The coldness and hurt from Megumi towards Natsuno is intense right from the start of Shiki, setting the mood perfectly.
What They Say
No one in Sotoba - "the village surrounded by death - is safe, as a frustrated Toshio fails to find a cure for the epidemic strangling his town. Convinced that Megumi has risen from the dead, Natsuno researches darker sources.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shiki continues to be the kind of horror series that seriously delights and thrills. With curious and intriguing shifts between scenes, a definite creeping horror and a lot of uncertainty as to what's going on, there is a lot to like here as various people try to understand it all. With the increasing number of deaths, more and more evidence is there that something disturbing is happening, but people are still hiding the deaths or covering them up for various reasons. And some deaths, or impending deaths, are impacting families more than others which only serves to agitate many. The tensions are riding high in the medical community as well as they're trying to find a logical scientific reason for everything happening when the reality seems to be something very different.
Lots of little things get explored in this episode. The revelation that people are moving out is not terribly surprising considering the deaths occurring, but that they're moving without submitting changes of addresses is. This strikes hard at Toshio as we see a bit of his past as a next generation doctor who has the burdens placed on him by his father with the need to protect the village, the responsibility and honor of the family name. The stresses he's under become clearer through this, though there are obviously plenty considering his basic nature as a doctor and what he's coping with as the epidemic is becoming more widespread with no real commonality found at all yet. Toshio's story, though minimal in that revelation, becomes much broader and personal because of it.
While Toshio continues to try all manner of things on the patients that keep coming through, Natsuno is performing his own investigation that partially parallels what Seishin is doing. With the encounters Natsuno has had with Megumi now, the stark and scary ones, he's pursuing unorthodox angles to trying and figure it all out. That led him to the library where he discovers that Seishin has been pulling out books from the occult, including a very recent borrowing of a book about Dracula. The theme certainly fits from the small things that Natsuno is able to pull together, especially after the death of his friend, but there has to be that lurking bit in the back of his mind wondering how much of that encounter was real and how much of it was his mind in overdrive.
The story continues to weave some fascinating little things into this episode as it progresses in the way that I want to a see a horror story go. It's not completely in your face like some shows, such as Higurashi, and it's not a splatterfest like what is popular in Hollywood in the last few years either. It's a measured, cold and calculating horror story that while seemingly amateurish in spots with its presentation, gives one chills even remembering it a couple of weeks later. There are few shows that genuinely creep me out, and while this episode is light on those moments, the ones from past episodes are still strong and resonate still. This is where we see a bit more of the deeper motivations and movements of the cast as they investigate what's going on and they become more fleshed out, even as more people die around them. Shiki continues to be one of the more engaging shows of the summer season that literally has me on the edge of my seat with each new episode.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.