While more of a holding pattern episode, Shiki highlights more of how everything is falling apart and a few looks to the past.
What They Say:
Sunako calls Toru to Kanemasa to share a piece of her past with him. The Shiki's curse looms over Kaori as she finds her mother still in bed, pale and drained of energy.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The return of Natsuno at the end of the previous episode certainly wasn't a shock, but you had to wonder about the when and how of it. His coming back offers a potentially different take on how things will progress in this part of the series since he may try to buck the nature of what he is now rather than give in since he was more aware of it going into it than others. His potential path is certainly interesting whereas we've seen others like his friend give in to the life they've been presented with while even understanding that all they're doing is sinning. The lives they wanted have disappeared from them and those who have gone before are making sure they follow a familiar path rather than looking for another way.
Shiki starts to explore a bit more of the Kanemasa group as well this time around, with Toru being the catalyst for it. Because of his hate of what's going on, Sunako has called him to the mansion to talk to him and that has him very nervous. Usually those that are called there of the shiki find themselves punished or destroyed. Yet Sunako offers him a tale of her own past as a way of getting him to understand things, while also telling him that if he does find this life too painful, and hates his ways so much now, that he should direct it at himself even more so he can kill himself. It's an interesting approach to watch as it's a way of making sure only the committed really stay alive in this form and exist. Sunako has had the creepiest of appearances so far and that doesn't change when we get to know her past more and how she's lived this life since becoming one of them.
A good part of the episode focuses on the dwindling of another family as Kaori and Akira watch their mother drifting away with the belief that it's Megumi who is causing it. Megumi has really gotten into this lifestyle and she has a way of pushing others who haven't committed fully to it to really get into the swing of things. Her mental domination over a recently turned man is tough as she cheerfully pushes him towards taking down his family for sustenance. For Kaori and Akira, their mental state is crumbling in the midst of all of this since they see so much happening all over the town and right in front of them yet it seems like nobody is doing anything. Whether they'll have success or note, it's little surprise to see them really trying to take a more proactive role in what's going on, though you can really only see it ending badly. But Akira comes across properly here as someone who will try and make a difference of some sort.
Shiki is starting to show an avenue of hope to be had, and with the darkness and atmosphere of the show to date, it's definitely needed. There's been an oppressive nature that's been beautifully done for quite awhile now and you can feel the weight of events on everyone that are suffering through out. With Natsuno making a plan with Toshio, and Toshio being clear that he doesn't intend to negotiate, you have to wonder how this will turn out. Will it be a cold and calculated event after a buildup or will it be a massive, bloody and violent affair. Either is possible and always another option could show up as well, which keeps the shows unpredictability exactly where it needs to be. Shiki continues to be an engaging, creepy series that knows just how to ratchet things up when you least expect it.
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