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Shiki #3

It’s really difficult to get a handle on Shiki – after three episodes I’m still not sure whether I like it. The first episode was messy and alienating, the second a gripping foray into the thriller genre, and this third episode is somewhere in between. It adjusts its focus once again, from the local doctor’s battle against a mysterious epidemic to the unusual rural life of a stoic high-school student. So the edge of danger and plot from last week is kind of dulled as we explore the character of Natsuno, and some of his classmates: the charismatic and friendly Toru and the creepy Masao. I found this episode less gripping and atmospheric as the last, but, unlike the first episode, its character development wasn’t a turn off. Instead, I found the story of Masao and his psychopathic lack of self-esteem to be really interesting. His type of character is a classic ingredient for a good horror/thriller, because although he is hateful and perturbing, he’s still human and you can almost empathise with him. He gave the episode most of its intrigue. Natsuno is still too dry for me to have any interest in him.

And then there’s the new family that’s moved into town, who are so flamboyantly scary it’s hard to feel more than a cliche vibe from them. But I will admit, thanks to an eerie performance by seiyuu, Yuuki Aoi, Sunajo-chan was kind of unsettling. Her piercing intelligence beyond her years and morbid fascinations makes her an interesting character. Then there’s the affable and approachable Tatsumi, whose crazy blue hair seems to conceal a menacing mind. All in all, the setup is turning out to be much more pedestrian than I thought. Much unlike Ghost Hound, which this is too often compared with, Shiki’s sense of mystery is only skin-deep (or so it seems). But it still appeals to my curious side – more than anything, I want to know the truth behind this unknown illness and the role of the family in the European-style house.

The episode was the first one to have not been written by the guy doing series composition, and there wasn’t really a noticeable shift in tone. The storyboarding and directing was all up to scratch to produce a good-looking episode. Again, I have to say the music is really impressive. Overall it was a pretty decent episode, but it doesn’t exhibit signs of greatness that I hoped to find in Shiki.
Tags: Shiki Review

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