Instead of showing a picture of people dying, skeletons or blood, let me show you a picture of a cow to keep your minds away from the increasing death toll this series has to offer. From here onwards, anyone can DIE.
After years of anticipation, the series written by Fuyumi Ono, also the author of the Twelve Kingdoms and Ghost Hunt has been adapted to the TV screens. We present you: Shiki.
bitch first villager: Megumi Shimizu.
I read the manga months after it’s green-lit by Daume; the deceptions of the Shikis presented in the story really do spook me out of my guts. It’s one of the few series that really made me jump out of my seat, but I haven’t read the original novels yet. So if anyone has read the novels, please give me a link where I should read it. Enough ramblings for now; let Impz and I begin with our summaries.
Shiki takes place around the nineties and this whiny girl here, Megumi Shimizu is stuck in the middle of nowhere at a small, isolated village called Sotoba. Like any other angsty teenager, she whines about it, wishing that she could live in the city instead of meeting all these strange people known as villagers. Like Megumi, Natsuno, one of the protagonists in Shiki, wishes to leave the village and stay in the city. For our dear boy here, his family had just moved in to Sotoba not too long ago, also wishing he could continue live in the city and as a result this makes it hard for Natsuno to make new friends. Some of the inhabitants of the village, such as Megumi Shimizu, did want to get along with Natsuno but to no avail. Instead, Natsuno viewed Megumi as an irritating stalker who comes out at night to peek into his window.
Yuuki Natsuno, Megumi’s Prince Charming.
While things are ordinarily mundane in the life in Sotoba, the Kanemasa mansion, which sort of occupied a large part of the village stood in the midst of the other small houses. Unlike all the houses, the mansion is built in an European style. Claiming that the occupants of the mansion are fans of Seishin Muroi, a priest and renowned novelist living in this tiny village, abnormal situations has since cropped up in disturbing numbers.
Toshio Ozaki, dean of the only hospital in Sotoba.
Don’t let his cat ears or his innocent demeanor fool you. I’m warning you…why are you disturbing villagers in the middle of the night?
Back to Megumi, day after day she became extremely annoyed at how the villagers are acting; viewing them as old-fashioned, traditionalists and obscure. Simultaneously, she yearns to live in the Kanemasa mansion, wishing that she’ll meet her Prince Charming and see what’s inside that forbidden apple. With one of the villagers, Kaori Tanaka, accidentally pressed Megumi’s berserk button, our dear girl here dared to take herself to the mansion.
Later that night, Kaori’s parents discovered that Megumi has gone missing after heading towards the mansion. The other villagers were later notified and proceed to search for her, with one of the villagers later discovering her lying in the middle of the woods.
I should have known; WE NEED MOAR BUG SPRAYS!
The deaths of the villagers caught the attention of Ozaki Toshio, another protagonist and dean of the only hospital in Sotoba. Guess what, Megumi turns out to be one of the victims but instead of dying due to natural causes such as old age, Megumi died of unknown causes; the anemia couldn’t be the cause of her death alone. But those insect bites Toshio initially dismissed doesn’t look that simple to anyone watching…
Woah, talk about whiny there. Compared to the manga Natsuno was the whiny one there but it’s a good change since viewers absolutely hate teenage whiny protagonists. Megumi’s acting like a spotlight steal squad for this first episode.
At first glance, you would compare Shiki with Higurashi, with similar elements with our protagonist, a city dweller moves to a small village with supernatural and horror elements playing around with the dwellers’ heads. Fortunately, after the first few episodes you get to see alarming difference from there onwards. But I can only say it till here and if you want to know more, go read the novels (if you get to read it) and the easily-available manga at Mangafox.
SCORE! Or should I say, GGOOOOAAALLL! Too bad Natsuno doesn’t care.
Let me first talk about what I didn’t like about this show. I find the main male character to be particularly pretentious. I don’t like the animation style of the characters, and it felt a bit too off for the anime. I cannot pinpoint why the character designs just feel a bit off, like it is some comedy romance series. In addition, the first episode did not provide any excitement to be honest, just a set up the plot first episode to give the viewer a sense of how this village is like.
Now the good part. It is an excellent set up episode. The characters are clearly demarcated into their families and more importantly, the relationship between the villagers are close. This reminds me of the mafia game actually, where there are a small number of mafias, with a lot of villagers trying to find out who the murderer is. Of course, as a bystander (aka viewer like me), it is easy to see who the bad/evil guys are. However, this one is a completely blind game for the “participants.” They have no clue that they will be in for a deadly game, and I think the mafia game will actually be a good resemblance in terms of the various roles a character plays. This is perhaps why I am holding my breath for this series. It is building itself into something very interesting.