Friday, 3 September 2010

Shiki - Episode 9

Although the end of Shiki's previous episode seemed to spell peril for Natsuno after his discovery of the truth surrounding all of the deaths in the village, we actually get to see next to nothing of him in this ninth instalment of the series, instead focusing our attention once again upon Doctor Ozaki and his own efforts after figuring out that vampires are causing the aforementioned spate of deaths.

Thus, much of the episode is spent following both himself and priest Muroi as they keep the old lady Setsuko under the clinics care, watching her night and day to see what is going despite the physical toll it is clearly taking on Ozaki in particular. Even after the first night of keeping watch the young Doctor is showing obvious fatigue, concerning his mother enough to send his wife to look after him, although ironically it appears to be her who endangers him most (albeit inadvertently) later in the episode.

After an uneventful first night, it's the second night shift of carefully watching Setsuko that finally yields results, with her dead daughter Nao "dropping by" to pay her visit and thus proving their worst fears. With no invitation to enter the clinic, any danger passes swiftly, only to return as an even more major problem the following night, with Tatsumi able to enter the clinic while a number of other "Risen" are on hand to do their worst and drain Setsuko dry to grab their fill of blood. So, despite his best efforts Ozaki has been foiled again, so what on Earth do they do now?

As I discussed last week, Shiki is finally beginning to emerge as a decent series from under the burden of its expectations and initially glacial pace to start demonstrating the abilities we looked to see from it right from the start. In these terms, this was certainly the best episode yet once again, proving to be reasonably adept at being somewhat creepy while also holding a fair amount of tension throughout - not enough to make it a classic or a memorable piece of horror story-telling, but a definite improvement nonetheless. Now that the last couple of episodes have manoeuvred the pieces on its chess board into prime positions, this should be time for the series to shine from this episode forth - let's hope it makes full use of the scenario it has so painstakingly set up to deliver its payload with full effect.

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