Shiki – 13

It’s been way too few and far between with Shiki lately – due to a hiatus and a holiday this is only the second episode in five weeks. And this is a lousy series to deal with that, too – there’s no show currently airing that has such expert pacing (most of them feel like the end credits start rolling after about 5 minutes) and leaves me in greater suspense for the next episode.

Once things start rolling it’s as if no time at all has passed, and you’re pulled right into the story. Things continue to go from bad to worse in the village – the headline news this week is that Natsuno is officially dead. It was rather ant-climactic in the end, really – though I fully suspect he’ll be one of the risen before long given his prominence in the second OP and ED. The deaths are hitting close to home now – Dr. Baka’s wife Kyoko is dead, too, and he seems poised to use her as some sort of experiment. And Akira and Kaori’s Dad has been bitten, as well, giving Megumi the inside track to finish off the siblings. Absent Natsuno those poor kids are basically on their own now, unless Dr. O suddenly becomes a lot smarter and more effective. Meanwhile, Seishin’s father (scarier looking than any of the okiagiri) rouses himself from his near stupor to say farewell to an old friend.

I love this show for it’s atmosphere, suspense, and superb production values. But I do have a couple of quibbles. I’m getting quite frustrated with the passivity of the villagers. I know these are small-town folk who don’t like to buck the system or make a fuss, but it’s stretching my credulity to think they could let their village be so brazenly destroyed and do nothing to try and stop it. The other problem I have is that the show is starting to feel a little one-note. It’s just unrelentingly bleak – things are getting worse and worse and though I’ve always viewed this as a tragedy ant not a mystery or action show, it still leaves me somewhat exhausted to see such an unbroken string of depressing events. It’s quite pathetically easy, what the vamps are doing to the villagers – like watching crickets being thrown into an iguana cage. The vampires have become so brazen they’ve opened an okiagiri clinic and funeral home to process the villagers into corpse demons more efficiently.

What a Looker!

There are a few tiny glimmers of hope. First off, Seishin’s father knows more than he’s letting on – he may have some experience with this phenomenon and a notion of how to fight back. Akira and Kaori still live – for now – and Oazki still hasn’t given up (much use he’s been, but still). And there’s still a nugget of an idea in my head that Sunako may have some mercy in her that will play a role before the series ends. I hope we see some balance in the coming episodes – even a hint of a counterattack. It would go a long way towards leavening things a bit, as nine more episodes of a descending spiral of death and depression may cause even this brilliant jewel to lose its shine.

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