As we join Shiki for its fourth episode, we soon see the death toll from the town's supposed epidemic ramping up and up, bringing us close to twenty fatalities by the latter half of this episode and with the medical professionals in the area still no closer to pinning down the cause of so many deaths.
Against the backdrop of this disease which seems to be striking at random amongst both old and young, relatives and strangers, Natsuno continues to have a struggle of his own as his dreams (or rather, nightmares) about Megumi become both more frequent and more terrifyingly real. No matter how he tries to escape or where he goes, these nightmares follow, and come the end of the episode (after some further hints earlier on in the instalment) we finally begin to see some light shed on what actually seems to be going on in this previously sleepy backwater.
As the son of a nurse of some years standing, I have to admit that I got a bit of a kick out of the overall technical accuracy of the medical jargon used this episode, with the show's doctors and nurses musing over the possibility of paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria as the cause of this spate of deaths amongst other things - It adds a little reality to the show and is most welcome in that sense.
Away from that, this instalment was almost left a little bereft of things to do or say aside from its final few minutes and another appearance from Sunako earlier in the episode - The continuing deaths in the series have reached the point where they have no emotional impact, while the question marks over their cause has also almost been going around in circles. Still, at least we finally seem to have reached a point where the story is going to kick up a notch and progress, and I have to admit that it couldn't come soon enough for me - I feel like I've lost any real empathy with the characters in the story by this point, and I'm certainly not feeling much of a sense of horror from proceedings so it's going to take something a little more special to get me back on board; I'm still hoping that Shiki can finally deliver that something before my patience runs out.