin!?), so I really don’t see Muroi as an effective last line of defense!

Muroi doesn’t seem to hold any strong convictions.  Sunako asks him directly why he tried to commit suicide once, and he replies with ‘I don’t know’.  For all the endless introspection Muroi goes through he doesn’t appear to have found any answers; you have to wonder if he would have been a happier person if he had no obligations to fulfill in Sotoba.  Most of Muroi’s issues seem to stem from his being chained to Sotoba by familial responsibility – he doesn’t want to be the village priest, he doesn’t want that heavy-duty that he will have to carry until his own death and this leads to him almost unconsciously seeking Sotoba’s destruction.  Muroi is a very troubled character indeed.

Sunako was interesting in this episode – she’s acting like a kind of matriarch for the shiki, being the eldest of them despite her looks and is an effective leader.  Sunako hands out her instructions with clarity and confidence, and refuses to show weakness to her followers – her brief moment of sadness over Chizuru’s tragic demise is swiftly sealed once she faces Muroi again.  Despite this Sunako still comes across as a very fragile and contradictory existence – she’s older than everyone else in the series, yet looks like one of the youngest, she feels powerful when issuing orders and seems menacing when baring her fangs, yet she feels loneliness acutely and attacks purely for survival; she is a wonderfully interesting character.

I thought it was really quite clever of Ozaki to turn the shiki hunt into something ritualistic.  By calling the hunt a ‘mushi-okuri’ he’s allowing the villagers to avoid thinking about just what it is they’re doing.  The shiki they are killing are people they’ve lived & worked with – family, friends, acquaintances.  However by painting a varnish of religious ritual over the slaughter, the limiters get removed – shiki are seen as monsters/ demons not former friends and the mob mentality completely takes over – group psychology is a frightening thing and Ozaki makes scary good use of it.

I was also glad to see poor broken Kaori actually doing something other than rock back and forth this week.  She is armed and ready to fight back, mostly out of vengeance for her family – whatever remained of her sanity has probably vanished now that she’s clubbed her undead father to death!  I can see no happy ending for Kaori – no matter what happens to the village there will be no way to restore her broken sanity.

Tohru was crying again this week (big shock there) however for a change it wasn’t over Natsuno!  Rather Tohru is distraught over Ritsuko’s refusal to feed – Tohru has even gone and put nurse lingerie in Ritsuko’s cell and is trying to force Ritsuko to feed through a mixture of teary pleading and threats; Tohru is another character that’s completely broken now.  Ritsuko’s situation doesn’t seem to be improving judging from the preview – looks like she may actually see her starvation through to the end.

Other interesting things in the next episode preview are Ozaki drenched in blood and Natsuno facing off against Seishiro – can not wait!



21 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2010 11:07 pm

    what took you so long :p

    the humans were acting quite monsterous this week, those masks certainly helped. The humans have managed to finally strike back, but hopefully the shiki will be able to come up with something or it would become dull.:P But seeing how things have gone so far I dont think they’ll make a mess of anything to come. 😀

    Kaori clearly has the brain her parents lacked, battering her dad right away. 🙂

    • December 12, 2010 2:01 am

      I was out getting stupidly drunk and then talking to people on Skype until 6am XD

      I like the fact that in Shiki, everyone has the potential to be a complete monster – there’s that darkness in everyone and it usually comes out when the survival instinct kicks in. Both the humans and the shiki believe that what they are doing is essential for their survival; that its justified slaughter, but otherwise the characters are extremely normal – its quite frightening how people can change!

      Kaori seems to have better reaction times than her parents thats for sure, think she’s completely abandoned rational thought though!

  2. Clinton permalink
    December 12, 2010 1:38 am

    Creepy episode there were a few minor changes but i won’t spoil them (i have learned my leason) that redhaired girl Kanami you did not metion her but its great that she is having a good relation ship with her Shiki mother (the same realation ship Natsuno wanted with Tohru) its too bad that even if she did explain her realationship with her mother to the villagers they would still want her mothers head.

    i feal for the shiki her they are in order of my sympahty

    Kanami’s mother
    Kiori’s dad
    Chizuru (her death was awful)
    Natsuno (i like the guy but wanting to kill all of the shiki is pretty harsh)
    unnamed Child shiki
    son of the beard dude (there was a change with him in this episode won’t tell)
    unamed adult Shiki
    the libarian that bit Masao (child killer)
    Megumi (such an evil little girl)
    the girl with the decaying boy’s father who may or may not have gotten Akira (when you read the manga you will hate this dude)
    Yoshie (warewolf does not have to do any of this)
    Tatsumi(warewolf does not have to do any of this total d bag who has done tons of bad things)

    • December 12, 2010 2:08 am

      I had written about the redhaired woman and her mother in my draft, but cut it when editing to keep the length of the post down!

