Shiki Episode Twenty-Two

The rest is silence.

Well. Everything did catch on fire, after all, so I at least got that right.

Its funny how viscerally I feel a hatred for Sotoba now. I realized that I felt that way as the episode progressed, and I found myself wishing more and more fervently for everyone to die and the place to burn completely to ashes. I hated the town, I hated the villagers. What a miserable place, what terrible people.

Anyway, I’ll hold off on really going into the way the people were, etc. in my series review post, as what I’d like to say on that in particular goes beyond the scope of this post itself. I need some time to sit and mull over it all a bit before I do that post.

They didn’t all die, which was a bit disappointing. However, as I noted in my post on twenty-one, I’ve been reading ‘Salem’s Lot, which was a big influence on Fuyumi Ono’s writing Shiki at all, so it didn’t surprise me when the remaining villagers did survive; the prologue of that book basically gives away the ending to it all – at least some of the villagers in that one survive and are traumatized. But some of them do, indeed, survive. Which, when I read it, made me a little annoyed since it led me to believe that a lot of the villagers from Sotoba would survive.

So, the only shiki who survive are Sunako and Muroi. I’m actually irritated that Muroi ended up being a jinrou – it felt cheap for them to note in the very last episode that jinrou don’t actually fully expire and take three days to rise up like the other shiki. I also found it a bit cheap that Muroi ended up dying from a gaping stomach wound and yet still became a jinrou anyway; shouldn’t it be that the shiki would have to kill you for that to work? Ah well… nitpicking.

Speaking of things that annoyed me (geez, I’m on a roll)… Sunako’s the old, powerful vampire, and yet she needs a man to rescue her? Bah.

Did anyone take any notice of the stained glass windows in the church? A few of them were rather strangeĀ  for a church – one was of a samurai with a sword, an odd subject for a Christian church’s windows. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t stained glass windows featuring people with swords; there are. But a samurai with a sword? Its a curious choice, particularly given its placement within the church, which is a prominent one.

The violence in this episode was… well. It isn’t as if Shiki hasn’t been a violent series, but Megumi’s death was fairly astoundingly graphic. I was really upset with what happened with her; I really wanted her to escape, although I knew she wouldn’t, honestly. Her desire to get to the city, and her last rant against the villagers… she got a lot more of a death scene than most of the characters who died did. It really reminded one that Megumi was just a teenaged girl – yeah, one with the power to suck blood, but she was still a teenaged girl. She still just wanted to get the hell out of Sotoba, same thing as when she was alive. How can one begrudge her that?

And she was right, too – Sotoba was a horrible little place. That they crushed her head with a tractor after she said that basically proved it, even if she was a shiki. They knew who she was, she even conversed with them; the other death scenes were fairly rapid and so were impersonal in a sense.

Megumi also highlighted something important: she reminded the villagers of how they’d made fun of her when she was alive. This is of note since it demonstrates that the villagers weren’t quite saints even before they all went into massacre-mode. Now, I’m not saying that the mockery they made of her was on the same scale as killing her. I’m just saying that she’s right in calling them out on their previous cruelties, however small. Because the villagers didn’t just become unpleasant overnight. The poison of the small-town, of humanity itself, was always just a little beneath the surface.

Sorry, I’ll go into this more in my series’ review post, because to go further would be to really go on for a long time. Suffice to say for the moment that I do not think Ono has a good view of humanity carte blanche.

Speaking of Megumi’s death, Tatsumi getting hit by cars and shot multiple times was very difficult to watch. The shooting was one thing, but the shots of him hitting the windshield were truly awful to see. It was akin to watch Megumi being repeatedly hit with the tractors. There’s just something so horrible about watching people hit by vehicles, and that they can get up to be hit again and again was sickening. It didn’t kill them, and so it had to be suffered multiple times. It was truly horrifying, because we all know what should happen when someone is hit with a vehicle. They shouldn’t get up and have to go through it again. It was just too horrible to see. There’s no other way for me to describe it. I can barely even render it in words. ‘Sickening’ and ‘horrible’ are the only descriptors that I feel can fit it. They were so helpless.

Natsuno’s scene convinced me that I would’ve preferred the novel’s version of his portion of the tale, which is to say, I wish he’d just died at the half-way mark. He stuck out like a sore thumb pulling that cold, calculating shounen thing. Folks, he’s fifteen years old. I just can’t take his behavior at face value or seriously at all. Yes, I get that he’s dead, and, yeah, he’s not happy about it. But he just doesn’t act at all his age, and it really stands out when everyone else does (e.g. Megumi, Masao, Tohru, Akira, and Kaori).

I know – I keep saying stuff about what I didn’t like. So I want to stress that I did like the final episode, and I did think it was a ‘good’ ending from the standpoint of quality. But when a person loves something, they are going to be harder on what they disliked than they would with a crappy show like Togainu no Chi or Yosuga no Sora.

