Friday, 17 September 2010

Shiki - Episode 11

Just as Shiki finally broke into more than a simple trot and threatened to deliver us some seriously good episodes, we find ourselves having to say goodbye to the show for a little while as it goes on hiatus for a few weeks. Before we get ahead of ourselves however, we have episode eleven of the series to content ourselves with as Shiki reaches its half-way point.

As we should probably have learned about this series by now, it doesn't always rush to resolve its cliff hangers, and so it goes here as Natsuno's fate is left hanging in the balance until the end credits and what seems to be a glorified preview for the second half of the show. Instead, we find ourselves following Ikumi, that crazy old witch of a lady who, on this occasion, turns out not to be quite as bonkers as she suggests, blaming the Risen for the spate of deaths and planting the blame squarely at the door of the Kanemasa house.

While Ikumi goes around charging for scrolls and scriptures before shouting like a banshee about her theories to anyone who will listen, Ozaki is taking a very tact despite its more substantial (and substantiated) knowledge, keeping what he knows to himself while almost coldly planning how best to tackle the problem of the Risen and, more importantly, how to persuade the other villages that he hasn't gone crazy. For Ozaki, the only way in his mind to do this is to catch a Risen when they first rise from the dead, show said individual to the residents, and then experiment upon the captive to find out what makes them tick... or more precisely, what stops them ticking.

These differing attitudes on how to approach the current problem end up with a face-to-face encounter between Ozaki and Ikumi, leaving the first to shrug off the second's tale of the Risen as fantasy in front of a gathered group of villagers. Nonetheless, Ikumi continues her single-minded tirade against the Kanemasa household, turning up at their doorstep with her accusations no less. At this point we see exactly why Ozaki has been keeping his powder dry, as the head of the household turns out in broad daylight and allows Ozaki to verify that he is very much alive and kicking, leaving Ikumi to seem like the nutjob she outwardly appears to be. So, what next for Ozaki? And what of Natsuno? All in good time my friends, all in good time...

After really getting into the meat of its story over the past couple of instalments, this episode did feel like it slowed the pace a little, but necessarily so given the points it wished to make and cover, and I really can't deny that it did it all effectively even if it wasn't as gripping as recent events by any stretch of the imagination. So, this wasn't the most memorable way to leave us hanging for a few weeks until the second half of the series kicks off.... at least, it wouldn't be if it wasn't for the merciless teasing of what we can expect when we return to Shiki during the end credits, which suggests that it'll be worth every second of that long, long wait.

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