Shiki Episode Nineteen

Its a long way from Wonderland…

We’re still three episodes from the end, but I’m going to take a risk and call Shiki a good show. I say that because of the way episode nineteen left me feeling – all stirred up and, well, bothered. I have become deeply invested in these characters, even those who haven’t had very much screentime; they’ve just done a very good job of making these characters human, managing to create complex and sympathetic characters even in those who have been but light sketches (the woman in this episode who is harboring her shiki mother, for instance). I know at this point that, regardless of how the shows ends, I will be unhappy in some way – not at the quality of the ending, but at the emotion it will invoke. And, by now, it cannot invoke anything but a sadness for whatever happens.

I appreciated how this episode demonstrated that Megumi, for all of her immaturity, is also fairly competent, as she made Masao realize how clearly wrong-headed any idea to simply ditch Sotoba is. She’s certainly smarter than Natsuno, the last person who suggested trying to run away from the village. And although we did get one wistful “Yuuki-kun~!” moment from her this episode, she’s doing just fine even thinking that Natsuno is dead for real. You can’t accuse this girl of being stupid.

Speaking of young ladies, Kaori gets some much-needed backbone this episode. I think part of it from how far driven to the edge she’s been, as it is her father she attacks, but its an unbelievable relief to watch her cease her inaction.

Rolling along with these young women… well, alright, so Sunako only looks that way. But we’re seeing more of her in her leadership role. Its interesting to see the contrast of herself and Tatsumi; Tatsumi looks fairly happy to go forth and cause all the chaos she orders him to perform, but she cries for Chizuru after he departs. Yet when Muroi asks her something, she wipes those tears away so fast, turns right around, and I doubt Muroi (who is in the process of dying, I might add) had any idea that she was sad about it.

I think this is also another one of those scenes that demonstrates fairly well that shipping Muroi and Sunako doesn’t really make sense. And, no, I’m not trying to find evidence for such a thing because I’m a BL fan, either. Sunako very clearly regards Muroi the way a mother or an older sister regards a child. If one goes back to re-watch the much earlier scenes between the two, the change in one’s perception of their dynamics is fairly striking. Sunako finds Muroi to be interesting, yes, but her comment that he is a romantic continues to echo. To Sunako, Muroi is a very, very young man.

I sort of wonder if Muroi may not come back at all after all. I know we see him shiki-fied in the second OP, but, well, it wouldn’t really shock me. His conversation with Sunako just seemed so final. He talks about his book not getting to be published because by then both he and the village will be… its a statement he doesn’t finish, but it doesn’t take much to fill it in – dead. Sunako also says that she had someone steal the manuscript after Muroi came to Kanemasa because she wanted to read it to the end no matter what. Muroi also realizes that he may have an intent to kill toward Sotoba, given his going to the shiki willingly.

Its a losing game to predict anything with Shiki at all… but it felt like there was a finality to it. Shots from the next episode preview do show him alive, but Sunako is also crying over him, so I think he does die in the next episode, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t get very much screentime otherwise.

I suppose that, in a way, Ozaki and Muroi can’t really continue to both live, either as humans or shiki. Ozaki is the doctor, the one who preserves the village and its people; Muroi is the priest, the one who ushers them into their afterlives. It may be impossible for them to coexist.

Sorry, I’m just feeling very stirred up by all of this. I feel kind of silly for feeling that way, as it is, ultimately, fiction, but there it is regardless. The story can only have a sad end. I just hope that it can have an end that feels real as opposed to hurried and invented (given that there is so little time left). I just don’t want the end to ruin the rest of it.

As for the end… well, it still looks very much up in the air as to who triumphs – shiki or human, although I wonder if either side can at all given all that has already happened. Some of the villagers in this episode displayed an unwillingness to get involved because of personal weakness (let’s cal the police!) or because a loved one of theirs may’ve risen up, so I expect this to become more of an issue next week. Three episodes; I hope they can do it right.

