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Hyakka Ryouran SAMURAI GIRLS
Motto To Love Ru
Ore no Imouto Konna ni Kawai..
Otome Youkai Zakuro
The World God Only Knows
Yosuga no Sora
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Megane na Kanojo
To Heart 2
Un-named GONZO 2011 anime
Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka
Oniichan no koto nanka zenzen suki janai dakara ne
Even though it feels like we've now left behind some of the best, most suspenseful parts of the show, and even though this isn't quite the episode I'd hoped for to see me through the 3-week break before episode 12, my love for Shiki is still just as strong! This was a good episode, but not stellar. It definitely didn't have the same production issues as last week, but, at least until the last few minutes, it definitely lacked the kick that the earlier arc of both Natsuno and Ozaki finding out about the vampires had. It was a fascinating episode, full of ambiguous and confusing morality.
Good stories are challenging and can deliver a powerful sense of irony. This week, we follow the old superstitious woman who's known around town for being a superstitious nut. She's deeply unlikeable, and her attempts to whip the town people up into a frenzy of fear over the town's newest family are selfishly motivated, but the cruel twist is that this time she's actually right! Even though she's someone you'd never listen to in real life, knowing what we know as the audience forces us to uncomfortably support her. It's just one example of Shiki's layered and devious storytelling. A second example is the dynamic between Muroi and Sunako. This episode Sunako came about 3 centimetres away from sticking her fangs into the sullen priest, but she hesitated as he wooed with with words. Sunako strikes me as someone whose philosophical mind leads her to question her purpose, and where she can fit in the muddled world of good and evil.
Yeah, this was an interesting episode, but my one complaint would probably be the fact that it delivered a lot of really big moments and plot progressions within the ending credits! Why save up all the stuff we really wanted to see just for the credits? Like what happened to Natsuno, or Ozaki experimenting on one of them. It seemed like those important scenes should have been included in full..
So I'm left a bit frustrated as we begin the three week wait for more Shiki, but I'm pretty sure the show has lots more awesome in store for us!
Sorry, I haven't had much variation in my Shiki ratings for a while now. The 'Amazing' rating basically describes my feelings for the show right now. Shiki has really taken hold of me, like one of the vampire's victims. It's one of those series were I just can't wait to see the new episode! Again, this episode is packed with suspense and even borders on the horror genre at times with some genuinely creepy scenes, such as Muroi and Ozaki seeing their first vampire in the window after hearing the scratching on the glass.
This week swung the focus back on to the doctor and the monk duo trying to protect a patient from more supernatural blood suckings. It felt a good time to revisit these guys, even if it's cruel to leave the cliffhanger of last week still hanging in the balance. Having the story move forward on two fronts like this means you can extract more from the story without losing the sense of momentum (like how both sides had to go through a process of reaching the vampire answer to the mystery). Quite honestly, Shiki has been paced almost
perfectly. The first episode was a little off, but after the third or so it's been utterly riveting.
The music was fantastic, the story fascinating and the characters compelling. Natsuno, Muroi and Ozaki make great heroes, while the spikey-eared Tatsumi is an awesome villain. There were also hints at a broader story:
⚫ Tatsumi saying that they aren't allowed to kill Ozaki yet suggests that there's some plan at work, some reason why the vampires are doing what they're doing.
⚫ Muroi's story is explained, and it seems to have some kind of abstract significance (or is it just me with that feeling?).
The episode had a fantastic storyboard and was directed really well, and this is thanks to the fact that veteran Shinsuke Terasawa directed, storyboarded and supervised the animation.
From Shiki episode 8.
I just loved this beat; the way it was framed and executed was just spot on to create a shocking and tense scene. Also, I like how they punctuated the significance of what it would feel like to have smashed a stranger over the head with a shovel.
Ah, Shiki always leaves you thirsty for more! As the show progresses it also becomes fast-paced and intense. When you're watching Shiki it always feels like you're on the cusp of some big new development, and we're now at the point where episodes are able to end on potent cliffhangers. While the vampires have had their way with the village so far, this episode marks an important swing to the human population as Natsuno and his two allies uncover the truth behind the recent spate of death. But as they move closer to the truth and become more aggressive, they're placed in increasing peril. This trend is making the series move slowly towards its horror label. Their vampiric enemies are becoming increasingly unsettling. At times creepy, always absorbing, and with the spark of resistance lit within Natsuno and the doctor, more and more gripping, Shiki is great, sophisticated entertainment.
The music and sound design this episode was especially impressive!
Natsuno is one of the best young male protagonists to come out of recent anime. He started off as cool and distant in a very indifferent kind of way, but now he's earned his place as one of the main characters.
It's almost like a story within a story, but the dark and strange relationship between Sunako and Muroi is last streak of genuine intrigue this series has left. The conflict with the vampires is heating up, but it's now been largely explained. Sunako's motives and how she fits in with the murderous intentions of her relatives remains a fascinating unknown. I foresee Muroi and Sunako becoming key to how this story will play out in the end.