Muroi had a pretty fast turn-around from passive to badass given his cleaver attack on Ookawa. I was glad to see Ookawa get it. Does this mean that Muroi is Sunako’s Tatsumi now? I wonder where they’ll go from there. And, yet, I don’t want to know, really. I think its better not to.

By the way, gotta love how Muroi still needs glasses after he becomes a jinrou. Guess even that can’t fix a person’s eyesight, which is kind of funny given that he can now see in the dark.

I think I liked Muroi better before he became a jinrou. Conviction in him seems so strange. I suppose CLAMP convinced me too well in my youth that sad guys are best.

To backtrack slightly, I sort of wonder how Ozaki is after all of it. Its ironic how he and Muroi, in some ways, ended up trading places. Muroi finally broke out of his passivity, whereas Ozaki accepted passivity in exchange for saving Sotoba. I mean that in the context of allowing the mob to run completely crazy. I had expected him to be destroyed by his own mob, honestly, at the end of twenty when Ookawa killed the hypnotized person. But he just gave up on controlling them. I’m actually a bit disappointed in him. If anyone traded their soul utterly, it was Ozaki, really. He gave it all up and the village was utterly destroyed anyway. Where does a person go from there?

I almost had a stroke when they showed Kaori in the hospital room with Akira and Natsuno. My immediate thought was that it was going to turn out that she’d somehow dreamt the whole thing. Oh my hell, would that have been awful!

I’m trying to decide whether Muroi’s conversation with Sunako in the burning building will win the worst time for a conversation in anime award for the year, or if the scene in the first episode of Shinrei Tantei Yakumo will. And Muroi’s is in a pretty interesting tussle with Garterbelt for worst priest of the year award.

No Muroi and Ozaki meet-up, sadly enough for some of us. Dammit. I wish they’d both just died. I wish that everyone had just died. Let it all burn, plow salt into the hills… let it be purified with the blood and ashes of all the sinners. And there are plenty of sinners to do that with.

Well. I feel upset by it all. Not as much as I expected to feel, but fairly unsettle and stirred up nonetheless. If I weren’t planning to do a series review/overview post, then I probably wouldn’t’ve done this post immediately after watching. I would’ve waited for it to settle in a bit and then done my post. But given that I’m doing that other post, I felt inclined to have an immediate-reaction post. But I do feel as if this post is a fair bit scattershot.

Anyway, I didn’t say so on the last post since I figured that people had gotten the message from the previous four or five posts… but, hey, apparently memory is a short, short thing: NO COMMENTS ABOUT THE MANGA – I DO NOT CARE HOW THE MANGA DID IT, WHAT WAS CANONICAL IN THE MANGA, ETC. I WILL BE READING THE MANGA AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED. IF YOUR COMMENT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT THE MANGA, IT WILL BE DELETED IMMEDIATELY. REPEAT VIOLATORS WILL HAVE THEIR IP ADDRESSES PERMANENTLY BANNED FROM COMMENTING. I AM SICK OF THIS CRAP.

In closing, if you watched Shiki and enjoyed it, you may find Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery to be of some interest. It also takes place in a small town, although it does not involve vampires. It does, however, involve a brutal ritualistic occurrence that the purging of the shiki reminded me very heavily of.

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12 Responses to Shiki Episode Twenty-Two

  1. Sebz says:

    samurai on stained glass windows…some sort of reference to Crusaders?

    and you’re right…Sotoba villagers seem that they don’t need Ozaki to supervise over their sick “duties.”

    Same page on the wrryyy of the unfulfilled Ozaki-Muroi meetup.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      The stained glass windows is something I’d like to examine a bit more at some point. I’ll probably roll it into one of my Shiki retrospective posts… hmm… guess I may have to have at least three of those…

  2. Jack says:

    The variety of viewer reactions to this series is perhaps even more interesting than the work itself.

    I just read someone who was “very happy” to see Megumi die in the way she did. To which my immediate reaction is “the person who wrote that must be a pyscho!” considering the director made sure it was extremely brutal, forcing the audience to sympathise with her at that point.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      I’ll admit that I was happy to see what was going to happen to Masao. However, it happened off-screen. I think if it had happened on-screen I wouldn’t’ve had the same sentiment.

