The downward spiral of the village becomes even more apparent as the number of victims grows.
What They Say:
The population of the village grows thin as the blood-sucking okiagari claim more victims, including Toshio's wife. With no strength left in his body, Natsuno invites Toru in for a last feeding.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the two main arcs of the series, at least in terms of the investigation of what's going on, plays out there's a growing sense of unease and dread to it all. And inevitability, which is an interesting angle to it as most series offer some form of hope to it. With one of the series leads in Natsuno having fallen prey to Toru's feeding schedule, and giving in to it at this point, his life is slowly ending and he's feeling somewhat fine with it. Toru had struck out to try and change things at one point after discovering the reality of what was going on, but he's getting worse as time goes on and has essentially given up on it since he can understand to some degree what Toru is going through.
It's interesting to see how the village is adjusting to all these changes as people don't want to believe that it's all actively getting worse. It's a classic head in the sand series of moments as people are disappearing and dying and yet those who live continue on with their daily lives, adjusting when necessary and moving on as though nothing has really happened. And what's making it worse is that since people have died in the hospital, unable to be saved from what's afflicting them, those who are now caught up in the okiagari's web don't want to go to the hospital for help since they fear it'll lead to death. Which keeps them at home where they can be sucked dry over a few days, leading them to either return from the dead or perish with some sense of finality to it.
The sense of dread that flows through this show is powerful and highly appealing. Natsuno's situation is a difficult one to watch, largely because of his accepting nature as well as seeing how it radically affects others. Toshio's story, the other main arc of the series, is painful to watch as well as he feels so impotent against what's going on and is unable to stem it medically or otherwise. And with people avoiding the hospital because of how things have played out and the growing rifts in his own family over events, including his own wife becoming affected by it, Toshio's feeling more and more helpless and lost. Seeing these two men go through this situation and unable to do much of anything adds beautifully to the atmosphere but also paints a picture where you become less and less sure of where the show will go and how it will all resolve. And that is a wonderful feeling in a sea of shows that are halfway predictable from their title alone.
The oppressive nature of this series has been a really strong point in its favor from the start, and now at the thirteenth episode out of a planned twenty-two, it's taken up several notches. The way the village is falling apart and yet continuing on is fascinating to watch. The downward spiral that several of the residents are going through is equally fascinating, whether it's Natsuno's giving in to Toru or Tosho's feeling of impotence with what's going on. No character is safe in this show and that's highly appealing, even with the possibility of them coming back in an undead form. There's little here that's really predictable at this point and the sense of suspense and quiet horror of the atmosphere is a huge selling point. Shiki may not get much love, but it continues to be one of the most engaging series I've seen this year. I desperately want this in high definition to curl up with late at night for a weekend and savor all at once.
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.