Shiki was one of the two shows I wanted to marathon from the last season. It’s particularly notable to me for its lineage, being another anime adaptation of Fuyumi Ono’s works. Yea, I liked Twelve Kingdoms, and no, I passed on Ghost Hunt, too. Now that I’ve watched it as it’s almost all out and all done, hopefully I can put it down as fast as I’ve finished it. Naturally, minor spoilers are ahead.
In terms of genre, I think Ono writes for a horror-for-girls kind of thing in Shiki. In some ways that makes sense in Shiki, there are some pretty obvious elements where it feels natural to graft BL things onto them. I think typical for a girl-focused/mainstream work, also, there is a lot of strong poetic justice plays. There is a theme about retribution, divine, natural or man-influenced. Also I wonder how would anyone get the abandoned by God thing without knowing Cain and Able’s story.
Anyway, I don’t have a lot to say about Shiki except that during the whole build-up to the gruesome end to the series, I was being fed lines and after lines of how these vampire people are more people than vampires. And this happened not only as plot material, but as some kind of thematic element. I thought it was trying to speak a message that is about sympathy. In the end I realize it wasn’t the case. It was more a message about doing the right thing that is laced with sympathy. Shiki’s justice is swift and poetic; I can’t really say much bad things about that.
The problem is I have few good things to say about Shiki. Seishin’s plight as a human being might be the only angle, but I don’t quite get it in that ultimately his kindness lead to the death of those who probably didn’t deserve to die. Remember: Cain is the transgressor! In as much part of that become a purified, if meaningless, struggle against and for selfishness, it is just a little too calculated.
Speaking of calculated, Natsuno is clearly Able. In fact his circumstantial werewolfing is kind of a huge break, making him pretty much the victim the entire way through the show. It’s kind of nice to see the guy who was mean as the guy who is doing the right thing, for a change. A foil for Megumi for sure. I guess revenge is okay if they’re a bunch of undead bad guys?
Character analysis aside, Shiki just didn’t deliver enough. It got to a point where it is campy, and it just didn’t mix with all these serious characters. Well I should say, there were all these comical characters not contributing much to the overall impact of the series. There were some turning points in the plot where satisfaction, pity and other things they wanted to solicit just didn’t really come out of me. I guess there were a couple “Don’t invite them in!” or “Don’t open that window!” moments where it worked out okay, but I didn’t watch in a group where that dynamics was present to make the effect enjoyable.
I suppose after all is said and done I can understand why some people thought this was an anime-of-the-year caliber show, but to me it’s just your average Toradora-7/10 kind of fare. And that is being really generous, largely on the account of its production values.
Lastly, whoever edits Shiki’s Wikipedia entry should be slapped around a bit for putting major spoilers in the character descriptions, as it is in-line with the main article. Oh well, maybe you won’t believe it’s true.