Shiki (manga): Chapter 5 – 8
This week we’re covering chapters 5-8 of the manga, which cover bits and pieces between episodes 6-9 of the anime. Seems the anime moved some scenes about in order to get that Toshio-Natsuno-Toshio-Natsuno kind of rhythm going. The pattern also exists in the manga, as chapters are titled as either belonging to the Natsuno Yuuki volume or the Toshio Ozaki volume, but ending points vary now – those cliffhanger endings that the anime was so fond of, don’t really exist in the manga chapters.
We get a bit more on Ozaki’s background in these chapters. The anime only really hinted at his family background before, mentioning a strained relationship with his overbearing father, but in the manga its much more explicit. Toshio has major issues with his father, when he’s regretting yelling at Seishin for investigating the people moving/quitting their jobs rather than tackling the ‘epidemic’, Toshio says “I’m irritated at my own helplessness, I said things without thinking. I’m becoming just like my father, aren’t I?” Obviously becoming like his father is a very very bad thing in Toshio’s book.
I had wondered when exactly Toshio became the sole doctor in Sotoba, and the manga clears that issue up completely. Ozaki Sr died three years prior to the start of the manga of pancreatic cancer, and it was only then that Toshio quit his position in a University Hospital and returned to Sotoba to take his father’s place. It’s very clear that Toshio did this reluctantly and out of a sense of obligation to his mother and the village.
Seishin’s position is probably very similar to Toshio’s – I’d imagine he was called back once Mr Muroi had a stroke, but where as Ozaki seems to have settled well into his role and is trying to change things to better suit his personality, Muroi just seems to begrudge the place and only seems to interact with Toshio with any degree of regularity. It’s interesting to see that Seishin seems quite upset at Toshio’s yelling at him, but at the same time he does understand exactly where Toshio’s coming from. Seishin knows that Toshio is just endlessly frustrated and lashing out, but is at a loss as to how he really can help beyond what he’s already done. Sunako notes “Your feelings are starting to pass each other by” and this really is the start of Toshio & Seishin’s estrangement, even if it’s not until Toshio starts doggedly pursuing the matter of killing a shiki for autopsy that their paths properly diverge.
Interestingly even though Seishin claims that Toshio has gone mad when he proclaims the recent deaths are due to the living dead, Seishin does give the matter proper thought and considers the idea immediately, appearing more concerned about Toshio’s ability to cope than the deaths escalating. It almost seems like Seishin is more concerned about things immediately concerning him than the bigger picture. He did do plenty of independent research into the spate of deaths, but it was mainly to help ease the burden on Toshio rather than out of true concern for Sotoba. Also even though the news of a possible epidemic is being kept strictly hush-hush to avoid causing a panic, Seishin warns Sunako about the illness sweeping the village out of concern for her health (since he thinks she and her mother have some awful disease) – its worth noting that this is after she comforts him when he’s upset, again indicating that if its something or someone close to Muroi’s own interests he’ll make a bit more effort.
Switching over to Natsuno’s side of the story, again his characterisation seems much better in the manga than the anime. Natsuno relates how he was hurt by Ozaki laughing at his questions regarding Megumi’s death; I can imagine how having your concerns made light of would sting, especially when you are as proud and independent as Natsuno. Natsuno may be quite intelligent and strong-willed, but he’s still a teenager who’s frightened after the death of his friend, and he is also well aware that his thoughts on the undead aren’t exactly easy to believe. Ironically as soon as Natsuno ran off chastised by Ozaki’s laughter, Ozaki himself suddenly was struck by how the supernatural solution was the perfect solution to the mysterious deaths. If only Natsuno had of stuck about a touch longer maybe these two could have joined forces earlier.
As it is, Natsuno soon gets the Tanaka’s on side – it’s telling that these three latch onto each other so readily. Natsuno would never have dreamed of associating with the Tanaka’s before, and especially once he learns that it was indeed Kaori that posted Megumi’s postcard to him the morning of Tohru’s death, however times have changed and even though he’s still pretty much in denial about his need for others, Natsuno grabs the chance to gain allies with both hands.
The rest of the material in these chapters is more or less identical to the scene’s in the anime adaptation. There is some jumping about though, chapter 8 ends with Nao’s first appearance at the clinic’s window, but stuff regarding Masao’s rising or the aftermath of Natsuno & the Tanaka’s exhuming Megumi’s grave have yet to be covered. I think the manga is easier to follow, but the anime had a much tenser atmosphere due to its use of cliffhanger endings.
I’ll stop here today (managed to keep it under 1000 words this week! Hoorah!). Be sure to check out A Day Without Me’s post on the same chapters over at GAR GAR Stegosaurus
(when it goes up), and we’ll be back next Friday with the next few chapters!