The Shiki incursion into the village becomes even more pronounced as they become much more brazen about it.
What They Say:
As Shiki continue to rid the village of the living, Seishin finally makes a move. On another late night at the clinic, Toshio gets a visitor.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The psychological side of this series has been strong from the start and this episode is no less so on a few levels. Having it open with Seishin confronting a dream version of Toshio over what needs to be done empowers him to start being proactive. And at the same time, he confronts Natsuno's friend who had killed him as he was pressured into everything under threat of his family being killed. Having the Shiki operate on this level where they push and prod people into things, rather than just outright continual attacks, adds a really interesting level of subtlety to everything. They could just do a rampage, but they're using pressure to twist and control minds into their own plans.
The deaths continue to be powerful and continuing along the entire village. It's amusing to see Toshio whittling away at stakes to use against the Shiki, but the darkness is very apparent when it comes to Seishin. When he discovers that his father had written a letter of invitation to the Kirishiki family head, essentially inviting them to come and take him in his room but to leave the others of the household alone, you can see the pain clearly in his stillness and expression. Playing that scene out with the visuals of his elderly father and the slow typing is decidedly creepy and yet very much heartwarming at the same time since he's doing this in order to protect his family as best as he can. That will leave scars in Seishin's heart to be sure.
As talked about earlier in the series, the impact on all of this death on others has got to be intense and we see that again here. One young woman has come to Seishin in his position of junior monk to gain a posthumous name for herself since she believes she will die soon because Megumi is angry. Her tears are powerful and she's shaking every second now which adds a lot to it. But the revelation that she knows she's going to die and has already dug her own grave for it is positively chilling, which only reinforces the overwhelming sadness that comes from wanting a posthumous name so she can put it on the post of the grave. It's gut wrenching watching it, and Seishin very much feels it as well which gives him the final push he needs to really start being proactive.
Shiki isn't a show that's big on action, but when it goes for the intense moments with the attacks, when you pull it together with the oppressive psychological side and the generally well done music, they become intense. One hunt is showcased here in the last quarter of the episode and it shows the various sides that are now in play to try and stop what's happening as they feel out their roles even more, trying to define what it is they can do to fight back. The panic and fear of the victim is palpable as it goes on and the realizations about how far it's all extended makes it all the more so. Shiki continues to find the right balance of slowly teasing out the advance of the Shiki and the fight against it. It skews heavily towards suspenseful horror rather than action which makes the action all the more intense. Shiki continues to be my dark horse best series of the year.
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.