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Shiki – 20

December 19, 2010

Holy god Shiki, what are you doing to me!?  I really do not know how this show keeps going above and beyond my expectations every damn week – but it does, and I adore it for that.  Really nothing too unexpected happens this week, rather its just a direct follow to see how Ozaki’s suggestion of a Shiki hunt actually goes down; but the execution! Oh my god so good!

Shiki has never really pulled its punches – it’s a horror series after all, but this episode was utterly brutal as Sotoba was gripped in a frenzy of bloodletting.  Once the villagers get over their initial discomfort of having to stake the shiki, the floodgates open and it’s a free-for-all of slaughter – very little hesitation is shown, with little room for hesitation or sympathy for the shiki’s plight.  Those that show any kind of empathy are quickly cowed by peer-pressure and the sheer force of personality that is Tomio Ookawa.  Toshio may have suggested this witch hunt, and he’s still the brains of the operation, but Ookawa is the brawn and impassioned heart.

Ookawa is quickly consumed by the urge to purge Sotoba of the monster’s threatening its peace.  Like Toshio he also shows little hesitation when confronted with his undead son, driving a stake through Atsushi’s heart with his bare hands when the man tries to flee.  Ookawa says that as a parent he must take responsibility for his son’s sins, and takes the job of putting him back among the deceased upon himself.  Of course unlike Toshio’s clinical disposal of Kyouko, Atsushi kind of brought his demise upon himself by murdering Mrs Ozaki in cold blood as Chizuru’s revenge, and then hiding in a wardrobe in the clinic!

Speaking of Mrs Ozaki’s murder, I was amazed by how little emotion Toshio showed when her body was found.  Mrs Ozaki was an unpleasant, domineering woman, but she was still his mother and you would think Toshio would be a bit more upset, rather the random villagers in the background seem more emotional than Toshio is.  It seems that Toshio’s clinical separation of his heart from his head is still in full effect; given he was a perfectly well-adjusted human being before all this killing happened, Toshio could well be a ticking time bomb waiting to happen.   The moment he lets himself feel anything again will be his undoing – Toshio is a meltdown waiting to happen.

It was always going to happen from the moment Toshio stirred the villagers up into a frenzy and painted a religious varnish over the purge, but things quickly spiral out of his control in this episode.  There is a clear Us Vs Them mentality, and the villagers do not accept that there is a middle ground were some humans are being controlled and acting against their will.  Ookawa is the pivotal figure in things getting beyond Toshio’s control, the man’s strength and forceful personality make him an ideal leader in this kind of mob – we’ve reached a fever pitch were the villagers are out for the blood of anything that wrong them, regardless of whether they are human or shiki.

The impetus for this is Seishiro Kirishiki.  The villagers know that he is human and has sided with the shiki from the start and out of his own freewill.  Ookawa can’t see the difference between a human like Seishiro and those that have been bitten and hypnotised – it’s a subtle difference after all, and the villagers want things to be as black & white as possible (it doesn’t help that Seishiro sniped massive beard guy and then hypnotised dude shot Ookawa’s wife!).  We got a surprising insight into Seishiro this week too – I would not have expected him to share so much information about his mindset to Natsuno, but as Sunako says later, with Chizuru’s death Seishiro isn’t thinking too clearly.

Seishiro’s revelation that he wants to be in a position of power due to his serial-killer fathers influence was unexpected, as was his ascertation that he wanted to be a shiki.  I wonder why no one has bitten him yet?  Tatsumi says that Sunako is fond of Seishiro because he’s a human that accepts her as a shiki – perhaps its the uncertainty of his becoming a shiki himself that prevents her from biting him and potentially losing that rarity.  It’s a shame we don’t get the conclusion to Natsuno & Seishiro’s skirmish (it’s a shame we don’t get more of Natsuno full stop!), but since Seishiro is in the preview (sans cape) I can only presume that he managed to escape.  Doubt that Natsuno was killed, he’s been way too important a character to snuff it off-screen from a gunshot wound!

