The deaths continue as life goes on in the small village, though not without a few wrinkles.
What They Say
Another villager displays the symptoms of the epidemic, but Toshio notices a new clue during a closer inspection. The family who just moved into the mansion on the hill make it around town, while their little girl shows a disturbing interest in Seishin.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shiki kicked off with two strong yet different episodes. The first one introduced some of the characters and established the mystery through the death of Megumi, a girl that could have been the lead if not for that particular fact. The second episode introduced the investigative aspect of the series as we learned about how several deaths are occurring in the area and there is something larger going on in the region that's to be concerned about. When you have these kinds of deaths spiking suddenly with no apparent reason yet with symptoms, it has to be dealt with swiftly and with some cold calculation. Because of where it is though, it takes time before we potentially get to that point.
The focus on this episode is across a couple of places, but it gives us more of Natsuno at the start as he deals with the dreams he has that are decidedly creepy. Through him, we're able to see more of the town that he has little true love for as he sees it all as kind of pointless in a way how people are going through the motions. With Natsuno wanting to get out of the village, he does his best to have as little connection to people as possible, but he's still managed to make some connections over time that seem to frustrate him a bit.
Toshio's medical investigation has him growing curiouser and curiouser as time goes on. There are patterns he's starting to see in what's going on, but nothing that he can pinpoint yet. Megumi's death is still his central focus to work off of since he saw the symptoms there the clearest, but after what he's learned from others in the area and the number of deaths, he's much more sensitive to how others are feeling and acting now. When Nao is brought in, a girl similar to Megumi, he's instantly on alert in trying to understand what's going on while taking in how the symptoms are playing out with a fresher eye. Knowing what he does though, there's only so much he can do for her and has to lie to her husband over it.
The third episode also starts to introduce the family that recently moved into the town at the luxurious European style mansion. The Kirishiki's are an almost alien looking group of people as we see the parents first. Their general facial design, clothes and hair have them looking positively otherworldly, as if aliens took human form without realizing what details really need to be paid attention to. It takes on an even creepier tone when the young daughter seeks out Seishin at the shrine and talks to him about how one of the reasons they came there was because of him and his writings. Sunako has that old personality in a young body angle going that is heavy on the otherworldly aspect, something that sets Seishin heavily at unease.
After two strong and engaging episodes, Shiki feels a little off in this episode since it's not a clearly defined piece here. It jumps across a few different characters, offers up a death that we can't feel a connection to while also establishing that Natsuno isn't quite as cold and closed off as he tries to make everyone believe he is. The medical mystery is growing and Toshio is getting more worried about it at the same time that we start to get to meet the people who just moved into town. Their arrival is what really throws off the episode even more as they stand out in a huge way as being different, breaking the flow of the show a bit as you try to figure out what role they're truly playing here. Shiki offers up more mysteries with no answers here, as is expected, but it has a hard time making sure it keeps you thoroughly engaged.
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.