      Am I on my own in my liking of Tatsumi’s character? He’s a complete prick but I find him interesting and entertaining to watch – plus his wardrobe is a source of endless amusement! Then again I have a history of liking arsehole characters (Izaya, Light, Wufei) so it probably is just my weird taste XD

      • LuvnAnime permalink
        December 12, 2010 2:23 am

        Tatsumi’s hot pants outfit was sensational! And he did ask Muroi if he could feed on him so to turn into a werewolf. That’s pretty gentlemanly of him. =)

        • December 12, 2010 12:59 pm

          He probably had to ask permission because Muroi is Sunako’s by rights. If it wasn’ t for Sunako I doubt Tatsumi would have bothered asking Muroi at all!

          And those hot pants took Tatsumi’s jumnpsuits to a whole new fascintating level of fashion – imagine the hotpants coupled with the plunging neckline and studded shoulder pads of last weeks episode! FABULOUS~!

  3. December 12, 2010 3:38 am

    “…by painting a varnish of religious ritual over the slaughter, the limiters get removed…”

    Ooh, that is a fantastic point that I didn’t think about. This really is going to leave a void once it’s gone.

    • adaywithoutme permalink
      December 12, 2010 5:59 am

      Will it? I see echoes of things like Rwanda in this slaying of the shiki, and there are still problems there in part BECAUSE the perpetrators don’t think they did anything wrong – they were just exterminating the subhumans.

      • December 12, 2010 1:04 pm

        It was Rwanda and similarly motivated genocides that I was thinking of too – Ozaki’s playing into that kind of group psychology really impressed and scared me……the situation is going to completely spiral out of his control.

    • December 12, 2010 1:02 pm

      I was suprised that Ozaki proposed that the shiki hunt be called an ‘Mushi-Okuri’, and it was only when I was rewatching and making notes that I realised what he was doing – afterall conflicts of the religious variety are always the most bloody.

      I am so going to miss this series when its gone!

  4. adaywithoutme permalink
    December 12, 2010 6:09 am

    Man, you’ve got SO much in your post I want to comment on…

    I’m not entirely sure I would call Ozaki fully sane at this point, particularly when thinking of what happened with his wife. This is definitely a case of ‘He Who Fights Monsters’. And I think the villagers are getting that way too – in particular, the way in which the faces of the women were lit during that scene where they knocked on the door seemed fairly telling as to how we’re supposed to see the humans as well. I think the moral of the story is that life sucks, and the world is brutal. I don’t see how any of the main(ish) characters can come out of this as anything other than dead or severely/permanently damaged.

    Seriously, Muroi – what the fuck are you doing? He says he doesn’t know why he tried to kill himself, and yet I don’t see any way to interpret his current behavior as anything other than a death wish, either. Hang a white flag on this one.

    Anyway, gotta love that Sunako got an outfit change in the middle of this episode.

    Also: not happy about Muroi letting Tatsumi feed on him, and don’t really like Tatsumi, but I would’ve liked to have seen it happening… >_>

    • December 12, 2010 1:10 pm

      Shiki is definitely playing the ‘who is the monster here?’ card. There is no side thats really justified – the shiki can’t help their nature, but their attempt to completely wipe out Sotoba was just asking for trouble. The human side played the oblivious victim for too long, but now that they’re on the attack they’ve made no attempt to understand the enemies plight. There will be no ‘winner’ in this fight – as you said, no one will escape untouched by the carnage.

      I’d love to give Muroi a good shake – I’ve wanted to ever since he all but ignored Kaori’s pitiful cry for help, but this episode when he just rolls over and gives up and claims to not know why he’s so self-destructive just frustrated me even more! Argh! Make firm committment to something man!

      ……..and I also kind of wanted to see the Muroi/Tatsumi feeding scene -_-

      • adaywithoutme permalink
        December 12, 2010 3:12 pm

        Let’s face it: on some level, MuroixTatsumi is kind of… hot. Amusingly enough, I was planning on doing a PWP with Muroi as town bicycle… and Shiki’s pretty much only added fuel to that notion!

        Muroi… geez. Now he’s even gotten so noncommittal that he’s basically giving his decision for whether to live or die to the shiki! He can’t even work up the mettle at this point to carry out his own suicide! Good lord! Talk about a total lack of will for anything at all.

        And, yet… he’s still probably my favorite character in the whole thing. -_-

        …oh, shit, I just realized something: what if the ending pulls the ‘it was all just a dream!’-type thing and this whole show has just been Muroi writing one of his novels?!?!?! I think I would smack someone if that’s the case. On the other hand, it could’ve all happened and Muroi is writing about it from his little sad hut.

