Sotobamura is a small village with around 1300 residents; so small the village isn’t even connected to a single highway. An isolated village in which old customs, such as the burial of the dead, are still practiced. One day, the bodies of three people are found dead. Although Ozaki Toshio, the village’s lone doctor, feels uncertain, he treats the deaths as a normal occurrence. However, in the days following, the villagers start to die one after the other.
- Title: Shiki (Corpse Demon)
- Series: Series
- Episodes: 22
- Status: Finished Airing
- Release Date: July 8, 2010 – Dec 30, 2010
- Genre: Horror, Drama, Tragedy
- Rating: PG
It has been a while since the last review, but lets get right back into the thick of things, shall we? As of this writing, it is October, which means that some countries will soon be celebrating Halloween. That means for this month, I will be going over shows that have a horror slant or are at least inspired by aspects of the horror genre. Today’s review is from a relatively recently released anime from 2010 called Shiki.
The show was produced by Daume, who have worked on shows such as Bleach, Minami-ke, Please Teacher!, and Tona-Gura, among helping on many others. The character designs are rather…interesting to look at, since a good number of characters have these wild hairstyles that are a sight to see, even by usual anime hair logic. Other than that, the characters are standard fare. Other visual elements seem to be this rather stylistic approach they go for some scenes, which is a bit unique. Finally, the music works for the series, since the background music is rather haunting when need be, and the opening and ending songs are rather appropriate too, I thought. The dub does a pretty decent job in this series, so you don’t feel as if you are being ripped off by bad voice actors here. I rarely talk about DVD extras, but for the US release, there are some commentaries provided by the dub cast for certain episodes.
The story, as expected from a horror title like this, is rather somber, tragic, and even kind of depressing. Themes of death, isolation, and even family are explored in this show, and each gets a different facet thanks to the huge cast of characters present in this show, which is something I will touch upon later. The story itself flows mostly in a linear fashion, except for the times when it sometimes switches to another character, where it will briefly rewind things to show you what they were up to in the previous timespan. All in all, I found this to be rather appropriate all around as far as methods of story telling go.
Moving onto the characters, there is a lot of them, as I have mentioned before. Even though Sotoba is a small town, every character you meet has their name displayed, no matter how minor their role in the grand scheme of things. Of course, there are some characters that have much more impact on things then others and could be classified as main characters. Those would be Natsuno Yuuki, Toshio Ozaki, and Seishin Muroi. Natsuno really wants to get out of the village even before the strange things start to happen and has an icy relationship with just about everyone in the village, save for a few people, like Toru and Ritsuko, who he sees as his only friends. Toshio, in direct contrasst, cares about the village a lot, being a doctor for it and eventually takes the mysterious deaths as his responsibility to solve. Seishin is Toshio’s friend and is sort of the moral center, being a monk and all. However. he also starts to befriend the new arrivals in town, the daughter to be exact, and those meetings with her start to change his world view.
Speaking of the new arrivals, the Kirishiki family can be seen as the antagonists of the series if you wish and they do act that way for the first half. However, this series doesn’t present things as black and white when things start to spiral out of control and some of you may even start to feel sorry for the young looking Sunako and her “family” that she has been trying to create in the village. The one we get the most screen time with is Sunako, followed by Tatsumi who, while not being directly related to Sunako, is pretty much the one who acts out in the field the most, given his special nature among his kind. There are more notable characters among this group or eventually become part of this group, but I feel that mentioning that would be spoilers, so I’ll refrain from going into detail.
I believe that Shiki is well worth the time, provided that you can afford it, since the only way to get it on DVD in the states is through a DVD and Blu-Ray combo pack deal from Funimation. However, the show should be streamable, so there is a plus there as well. So, if you can, go ahead and watch Shiki if this type of series interests you.