Friday, 10 September 2010

Shiki - Episode 10

Despite putting Natsuno in a tight spot a couple of episodes ago, last week his plight was largely ignored in favour of focusing on events as they panned out for Doctor Ozaki and his patient Setsuko - events which didn't turn out favourably for his patient's well-being, it has to be said.

With that part of the story tied up neatly, episode ten of Shiki thus has plenty of room to adjust its focus back to Natsuno while also tying its time-line in with the events of the previous instalment for good measure. With Tatsumi running operations in light of the discovery of what is going on in the village by both Natsuno and Ozaki, his primary concern is of course to silence and/or intimidate these knowledgeable voices. While Ozaki escapes with his life on this occasion, Natsuno's fate looks far less certain, leaving Megumi Shimizu torn but ultimately more than a little upset at the prospect of her unrequited love being killed.

Although Tatsumi refuses to let Megumi attend to their business with Natsuno, after handling affairs at the hospital with Ozaki she rushes to his home anyway, only to find that she's been beaten to it... by Tohru at all people, who is of course himself horribly conflicted about what to do with Natsuno, confronting him but unable to attack him in a fit of shame and emotion. Of course, Megumi volunteers to do the job that Tohru couldn't, but while Natsuno searches for Tohru after his initial shock of seeing his dead friend looking veyr much "alive" he finds himself confronted and outnumbered by Megumi and Tatsumi - and that isn't even the worst of it as this episode reaches its seemingly terrible climax...

After its steady climb of improvement in recent episodes, this tenth instalment of Shiki has certainly raised the bar as high as we've seen it so far - the cat and mouse game between Natsuno and the "Risen" was interesting enough in itself (especially once his "hippie" parents were thrown into the mix), but things have now taken a far, far more fascinating turn by throwing him into the mix with the girl who loves him that he hates and his best friend, both of whom are gunning to literally take a bite out of him with a hard to decipher mix of love and lust... which I guess it what vampires are all about at the end of the day.

It's the emotional side of the Risen and their goals which is what really makes this episode interesting - Megumi knows that Natsuno dying and coming back to "life" would bring her closer to him, yet if he doesn't come back to life then he's lost forever - a tough call for a girl to make, especially when she also needs to drink someone's blood just to stay alive. Tohru's dilemma is arguably even tougher - he clearly doesn't want to do anything bad to his friend, yet doing nothing leaves him at the mercy of the other Risen. Judging what actions these characters will take and why is what has suddenly twisted Shiki from "just some wannabe horror anime" into something much, much more fascinating; I just hope it continues to explore this path now we've finally reached the crux of matters.

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