In this episode Ookawa has already stepped over that line and killed a man under shiki hypnosis, despite Toshio’s pleas for these humans to be captured and held in the shrine until the hypnosis wears off.  I liked that Toshio makes this suggestion upon remembering that Seishin may be among these humans on the shiki side, its a nice reminder that Toshio hasn’t completely lost his heart in the slaughter – Seishin may have betrayed the village, but a life long friendship is difficult to erase (also since I ship these two I can’t help but read too far into these things!).

Speaking of Muroi……..urgh, the man is a walking (or in this case sitting) frustration!  He’s really not looking too hot at the moment, being a very disturbing shade of pale gray, sitting like a limp rag doll and offering very little reaction to anything (including Sunako’s heart wrenching sobbing and Tatsumi nipping at his wrist).  Yet Muroi must have some sort of fight left in him, saying he’s still alive and does make an effort to shield Sunako when he hears someone coming down the stairs.  However he’s still annoyingly passive – good god man, please do something – even if was just patting Sunako on the head while she cried on his lap, that at least would have been something!!  But no.  Muroi just sits there in angsty silence while she pours her heart out – its like Kaori all over again……clearly Muroi doesn’t know how to comfort little girls who are in obvious distress (even if Sunako is actually old enough to be Muroi’s grandmother).  Muroi is looking much more determined in the preview (but he’s also leaving a substantial trail of blood so that may not be a good thing) so maybe he’ll finally be spurred into action by something or other.  But then again given his track record, it could be the thought of finally succeeding with his self destruction that’s making him actually move!

As for Sunako herself, oh my!  I felt so sorry for her!  Sunako’s pained expression and heartfelt speech about sin & abandonment, cut right to the heart of why it’s so difficult to support any one side in Shiki.  The shiki can’t help what they’ve become, its become their nature to hunt in order to survive;

It’s not like I wanted to become a creature like this; but if I have life I don’t want to lose it!

Sunako’s question of whether she should have starved to death instead of living by taking other’s lives, and the way she practically begs Muroi to tell her why god has abandoned her, just made me feel terrible for her.  Being a shiki is a terrible existence, all the more so for one trapped in the body of a child.  Sunako’s visible fear of being killed, and the stake going clean through her frail little body was a powerful moment.  Its quiet little moments like this when Shiki’s dialogue really shines.

Finally we have the resolution to Ritsuko’s story – she really did hold out and starve herself to death.  Tohru finally caves to Ritsuko’s pleading and lets Nurse Lingerie go, staying with Ritsuko until she eventually expires.  This scene probably would have had a bit more impact if the whole Tohru X Ritsuko thing had of got a bit more development – it feels a bit shallow as it is, since Tohru has always been much more vocal about Natsuno.  Still I had to admire Ritsuko’s guts for seeing this starvation through, and continuing to think of others right to the end in spite of how much pain she was in – its a pity Ritsuko never got more screen time really.

I liked how Ritsuko could see right through Tohru when she says “I don’t want to detest myself like you do” when Tohru questions why she won’t just feed and get rid of the pain.  Tohru is clearly cut to the core – he really has done nothing but hate on himself and cry since he was turned, perhaps Tohru will be the next to try to find the willpower to starve to death (although since Nurse Lingerie knows where they are, Tohru could well find himself on the pointy end of a stake sooner rather than later).  I’d really like to see Natsuno & Tohru’s reunion before either of them die (again) though – its something I’ve been wanting to see ever since Natsuno came back!!

So a powerful episode this week – it’s taken me ages to get this post straight, and think I’ve still left some stuff out!  Now to start the long wait for episode 21!  Its going to kill me~!

30 Comments leave one →
  1. Boogiepop ( °·°) permalink
    December 19, 2010 12:45 am

    I didn’t think I’d enjoy this series as much as I do. Can’t wait for episode 21 either

    • December 19, 2010 1:16 am

      I had been looking forward to it, but Shiki just completely blew all my expectations away. Its been an amazing show.

  2. adaywithoutme permalink
    December 19, 2010 1:12 am

    Man, this episode.

    I don’t know where this whole thing is going any more. I’d kind of gone away from thinking that Muroi’ll be the sole survivor and be all “beware, chillens!”, but now I’m back there again. The village is just so crazed now I can see them ultimately destroying themselves and the shiki both. And Muroi hasn’t died yet… I feel a bit like if he hasn’t yet he isn’t going to. After all, his scenes in last week’s episode seemed to have such finality to them.

