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Shiki (manga): Chapter 12 – 15

April 2, 2011

Look! I’m on time! It’s a miracle~!  This week we’re covering chapter 12 – 15 of the manga, which roughly corresponds to episodes 10 – 12 of the anime – there is a bit more fleshing out done in the manga though so the pace still feels quite brisk.

Much of the material is the same, just with embellishments – like how when Toshio is confronted by the Coffee Shop crowd, one of his primary reasons for not telling the full truth about the shiki, is that Mr Yuuki is there.  Clearly in the relatively short amount of time the Yuuki family have lived in Sotaba, they’ve made their opinions on the supernatural/occult very clear and made Toshio quite wary of presenting a supernatural solution in his presence.  In general Mr Yuuki seems to be much more present in the manga, but his personality is a bit more polarised and unlikable as a result.  Mr Yuuki doesn’t really give any reasons for his complete distaste for superstition, and thus he comes across as a narrow-minded elitist much more than his anime counterpart ever did.  I think that this may be one of the reasons why I feel quite a lot more sympathy for manga Natsuno than I did for anime Natsuno (more on this later).

Moving on to my favourite duo – Toshio & Seishin have their graveside heart to heart, but the emotions seem to be running much higher in the manga.  Toshio is completely fired up and convinced that what he’s doing is right – it’s for the greater good and he won’t acknowledge that the shiki have any right to live at the cost of others lives.  Seishin seems much more distraught over his inability to side with Toshio on this point – he’s always been quite submissive to Toshio’s more assertive personality but this time the argument is just rubbing him the wrong way.  Seishin’s reaction to Toshio’s impassioned arguments is to go silent & withdrawn, he doesn’t have the drive to argue & can’t quite vocalise why he’s having problems accepting Toshio’s viewpoint, because yes; he does want the village to be destroyed.  Its pretty classical Muroi, rather than rise to the challenge retreats inward and looks at that comfortable darkness within him that wants only destruction and release.

Seishin’s melancholic mood carries over into the Cain & Abel conversation with Sunako.  His remarks almost feel provocative, like he’s baiting Sunako into attacking him.  When he asks outright if Sunako is Abel and she goes to bite him, the thoughts running through Seishin’s mind are;

I treated the destruction of my own life as a fortunate thing.

Good god man, can you get any more sad-sack!?  Seishin looks even more depressed when Sunako goes to leave, goading her further by saying “I know you’re a shiki”.  To me this scene now feels like Seishin is in a way attempting suicide again – he knows Sunako has the power to end his life and needles her into doing so.  Sunako herself looks quite upset, I think she thought of her little conversations with Seishin as an escape – Seishin treats her with respect and kindness for the most part & not fear or loathing.  His realisation that she’s a shiki – a monster in the eyes of most, ends any illusions of normalcy and brings an edge of danger to the meeting that never really existed before.

Moving on~! The majority of the Crazy Ikumi stuff was exactly the same as the anime, but for some reason it felt like the harsh treatment of Ikumi hit harder in the manga. I was kind of amused at how the off-license people chased Ikumi off their property in the anime, but in the manga the same scene seems darker – she’s an old lady with a few screws loose, being thrown bodily from the shop & kicked in the legs is really very inappropriate behaviour towards a senior.  Ikumi’s vendetta against the Kanemasa plays out in nearly exactly the same way, but is fleshed out a touch more – there are additional scenes showing her going all over the village shouting about her theories & rousing the villagers, and Seishin is shown calling Toshio to alert him before Ikumi lands at his doorstep – their diverging opinions haven’t really ruined their relationship yet.

The actual meeting with Mr Kirishiki was pretty much the same, although the humour was notched up with Tatsumi tossing flower petals during Seishiro’s entrance & some of Toshio’s facial expressions with acting the sensible doctor for the crowds.  The only thing different in this scene was the reveal that it wasn’t actually Chizuru & Sunako at the window – rather it was Yoshie & a mannequin standing in for them!  I never noticed that little plot hole before – in the anime it just leaves it that it seemed to be Chizuru & Sunako, despite the fact that its physically impossible for normal shiki to be awake during the day!

Okay, Natsuno then!  I found him massively more likeable in these chapters – he’s really developed massively since his introduction.  Natsuno has lost his hard edges & spikeyness for the most part, his facial expressions are more open and he even smiles on occasion.  In the anime he sort of remains glum & withdrawn after being attacked, verbally warning Akira & Kaori to stay away & showing them his bite marks.  However in the manga Natsuno’s actions are completely different.  Natsuno tries to put a brave face on for the younger kids, he doesn’t tell them he’s been attacked until Kaori notices the marks & Akira notes he’s looking a bit drawn.  Even then Natsuno tries to brush off the concern & actively puts Akira & Kaori on a bus out of Sotoba with a wad of his hard saved cash.  Natsuno even notes that he isn’t sending them away because they’re a hindrance to him, he’s doing it to save them because he has no idea how to cope with the issue.

Natsuno’s second run-in with Tohru again plays out in a way that’s pretty similar to the anime – the only major change is that Tohru is initially accompanied by Shizuka (who is charged with educating him in the Shiki ways it seems).  The scene is fleshed out a touch more though – we get more of an insight into Tohru’s thoughts (including finding out that Tatsumi’s way to punish new shiki is to feed on them till they’re starving) as well as Natsuno’s making the whole thing just a bit more heartbreaking.  Tohru is struggling with the creed the shiki adhere to, and Natsuno can’t get over how much Tohru resembles his old self – when Natsuno then proposes they run away together it comes off as Natsuno being incredibly naive & desperate to help, whereas in the anime the same scene didn’t really have the same pathos due to Natsuno’s stoney facial expression.

The rest of the material is pretty much identical to the anime – Mr Yuuki freaking out about Akira & Kaori’s charms and Mr Tanaka being attacked by Megumi.  So I’ll leave things there for this week – as ever keep an eye out for A Day Without Me’s post on the same chapters (as shall I), and we’ll be back next week with chapter 16-18!

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