DON’T TURN AROUND (WOO AH WOO)/DER KOMMISSARS IN TOWN (WOO AH WOO)
So! More Shiki manga this week, and, geez, it certainly seems to be moving pretty fast! And that’s even as we are getting a lot more details than the anime could grant us. It is amazing to see the difference between one’s reading speed versus the speed of an episode. I suppose maybe I read too quickly?
This set of chapters starts off with a splash page after my own heart, as it features Muroi. The paragraph written there is really striking to me, in large part since it is unclear who is speaking. Here is the full bit:
I feel that what Seishin meant at that time was not in the result of the action but in the action itself. I can only think that it was “I wanted to die.” but “Let’s die together.”
Is the person who is speaking the one he wanted to die with? Is it a third-person perspective, and the person who was meant to be part of the “together” someone else entirely?
Or we could go completely in the direction of speculation, and resurrect the Abel and Cain thing, along with what we know of the plot of the book Muroi is working on. In the manga, we haven’t gotten around to Muroi’s Abel and Cain discussion with Sunako, so I’m admittedly reaching into the future as far as manga chronology is concerned. And, now, for spoilers for the end of the anime, so stop reading if you haven’t finished it yet.
So, in one of the final episodes, Muroi admits that he did want to die. He also tells Sunako about how the novel ‘Shiki’ is supposed to progress from the point at which he stopped writing it – turns out that the man didn’t actually kill his younger brother. He thought he did, but his younger brother was really just himself. So it was himself that he killed.
It’s pretty obvious that the man in the book is a representation of Muroi. So perhaps the “Let’s die together.” bit is about Muroi wanting to kill the less savory part of himself – but it isn’t possible to kill off that part without killing the whole. So it isn’t that he himself wanted to die; there was just no other way.
Anyway. I’ll be able to get back to all of this again in the future, I’m sure. At the very least, when episodes 20.5 and 21.5 come out later this year, I’ll probably be re-watching the whole show, and I’ll have the whole scene of Muroi talking about the planned end of his book fresh in my mind for splicing. These last few paragraphs were probably a bit hard to follow.
One last note on this, though: “Let’s die together.” versus “I wanted to die.” I’ll just mention, as I have before, that actual death is actually more commonly not the goal when a person attempts suicide. The goal, rather, is to make the pain stop. There is a lack of permanency to the entire thing; it’s more like being able to take a nap for a few years and wake up feeling refreshed.
Ritsuko was definitely a bit suspicious in the anime, but her suspicion seems clearer here and more ever-present, as she and Ozaki both pull similar faces when Setsuko talks about dreaming about Nao talking to her. Its so frustrating watching Ozaki struggle with the knowledge of what is going on and trying to make a difference, but never turning to his staff after he realizes what is going on. Good lord, you’ve got a potential ally right there, Ozaki! Use your damn resources!
But, hey, I’m sure you and your suicidal childhood friend can solve it all on your own!
Speaking of the childhood friend, Muroi suggests after Setsuko is killed that they take care of the risen right away, something that was not included in the anime. The chapter ends with Ozaki howling in frustration, and then the narrative switches back to Natsuno, so we don’t know yet why they don’t deal with the matter right away. However, even not knowing why yet, that they won’t coupled with the obvious fact that Ritsuko really thinks something is up puts Ozaki in a much less heroic light than he had been in the anime. And we haven’t even gotten to Ikumi yet!
Natsuno’s parents are retarded. I still find his mother’s indulgence toward creepy-ass Shizuka baffling – the kid is being a little brat, tell her to go the fuck home! Who cares if she’s a little kid? A brat is a brat, and they’ll never change if you’re nice to them like that. And, hey – she’s a vampire! So now she’s going to be a little bitch for all of eternity! Shit, is there anything worse than an immortal spoiled brat?
I still hate Masao. But the circumstances of his death are sad. No one notices, and he is completely powerless to stop himself even as he opens the window for his attacker. Its also fairly clear that his hang-up is that he feels like he doesn’t matter to anyone; I doubt his lonesome death did anything to help with that. So he’s a pretty easy mark for Tatsumi when he wakes up – all Tatsumi has to do is tell him that he’s special and that he’s one of his comrades, and its all sparkles and tears of joy from Masao.
Tatsumi’s introduction of the vampire life to Masao also adds a crucial bit of information – the shiki need human blood. This wasn’t previously clear, and I’ve had back and forths with folks about whether it had to be human or not. No snacking on rats here.
Natsuno’s dad is just too over-the-top. I can’t take him seriously as a real character. It’s the one glaring spot where I feel like his behaviors are just too extreme and not at all justified enough. Ok, so you don’t like religion. Alright. But going into your son’s room and ripping it all down? That doesn’t seem like a great way of addressing the matter. It’s too knee-jerk. I mean, I get that they’re supposed to be hippy-dippy liberals (in the American sense), but its too cartoonish. Maybe they get some better fleshing out later.
Moving along, Tohru is really fucking nice to Megumi considering that she killed him. Yes, they’re all sort of forced to work together, but, for instance, Megumi isn’t nice at all to Masao. So he doesn’t have to be pleasant with her; he could be a whole lot nastier to her without stepping over the line.
Oh, and apparently Tohru is gentle when he bites. So, he’s got a kink, but he’s pretty vanilla about it. Good to know.
Keep an eye out for Caraniel’s post when it goes up!
Also: reading Shiki when listening to Lady Gaga is really weird. Would probably be less-so if Mrs. Kirishiki would make an appearance. Someone needs to make an AMV of that woman to Lady Gaga music.