Wow, talk about a truly frustrating episode.
First of all, Muroi didn’t feature very prominently in the episode even though the preview was done from his point of view and concerned him quite a bit. We didn’t learn anything more, really, about his suicide attempt – the shot of blood splashing on a page was just the blood of his character based on Abel, and the shot of his scar that had been shown after that in the preview was about thirty seconds removed from it.
The whole Muroi sequence really just raised more questions than before, as he talks about not having the intent to kill and not wanting to kill anyone while looking at his wrist, then thinks, “I really had… no reason.” So, yeah, all clearly related to his suicide attempt, but not terribly clearly how. The first two thoughts sound like he is talking about having caused someone’s death accidentally, but the final one sounds more like he’s talking about his own attempt to kill himself. Actually, the first two could both relate to his suicide attempt, but its a strange way of putting it, with that “I don’t want to kill anyone.” in between.
I’ve re-watched that whole sequence three or four times now, and I just feel… frustrated. Its clear as mud. Trying to put it into a cohesive thing, it sounds like he may’ve attempted to kill himself but for some reason it was an impulsive type thing; he didn’t actually mean to or want to kill himself, he just got seized by some strange madness or whim and slashed his own wrist. And so all the Muroi angst we’ve seen on display has been because he feels that he personally sinned by behaving so cavalierly. This probably sounds really strange, I’ll admit – how on earth does one ever attempt suicide but not actually mean to? But I knew a guy in college who jumped off the roof one night during a party who didn’t mean to attempt suicide; he said afterward that he didn’t understand what had happened, he was standing by the railing and suddenly felt light-headed and had this strange urge to jump off. He’d had a couple of beers, but not enough to be drunk, wasn’t a case where he drunkenly thought he could fly. He just had this bizarre impulse that came over him so quickly he couldn’t shake it off. If I hadn’t known him so well I’d say he was lying after the fact.
To go back slightly, that whole thing comes after Muroi finds that someone’s been rattling around his room while he’s been gone. They leave the door open and the pages scattered, so they’re not making any bones about it; they also have left comments on Muroi’s manuscript. My money is on Sunako as the culprit, for obvious reasons. If it is Sunako, this would be an argument in favor of her being much older than she seems – the kanji used in the comments is too extensive to have been written by someone who really is twelve years old. At the same time, Sunako’s conversations with Muroi previously nag at me as weighing against her as ‘really 700 years old’, as her behavior and statements came across to me much more as a precocious child’s than a loli-vampire who is much older than she appears. But, hey, guess she could’ve been acting…
Anyway, despite the fact that we start with Muroi walking out on Ozaki (and, uh, the fact that I just went on about Muroi for my opening four paragraphs), the episode was much more about Ozaki. He finally tries to get the villagers to act, but he basically missed the boat when he shot down Ikumi several episodes ago, as the villagers he tries to tell ignore him or yell at him and stomp away.
This is actually a good deal of why the episode was frustrating – because Ozaki himself was hitting against a million different ways in which any efforts he makes at this point are useless. He was frustrated, so the viewer was as well. Even with Natsuno telling him at the end that he’s not alone in his awareness of the shiki, everything is looking pretty hopeless. Mrs. Kirishiki more or less taunted him when he visited the public office by telling him that she’s into gnawing on young people.
This episode also featured the worst funeral ever, followed immediately by the most awkward funeral ever. Wow, the shiki funeral home is horrible. I cringed so badly during it, and it was just a fictitious, anime funeral! I know that the town is emptying out and everyone is desperate, etc., but you’d think that Tatsumi could’ve used a better shiki to run the damn place, not some circus performer-type. Of course, even with how terrible that funeral was, Kyouko’s was definitely more uncomfortable, as Muroi officiates after having seen poor Kyouko’s corpse and angrily abandoned Ozaki.
Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that VucubCaquix’s waifu makes an appearance in a maid’s uniform. Ozaki’s mother gets bitched out in this scene by one of the nurse’s, which was a truly welcome development. This nurse then resigns from the clinic, although in her case it may be simply that she is moving away! Hooray! Someone may live! She’d angrily told Mama Ozaki that she could easily get a job elsewhere, so it doesn’t matter what she thinks of her or if she tells Ozaki to get rid of her. I’ll cross my fingers and not believe that anyone at all could escape, but its nice to dream nonetheless.
The next episode preview seems to indicate that Akira will be our next main-ish character bitten after he gets in way over his head. Sunako is also shown actually biting someone, and there’s a brief flash of her almost getting staked, presumably immediately after she rises up, as she is garbed in burial attire. She is also shown biting another person while in her burial wear. Of course, knowing last week’s preview versus this week’s content, who the hell knows if this means we’ll actually get told anything of substance?
By the way, Natsuno has a tail now. Hmm. Well. Ok. I guess vampires and werewolves really are in now. But he hasn’t made his presence known to the Kirishiki or all their pals yet; he even avoids seeing Tohru, although he does watch Tohru leave flowers at his window. Oh, Tohru, you BL-bait, you.
Tohru is also shown biting someone in the preview. Maybe he’ll stop crying everywhere now. It’d be a welcome change of pace!
I’m getting a bit worried about runtime at this point. There are only seven episodes left, and Shiki has been a fairly slow-paced show all along, so I’m concerned about how they’re going to be able to fit it all in. If this weren’t showing in the noitaminA block, I would be wondering if this meant there was a second season lurking in the woodwork. It isn’t unprecedented to have sequels to noitaminA shows, but it isn’t common. There are only two noitaminA shows that have run for more than half a season, and these are also the only two which got sequels: Honey and Clover, and Nodame Cantabile. These shows also had/have a wider appeal than Shiki does, quite frankly. Maybe it could get a sequel. But I’m not expecting one; I can already tell you that if it does get one, it certainly isn’t surfacing any time soon – the shows for this block for the coming winter season are Fractale and Hourou Musuko.
Wrapping up, it looks like all of you are, sadly, going to miss out on the big suicide post I was going to do after digesting this episode some more, as we got precious little in the way of additional knowledge about Muroi’s suicide attempt. I was looking forward to analyzing how they depicted it and discussing the plausibility of the manner in which he attempted it (e.g. cutting his wrist the wrong way). Lest I sound totally deranged, I did minor in psychology in college and did an independent research project on suicide… actually, that probably makes me sound more deranged. Well, at least it indicates I speak with some legit knowledge on the topic, I suppose.
And, finally: if you are reading the manga or the novels, and are ahead of where the show is, please don’t talk about what you know in the comments. I don’t like being spoiled, and I suspect that many of my readers don’t either.
Ok, time to watch Kuragehime. Oh, no, she’s wearing make-up in a bunch of the screen-shots!!! Am I about to have a ragefest? I fucking hate make-up!
EDIT: Is it just me, or have my episode posts for this show started really sprawling to ridiculous lengths? Oops.
EDIT 2: Damn, I completely forgot to mention this: people have been speculating about Shiki being anti-modern, given its harsh depiction of Natsuno’s parents and of the more modern-acting characters in general. However, watching this episode, I would really argue that Shiki is critical of ignoring evidence and blindly going along with things, as we get a small monologue from one of the minor characters about how they’re modern and don’t believe in vampires and mystical stuff… even though Ozaki has pointed up evidence and offered to present more. Or, perhaps better put, Shiki is critical of inaction. The village itself is depicted in fairly unflattering terms despite all of its wonderful traditional-ness, so this isn’t quite an ode to tradition and the old-fashioned life. Essentially, failure to act is bad regardless of whether it comes from a conservative or liberal belief-set. Natsuno’s parents don’t marry and remain in college even though his mother is pregnant and gives birth to Natsuno; they fail to react, really. The villagers stick their heads in the sand and whistle away while everyone is being slaughtered around them; they fail to react.
I’ve gone over 1500 words, otherwise I’d explicate a bit more on this… this freaking post is just too damn long at this point.