  3. Son Gohan says:

    Sunako may be an ancient vampire but please remember that in this show becoming a shiki doesn’t grant you any super-strenght. She is as strong as a little girl!
    I hope that Muroi and Sunako learned their lesson and won’t try to build a shiki village elsewhere.
    I think that to become a shiki you just need to be bitten once, so as to catch the shiki “virus” or whatever that is. Seishin was bitten thrice so that’s acceptable. However it’s a bit too convenient that the monk became a werewolf. It was supposed to be a rare event but 2 werewolves awakened in Sotoba.
    Overall I am satisfied with the ending. Neither faction won completely. The humans are safe but the village is destroyed and two shiki managed to escape.
    Megumi also deserved to die although the method was disgusting. You should remember that she killed Tohru and Kaori’s father only because she thought that they were too close to her beloved Natsuno.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Its true that she is physically weak, but it was kind of annoying regardless. She’s managed to survive upwards of one hundred years through her own efforts, after all.
      There really shouldn’t’ve been two jinrou in Sotoba, as Natsuno just dies for real in the novels. I do think that they revived him in the anime really undermined the impact of Muroi’s rising up as one. This is honestly the only real point of contention I have with the show, ultimately: Natsuno should’ve died. Having him rise up was bad for the show.
      I’m not trying to say that Megumi was a good person or anything. She was really nasty. However, I also really liked Megumi as a character, and would argue that her actions were more a product of her immaturity as opposed to true evil.

  4. Pingback: Shiki 22 – Burnin’ Away « UNMEI KAIHEN

  5. Mystlord says:

    You certainly seem phased by the final episode, mostly because nothing seemed to go the way you wanted it to XP. Write an “alternate ending” fanfic then! That’s why they exist hehe.

    But as for the story itself, I have to agree with your view of Natsuno. I mean his involvement in the story ended up being incredibly limited, just like I feared. And his ultimate purpose was to just add some random thoughts into the show that didn’t really matter, and kill basically every jinrou in the series. Seriously, they couldn’t find a better way to kill them? How the hell did the original novel do it? I really want to read it now…

    Anyway, about Ozaki and Muroi. I find it rather fitting that they never met up. After all, they never really saw eye to eye in the first place. How could Toshio understand Muroi? Considering the character development of each, it’s really impossible. I do consider it a shame though that we never got to see more of the villagers’ thought process. I mean all we got was Ookawa’s little speech thing at the end. Is that it? Is that the best you could do? The villagers feel more like an archetype than an actual organization (if you can call it that). A bit cheap I feel.

    Still more things I want to say, but long comments are really kind of ehh… I ended up giving it a 9/10 for a great storyline and thematic development (also comparing it to all the other animes that I gave a 8/10 to, it just doesn’t fit :P). I think the most polarizing part about Shiki will ultimately be: were the Shiki in the moral right or wrong? Now that would be a juicy discussion šŸ˜›

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Naw, I don’t feel compelled to do an alternate ending one. Those seem kind of cheap in a way, don’t they? As if to say, “HMPH I can do it much better!”
      I was really phased by it, but not because it didn’t go the way I necessarily would’ve liked it to (e.g. everyone dies). The entire thing was just very unsettling, and putting a conclusion on it stirred up a lot of other things rather than putting a book-end on it. Because now that its over, it can be considered as a whole, if that makes sense. I slept pretty poorly because my mind just kept turning it all over and over.
      I didn’t want them to meet up because I was hoping for them to see eye-to-eye. At best, I’d want them to run into each other as the flames closed in, and the two to basically say they don’t get each other.
      It is possible that the additional episodes on the BD releases in May and June will give you a bit more development from the villagers that you desire. This was a matter of pure time constraints, I think – the original novels had 150 named characters in them, so I think that the anime just didn’t really have enough time for all of that, y’know?
      I’m sure you’ll have plenty opportunity to air more of your thoughts/feelings on Shiki on my blog in the near future, as I am about to kill everyone with some truly massive retrospective posts. Actually, I already unleashed the first one. There’s still too much here for me to merely do a series review and be happy with it.

  6. Caraniel says:

    I felt oddly relieved to see Sotoba engulfed in flame – there was a thought of ‘hahaha Day was right!’ there too. But that town was knee deep in blood & corpses, the only thing that could possibly cleanse it was fire.

    Natsuno was indeed the only thing that didn’t really fit right in the finale – his very existence ruined Muroi’s big reveal, and Natsuno basically became a handy plot device to tidy up the loose ends. But that was the only real issue I had with the episode.

    I liked the way the series bookended itself – it opened with a search party in the woods as the villagers banded together to look for Megumi, and this final episode ended with many of those same villagers once again scouring the woods for a little girl…….except this time drenched in blood and out for more.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      I did like how it started with searching for a girl and ended with it, too, even if the girl being searched for was a different one. That, too, and the fact that Megumi was killed by the very people who had originally been part of the search party for her.
      Fucking Natsuno…

  7. foshizzel says:

    Great series, finally got around to finishing it and happy I picked the series up to watch! Ending could have been better but I guess they have plans for other ideas or they just want fans to build their own endings much like Geass…

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