    I wish we’d gotten to see more of Ritsuko… and, honestly, the other nurses, too. They were among the very few characters whom I felt were actually behaving in a very level-headed fashion about everything, after all. I guess I just liked how they were portrayed very early on.

    This show officially has massacre/genocide written allllll over it.

    • December 19, 2010 1:21 am

      I was convinced Sunako was sobbing over Muroi’s corpse in the last ep preview, but turns out she was crying about her situation and trying to get him to give her answers! I’m inclined to agree that since Muroi has lasted this long, he’s likely to survive this thing now.

      The clinic staff really should have gotten more screentime, and Ozaki should have confided in them earlier. Ritsuko proved to be an interesting character its a real shame we didn’t get to see her full potential.

      Sotoba has turned into a bloodbath – no one is getting away unscathed now.

      • adaywithoutme permalink
        December 19, 2010 2:26 am

        Yeah, I was also completely sure he was dead and she was crying about it! And I mean dead-dead, not could-rise-up-dead or will-rise-up-dead.

        I could kick Ozaki for not confiding in the only damn characters who would’ve actually been open to listening to him before the Chizuru reveal. They were even sitting around brainstorming about it, after all! It would’ve been hard for them to take seriously, admittedly, but I think they would’ve been willing to listen and would’ve given it some level-headed consideration.

        I’m kind of expecting the whole thing to burn down. Or, uh, maybe hoping

        The scene between Muroi and Tatsumi wasn’t as hot as it could’ve been. But it still kind of was…

        • December 19, 2010 2:32 am

          Ozaki seemed to be way too concerned with his image & standing in the village early on to do anything that may tarnish that. Which was fecking frustrating to watch!

          Wiping Sotoba off the map? Could definitely be on the cards.

          It was more like Tatsumi was kissing Muroi’s wrist than any kind of hot fang-piercing biting though………

        • adaywithoutme permalink
          December 19, 2010 3:06 am

          Yeah, I was a bit disappointed, but it doesn’t seem like biting is ever hot and heavy in Shiki as it is in some other vampire tales. I think I may be down with a TatsumixMuroixOzaki triangle now XD Although obviously I want Ozaki to win~

          Ok, so Muroi builds a hut in the ashes and gets all wild-eyed and crazy-haired and scares children while trying to warn them about vampires.

    • December 19, 2010 3:11 am

      Yeah, the only mildly tension filled biting scenes were with Natsuno & Tohru. The rest were pretty anticlimatic – including Chizuru biting Toshio.

      I could definitely go for that triangle – Ozaki definitely needs to win though!

      Crazy!Muroi would be an experience XD

      • adaywithoutme permalink
        December 19, 2010 5:08 am

        Crazy!Muroi might at least be less passive! I’ve also decided arbitrarily that he has an eyepatch as well.

        We’re just so inclined to triangles, aren’t we? 😉

        Chizuru biting Ozaki was definitely unexpected. Natsuno didn’t get off on Tohru biting him, though XD I would make an argument for Megumi biting Tohru being a tense scene, although in part since it wasn’t terribly clear if Natsuno was hallucinating or not. And also since she did that really creeping from under the bed thing. Actually, I’d say that Megumi biting Tohru is probably the best biting scene we’ve gotten thus far.

        Ok, so, OVA 2: Muroi lets Tatsumi fuck him, makes a lot of sadface after. Ozaki finds out and is mad. Tatsumi rubs it in his face, Muroi mopes some more. Ozaki pulls the prince on a white horse routine, and they have a hot/cute sex scene to close out the OVA.

        • December 19, 2010 4:03 pm

          Crazy!Muroi would need to be less passive – a passive crazy man would be boring! However everythings better with eyepatches – I approve that addition.

          Triangles make things more interesting~!

          I was thinking more of the scenes when Natsuno was in bed and inviting Tohru in to suck on his neck rather than the inital chomp XD

          I agree with the Megumi biting Tohru scene though – I think its the way she sat on the bed and leaned down over Tohru before sinking her teeth in… was so much slower and more drawn out than the majority of biting scenes in the show.

