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.
ARGH THIS WAS WAY LONGER THAN I’D MEANT IT TO BE