REMINDER: ANY SPOILERS POSTED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION WILL BE DELETED WITHOUT QUESTION OR WARNING. THIS INCLUDES ANYTHING REGARDING DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MANGA AND THE ANIME.

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25 Responses to Shiki Episode Nineteen

  1. Ida says:

    At this point in time I honestly have no idea how it is going to proceed. Personally, though, I don’t think that Seishin will die. We saw him turning into corpse in the first OP, too, but I just don’t think it will happen. He is too precious to Sunako for her to kill him off completely, especially with the chance that he might not come back. The villagers… here I think Ozaki would find a way for villagers to spare him if he is still human.

    But what I can see happening, though, is Seishin being the one to kill Sunako, out of kindness…

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Its an interesting idea, Muroi being Sunako’s killer. I think it is a plausible prediction, too.

      As for Sunako not killing him off… well, she tells him that what she’s doing to him is horrible. This could be taken simply as taking him in and not just telling him, no, he’s better amongst the humans, but given his current condition it seems more likely that she’s been feeding on him. Tatsumi’s request for blood, after all, comes off as him asking for the first time, not just business as usual.

      Anyway, trying to predict Shiki is an eminently amusing parlor game, but every time any of us do it it seems we are so far off the mark.

  2. nazarielle says:

    Megumi never fails to deliver. I kept begging her, “PLEASE KICK HIM” and whaddaya know, Megumi delivers. ❀

    I was also glad to see Kaori react in a much less pathetic way this episode. Silly girl, don't just give up on life and dig your own grave, fight back! And damn, if she stakes her dad, that's another huge plus.

    I just don’t want the end to ruin the rest of it.

    I hear you there. Although I wouldn’t say it hasn’t been a bit sketchy at times, it’s been an overall enjoyable ride. I’d hate for something really bizarre to happen at the end and ruin the whole thing.

    Ozaki is the doctor, the one who preserves the village and its people; Muroi is the priest, the one who ushers them into their afterlives. It may be impossible for them to coexist.

    I don’t think it’s impossible for them to coexist, but that does raise a really interesting contradiction. They’re best friends, but their life’s focus is on polar opposite ideas. Although, you do have to accept that people do die and so having both a doctor and a priest that are close is, I think, a nice combination. The doctor heals the body and eases the pain of living, the priest heals the soul and guides it to rest. Of course, Ozaki would have to put aside his completely irrational belief of “if anyone in the village dies it’s a shame on my family!” but that’s neither here nor there, since it’s completely and utterly stupid to believe such a thing.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Yeah, keep an eye out for my Muroi vs. Ozaki post. They’ve got a lot of parallels, either in the direct correlation way or the inverse correlation way. Its only gotten more interesting with the passage of time… but I think I’ll have to wait until its all over before doing anything.
      Of course, having Ozaki and Muroi land on opposite sides and have that end up being such a significant plot-point is so lovely for the BL shippers… πŸ˜‰
      Kaori has managed to seriously improve her stock with a mere three-ish minutes of screentime. Amazing.

  3. Clinton says:

    I agree with Masao if i was one of them i would bolt out of the village
    if i was Yoshie or Tatsumi I would bolt out of the village and live a normal human life because they don’t have to drink blood (creeps)

  4. Sebz says:

    while character development is so good that even the minors stood out, it’s kind of hard to manage a large cast, and it’d be hard for viewers to forget them.

    I think Seishin is the most complex, though. Correct me if I’m mistaken.
    But…yeah, I can’t see him getting shipped with Sunako, either. In relation to Ozaki…so it’s like they are embodiments of science and religion, which can coexist, right?

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Its interesting that you say that Seishin is the most complex, as he hasn’t had nearly as much screentime as some of the other characters, but I would definitely agree with you. They’ve made good use of the times he has appeared.
      I’m not sure I’d call the two the embodiments of religion and science, honestly. I don’t think I’d call them the embodiments of anything, exactly. Maybe the closest to embodiments would be of mercy and justice? Hard to say.

