Hein (fub) wrote,

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Finished series: Shiki

We've finished watching Shiki. My first episode review is here.

A coterie of vampires descends on a sleepy village. There's the usual things about vampires: they can't enter a house unless invited, they die when a stake is run through their hearts, they are afraid of religious symbols and ceremonies, they can't stand the sunlight... And when they bite a human, they can compell him/her to undertake any action they desire. And when a human dies, there's a chance that they will return as a vampire -- apparently that's determined by genetics.

It all starts off with Megumi visiting the house on the hill and ending up in the woods with a severe 'anemia' -- dying after four days. After that, people start dying. And secretly, they are rising. The vampire clan starts to build a power base, and more and more people start being 'infected' and ultimately dying. This stupifies the doctor and the young priest, who team up to formulate measures against what they believe to be an epidemic.
Meanwhile, the humans of the village do nothing. Perhaps that's typically Japanese: when faced with a difficult decision, you wait until someone else does something first. Some people clue in on the nature of the vampires, but those are put on the top of the hitlists by the scheming vampires. And slowly, the human population of the village is dropping, while there are more and more vampires about. The vampires are 'managed' from the mansion, with the express goal to take over the village.

The majority of the series details the slow growth of the vampire population and how the humans deal with that. But the doctor gets clued in and decides to fight back. The turning point comes when his own wife turns into a vampire and he experiments on her -- pretty bad-ass. Through a clever plan, he shows the remaining human population that vampires exist which sparks a revolt. Now the vampires are the hunted: by day, they sleep and hence are vulnerable.
The last few episodes are absolutely blood-soaked, with the humans slaughtering their erstwhile neighbours (or children!) that have turned undead. It all spirals out of control, and in the end no-one really wins with the village in complete disarray.

Visually, the series is quite nice. The character designs are not very detailed, but there are some little touches that inject a lot of atmosphere into the series. The voice acting is pretty good, with a lot of familiar voices taking part. The cast is big, by the way: it's almost the whole village! Luckily, most of the characters are mere fodder, so you can instead focus on the few key characters that get introduced right in the first few episodes. The music is good, with opening and ending themes by big-name artists.

Good points:
- Really interesting plot developments, like in a good detective novel;
- Interesting character development too!
Bad points:
- Bring a strong stomach for the last few episodes.

I really enjoyed watching this series. It kept me at the edge of my seat! I'll give it an 8.5 -- a must-see if you like intrigue or vampires.
Tags: anime, full review

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