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.
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