Shiki – 14

Something wicked this way comes…

Wow.

I haven’t been that floored by an episode of an anime is a long, long time. Shiki has been on pretty much an upward curve from the very beginning so it was already damn good, but with #14 it seems to have reached a new peak. It was a unrelenting, runaway freight train of suspense and horror that just kept building on itself for 22 delightfully tortuous minutes. If you want a textbook example of how to do a perfect episode of a horror show, that was it.

We had a bit of exposition here – a little more background on how the Shiki process humans into vampires from their very human-looking employee. Masao was back, and the funny thing is, he looks and acts exactly the same as an okiagiri as he did as a human. Megumi beat on him pretty good, and it turns out he doesn’t have the heart to kill – though, interestingly, he’s still alive. Turns out the Shiki kidnap humans from the big cities to feed to their newly born and the cowards who can’t hunt. Compassion among vampires? We also saw Kaori and Akira inch ever closer to their doom, as Megumi arrives at Kaori’s window to tell her that Daddy is dead, and a very creepy guy from the Shiki’s fake clinic shows up remarkably quickly to collect him.

But really, this episode was all about Dr. Ozaki. I have some newfound respect for the guy – nothing he’d done so far had been much use at all, but he was hatching a plan – and what a plan. After Kyoko’s death, he hid the body for five days (telling the staff she was still alive) hooked up to an EKG, waiting for it to rise. And when she did, oh boy – did this episode ever get disturbing, thrilling and spectacularly good. You just have to watch it – his nerves of steel were really something to behold. And finally, after the last few episodes of one-sided carnage, there’s blood spilt on the other side. Maybe, just maybe we have a real war now and not a slaughter – maybe Seishin’s father and his letter to Kirishiki are a part of that war, too.

With no show currently airing is the wait for new episodes harder to take. It’s going to be a long week.

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