When you call a village strange because so many people are dying, you may not know what the right word is for such a thing.
What They Say
As the death toll rises, Toshio and his staff gather to further examine the fatal sickness plaguing the isolated town. Seishin's eerie admirer returns with an observation that makes her oddly wise for her age.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As events play out, life in this particular village gets creepier and creepier. People are dying fairly regularly now it seems and the variety of people falling to these mysterious deaths is pretty wide. No common links seem to be found among them to give a clue as to what's really going on. Seishen's finding the list growing and is turning more and more concerned by it and Natsuno is potentially going slightly crazy. One sequence early on has him sitting in his place and the hazy image of a pink haired girl outside gets closer and closer to him until her eyes suddenly glow a vibrant red. The repetitive nature of it, and the almost amateur nature of the design of it, only adds to the horror aspect. It's really quite campy in design, but it works effectively. Everything is becoming more and more disturbing for the residents across the board.
The adults of the series are coping with the situation as well as can be expected. Seishen's gathering what information he can but he's finding himself being followed by someone quite curious. Sunako's arrival near the "church" that he considers a secret place on the temple grounds surprises him, both for her arrival in general but also her otherworldly nature. Considering she looks rather young and dresses thusly, she comes across as an old soul with a lot to say that seems wise and unexpected. At the same time, Toshio is finding himself very busy with all the deaths that have been happening and his investigations are not leading to anywhere useful. As the weeks go on and the bodies pile up, more and more people are being afflicted with this wasting away disease and he keeps coming across more of them.
With nineteen people dead, the local clinic is getting its act together to try and deal with the problem, isolating the various aspects of it and wheedling away at the ones that don't make sense to try and pin down what it is, though there's a strong feeling that it's something completely new. While it's not as exciting as watching House do his job, there's something fascinating about watching the team work through the issues. And it's all accented by watching what Natsuno is going through with his dreams, dreams that seem to be affecting him during the day, and the arrival of those from them in the house when he's in a state of helplessness. There's been a lot of horror shows over the years, but Shiki is managing to get it right in providing the chills and creepy factor, especially in this episode.
It hasn't been since Higurashi that I've found a show that has truly creeped me out. The first three episodes laid down some interesting groundwork and characters for a mystery illness and deaths, but it's the fourth episode that takes it to the next level. There's a certain design style to it that makes it even scarier in its own way because it's not a big high budget scare or an outlandish moment, but rather something simple and almost amateurish in approach. Yet it provides the right chills and makes me back away from the screen because I don't know what will happen next. This show has found the right balance as it goes forward and this episode builds on it all beautifully, making me want more as quickly as possible.
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.