Shiki Episode Twelve

Ok, I can stop hyperventilating now.

Seriously, I was pretty much spazzing out when this appeared on Hulu. My room-mate thinks I’m such a freak now way more of a freak than she thought now.

Well, new OP and ED this week, which surprised me although it really shouldn’t’ve – we are starting the second half, after all. The new OP animation was welcome, but I’m iffy on the song itself – its too… poppy. I liked how eerie-sounding the first OP was, but this one, while retaining a somewhat somber mood, has taken away any sense of real dread. Too bad. The new ED is better, though, than the first ED in both terms of music and animation – the whole thing is actually pretty creepy, particularly during the shot of Megumi.

Speaking of the ED, I’m not sure if the extended shots of Kaori and Ritsuko means that they are going to become more important, or if the animators just preferred to titillate us with pictures of naked women as opposed to of guys like Muroi or Ozaki. Not that the pictures were even remotely explicit or anything, I’m just curious but I also suspect it just was a matter of tastes as opposed to centrality to the story. I’d like Ritsuko to have a larger role than she has, though, so I’m hoping this is an indicator of such a possibility.

The OP has a lot of folks we haven’t even met yet, by the way. Interesting to see that they’re planning to expand the cast by so much after the half-way point, even if those individuals only have small roles.

As for the episode itself, it was pretty solid and definitely a good returning episode. I thought Natsuno’s dad was pretty ridiculous, but the rest of it was at least decent. Although I’m convinced that everyone is doomed, the sense of dread was missing a bit in this episode; instead, I felt more heart-broken than anything by Natsuno’s short speech about getting out of the small town, because you just know he isn’t going to. He’s going to die there. Its a very simple fact, but it made me feel quite sad.

Of course, if Natsuno’s dad wasn’t so fucking frustrating, Natsuno probably wouldn’t be doomed (yet). I can understand being dismissive of ‘superstitious’ stuff, but his actions are really fairly extreme – after Kaori and Akira went to the trouble of papering Natsuno’s room with all the charms, his dad tears them down? Seriously? What a jerk! These kids are clearly very concerned about their friend! I mean, good lord, does it really hurt to leave the charms hanging up?

I will grant that I could see this happening in real life, though. Some people have complained that the characters in Shiki are too stupid to believe, but the fact is that they honestly behave similarly to how one could expect people to believe in such a situation (although Ozaki repudiating Ikumi’s charges of vampirism by the Kirishiki family still strikes me as bizarre – the villagers were very open to the possibility at that time, after all, that the Kirishikis were monsters). Do you really think you’d behave perfectly “logically” in such a situation yourself? Don’t forget, too, that while we as viewers have more or less known what is going on the whole time, the villagers haven’t. Its very easy to say that someone is being stupid when you yourself have more knowledge of the situation.

Ugh, but, seriously, even so, Natsuno’s dad… wonder how he’s going to feel when both his son and wife croak almost simultaneously? And I wonder who is feeding on the mother? But even if his actions over the charms, etc. are believable, his statement to Natsuno about taking him to the hospital the next day is just stupid. Your kid is having trouble breathing, so you’re going to wait eight or ten hours to hit up the hospital? WTF?

I actually had started liking Megumi lately, but then she agreed to go attack Kaori’s dad because Tatsumi implied that Kaori and Natsuno are getting cuddly. I think this should be exhibit B in why you don’t give teenagers the power to harm others (exhibit A would be almost every episode of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae). If Megumi has been legit friends with Kaori instead of considering her to just be an annoyance, I’d probably cry foul, since there really isn’t any need for more people insisting that girls are just bitchy and can’t have real friendships with each other. While I do find Megumi’s characterization completely believable and even slightly relatable (insofar as the whole desire to get out of her hometown goes), the sheer level of her immaturity is fairly maddening.

Speaking of which, I think people have been too harsh about Natsuno. He does some pretty dumb stuff, but he’s also fifteen years old. I made some pretty retarded decisions at that age, and while none of my friends were trying to gnaw on my neck (uh, well, mostly), there were definitely instances where I had friends that were seriously bad news… and I knew they were. But that didn’t stop me from hanging out with them at the time, because I justified it with similar-thinking – yeah, its actually fairly dangerous to stick with them, but, well, I know they’re good people underneath, and we had such good times when we were a few years younger! I will note that one of these kids ended up paralyzed from the neck down because of a car accident, so, yes, there was legit danger here (and, in fact, the only reason I wasn’t in the car was that I’d gone back into our school to grab something I’d forgotten, but they’d gotten impatient and left before I got back outside).

On a wholly unserious note, Shiki managed to totally up the homoeroticism this episode. I wasn’t really on-board with the whole Natsuno/Tohru thing until last episode, but this one really upped the ante. The whole exchange between Natsuno and Tohru was fairly intense, what with Natsuno basically telling Tohru that he’d run away with him so they could figure out how to deal with Tohru’s vampirism in a way that didn’t mean he had to kill anyone. It was actually fairly touching whether you want to look at it as a BL-flavored moment or not. Friendship is beautiful.

