The end is nigh! Time to speculate wildly!
As a former religion student (and, hopefully, a future one), it seems fitting to draw a title from Matthew’s Apocalypse in a post theorizing about how Shiki will be ending. And drawing on a text which speaks of a violent confrontation to come as the end of time (although it is worth noting that the full verse states that the end will not come immediately following these wars and rumors of, but rather a bit after that) – Shiki’s gone into full-violence mode, after all, and I hardly see it coming out of that for the endings. No, I think it is fairly safe to say that the end will be bloody and unpleasant, although it remains to be seen who will truly triumph, if anyone. I lean toward no one emerging victorious at this point given the unraveling of any civility that truly emerged in episode twenty.
Not knowing what will happen as always has not prevented me from making guesses, and those guesses have spiraled a bit out of control. I also find that I have an unwillingness to commit to any one in particular, although I do prefer some over others. But Shiki’s done a great job of throwing the audience off balance, so it isn’t as tempting as it could be to point to one thing and say “This! This is how it’ll end!” If anything, it seems safer not to, since the best chance is that the show’ll make the guess seem pretty stupid after the fact.
But, again, not that this has stopped me from waxing endlessly about how it could end. So I’ve decided to gather all these theories up and make a post out of it. See? This is why I have a blog!
So, in no particular order at all:
1. Everyone will die except for Muroi, who’ll live in a hut, be sad a lot, and try to warn others away from having a fate like Sotoba’s.
I kind of went away from this for a few episodes, but I’m back thinking this is a distinct possibility. After all, if he didn’t die in episode twenty after all the damage he took in nineteen, then he probably isn’t going to. His scenes in nineteen also seemed to have a finality about them, and yet he isn’t dead. So I feel comfortable putting my money on him as managing to survive the proceedings, blood-stained next-episode preview be damned. In fact, that preview fuels this particular theory any more – I’m pretty sure that’s Sunako he’s dragging up the hill in the suitcase, so he’s more or less running away from the madness of Sotoba, even if only to sit on top of a hill to wait it out.
The village is also poised to tear each other to shreds at this point, and Ozaki’s about to lose control of the entire affair in favor of the impassioned and blood-lustful Ookawa, so its very easy to see the village utterly destroying itself. It also would be keeping in line with the show’s overall message – life sucks, humans suck, and even the better ones amongst them cannot make any actual difference.
And, let’s face it – there’s something cruelly ironic about the suicidal guy being the one to survive. Given Shiki’s taste for the cruel, it wouldn’t seem at all out of place.
2. Shiki is actually just a novel Muroi is writing.
Ultimate troll move. I’d rage, depending on the circumstances. I’d probably rage less if…
3. Shiki is actually just a novel Muroi is writing, in which he is giving form to his discontent with Sotoba.
Muroi hates Sotoba. This isn’t exactly an obscure fact at this point, even if he wants to be vague and in denial about it. He also writes horror novels which reflect a lot of the crap inside his head. I can’t see him ever directly harming anyone or anything himself, but I also wouldn’t put it past him to fantasize and be so passive-aggressive about it. Would probably be irritating but wouldn’t be distonal overall.
4. Shiki is actually just a novel Muroi is writing, in which he is giving form to his discontent with Sotoba. It is also a suicide note; a big ‘fuck you’ to Sotoba, if you will.
Basically, same as above, except Muroi kills himself after finishing it, and the final few minutes of the episode are him settling the papers together and slashing his wrists again or something similar. I wouldn’t be altogether quite thrilled with such a revelation, but I also wouldn’t find it jarring or necessarily a bad way to end it. In fact, I may go so far to say I may even like it.
5. Shiki is actually just Muroi’s fever dream as he lays dying from suicide.
Either his hallucination after his first attempt except he’s actually successful in his first attempt, or he’s made a second attempt and is now hallucinating as he dies.
As with the above few, it wouldn’t be a total change in overall tone. And I would probably like it if they handled it decently, although not as much as I could like option number four. But he does have to die in order for any of these varieties (e.g. Muroi tries to kill himself ones) to be at all satisfying. No princes on white horses (even those named Ozaki) apply.
6. Shiki is actually Muroi writing about the events of what happened in Sotoba, albeit disguising it as a work of fiction/disguising at as a fictionalization of that time Sotoba went fucking insane.
So! It did all happen. So, uh, really just an idea about the final five minutes of the final episode if we get an epilogue.
7. Shiki is actually Muroi writing about the events of what happened in Sotoba as he’s dying.
So, warning note, yes, Muroi alive, no. Maybe he’s dying of starvation as a shiki. Or maybe he’s just bleeding to death. Or he’s years removed from it, old, and everyone thinks he’s crazy, and he’s dying of old age. Who knows. He drops the pen when he finishes, though.