          Muroi will be making a lot of sadface regardless of what happens to him – but I fully support this OVA2 idea, especially the Ozaki as the saviour part 😀

        • adaywithoutme permalink
          December 19, 2010 6:39 pm

          I think Muroi needs to meet Utena. Now there’s a set of polar opposites!

          Haha, I wasn’t even thinking about Natsuno inviting him in… more the back-and-forth in the woods prior to Tohru sinking his teeth in the first time. Except I’d probably call that whole thing more upsetting than tense… although it did get a bit tense with Tatsumi and Megumi showing up.

          Megumi biting Tohru was a creepy, creepy scene, what with the way she contorted and moved her body. I love that girl XD

        • December 19, 2010 9:31 pm

          Muroi as a Rose Bride…….oh no, more mental images!

          Shiki seems to be going out of its way to make its biting scenes as anticlimatic as possible – there is definitely no sexualisation of the vampires at all.

          It would seem that most of Megumi’s contortion as she crawled out from under the bed, was mostly the product of Natsuno’s sleep deprived mind – we’ve never seen anyone else do that kind of thing since.

        • adaywithoutme permalink
          December 19, 2010 10:48 pm

          True. Although it is really hard to say, given the way the scene was done. Was he awake? Was he dreaming? If he was dreaming, was she invading his dreams, or was he only sensing what was going on and filling in the blanks himself? Was he awake and had sleep paralysis? It doesn’t seem like even he knew which it was.

          Speaking of Shiki, I’m doing a big fat post speculating about the end. Most of my scenarios revolve around Muroi XD Maybe even all! But I’m trying to go back through your last few posts since I’ve done so much theorizing in the comment sections about it.

          Sunako’s attack scenes are probably the least sexual vampire attack scenes ever. They’re very animalistic. Which of course is striking given that she is probably the most sympathetic of the vampires.

        • adaywithoutme permalink
          December 20, 2010 6:23 pm

          More Shiki BL.

        • December 20, 2010 11:21 pm

          The fact that the Megumi scene in Tohru’s room is so ambiguous is part of why it was so utterly compelling and unnerving to watch. We will probably never know just how things went down that night since Natsuno was so very out of it at the time.

          Sunako’s bite scenes really are animalistic, but I think that kind of adds to the feeling of sympathy for her – its like her hunger is too much for her to even attempt to control; being so young when she’s turned and having no one to explain what had happend to her, Sunako was running on pure instinct – pretty tragic.

          Woo BL~! 😀

        • adaywithoutme permalink
          December 21, 2010 1:52 am

          Hmm, good point on Sunako.

          Yeah, I have nothing else of any import to add at this point XD I can, however, tell you that I am planning to do the second chapter for the Sotoba bike fic, although the second chapter will not be BL! A tad disappointing, that, but the goal is, of course, to have Muroi get with as many people as possible, so……..

  3. December 19, 2010 1:36 am

    Agh, there are so many connections with Existentialist philosophy with its descriptions of the conflict of the futility of living versus the biological imperative to self-preserve. It’s wracking my brain as to how I’m going to put my tumblr post together. I think I have to bust out my old Camus and Sartre books to piece it together.

    • December 19, 2010 2:01 am

      Philosophy goes over my head – I majored in psychology & anthropology 😛 But this sounds intriguing – looking forward to your post~

  4. clinton permalink
    December 19, 2010 3:15 am

    this is creepy and it goes beyond what i know about the series now with a few changes i won’t tell.

    so 30 % of the shiki are dead it looks like Sunako is not even trying keep up the fight now she wants to bolt with the other shiki and live and really thats there only choice now there are too many humans. Ookawa could probably Kill both Yoshie and Tatsumi by himself while having taken several bullet wounds from Seishiro, the dude is twice as tall as Ozaki i would not be surprised if he could kill the ware-wolfs one on two.

    yeah i would have bolted the second Chizuru was found out

    • December 19, 2010 4:06 pm

      Ahah! So the anime is definitely making itself a bit different from the manga – good to know. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the manga after the anime ends.

      Sunako is reluctant to bolt, but Tatsumi is fairly persuasive, and to be honest it would be the sensible thing to do right now. Humans can kill a shiki in one swift staking motion, but the shiki can only take down a human if they hunt in packs given how they require 3-4 feedings to drain the average human.

