An isolated village in which old customs, such as the burial of the dead, are still practiced. One day, the bodies of three people are found dead. Shiki gets off to a really interesting start with that disturbing scenario, but then backtracks as it starts to look like the deaths might be connected. The local doctor, Toshio Ozaki, starts to see a pattern–light anemia followed by sudden and inexplicable death– and suspects an epidemic. But what sort of disease causes its victims to quit their jobs before dying? And what about those families that disappear in the middle of the night in moving vans? I kept asking myself these questions and getting frustrated because I wasn’t getting the answers. By the time this second volume’s episodes get underway, it’s fairly clear what’s going on, as several “formerly dead” characters have returned to the fray. I wasn’t sure if I was bracing myself for a horror, or a comedy.
Shiki is a kind of ruthless anime approach to its characters, many of whom meet their fate throughout the first half of the series. If your attention seems to go after the point, it is a clear indication that you won’t be sticking around. I really enjoyed Shiki. But I don’t think it is a show for everyone. It’s biggest appeal is the atmosphere, and if you don’t get drawn into it, then there isn’t much left for you. When giving this series a try, you should watch at least 3-4 episodes before passing judgment. There is a LOT of blood and violence. Also, the themes are very scary as it deals with vampirism and death. There is not much negative religious content, but this show is about vampires, so again, please be aware of that. One vampire asks why God has forsaken her, but then again, normal non-Christian characters in television do that, too. Also, one of the main characters is a Buddhist monk, who writes fiction based on Buddhist/Japanese legends. So, some “spirits” are mentioned.
The series does try to inject some frankly useless philosophizing along the way, Amino Tatsuro clearly knows how to unravel and pace the story well as every episode we see Natsuno and Ozaki slowly inching towards the truth. The actual vampire motif is a decidedly more mixed affair, never really totally exploring unusual new aspects. Even though many of the victims display the same mysterious symptoms, the towns doctor can’t pinpoint the cause of the deaths. They begin around the time a new family moves into a mansion, overlooking the small town. Unfortunately, many of the townsfolk are too focused on their everyday lives to notice that something strange is going on and for some that mistake proves to be fatal. The animation and soundtrack to this series are amazing. This series is genuinely creepy but so fun to watch. The first few episodes are abit slow but it’s a good setup and worth the wait.
For me it’s a good anime, and it is not the same vampire story that we’re used to watching. Mainly, thanks to the fact that the story used to be a novel, later a manga and now an anime. While I can’t say that this is the most horrifying thing I’ve seen in anime, it’s definitely one of the better horror themed anime released by FUNimation in some time. Still, this set offers some extremely nice animation which pops incredibly well on this Blu-ray release. So how bout an anime that salutes the vampires of lore? An anime with vampires you just want to kill and nothing more. No falling in love or stuff like that. Pure vampire menace! I think we can all get on board with that. The entire anime is like a teapot boiling and the climax of the pot whistling away is the most satisfying thing in the series. It’s a slow burn series that has appeared on many peoples Best-Of lists for a reason. Make sure you watch this, or better yet, add it to your anime collection!