Shiki 1: idle speculations
July 10, 2010
Shiki is a horror anime, based on a novel by Fuyumi Ono. Rather than attempt to recap the first episode, I shall use my time to engage in speculation based solely upon having seen it. I have no knowledge of the novel, nor of the manga adaptation, so conclusions drawn here are just as likely to be wrong as anything else. You have been forewarned. If you are looking for a more traditional review check out RP’s first impression, or the one provided by Epi on Sea Slugs. For a spirited defense of Megumi, check out Hyper Parfait. Also, if you are having a hard time with all of the characters introduced, check out Hashihime for another of his excellent cheat sheets, which ties character portraits with seiyus (note: it only covers major characters, so I’ll be covering a few more characters below the break).
Again, I remind the reader that all conclusions that follow, are based upon essentially ill-informed speculation. Despite the fact that one episode of a 20+ episode series is simply not enough to make sensible conclusions, it doesn’t stop us from wondering, and episode 1 of Shiki gives us plenty to speculate about, especially:
- The Kirishiki household (which moved into the recently built mansion).
- Various deaths in Sotoba Village.
- The nature / role of various other characters that have been introduced.
In addition there are various minor events that can be introduced into the speculation:
- Increased sightings of wolves or wild dogs.
- Roadside shrines (Jizou statues) have been torn down.
- Cows in the village are giving less milk than usual.
Undoubtedly the Kirishiki family are the object of speculation in the village of Sotoba. Why did they show up in the middle of the night? Why do they have such a strange house? Why did they move to Sotoba in the first place? But the biggest question of all is why did they show up in the village just as all of this strange stuff started happening? My inescapable, though unfounded conclusion: they are at the center of everything bad that has happened, and must be destroyed.
“But,” one might argue, “several of the bad events, such as the knocking over of the Jizou statues, occurred before the Kirishiki household arrived in Sotoba.” It is possible they had agents working for them ahead of their arrival, in fact that would be necessary, as the new mansion was built for them. Jizou, by the way, is a Japanese form of a bodhisattva named Ksitigarbha. The Wikipedia entry notes, “Jizou statues are sometimes accompanied by a little pile of stones and pebbles, put there by people in the hope that it would shorten the time children have to suffer in the underworld.”
“Where’s your proof? You can’t tie anything bad that happened to the Kirishiki family.” Oh yes I can. We have the testimony of Megumi, the most recent victim. She was last seen heading towards the Kirishiki residence, and she admits meeting the woman of the house, stating that she was “very beautiful.” I say burn the place down with them in it, then, if the bad things stop happening, we’ll have all the evidence we need!
Speaking of deaths, how many did we get this episode? By my count five. Four at the start of the episode, plus Megumi. The Monk, Seishin Muroi, said he had just performed last rites on a relative (who, according to the cop, had died of a cold), and came to inform the family. He discovered two dead bodies, so he went to a neighbor’s house, where he found an additional body. Ozaki says that the old lady died after the two old men, so she had been living for days with half-eaten corpses nearby.
So we have two deaths by wild animal, one death by heat exhaustion, one death by anemia, and one due to “complications from a cold”. And how do we know all of this? Because doctor Ozaki says so. Yes, I’m gonna go there. Why should we believe this guy? In fact how do we know he is not complicit in whatever is going on? Okay, maybe he isn’t intentionally covering up for the Kirishiki family (burn them!), but it is pretty evident that Sotoba Village’s Resident Police Officer, Takami, is young, inexperienced, and ready to take anything Ozaki says as fact, without thinking it through himself. Without someone second guessing him, Ozaki can declare anything that comes to mind, then head out for a cigarette break. Consider, Ozaki says he wants to take a blood sample, then Megumi says she is sleepy. Did he actually take the sample? Or did he just figure the parents have it covered, and left for a smoke? Why doesn’t he have Megumi in the clinic under observation?
Fortunately there are some people in town that might be able to challenge him to rethink his diagnoses, chief among them the aforementioned monk (Seishin Muroi), since he has the sort of authority and learning that can stand up to a doctor. In addition to bou-san Muroi, Kanami Yano seems to have some spunk. So far she has been on the periphery of the story, but working in a restaurant in a small town often has the benefit of seeing most of the folk who live there at least on occasion. I know I would stop by for some noodles, well, maybe not at 2am. She could become the communication nexus of a group of enlightened villagers who reject the quack, err, doctor’s findings and plan to burn the Kirishiki mansion to the ground.
Ookawa-san was awesome. I don’t think there is anyone in town who would give him back-talk (except his kind of stupid son, Atsushi). I don’t know that Ookawa is the sort to really think problems through, though. He seems much more like a man of action. Still, he seems to care for the people of his village, so he’s alright by me.
We met a couple of other kids about Megumi’s age, but the one that stands out is Natsuno Yuuki. Unfortunately he stands out in a bad way. He starts out seeming like a jerk, and ends up seeming heartless. As far as I’m concerned, he’s on the list of people to watch as a potential agent of evil. He is a new comer to town, but he showed up before the Kirishikis, so he might even be the one who kicked over those statues. Okay, I don’t know how he would have caused the cows to give less milk, but I still don’t think he is trustworthy.
Comments are welcome, but no posting of spoilers, please!