Shiki (manga): Chapter 3 – 4.5
Continuing on with these posts on the Shiki manga, chapters 3-4.5 equate to episodes 3 & 4 of the anime. Again there aren’t many differences, but there are a few interesting points. A Day Without Me already has her post on these chapters up, be sure to check it out (as shall I as soon as I finish writing!).
First off we get some more information of how Sotoba village came to be. Established in the Edo period, it started out as a small settlement of woodscraftmen leasing some land from the temple, the settlement gradually getting big enough to warrant a doctor (the Ozaki’s), when the Kanemasa bought a large amount of land and let it out. So the triad of power in Sotoba has always been the temple, the Ozaki’s & the Kanemasa – amazing how it’s stayed like that for long!
The manga version of Muroi is notably more proactive than his anime counterpart, he goes about visiting many more villagers and is seen to receive calls from people other than Ozaki – Muroi doesn’t seem quite as detached from the village as he does in the anime. In the anime Muroi was seen doing his own investigation & spotting the odd pattern of people quitting their jobs before they died, however it seems to have more impact in the manga. Perhaps this is because Muroi gets a bit more attention in the manga since it doesn’t have to worry too much about running time, but in general Muroi in the manga just feels less passive than his anime version.
Oh, but I do have to mention the hilarious ‘bishie sparkle’ moment Muroi was randomly given in chapter 4.5. Dressed in full robes, skidding to a stop on his scooter (how fast was he going on that piddly thing?) and then taking his helmet off to pose whilst surrounded by sparkles – it made me giggle like an idiot because it just seemed completely out-of-place, like it should have been in an omake or something (although Masao does have a weird moment of fanboying Muroi in this chapter as well….hmmm Muroi as the village idol anyone? XD).
We also get a glimpse at Muroi & Ozaki’s childhood when Muroi takes a trip down memory lane as news of Mikiyasu’s illness reaches him. Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that it was just the three of them most of the time – Ozaki’s power-tripping started at an early age it seems, Muroi has always been quiet & shy and both he and Mikiyasu were content to follow Ozaki’s lead……all of them were bloody cute as kids too!
Of course the main thing of interest in Muroi’s part of the story, is his second meeting with Sunako in the abandoned church……..which isn’t actually a proper church since it was never consecrated, guess that’s why Sunako decides that its fine for her to go in there. The building was definitely intended to be a church, but never properly used as such. We also get a proper look at the stained glass in this building with its depictions of the grizzly deaths of various martyrs – think Sunako is spot on when she says that there was something a bit odd about the Kanemasa family member that commissioned this building!
Sunako for her part comes across as even creepier in the manga than she did in the anime. I found her unsettling in the anime due to her seeming old beyond her appearance, but its taken to an entirely new level in the manga, what with her wandering about in the dead of night with no torch & seeming to be fascinated by death – she also clearly unsettles Muroi more than she does in the anime. Sunako does ask for an invitation back to the church, but Muroi only gives it reluctantly “the mountain paths can be dangerous at night, I wouldn’t recommend it”, a feeble attempt to put her off coming back to his refuge.
You know I didn’t think it possible, but I hate Masao even more in the manga than I did in the anime! Masao is shown to be physically bullying his nephew in the manga, rather than just being creepy & mean-spirited as he was in the anime – in the manga Masao is out-and-out vindictive, and selfish to the extreme. While Masao does appear to be genuinely upset by Tohru’s death, it seems to be purely in the context of what it means to him, not the effect it may have had on Tohru’s family and other friends – Masao seems to be completely incapable of empathy, he fully believes that the world should revolve around him. I was so fecking glad to see him get attacked again, the prick fully deserves the slow death being fed upon by a shiki involves!
By contrast Natsuno comes across much better in the manga. While Natsuno’s sleep deprivation and hallucinations were better portrayed in the anime, his personality is much more likeable in the manga simply because we get much more from his POV. Natsuno has a huge chip on his shoulder about his hippy dippy parents, from their choice of name for him, to their dragging him out to this backwater town so they can indulge themselves in handicrafts. Still Natsuno for all his withdrawn stoicness, is nothing but polite to everyone he meets – it may be a front, but he definitely behaves in a more likeable manner than Masao. However Natsuno is also very much in denial about his need for friends in Sotoba – he constantly denies that he needs them, even though he admits that he spent lots of time with Tohru and his family, and got to know them all very well – its like Natsuno is being drawn in by the Mutou family’s warmth almost against his will.
It’s quite obvious how close Natsuno is to the Mutou family at Tohru’s deathbed. The family is utterly distraught, but unlike in the anime in the manga much of the focus is on Mr Mutou’s reaction – since we’re much more aware that Mutou is one of the managers at Ozaki’s clinic, and knows of the ‘epidemic’ at this stage since he was at the medical round-table discussion. As such Mr Mutou is keen to get his family out of the room ASAP so he can speak to Ozaki about how he overlooked Tohru’s symptoms. The Mutou’s are reluctant to move from the room, so Mr Mutou turns to a stunned Natsuno to herd the family downstairs, that Natsuno recognises that Tohru’s father needs his help shows remarkable maturity for a 15-year-old who’s just seen his best friend lying dead.
Overall the atmosphere in the manga seems to be tenser than it was at the same stage in the anime. It just feels like the rising death toll is having a much more significant effect on the manga cast at the moment, since we’re getting to see more people’s reactions to the deaths. Characters are also getting suspicious earlier – Ritsuko & the cafe crowd are all pretty concerned about the causes of the spate of deaths already. Akira & Natsuno are still the first to voice real suspicion though, Natsuno immediately going for the ‘dead are rising from the grave’ angle, while Akira lays the blame at the Kirishiki’s doorstep.
Once again this is getting a bit overlong, so I’ll stop here. Be sure to check out A Day Without Me’s post on the same chapters over at GAR GAR Stegosaurus, and we’ll be back next week with another few chapters!