I suppose my only complaint for the episode is that we didn’t see Muroi at all. I just love suicidal Buddhist priests.

And, for lulz, I listened to the ED for Yumeiro Patissiere SP Professional on repeat while writing this. Such a bizarre contrast.


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13 Responses to Shiki Episode Twelve

  1. Taka says:

    I just felt like Natsuno was resigned to his fate. He basically let Toru suck the life out of him. I don’t know what he thinks he is going to accomplish but I didn’t feel like Natsuno actually intended to continue living. Part of me wants Natsuno to become a vampire and lead a revolt from within. The other part of me wants Natsuno to die as a nice twist. It would certainly fiddle with Toru and Megumi’s motivation.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Natsuno was, admittedly, at the point where he talked about getting back to the city and going to college probably trying to convince himself as much as anyone else that that is still what he wants best… which isn’t to say he didn’t want to do that still, I just think by then he felt profoundly conflicted about Tohru by that point, so, yes, he still wanted to get out, but he also didn’t want to just leave Tohru behind. By the end of the episode, it is pretty clear that he’s basically given up.

      Looking at it this way makes it a bit sadder, actually – he’d like to do the whole leaving town thing, but he also wants Tohru to be okay and be with him, and since the goals seem fairly mutually exclusive, its easier to just give up on both of them completely. Its just too hard to do otherwise.

      • Ida says:

        It’s even more than giving up, actually. He accepted that he is going to die, and he is looking for a way to take back the control over his own life by choosing the terms of his death.

  2. Ida says:

    You know, though, just for the kicks of it, next week there is going to be no episode, either…

    [i]Although I’m convinced that everyone is doomed, the sense of dread was missing a bit in this episode[/i]

    Oh, good, I wasn’t the only one. I thought the only reason I wasn’t able to feel the immense suspense any more because I have read the manga…

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Ugh, don’t say that, I got worried for a moment there.

      I’ve wanted to check out the manga, but I’ve been studiously ignoring it just for that reason of suspense. I think the suspense will be kicking back in, though, next week – they just had to set up the second half of the season with this episode, or at least that’s what I figure.

      • Ida says:

        Yeah, next week should be quite, quite awesome.

        In all honesty, sometimes I am forced to compare anime to the manga, and the result disappoints me a little. If they actually did everything the same way in anime it would have been beyond epic. Right now it is still good, but it could have been even better.
        Take episode 12, for example (corresponding volume 14 and 15). Instead of just saying “don’t come near me again”, Natsuno actually puts Kaori and Akira on the bus away from the town, but then they come back. And that scene at the end, the reason why his father opens the window not because it is just another stupid thing that he has done, but because Natsuno has asked him for it.

  3. Shinmaru says:

    I do wonder what they’ll be doing with Natsuno from here on out, although with either option — he becomes one of the Risen, or he straight up dies — there won’t be good happy fun times for anyone. I’m actually not even sure which of the two options would be more interesting, which is good for Shiki, obviously, since there’s tons of stuff that can be done.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Yeah, like I said, I’m pretty sure everyone is just royally fucking screwed at this point.

      Whacking Natsuno completely would be truly shocking. Even though I was pretty annoyed with him for about the first six episodes or so, and I still am not totally crazy about the guy, I’d prefer that he becomes a vampire.

  4. The Lone Sock says:

    Hi, first time poster here.

    I completely agree with you about Natsuno’s dad — if you think about it actually, pretty much all of the stuff that’s happened to Natsuno has been because of his dad and/or both parents. Inviting the creepster ventriloquist girl into their home, taking down the protective talismans, MOVING INTO THE VILLAGE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Yes, most of these things were done unwittingly or unintentionally, but it’s still a somber thought that Natsuno’s only where he is now because of his parents.

    “…Ozaki repudiating Ikumi’s charges of vampirism by the Kirishiki family still strikes me as bizarre…”

    Hmm, I think this is just Ozaki being a doctor through and through. He wouldn’t want to go making any sort of accusations before getting hold of definite proof, and although he has a good reason to believe vampirism has been killing the villagers, he can’t for sure make a link to the Kirishikis. He was probably also hesitant about throwing in his lot with the (somewhat) unhinged Ikumi, and if he turned out to be wrong, the villagers would just turn away from him like they ultimately did to Ikumi.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      I don’t know, Ozaki’s actually seen the vampires in action biting people, so I feel like that’s not really a great explanation. I think you could argue that he wants to understand the vampires themselves from a scientific standpoint better, at least based on the image of him preparing to slice open his wife after she’s been vampirized in the ED animation for episode eleven. There’s a pretty good chance that Ozaki is going to be our candidate for crazy.

      Natsuno’s dad annoys me, but I think we are unfortunately about to get stuck with him in a more prominent role.

