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 strange 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.