The opening episode of Shiki brought us the fall and fall of Megumi Shimizu, culminating in this young girl's death after a brief disappearance which occurs with no real explanation, be it medical or otherwise. Things aren't helped by the Shimizu family's staunch refusal to allow Megumi to be subjected to a post-mortem, leaving the village doctor to do little more than guess at her exact fate.
Of course, following this death a portion of episode two is filled with Megumi's funeral, an event which even the distant Natsuno attends despite his dislike for the village and its continual gossip and talking behind people's backs; a trait noted even by Megumi's friend Kaori who also attends the funeral.
With this incident dead and buried (sorry, bad joke), you might think that it's time to move onto pastures new, but not so as the death toll within the area simply keeps on rising, with our doctor and his monk friend counting seven deaths during a two-week period while the reality is that even more people have kicked the bucket during that spell. For most of these cases the symptoms been the same, with a supposed "summer cold" bringing about lethargy and tiredness before things suddenly take a turn for the worse before death ensues. But what is causing all of this? An epidemic seems like the obvious suspect, but given that this is a horror anime we're watching and not an episode of Casualty I think it's safe to say that we know rather better....
Given its twenty-two episode length, I suppose it's sensible for Shiki to take things slowly and keep us guessing, and it's certainly doing this so far - Aside from some decidedly odd snatches here and there we really haven't been exposed to anything much beyond that experienced by Doctor Ozaki so our guess is as good as his. Luckily the series so far is polished and well-delivered enough to get away with its sloth-like pace to build things up, although I have to confess that I hope it doesn't go on for too long - There's clearly a lot of potential for this series, and I'd like to see some of it revealed sooner rather than later, impatient bugger that I am.