The little girl with the doll wasn't exactly creepy, but it was unnerving! I think my reaction would have been similar to Natsuno's father's. I got a kick out of devious smile when he invited her oniichan into the house! Judging by her manner of speech, I'd say she's quite an old vampire (obviously residing from somewhere that no longer exists in name..). I wonder how Natsuno will get out of this one!?
From its rather humble beginnings with a weak episode 1, Shiki has very quickly pulled ahead of the competition to claim its rightful place as my favourite anime of the season! This series benefits both from the creative and experimental style that its noitaminA timeslot encourages and the storytelling strengths of its original novels by Fuyumi Ono to become a really accomplished anime. While I still have a few issues with the art style, and I'll conceed that there isn't a lot of animation to speak of, the interesting and proffessional framing and strong scripts make it a quality anime.
This week was particularly good because it smashes together a lot of questions and gives a shocking answer! At this stage, so much has suddenly become clear, that I'm wondering how much longer it can keep up its mystery angle! But it's a sign of a good story that it kept you guessing and suddenly was able to make things crystal clear. And now that we know vampires are to blame, and most probably who they are, there's a sense of menace to the increasingly foreboding village that wasn't there before.
Again, the interactions between Muroi and Sunako are fascinating, enchanting, and strangely intimate. Their dialogue feels very unlike anything I've seen in anime. Then there's the doctor, who's actually very believable in his role. He's a character you can't really empathise with. Natsuno is also increasingly marching his way into being a good hero character.
I hope there's more good stuff to come, and hopefully the suspense can continue its upward trend!
While it didn't have the tight, urgent sense of tension that episode 2 exuded, this was probably the best episode of Shiki yet, for a couple of reasons. We had a lot of movement on the plot side of things; the escalating epidemic that's killing off the town, and the convoluted mystery that may be behind it! The mystery component of the series was served by a few obscure details, such as the suspicious removalist trucks, which I think is the best way to develop a story like this. Nothing is obvious, but it keeps us guessing by providing tidbits like that. I honestly have no idea what's going on, and I can't even develop a good theory at this point (feel free to share yours!). Then there's the horror element, which has been spiced up by the presensce of the innately creepy Sunako, and, this week, a chilling and claustrophobic scene in which Shimizu reappears in vampiric style. That scene was genuinely great; I guess I have to hand it to Yasunori Ide.
The script was really good this week. While I've had problems with it being disjointed and dry before, I do appreciate the intelligence behind Shiki, which comes through in its very technical medical dialogue from the doctor and nurses, as well as the fascinating philosophical interchanges of Sunako and Muroi. Shiki is still a bit shaky in the characterisation department, but intriguing and occasionally creepy nonetheless.
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.
After the fairly poorly-received first episode, I was searching for something redeeming going into the second installment of Shiki. And I definitely found what I was looking for. Whereas the first episode just felt too awkward and dissonant to be enjoyable or engaging, this time we’re treated to a really grabbing and intriguing mystery-thriller. The direction and storyboarding this week felt like a big improvement – far more able to craft a sense of atmosphere and suspense. But there’s also a big improvement in characterization now that the selfish and unrelatable Megumi is out of the way. Since her death, focus has shifted to someone more mature and likeable: the sharp local doctor, Ozaki Toshio. With this change of focus the show suddenly feels a lot less silly and messy. ⚫ ⚫ ⚫
The first episode of Shiki did some things well, and other things not so well. For a NoitaminA series, and an anime that I was anticipating, I have to say I was dissapointed. Unlike other anime this season, it failed to grab me, and I’ve attributed that to some pretty messy directing and a somewhat weak script. The characters are fairly unlikeable and leave a lame impression, and it doesn’t feel nearly as suspenseful as it sems to think it is. But, even if it wasn’t a good first episode, it did have its moments and I wasn’t totally repelled by it. I even managed to find a few things that roused my curiosity, such as finding out exactly what happened to Megumi, and the story behind the new occupants of the mysterious manor.
More ⚫ ⚫ ⚫
⚫ Amagami SS DVD/BD buyers can apply for extra DVDs (1 after the first 3 volumes, and another after the second 3). The DVDs contained animated shorts. This is a new way of promoting DVD sales, huh?
⚫ Senkou no Night Raid DVD 4 will come with 2 unaired episodes. I was wondering how they could afford that given the pathetic sales, but they're unaired episodes rather than new DVD-only eps!
⚫ The ratings for the first week of the new season's NoitaminA slot (now comprised of Shiki and Moyashimon Live-Action) are in: 3.4%, which is pretty reasonable (especially after the terrible showing of last season at an average of ~1.2%). Will be interesting to see where next week's ratings go.
⚫ Ookami-san episode 2 was a solo key animation episode by Hiroshi Tomioka (credited with storyboard and animation director). That's good to know, because I found the animation really interesting this week. (source http://twitter.com/raito_kun)
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