I have finally finished this amazing show. First off, I have to say that it has one of the best openings ever in the sense that it really tells the story in a sort of introductory way. The only thing I have against it is the spoiler factor because, yes, everyone that turns into a skeleton does die.
I confess I only got into Shiki because someone told me Buck-Tick was doing the opening. Guilty! But I didn’t regret it, the show is tremendously good. Still in the opening/ending topic, I hated the second opening because it was too… dance-ish, it had nothing to do with the feel of the series like Kuchizuke had. The second ending was nice (Buck-Tick nice ^^) but it didn’t have much impact either. So, moving on.
The story is as follows: we’re in a village cut off from the outer world, nested in the mountains. Its people live their ordinary lives with joy and without ambition, perfectly happy with the way things are and doing their best to avoid unusual situations. Enter Shimizu Megumi, a flashy highschool girl who wants nothing else than to escape her village and aim high, live a less-than-ordinary life. She is curious about the new family that moved in, the Kirishiki: a strange looking couple with their equally strange looking daughter and a tall, muscly guy with blue hair and dog ears (which reminds me that Shiki has the craziest hairstyles ever). Enter Natsuno Yuuki, the guy on whom Megumi has a huge crush on – almost on the verge of stalking. A guy who is also bored with his life and blames his parents for moving in this quiet village. One night, Megumi disappears and is found the following day looking faint and with strange bite marks on her neck. She eventually dies. Soon after, Natsuno starts feeling watched and starts feeling like maybe Megumi is still around… while the village doctor, Ozaki Toshio, blames her death – and the following ones – on some sort of strange epidemic until too much starts, eventually, being too much. And all those deaths have some sort of link to the Kirishiki household. So, what is happening, exactly?
Shiki brought back what true vampirism is. There is none of the romanticism nowadays associated with vampires. There is no forbidden love story. It’s just a pure fight for the race’s survival: human and vampire races, that is. The first episodes are a bit slow on the uptake, I admit, but from episode 13 on-wards it’s a gore and thrill fest. It also focuses on a lot of interesting issues like who is the outsider in the end, why is it so terrible to fight for your own survival and it even adds some religion in the mix, personified by Muroi Seishin, son of the village Head Priest, who always felt trapped and in denial regarding succeeding his father.
She wasn’t dead after all.
Briefly: the artwork was a bit on the bad side and I must refer the hairstyles once again. The characters were really well written and I liked the brief flashbacks, specially Kirishiki Chizuru’s – I ended up feeling a bit sorry for her. But the ones who shine the most are, obviously, Ozaki Toshio, the bad-ass doctor, Natsuno Yuuki, who fought evil from the inside, Kirishiki Sunako, the tortured woman forever trapped in a child’s body and, I have to say this, Matou Tohru, who embodied the whole tragedy of being reborn into a life of murder without having a choice.
It all comes down to the whole good versus evil theme, in the end. What is considered good and what is considered evil? Like Atsushi-san’s father said before attempting to strike down Sunako, he’s got his morals and he was educated to distinguish what was good and what was evil and he used it as a justification for his actions. In this sense, we can say someone put it in his head and, due to the isolated environment he grew up in, he didn’t feel the need to question it. But what’s interesting is this: from the humans point of view, the vampires are evil because they kill their race mercilessly. But from the vampire point of view, the humans are the evil ones because they hunt down their race and empale them brutally, when the only thing they were trying to do was to survive: they don’t want to kill humans, they have to. Humans don’t have to kill vampires, in the other hand. They do because the moral code they grew up in tells them to: because vampires aren’t creatures of God, because they’re not from this world, because they attacked their loved ones. Either of these is understandable, I’m not taking sides. I just think Shiki brought an interesting perspective to the whole thing. Most heartbreaking of all was the whole “I didn’t ask to rise into this life” issue.
I give this show an 8/10. It’s really, really good, probably the best of its season. I won’t give it a 10 because I put the artwork in some consideration while ranking a show and this one didn’t deliver much, although the gore scenes were really gruesome. And the ending wasn’t satisfactory either: endings aren’t supposed to raise more questions, like this one did. It was a true open-ending, and I don’t like open-endings. The soundtrack is also amazing. Thrilling and heartbreaking.
Hint: she wasn’t really their daughter.