  5. Shinmaru says:

    Oh man, when Kaori was getting ready to attack, I KNEW it would be someone close to her, and I was hoping the whole time that it wouldn’t be a freshly-Risen Akira. How depressing would THAT have been?! (I’m terrible at remembering the dates in this show … I don’t think it’s been three days since Akira was attacked, right?)

    • Clinton says:

      we don’t know if Akira is dead

      Natsuno meeting with Tatsumi implied to me he was okay (the manga has not even said if Akira is okay or not so i really don`t know) but i bet he is okay

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Yeah, I think it was her dad. But that’s still pretty shitty, too.
      As for Akira… yeah, I’m going with him being dead since we haven’t seen him at all, and Tatsumi’s comment to Natsuno came off as fairly threatening. I don’t think he was asking where he really was at all; he knows EXACTLY where he is, but knows Natsuno doesn’t, so… fuck, I hate Tatsumi!

  6. Caraniel says:

    Its so difficult to predict Shiki, but thats one of the main reasons why I love this show so much – its refreshing when a series can conistently surprise you.

    The increasing polarisation of Muroi and Ozaki has been really interesting – where Ozaki has been getting more and more into his role as the protector of the village, Muroi has abandoned it and is actually assisting in its downfall (giving his blood to Tatsumi to allow him to power up – wtf Seishin?); and where Ozaki is doing all in his power to stay alive, Muroi in all his self-destructive glory, has willingly knocked on death’s door.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      I may actually be a bit disappointed if Muroi doesn’t die, oddly enough. I just feel like its the only way he’ll be happy or have any resolution. Which is also why a part of me still thinks there remains a tiny possibility that everyone manages to die except for him, and then he’s the sad man in the hut citing the Sotoba example to others.
      Honestly, I feel like I shouldn’t like Ozaki OR Muroi at all these days, but it speaks to the anime’s quality that I haven’t turned against either of them despite their less savory aspects. Ozaki’s staking of his wife and entrapment of Chizuru truly disturb me; Muroi’s wishy-washyness is truly maddening. And yet I’m still big on both of them.
      I think I kind of want a cathartic moment between them, now that I think on it. Maybe Ozaki can find Muroi right before Muroi dies and we can get an angsty-tragic-serious scene between the two. And, yeahhh, so maybe that’s the BL fan in me partly, but I also would enjoy it in a more general sense.
      Damn, I think this fucking thing is gonna make me cry before it ends…

      • Caraniel says:

        Ooh I can completely see that angsty reunion between Ozaki and Muroi! In my head its a teary scene fueled by Ozaki not wanting to be left all alone (wife dead, mother a bitch, staff all dead – Seishin is his only real friend left no matter how troubled the monk is) and yeah that can be seen as quite BL, but it would kind of fit in the series.

        I also know what you mean by being frustrated/disturbed by aspects of Muroi & Ozaki’s character, yet still really liking the two of them. Its testament to how well Shiki built its characters up, that when it gives them traits that should be an immediate turn off, you can not outright dislike them – the darkness just makes them more interesting!

      • adaywithoutme says:

        I think the scene would be tear-inducing, but not sure the scene itself would be teary – Ozaki may be too far gone himself to get too upset about it. Angry? Maybe, but I don’t see him trying as hard as he may’ve ten episodes ago if Muroi just opts for death. Man, just think of how it could’ve turned out if Ozaki had followed Muroi that time in the cemetery when Muroi almost passed out!
        As for it being BL… hahaha. Damn, this whole show has so much stuff just waiting to be read into that non-BL fans are saying its BL! And enjoying those aspects. Good job, Shiki.

      • Caraniel says:

        Now, see I can see Ozaki completely cracking in the right situation – the man has to be pushing down a whole truckload of negative emotions, and since the inner fangirl has decided that Ozaki & Muroi are clearly destined for each other, I kind of think seeing Muroi at deaths door would be enough for Ozaki’s mask of professionality to shatter πŸ˜€

        I think I just have a soft spot for Ozaki if I’m honest! πŸ˜†

      • adaywithoutme says:

        Uh oh, is someone an Ozaki fangirl?
        Hmm, I don’t know… He just seems so far gone, and we’ve never really seen him display anything other than frustration/anger during moments of weakness.
        On the other hand, I would agree that Ozaki and Muroi are destined for each other… although I think they may simply be destined to destroy each other in some form or another.
        I’d really like to know if Ozaki knows about Muroi’s suicide attempt.

