Monday, 1 November 2010

Shiki - Episode 13

I supposed you could say that Shiki has never been the most upbeat of series by its very nature, but recent episodes in particular have seen things taking a darker turn, fostering a sense of near-helplessness as character after character seems to have been bested by the Risen.

Certainly, this thirteenth episode of the series does nothing to dispel such feelings; in fact, it only preys upon them all the more strongly as we see numerous characters moving inexorably towards their deaths with nothing that anybody can do to help them, with those afflicted seeming to have been told explicitly by whoever is feasting upon them not to allow themselves to be hospitalised or taken under the care of Doctor Ozaki.

Somewhat removed from this we have Natsuno, who isn't seeking help for an entirely different reason as he continues to allow himself to be used by Tohru while still vainly hoping that something will emerge to allow them both to escape and live their lives to the fullest.  This hope brings about Natsuno's death this episode as his family almost literally falls apart, bringing us a feeling that we haven't really felt from this series up until now - genuine grief.  Prior to Natsuno's fate we've always been able to watch proceedings with a somewhat detached countenance, but having followed this particular individual so closely throughout, and specifically having seen him trying to prevent both his own and the village's fate, it's hard not to feel a little upset at his passing.  Of course, I get the feeling that this isn't the last we've seen of him, but it's still a surprisingly tough and depressing pill to swallow... which brings us to Ozaki's wife Kyoko, who collapses and later dies during this episode and leads us towards what is likely to be the most disturbing aspect of the series thus far, which looks set to allow it to live up to its "horror" billing.

This broadening of the show's emotional spectrum coupled with its now relentless nature is really bringing out the best in Shiki - after that slow start it now feels like the show I started tuning in to watch, and it's becoming increasingly adept at handling its large (albeit ever-dwindling) roster of characters and darkening storylines.  Put simply, I want more and I want it now... after being so indifferent to its earlier episodes, I'm now starting to reach the point where I wait impatiently for each new instalment, which can only be a good sign.

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