      • The Lone Sock says:

        Hmm, I guess I didn’t do a very good job of explaining myself.
        Concerning Ozaki — I mean, here we have a man who’s a complete stickler for doing things in a thorough fashion; he runs every possible test he can think of on the villagers when they first begin getting “sick,” and isn’t really open to the idea of vampirism until he’s exhausted every other medical possibility he can think of. So, I think when he’s trying to prove the existence of vampires to the villagers, he would want to offer them equally undeniable evidence. Rather than being like “The Kirishikis are vampires and are attacking everyone! I’ve seen other vampires attacking people too!” he would probably want to present them with, say, a live vampire so that the villagers could see, without a doubt, that the vampires exist. Remember that his credibility as a doctor would also be on the line if he were making these claims without proper proof, and if he had backed up Ikumi, he would have ended up as a laughingstock because Seishirou DID turn out to have a pulse.

        Hope this makes more sense.

  5. The Lone Sock says:

    All right, so just scratch everything I said before.
    I was also very, very puzzled by Ozaki’s actions, which is why I’m now absolutely
    determined to find out the reason behind his behavior. And I thought about it
    a bit more and came up with a revised argument:

    1. Ozaki as a doctor/man of science
    So let’s go over the evidence that Ozaki has thus far: he’s got a very strong
    hyposthesis that vampires are feeding on and killing off the
    villagers. He’s come to this conclusion after conducting every medical test he can
    think of on the patients and not finding an explanation for their illness. So
    we can say that for Ozaki, as it was for a certain literary detective —
    “after eliminating the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how
    improbable, is the truth,” meaning that since Ozaki has
    exhausted every single medical possiblity, he can conclude that the only
    explantion must be some new disease unknown to science, or must be itself outside
    of the realm of science, ie supernatural.

    Ozaki has also observed bite marks on the victims, so when Natsuno hints that
    some of the patients might be coming back to life as the Undead,
    Ozaki of course puts two and two together and realizes
    “oh vampires!”

    Ok, so why is all this important? Because the only other evidence that
    Ozaki has is an eyewitness account experienced by himself and Muroi. Ozaki has
    witnessed the vampires in action, but none of the other villagers have. His only
    medical “proof” is that the victims aren’t dying because of conventional medical
    reasons. In other words, he has a record for what the “disease” is not, as in it’s not
    PNH, poison, drugs or any other of the other reasons postulated. Ozaki
    deduces that the real culprit must be vampirism, but because he doesn’t have something
    like photographic evidence or a live specimen, he can’t point to it directly as a
    cause of death. Because after all, in the medical records, the COD for
    the patients isn’t “vampirism.” It’s heart failure or kidney failure, which wouldn’t
    immediately exclude the possiblity of a bizarre disease/epidemic.
    Therefore, the only solid evidence he has is seeing Setsuko get attacked and killed.
    And because the vampires are sneaky, they could easily deny his eyewitness account.

  6. The Lone Sock says:

    2. Precarious position/lack of damning evidence
    Which brings me to the second part of my argument. As of the point when Ikumi is accusing the Kirishikis, Ozaki and Muroi are the only living witnesses of a vampire attack. If Ozaki had supported Ikumi and, I dunno, riled
    up the villagers so they stormed the Kanemasa mansion, I’m sure the Kirishikis would have hidden the vampires somewhere and accused Ozaki of hallucinating or making things up. They would also support the claim that a weird epidemic was going through the village, and the villagers, being fickle, would probably be convinced because Ozaki would have no medical evidence to prove otherwise (as stated in 1.). Ozaki is painfully aware of this fact, which is why he contradicts Ikumi.

    Ozaki also realizes his own precarious position as someone who is aware of the existence of the vampires. He knows that the vampires already suspect him and that he might be targeted at any moment. Because Ozaki is clever, he decides to mitigate himself as a potential threat (at least for the time being.) However, if he had gone through with accusing the Kirishikis, the situation I mentioned before would play out, Ozaki would lose his credibility as a doctor, and the vampires would have a very good reason to finish him off sooner rather than later. Instead, what Ozaki did was essentially say: “Hey I know vampires are attacking the village, but I’m going to keep quiet about it, so I’m not a threat at all, right?” Ozaki is biding his time until he can completely unite the villagers against the vampires with
    uncontravertible evidence because as we saw with Ikumi, if he offers only inconclusive proof, the villagers would probably turn against him. Ikumi only had a sneaking suspicion as the basis of her claim that the Kirishikis were vampires, and when she was proved wrong, she was immediately denounced as a fraud. Ozaki knows that he can’t fight the vampires by himself; he needs the villagers to support him as well, so he can’t take the risk that the Kirishikis will deny his claims and then turn the villagers against him. This would isolate Ozaki and destroy any future hopes he has of leading a revolt against the vampires because the villagers would have lost all faith in him.

    Wow, I’m really sorry this ran for so long, but I hope that covers everything.
    Also, not sure what happened to the formatting in the previous post ???

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