[Review] Shiki

HAI ppl and Happy New Year! (a little late, but better late than never)

Next up is a review of yet another isolated village in the mountainside. Just from the setting along, you can probably guess this is either a harem or a psychological/horror show. If you guessed the latter, you are pretty much correct. It would be interesting to see Shiki have a harem as well xD. Given these facts you are probably wondering if this is yet another Higurashi or something of that nature, well stay around and read as we explore the goriest show this season. (If you are afraid of blood this is definitely not the show for you, but this show is not that scary. There are only one or two scenes in the early part of the series that are actually creepy, imo, but this show is definitely not made for the thrill.)

Plot: In an isolated small town in the the mountains, some very strange series of deaths occur as a strange family moves into an abandoned mansion in the village. Will these strange deaths continue? What does the new family have to do with the recent deaths? Well Doctor Toshio Ozaki is here, and he is willing to do almost anything to solve these issues.

First off, Shiki is not a mystery. Looking at the synopsis, you might be think that you won’t find out the cause of deaths for a long time, but in reality, you will find out who is commuting the murders and why they do it in the first half of the series. Now, you might be wondering, if you know who did it and why they did it, why in the world would I want to watch this show? Well, as you probably noticed, a show without a sense a mystery is probably not going to give you a sense of thrill. What you should watch for is the drama created by “raw” emotions humans have when faced with a desperate situation. You will see plenty of tension between morals, ideas, and goals resulting in brutality and desperation.

In the end, the story is not for everyone. If you wanted another Higurashi, you will probably be disappointed.

Animation: The animation is very typical for this season. There was a decent amount of detail and of course your standard static characters in the the background. Looking back, the background characters were not as static as they are in some other series, but this is almost overlooked by the fact that there are so many scenes with large crowds of static people.

The more important thing to draw your eye to in this anime is the art style. The characters are filled with sharp lines and very dull colors, very different than the bright colors and more natural lines of mainstream shows. I won’t dock or add points for this, but just be prepared to see a slightly different art style.

Music: The music fits the series fairly well, but depending on your personal taste the songs might not be for you. The first opening and the second ending are both slower songs sung with deep male vocals that both set the mood very well, but since neither song is very fast, I don’t find them very entertaining to listen to. The first ending is a slow song trying to emphasize on loneliness, and knowing how much I like extremely slow-paced songs, this was my least favorite song in the series. Unlike the other songs, the second opening is a faster, slightly more upbeat song sung by a female vocalist with strong vocals, a fairly good song, imo. Last up, the background music sets the mood very well with a decent variety of instruments and decent volume, something that really aids the series.

Entertainment: Personally, I felt Shiki was a decent ride that explored human emotions rather well. When faced with a “pandemic,” there are some people who rely on common sense, some on science, and some on religion. Some people will act, some will follow, and some will just be bystanders waiting for others to solve something. All of these concepts and more are explored in Shiki, creating a rather realistic experience. Although, I sometimes hear the argument that the town under-reacted and overreacted in certain scenarios,  I thought the village reacted the way it should because it is an isolated village filled with an older generation, that is probably not very well educated.  As a result, I would not expect the older people to react much when there is no clear cut cause for people’s deaths, but virtually everyone will react when their family is at stake and there is something they can easily do about it.

One of the larger complaints about the series was that the beginning of the series was too slow and that the ending was rushed, and I have to agree.  In the first few episodes of the show, all that really happened is people get introduced and some of those people die. This is then followed by, some people theorizing what caused the deaths and slowly do actions to prove their hypothesis are correct. Sadly, these actions take almost half of the series, about 10 episodes. This is a bit of a trudge for most people. Luckily, after those episodes, the series really picks up with tension between ideas and morals to finally actions and final battles. The big problem is that since they introduced so many characters and ideas in the first few episodes, the ending episodes had a really hard time trying to give a decent end to every character creating plot holes for the viewer. I would have really loved it if they spent one more episode to end the series.

The other large complaint is how excessively cruel and brutal the characters are and I will have to sadly agree. Some of the characters in Shiki are incredibly desperate to get their goals done, such as a doctor inject his wife with various poisons, give her multiple cuts, and finally impale her with a stake all for the sake of getting information. When you hit the final few episodes, you will see stakes being impaled into people’s hearts and watching blood fly in a fairly graphic method, something that probably did not need to be done to get the point across.

In the end, if you don’t mind blood and graphic murders and want to see how people respond to pandemics, this is a great show to watch. For most other people, I advise you read the plot section again and follow the advisement in the note below, and then decide if this is what you want in the show… Okay fine, I admit I left out one audience, vampire fans and lovers. I know I did not talk about vampires in any part of the review for spoiler reasons but if you are a vampire fan and like to see the exploration of classic vampires trying to survive and fight against civilization, Shiki is a must watch for you.

Note: None of the pictures I used actually depict the gory scenes used in the show. (The one pic with the knife stab looks incredibly fake anyway xD) If you really want to sample what you might see in the show, watch the beginning of episode 21 (the part before the op).

Story: 7/10
Animation: 7/10
Music: 8/10
Entertainment: 7/10

Technical Rating 7/10
Personal Rating 8/10

Wow, that review was different. Since Shiki is such a serious anime, I gave it a far more serious review (well that and the fact that it actually had a lot to about in comparison to a lot of clique harems I tend to see xD). I hope you liked reading about Shiki. I am not sure how often I will write review this long, but I will to do it when it is appropriate.

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