        • December 12, 2010 6:11 pm

          on some level, MuroixTatsumi is kind of… hot.

          God love us for thinking so – but thats so true!

          Muroi as the village bike works because the man is so bloody passive anyone could take advantage of him! 😆

          what if the ending pulls the ‘it was all just a dream!’-type thing and this whole show has just been Muroi writing one of his novels?!?!?!

          OMG, I think I’d cry if they pulled that – I hate those kinds of endings as I feel completely cheated for caring so much about the characters! But if they did do that, I would definitely prefer the option of Muroi being the only survivor and recording the events.

        • adaywithoutme permalink
          December 13, 2010 1:48 am

          Yeah, my next off day I may have to actually get cracking on that Muroi-is-the-village-bicycle fic. I’m seeing this as Muroi getting verbally abused a lot and getting treated a bit roughly by at least Ozaki and Tatsumi, possibly Megumi (!), maybe Mr. Yuuki post-breakdown. Part of my issue is that I need even the contrivances to at least be plausible – I don’t think I could manage to in any way write MuroixTohru, for instance. MuroixNatsuno would probably be a bit hard, too… time to list the characters and start brainstorming!

          Having the whole show be Muroi writing about what happened to Sotoba would be alright for me. I’d RAAAAGE at the other one, though. Although, thinking on it, there is a slight possibility I’d be ok with that, too, if it then turned out it was Muroi’s suicide note – final thing he writes, basically telling everyone that he hates Sotoba. That could be interesting. Although I still would probably be pretty annoyed.

    • December 13, 2010 12:58 pm

      Muroi as the village bike sounds like great black comedy! He does have to be the abused party though – I don’t think he’d be happy unless he was being roughed up a bit…..self-destructive tendancies and all that 😆
      Vuc’s waifu Nurse Lingerie would probably have a go too, and maybe Seishiro & Chizuru!?……my mind is trawling though the gutter now XD

      • adaywithoutme permalink
        December 13, 2010 3:28 pm

        Seishiro may be hard to do since we know so little about him… not sure Chizuru would really be fond of Muroi given what she said to Ozaki. BUT I think I could write it because I don’t think it’d be totally out of the question – she does seem to be quite the man-eater, after all.

        Crazy!Kaori would be an interesting one, but I think she’d probably just beat him up. Same goes, honestly, for Megumi. I just don’t know that I could write Muroi het smut! He’s just so passive, it seems like sex would have to happen to him, as opposed to him being a fully active participant. Which is easier to do if he’s with another guy.

        Hahaha… oh geez…

        Oh, and, in other news, I’ve gotten a request for a Shiki/Star Driver crossover with Muroi as town bike. Bring on the LULZ.

        • December 13, 2010 4:04 pm

          For the het – just tie him up and force some viagra into the man! He’d still be the passive partner as its practically male rape (oh Muroi, what are we doing to you!?).

          Chizuru expressed a taste for any good looking man, so can’t see her being adverse to a bit of Muroi!

          And a Shiki/Star Driver crossover sounds utterly demented! *imagining the fabulous Glittering Crux uniforms and the Kiraboshi poses* 😆

        • adaywithoutme permalink
          December 14, 2010 3:31 am

          Yeah, I said I could see possessed!SugataxMuroi working (which, of course, lead to the realization that having Benio use her powers to make all the guys kiss each other would be a brilliant fanfic), as well as the guy who is in charge of KIRABOSHI being able to take a whack at Muroi. Too bad Muroi isn’t a teenager, as the nurse would be a totally plausible one, too. Pretty sure Mrs. Watanabe could work. Or maybe there could just be a KIRABOSHI gang bang… >_>

          Damn, I can’t believe I just typed that…

          I can’t write rape. The only way I could write Muroi het is if he got really, realllllly drunk first. And then it’d have to be followed up with him being totally depressed over the whole thing and assuming he took advantage of someone.

          Can’t see Chizuru being violent, though, beyond biting people. So maybe she could just get him off while he’s lying around half-dead and then bite him!

          Dammit, my comments have gotten so degenerate…

        • December 14, 2010 11:41 pm

          Reading this series of comments back doesn’t really reflect well on us does it!? 😆

          I really want to see some Star Driver/Shiki crossover fanart now…….

        • adaywithoutme permalink
          December 15, 2010 5:59 am

          I notice you didn’t answer on my post whether you happen to be an Ozaki fangirl or not… 😉

          Its ok, no one’s reading our endless back-and-forth here, not like its on Twitter!

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