Om nom nom.
Did that meme die? Or do I just really confine myself in terms of where I go on the internet, such that it appears to have died?
I would like to begin by saying right off the bat that I am extremely leery of episodic blogging. It just isn’t my cup of tea; if anything, I find it to be fairly wearying as it generally requires a level of commitment I don’t really wish to give. Essentially, once you start blogging episodically, you are forced to blog the show week in and week out, regardless of whether or not you have much to say about it. The only show I ever blogged episodically with any true dedication was Nabari no Ou, although I gave it up when the show was licensed. And while I did enjoy being able to speculate and analyze every week, I found the synopsis portion fairly wearying.
However, I have really been enjoying Shiki. In fact, I love it, and I would also make the argument that it is easily the best show the summer had to offer to us. I would even tentatively say that it is the best show currently airing. At the very least, it is the only show that makes me anxious about when the next episode comes out – yeah, I’ve loved watching Yumeiro Patisierre on a weekly basis, and I do look forward to new episodes, but I’m never anxious about them.
So I’ve basically arrived at the point where I do actually feel compelled to start blogging it every week. However, I will dispense with the summary portion completely – there are about half a million bloggers out there doing that already, surely you don’t need me to get a decent summary of what went on in the episode. Also, quite frankly, I doubt that many people read episodic reviews solely for the purpose of gleaning information about a episode; people read reviews to get the opinion portion of it, and often to then have something to square their own reactions with. (By the way, I suspect that this is another one of those shows which bloggers are loving but which aren’t really performing terribly well with the watching population at large.)
So, episode eleven. Despite having gotten bitten last week, Natsuno does not make an appearance here, although given the show’s format thus far I cannot say that this came as much of a surprise. The folks at work here certainly understand how to torture us heighten tensions, and as I’ve said before, drawing things out will do that, as the audience is left on their toes for much longer than they would if everything moved more quickly. I do think that we will see a bit of an increase in the speed of the show, though, after we crest the halfway point; in fact, things have already sped up a bit as it is.
I feel sorry for Ikumi. I was actually surprised that anyone listened to her at all, though, although now her credibility is completely shot. But she’ll be dead next week, and I don’t see her becoming one of the risen. But the episode did such a good job of fleshing her out and making her a sympathetic character, especially after how crazy she seemed in her first appearance. But Shiki sure seems to like to humanize its characters before dropping axes on them – see Natsuno, and Masao to some extent (although he still remains largely too strange and emotionally/socially retarded to become fully sympathetic; his rotting in his room without anyone noticing initially, though, did make one feel a bit sorry for him).
Right after my complaining about the lack of mention of Muroi’s past suicide attempt and misery yesterday in a post, we were once again treated to a very brief look at the scar on his wrist, although still we lack quite a bit of context. I’m happy Sunako didn’t actually bite him; I was convinced she was going to, and I don’t think I’m really ready for him to become a vampire himself (assuming that the protagonists are destined for that). Sunako’s reaction to the description of Muroi’s manuscript and the term ‘shiki’ came across as startlingly realistic, by the way – her excitement is that of a person who has finally found something that seems to accurately describe what they are or how they feel or reflect it accurately. She’s happy because Muroi has put a name on it and is telling a story of ‘people’ like herself. Yet she still calls Muroi a romantic because its too good to be true, even if the story is about a man who has killed his younger and thus isn’t exactly a happy story itself. Muroi’s depiction of the ‘shiki’ is ultimately romanticized since he himself is not a shiki.
This is also why she doesn’t bite him. He’s too innocent, in a sense. She just can’t bear to even if he’s basically told her that he knows what she is, and so is potentially dangerous. And also even though I am sure she would like to bring him over to the vampires if only to assuage her own loneliness a bit.
I personally find the Sunako-Muroi relationship dynamic, by the way, to be the most interesting and compelling of the relationships in the narrative. It is the only human-vampire relationship which involves consistent conversation; really, the only human-vampire relationship in the show which is a full-fledged relationship as opposed to a one-sided obsession (Shimizu) or a set of very short interactions (Toshio-Tatsumi, all the people who get bitten by relatives or friends or neighbors). It also is just much more intriguing than any of the relationships between the humans, including Toshio and Muroi, who have the most established of the human relationships. They feel a sympathy with each other for different reasons, and at least on Muroi’s side I would argue that he feels a sense of common ground with Sunako he does not feel with his closest friend, Toshio, particularly as demonstrated by how Muroi parts ways with the other man in the previous scene. Toshio hasn’t felt the kind of despair Muroi apparently has before – and possibly still does to some extent.
Speaking of the previous scene, Muroi made a very good point to Toshio: even if they manage to trap one of the vampires, it is highly doubtful that the villagers will be entirely on board for medical experimentation to then be performed on them. Natsuno chases after his dead friend in the woods despite all the reasons he absolutely shouldn’t; why would any of the villagers be any different in how they felt if one of their relatives or friends came back from the dead?
To return to Ikumi briefly, I’m getting curious about what, exactly, this show is saying. With the cavalier pooh-poohing of religion and folk beliefs by many of the villagers (including Natsuno’s apparently fundamentalist atheist dad) and the fact that Ikumi’s isn’t being taken seriously, it appears as if Shiki has a very conservative core, one which seems to be making an argument against modernism. I could be reading into it a bit much, but I was a religion student, so you can’t really blame me. We’ll see where it goes with this.
By the way – why bother kill Ikumi at this point? She was made to look foolish in front of the entire village, so I don’t really see why the vampires decide to target her for attack after that. Wouldn’t it look suspicious if she died of the same mysterious disease after she’s accused the Kirishimas?
P.S. – No picture since apparently I’m the first to blog this episode (how???) and the computer I’m using at the moment won’t do screencaps. Awesome. Second. Screencap snatched (but not hotlinked!) from Tenka Seiha’s post on episode eleven.
P.P.S. – Oh yeah, how could I forget to mention that the BL fan in me loved the end of the scene in the burial grounds when Muroi almost faints and then basically runs away from Toshio/Ozaki? Dammit, folks, isn’t anyone else out there seeing this?