Synonyms: Corpse Demon
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 9, 2010 to Dec 31, 2010
Duration: 22 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.111 (scored by 71597 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular TagsNo tags found
Jul 19, 2014
Those newcomers are certainly strange, and Sotoba does have ancient legends about Okomiyagi, or the dead coming back to life... But those are just stories, right?
Based on a series of novels from 1998, Shiki tells the story of an entire rural Japanese community as it deals with one mysterious death after another, slowly whittling their population down as their efforts to explain it... And hopefully put a stop to it... yield no results, no answers, and an ever diminishing sense of hope. It isn’t until a few open-minded individuals start to consider the supernatural that they finally begin to make some real progress... Unfortunately for them, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
With a cast of hundreds like this show has, it’s essential that you set aside a special handful of characters for the audience to follow, so we can explore the story from several different perspectives. Shiki has this requirement covered, as it gives us three very different pairs of eyes to look through. First, we have Natsuno, a disgruntled teenaged boy who’s been forced to move into this village with his new wave, idealistic parents. He despises the village, and refuses to make any long term connections, believing that doing so will make it difficult when they finally move back out. Of course, despite his best efforts, a close circle of friends do form around him. In fact, Megumi... One of the very first people to be killed by the mysterious epidemic... Had an obsessive one sided crush on him... and it seems that even death can’t take her away.
Our second leading role is Toshio Ozaki, the director of the primary hospital in Sotoba. Having taken over the clinic from his deceased father, he’s a driven and tenacious doctor who’s initially baffled by the amount of people inexplicably dying around him, and having come up against a challenge like this, he will stop at nothing to overcome it... And I mean nothing, as his quest for a solution leads to him experiencing and performing some of the cruelest acts imaginable.
And our final lead is Ozaki’s childhood friend, Seishin Muroi, a local priest and a moderately successful author. His novels tend to be on the poignant side, dealing with subjects like loss, betrayal, and abandonment by God. This attracts the attention of Sunako, the little daughter of the newcomers, who’s apparently a huge fan of his work. He forms a connection with her over time, as his pacifist religious beliefs gradually lead him to develop a sense of sympathy for the beings that his best friend Toshio has sworn to destroy.
The rest of the cast is made up of smaller roles, the basic types of people you’d expect to see in a tightly-knit little community... You have business owners, rebellious teenagers, concerned parents, comfortable elders, nurses, teachers, happy go lucky children... All of whom deal with the growing problem in their own unique ways. And for such a large cast, the dub is surprisingly on point. It”s a Funimation effort, but it’s a really odd Funimation effort, where the lead characters are all portrayed by actors that you normally wouldn’t see attached to such high profile roles. Toshio is played by David Wald, a long time actor who’s somehow stayed completely off of my radar until just now. I’m going to have to keep an eye out for him in the future, because he rasps and grumbles his way into the jaded, chain smoking doctor as though he was born to play the part.
Seishin Muroi is played by John Burgmeier, a man who rarely ever steps out from the technical side fo a dub for anything other than a bit part... He directs, he writes, but when he acts, his subdued performances are normally outstanding. He plays down-trod, broken men as though it were a second language, and his role in Shiki is probably one of his best voice performances since Gunslinger Girl. Jerry Jewell also does a commendable job on Natsuno Yuuki, and you’ll find pretty much every Funimation voice under the sun sprinkled here and there... Hell, even Anastasia Munoz gets an appearance... but the star of this dub has to be Cherami Leigh, who plays the ominous Sunako, who looks very much like she was taken directly from a Katy Towell cartoon. I wish I could tell you why her performance in this role is so perfect, but to go into detail would mean giving away some serious spoilers.
There’s at least one bad egg in the dub, however, and surprise surprise, it’s Tia Ballard. Tia plays the role of Megumi Shimizu, a sixteen year old girl who dreams of getting out of her quaint, suffocating home town and going to a college in the big city. And she will not shut up about it. I know that in anime, non conformists are often portrayed as loud, disruptive nuisances, and they did a very thorough job of it with this character, but when you combine that archetype with tia’s shrill, screechy voice, she single-handedly renders the first episode almost completely unbearable. Thankfully, she only really has a strong presence in this episode. Spoiler... She dies in it.
Now, when I tell you that this story is about a small group of protagonists struggling to put a stop to the mysterious deaths happening all around them, with ticking clock being their worst enemy, you may think that concept sounds suspiciously familiar. Well, that’s because you’ve seen this same plot before, as Another and Hell Girl: Two Mirrors have both tried... And failed miserably... at making you care about it. But where those two regrettable shows failed, Shiki succeeds with flying colors.
Unlike Another, Shiki doesn’t make over-the-top, ridiculous spectacles of it’s death scenes, choosing instead to focus on word of mouth and the sad faces of relatives, so that it can liberally float between tragedy and statistic depending on the tone that any given death calls for. And unlike Hell Girl Two Mirrors, Shiki paces itself, putting just enough time between each death so that it can drain the hope of the viewer, little by little, as it spirals down towards one hell of a catastrophic ending.
And with that manipulation of hope, Shiki is one of the most well executed horror anime titles that I have seen in a long time. There’s almost no filler in it’s entire 24 episode run, as every single event that occurs has a distinct purpose, and is placed exactly where it needs to be in the narrative. The first ten or so episodes are admittedly slow, building up the tension in the village to an almost OCD-like degree. Very few answers are found here, as tragic death after tragic death drives the residents to either blind paranoia or complacent acceptance of fate. By the second half, the nature of this menace has been all but revealed to the audience, even as our three main characters slowly come to terms with a truth they know they shouldn’t accept, and with a terrifying threat that comes to face them almost immediately after they come to face it.
