Slowly but surely, more and more people are starting to realize that those who live in the mansion may be the root of the problem.
What They Say
While Sotoba's villagers are debating the cause of the frequent deaths, the town shaman points her finger at the residents of Kanemasa mansion.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the truth of what's going on getting out there as both Natsuno and Toshio have figured things out, Toshio makes the most interesting point when he stops by a local café and hears people talking about things. He says it almost casually, but the idea that when those who die have done so, it's best to cremate them rather than bury them. Considering what the Okiagari have been up to and how new ones are born, few though they may be compared to the number that die, it's certainly one way to try and thin the herd a bit if you're actually aware of what is walking the earth in the middle of the night. Toshio's approach is definitely sound and it leaves an impression, though it also makes it clear that he knows something that hasn't been widely shared yet.
Toshio's discoveries have definitely started pushing him over the edge, though a large part of it comes from the way everything seems to be falling apart around him. He's worked hard for the people of the village and to see them die like this is crushing to his spirit. Now that he has a clue as to what's behind it, he's attacking it like a virus but with a raw edge to it, as he wants to watch the bodies that could turn into the okiagari after their death and to take one that he can experiment on, to find a weakness or a way of saving them. Something to help stop what's happening. It's an interesting mix of his manic nature now that the village is in such trouble with his more pure scientific and logical side. He's gone far enough off the edge that even Seishin is worried about him and the way he's dealing with things.
The unusual turn in this episode is with the town shaman that's brought in. Having one in the town is not a surprise, but when she goes out speaking to the Sotoba residents about what's going on, using the okiagari name repeatedly, she's almost stirring up a mob, bringing more and more people to her side through her intensity. Having her come out of nowhere is a bit disconcerting as it feels like a late addition to things, a character that should have been brought in more gradually earlier in the run. On the positive side, she's the first one to really take the whole issue to the Kanemasa mansion itself, a place that we haven't seen all that much about since the very start of the show. Having the gates open and seeing what's inside adds a new element to the show, though it does shift things a bit more away from truly creepy levels to more comic ones unfortunately.
What's made Shiki so chilling for so long is that it felt like it was a real world drama and horror series with that element of the supernatural mixed into it. When we started seeing the one young man from the mansion out and about with his outlandish hair compared to everyone else, it introduced something that was out of place. What's inside the mansion only builds on that, heavily, as it has a large enough disconnect from how people would really be if they were trying to accomplish what it looks like they're trying to accomplish. There's a lot going on in this episode with where everyone is in the scheme of things and watching Toshio going over the edge is a lot of fun, but it's countered by the odd town shaman that's been brought into the storyline out of the blue.
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.