Saturday, 18 December 2010

Shiki - Episode 20

After turning thing around in favour of the remaining, living humans, Shiki's previous episode saw those who have survived thus far going on the hunt for the Risen in the hope of eradicating them all.

With the Kanemasa house now in Doctor Ozaki and company's hands, it's time to go about the brutal business of putting those Risen still within the building to the proverbial sword - something which most of those involved seem to feel uncomfortable with initially as you might expect, although such doubts and discomfort seem to dissolve rather quickly once the first stake is hammered through a Shiki heart.  What follows is a brutal cull of any Risen still within the building, with Ozaki seemingly needing to offer up a reminder not to engage in any further brutality once the "job" has been done on a particular individual.

That said, all the death and destruction isn't limited to the living, as Ozaki and his comrades return to the former's clinic to find Ozaki's mother violently murdered as a warning to those engaged in the current set of actions.  With daylight already upon the village, finding the culprit takes no time at all, meaning that justice is served by father upon son swiftly and chillingly.

Elsewhere, Ritsuko's fight with her new-found Risen nature continues, much to the growing distress of Tohru, while Tatsumi continues to look for a route out of trouble for Sunako and Muroi despite the worsening situation.  Throw in an appearance from Natsuno and Seishirou indulding in a little "sport" and you have plenty to occupy us this episode, rather the way through to an ending which suggests that the cycle of violence is only going to deepen and worsen beyond even the current hunt of the Risen.

Above all else, this twentieth episode of Shiki has to be applauded for not shirking from its subject matter at this point - we aren't denied any of the gore and horror of the task that Ozaki and friends decide (and arguably must) carry out, and these shocking scenes serve the remainder of the episode well as we begin to see signs that the end of the Risen isn't where the bloodshed will end, thanks to a growing thirst for revenge and to secure complete safety for the remaining villagers from any potential danger - a concept that you could debate for some time on a socio-political level alone I would imagine, even removed from the overall concept of this series.  That aside, there are still lots of fascinating unresolved plot threads which are shifted forward a step this episode as we roll on towards the end of the series, and you certainly get the feeling that there will be some twists, turns and uncomfortable moments as we hit those last two instalments.

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