      • Caraniel says:

        I think wordpress on my phone ate my comment! πŸ˜†

        Anyway – I think I probably am an Ozaki fangirl, I certainly like him a lot more than the other cast members. Much as I love going off on wild tangents about Muroi, I prefer Ozaki as a character.

        I can see what you mean about the two being destined for destruction (but then again everyone in Shiki seems to be heading that way!).

        Also, interesting point about Muroi’s suicide attempt. I had kind of decided that Ozaki did know, but it would be very interesting indeed if he didn’t!

      • adaywithoutme says:

        Uh oh, if I prefer Muroi as a character, does this mean we’re gonna end up on different sides when vampires invade the blogosphere?!?!
        I tend to think he doesn’t know… it just seems a safer assumption, in a way. They’ve been so secretive about the circumstances and everything, after all. I guess I’m just unwilling to make assumptions like that about the damn show given its willingness to troll us!
        Although it is true that Shiki is setting everyone up for doom and sadness, I do think that Muroi and Ozaki as a pair in particular have been so – just the way they’ve been positioned as parallels and then as polar opposites. It isn’t just with their actions during the show, after all – they’re both only children, and have incapacitated/dead fathers, for instance.

  7. I need to stop reading blog posts about this series. I plan to watch this series. Still, here I am, continuously reading (and paying extremely close attention to) every blog post I see about the series.

    And it always sounds so good. So it’s definitely something I’ll try to watch very soon.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      You really should check it out – if you’re in the US, its streaming on Hulu for free. Its the first anime I’ve really gotten so absorbed by in a long while.

  8. Jack says:

    I’m not sure how I’ve arrived at this position, but I sincerely hope that Ozaki is dead by the end of this series. His unforgivable crimes put him beyond saving in my eyes, and he’s certainly acted as monstrously as any shiki.

    On an unrelated note, I have so some bones to pick with the 1st Shiki OP, as it appears to be have been filled with spoilers. That wasn’t cool.

    • Caraniel says:

      It’s only spoilery in hindsight though – at the time we all just thought it was pretty arty and tried to interpret what it could possibly be hinting at.

      • adaywithoutme says:

        I also didn’t think it was hyper-spoilery because at the time I made no assumptions that everyone who got their skin blasted off was going to die. Also, not everyone who did has – Kaori and Ozaki, for instance, remain amongst the living. They still could, yes, but I wouldn’t assume that they will, so in that regard it wouldn’t count as a spoiler exactly even if they did end up dead.
        The first OP also made us think that Tohru’s siblings were actually going to factor in somehow, and I can’t even remember when we exactly saw them last. I think it was the episode Masao got attacked in? Who knows.

      • Jack says:

        I thought they the OP and the fate’s of the characters might be connected around episode 10. Arguably since a lot of characters in the show die (I had to avoid writing “bite the dust”) it could well be a massive coincidence.

        Then again I apparently invest too much time into decoding OP’s so it’s probably my own fault anyway.

        @adaywithoutme

        Ozaki didn’t get “de-skinned” in the 1st OP, I believe.

      • adaywithoutme says:

        Went back and watched it – you’re right, he did not get skeletized in the first OP, although his soul does depart his body in the second. Granted, so does Mr. Kirishiki’s and I don’t see that happening at all. And then Kaori is still living and breathing, too.
        I will note that Tohru’s family is still amongst the living despite his siblings losing their skin in the first OP. After all, Tohru states that he only attacks Natsuno to keep his family safe and tells Muroi later on that he only keeps on attacking to keep his family safe and because of his own hunger.
        I think its just dangerous to read too much into things with Shiki given its willingness to troll us.

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