8. Sotoba lights itself on fire, everyone dies.
Mainly influenced by the scene of everyone getting eaten by a firestorm in the second OP. However, also inspired by the desire of the villagers to burn the bodies of the shiki they’ve killed. Ozaki does deter them, pointing out that the fire department will come, but Ozaki is also losing control of the situation. Mobs love fire. I vote for them lighting shit on fire and soon, regardless of whether they actually all die because of it.
9. The humans win, but they’ve lost their humanity in the process.
Seems like the most likely at the moment. The shiki are doing very, very badly after all – a third of them have been hunted down, after all, and daylight is about to come at the end of twenty. At the end of twenty, though, the murder of a human definitely makes the possibility that they will wholly lose their humanity certain, regardless of the ultimate outcome.
10. The final showdown is between Ozaki and Muroi, with Ozaki trying to kill Sunako. Muroi dies.
I think there is a strong case for the idea that the pair cannot coexist.
10. The final showdown is between Ozaki and Muroi, with Ozaki trying to kill Sunako. Muroi dies. Ozaki snaps. Sunako and Tatsumi hit the road.
In this case, Sunako survives. Ozaki is utterly broken, hence Sunako’s survival. She and Tatsumi escape, and start over elsewhere. But they don’t try to convert a village again. Instead, they move from place to place passing themselves off as father and daughter, going elsewhere when they can no longer cover up the fact that they don’t age.
Sotoba is more or less ruined, but those that survive largely return to normal living and lapse into their former less savory qualities, e.g. a tendency to ignore bad news. Ozaki, meanwhile, gets no thanks for it all and gets scapegoated for the violence it all ended with. He also spends the rest of his life insane.
11. The entire show is just Sunako writing a novel from her hospital bed. She’s actually a terminally ill child.
Probably belongs in the category below. But I feel like its just within the limits of plausibility. Perhaps she’s even actually a real-life fan of Muroi’s novels, so its a strange form of fanfiction which she is penning.
I think that about covers my legitimate theories. Now, for some epileptic trees:
1. Muroi’s actually been dead the whole time and this is really Jigoku Shoujo season four.
Come on, folks, there’s a reason he’s wearing that black kimono! And it ain’t ’cause he’s a priest. He’s more or less the worst priest ever at the moment, after all.
2. Muroi will die in the end, and be punished for catalyzing Sotoba’s destruction by having to pick either everyone going to hell, himself included, or taking on the mantle of the Jigoku Shoujo for all of eternity.
Similar to the above. If Sotoba gets lit on fire, my money is on this one. Muroi would probably do decently as the Jigoku Shoujo because he’d have to do it! Everyone would just be making all the decisions, anyway, he’d only be following what these decisions were. Good for such a passive sop.
3. The whole story is actually Chizuru’s novel.
So she gets staked – so what? From my own experience, it isn’t unheard of for author’s to write themselves in some form into their stories but then either make that character suffer or die. Chizuru is just Stephanie Meyer with darker inclinations; instead of having sparkle-vamps, she’s got vicious ones who can’t abide the sunlight. She’s Shirley Jackson for a new generation.
This would actually be kind of an exciting option to me, even if it does render everyone in the story essentially null and void.
Other possibility? She’s neither Meyer nor Jackson, but is an Anne Rice – Sunako is based on her own dead daughter, much like Claudia of Interview with the Vampire was based on Rice’s daughter.
4. Shiki is Muroi’s ravings from inside a mental institution.
He thinks it all really happened. Ozaki is actually his doctor, with whom he has a contentious relationship, and whom he thinks has betrayed him.
5. Shiki is Megumi’s fantasy borne from her daydreams about the Kirishiki.
Megumi really hates Sotoba. But those Kirishiki moved in, they’re from the city, they should be cool and exciting! She starts fantasizing about them at the point in episode one where she climbs the hill to meet them – from then on, its purely inside her head. She’s not crazy, doesn’t actually think its happening. Its just her exciting idea about it all.
In actuality, the Kirishiki family is a normal one, although Chizuru is still fun enough to warrant Megumi wanting to hang out with her since they both like fashion and aren’t crazy about the hinterlands.
6. Tatsumi is a pedophile fantasizing about his employers’ daughter. He’s deluded himself into believing she’s actually a vampire, so she’s not really underage.
Haha. That kind of says it all! The whole story is actually Tatsumi’s daily delusions about the true nature of the family for whom he works. They really are in Sotoba, and Sunako has had poor health in the past, but the vampire stuff and the reason for why they’re in Sotoba is completely in his head.
Ok, so most of my theories have to do with Muroi… in my defense, as Caraniel and I have made note of on several occasions, its easy to speculate about Muroi since he himself is so vague and noncommittal, and we’ve gotten very little clarity about much to do with him (most notably his suicide attempt). At the same time, he also is shaping up to being a linchpin for the end given his proximity to Sunako and his assigned task of keeping her safe.
…and, in my not-defense, yeah… he’s my favorite character. Although I’ve really come to adore Megumi as well. And Sunako is definitely a fascinating one, and one whom I enjoy watching on-screen. Tatsumi still sucks, though.