      Ookawa is so overpowered – I actually laughed when he staked Atsushi with his bare hands!

  5. LuvnAnime permalink
    December 19, 2010 6:36 am

    I was hoping for another jaw-dropping amazing Tatsumi outfit but I guess I can’t ask for everything. Still waiting for him to turn into a werewolf but doubt they’ll show that. Again, this series was worth waiting for. I can understand the need to build the plot and characters but with only a few more episodes left, i wonder how much they can pack in those few episodes.

    • December 19, 2010 4:10 pm

      I was also disappointed by how unfabulous Tatsumi’s latest jumpsuit was. What happened to the plunging necklines and spiky shoulderpads!??

      Tatsumi, Yoshie & Natsuno aren’t werewolves in the traditional sense of the word. Sunako dubbed them werewolves as a nod to the old vampire legends, but they’re actually just a mutation of the ordinary shiki making them immune to the normal weaknesses – they don’t have shapeshifting abilites. Tatsumi’s hairstyle seems to have been a deliberate redherring!

      I hope they end the show well – will cry buckets if it ends on a ‘meh’ note!

  6. December 19, 2010 12:30 pm

    “hiding in a wardrobe in the clinic!” clearly whoever gave the order didnt plan for him to mistake

    spirited bearded man really had no need to use such a gigantic mallet for hammering in the tiny by comparison stakes :p

    these villagers have properly turned vicious, its hard to see now who are truly the scary ones, both sides did what they had to for their own survival

    hopefully they will manage to put up a fight before the end, but then several times throughout this series when you thought it was all set and the shiki were certainly going to win, they’ve managed to turn things upside down making you throw your predictions out of the window. 🙂

    you lot are really watching the wrong series if your after hot vampire biting action 😐 surely something with pussy vamps who drone on about their pathetic feelings would be more appropriate 😐

    • December 19, 2010 4:15 pm

      Atsushi went off on his own for Chizuru’s revenge – he didn’t really think things through and went too near dawn, and since the clinic is like full of windows he had to take refuge somewhere……dumb lug forgot about the fact he was leaving an obvious trail of blood!

      Ookawa swinging that bloody massive hammer about makes him seem like some sort of violent norse god!

      I’m very impressed by how swiftly Shiki has turned the tables on us – this show is amazingly good at storytelling.

      We’re BL fangirls, we can see whatever we want in any show. Shiki makes it easy for us really – it just takes a few tweaks to put a really hot spin on things! 😆

      • December 19, 2010 7:39 pm

        Inventing such fantasies from so minor events. 😐 Take your mind out of the gutter mummy it doesnt suit you. 😦

        • December 19, 2010 9:32 pm

          Day & I spent nearly four hours talking about such things last night……when I have someone to talk about these things to, my mind naturally gravitates to the gutter XD

        • adaywithoutme permalink
          December 19, 2010 10:49 pm

          Hey, now, we also had a lot of serious, gutter-free theorizing going on!

        • December 22, 2010 9:23 pm

          😆 Oh that goes without saying – Shiki theories & picking apart characters is srsbns!

  7. December 23, 2010 4:23 pm

    This show has always been about the execution (no pun intended), and at this I agree that it excells. From that creeptstic build-up and how they made that sleepy old town and its familiar-ness become something utterly skin-crawling at times (and long before we saw any vamps) was genius, and now, even though it’s kind of a bloodbath, it’s just as disturbing. In a good way, of course! 🙂

    PS ‘its a pity Ritsuko never got more screen time really’ – I’d replace ‘pity’ with ‘fucking tragedy’. I guess the showmakers were worried with be too distracted with DAT HAIR. *Sigh*

    • December 23, 2010 11:03 pm

      Atmosphere and build-up are really what Shiki is brilliant at – the pay-off has been pretty damn good too, I was kind of expecting everything to go down the spiralling path of doom, but I didn’t expect this genocidal bloodbath that Sotoba is currently embroiled in. Shiki is endlessly fascinating and surprising.

      Ritsuko’s hair was too much for the show – it really was an amazing head of hair!

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