It’s a brilliant, gripping story that will have you skipping through the otherwise beautiful openings and closings just so you can catch the next development as quickly as you possibly can. While you may find yourself hard-pressed to experience any emotional reactions through the majority of the story, as death will inevitably become commonplace in this kind of story, there’s enough disturbing, unsettling material in the final act that will not only horrify you, but will also completely subvert your expectations of a horror story.
As much as I would love to continue to praise this series, and call it one of the most excellent horror titles i’ve ever seen, I can’t. It’s time to talk about the artwork and animation, and I can already feel my hand reaching out to grab hold of my bottle of Haterade. Why? Because this is one butt ugly show.
Okay,. maybe that’s not fair of me... It’s not the artwork itself that’s bad, as it doesn’t look sloppy or anything. If anything, the backgrounds and environments are easily on the high end of the scale. No, what I really have problems with is the art design. The characters look ridiculous, with angular faces and giant, cartoony eyes, and so many bizarre, gravity defying hairstyles that even a Pokemon animator would say “Hey, dial it back a bit!” No, you know what? Forget Pokemon. Looking at Shiki’s character designs is like watching someone from Clamp come up with their own Yugioh Spin-off. It would be okay if this were some wacky comedy, but it’s not... Shiki is a mature, poignant show that asks you several profound questions and dares you to come up with your own satisfactory answers.
And if you really want to see this show go from ridiculous to horrifying in the blink of an eye, just wait until one of the characters starts to cry. These characters don’t cry the way normal anime characters cry... They cry thick, opaque marbles of liquid that could make a serious claim at being one of the scariest elements of the show. If you were to take a frame of it out of context, you’d think you were looking at an image from some ill advised Eiken sequel... And no, I am not even remotely joking about that. The art design of this show is distracting as hell, and took me out of the story more times than I can count. And the animation quality is no prize either... It’s one of the cheapest looking shows that Bones has ever produced, and if you know Bones, you know how big a claim that is.
In spite of this, Shiki is a very strong anime title that has a lot to offer you... It’s bold, thought provoking, and without a single hint of pretense. It succeeds at exploring ideas and concepts that cause other shows to flop face down onto the floor, and if you’re looking for a very broad hint at what these ideas are, one of those floppers is my old arch-nemesis Blood C. Unfortunately, with an irritating first episode and a constant assault of distracting and sometimes even inappropriate eyesores, you have to put up with a lot of abuse to appreciate this show, so I really can’t see it reaching the level of quality that it deserves to. It’s still a great show, and I strongly recommend checking it out, but I can’t give it any higher than a 7/10. read more
Nov 2, 2014
The story of Shiki takes place in a rural Japanese village called Sotoba that the only thing the residents do is gossip. New residents called the Kirishiki's moved into town and from then on mysterious deaths occur throughout the town and there are reports of the dead coming back to life. The one that suffers the most because of this is Toshio Ozaki, the doctor of Sotoba, because he wants to know why these mysterious murders have been happening. He later believes that the cause of the deaths are something more supernatural and decides to investigates. Until he reaches a conclusion that the vampires are the cause of the murder and from there on it's just mass genocide of the vampires where the town decides to eliminate the epidemic and reclaim their town.
The major problem with this show is the first half. Not gonna lie I almost fell asleep during the first half of the show, but after episode13 then the show gets really good.
Shiki has a really disturbing tone. The one soundtrack that plays throughout the show is a little girl sing "Lalalaaaaa, lalalaaaaa" while a piano note plays in the background. That just gave me the creeps.
The characters that I am going to give mention to is Toshio Ozaki because he arguably the best character in this show. Another character is the local priest Seishin Muri who develops a relationship with Sunako Kirishiki and the bond they share is believable. The other character is Natsuno who is one of the few characters who believed early in the series that there were vampires and eventually becomes a jinrou, a vampire that possesses human traits like walking in the sun and eating regular food.
There is one character that is voiced by Todd Haberkorn that is just so FUCKING annoying. Now he is one of my favorite voice actors, but god dammit is his voice annoying in this show.
Like I said this is a show that does vampires right. It also adds a few layers to modern day vampires like different types of vampires and the process of turning into a vampire. The series starts out slow, but picks up towards the second half. Shiki also towards the end makes you feel really sympathetic towards the vampires because they are suffering not being human. In addition this show has very graphic scenes that I can remember just how grotesque the art and animation was for this show. However, the second half of this show is best part. That's why I'm giving it a 8/10 and give it a recommendation. read more
Oct 29, 2014
Shiki did pretty well in this category. It was refreshing to watch a vampire story that didn't make you want to become one. They went back to the old school myths, where vampires can't be killed unless you put a stake through their heart, and they fear things like relics and crosses. They were actually the bad guys. There are already a lot of great romanticized vampire stories out there, so it's really nice to find the opposite.
The episodes were well paced, and the anime as a whole did a great job at keeping you on your toes and making you want to watch the next one. It did start out a little slow. The first few episodes were mostly just to give you a perspective on what the villagers were like and how future events would effect them, but at the same time you couldn't really skip them because there were bits and pieces you would need to see in order to understand anything that happened later. Once that was past though, the anime picked up really fast, so much so that I had a hard time waiting to see what was going to happen next. Watching an anime that's like a book you can't put down is a huge plus.
The plot itself was a little holey. As someone who likes a little science behind their fiction, I was disappointed that they didn't delve into the facts about why the vampires hated sunlight or what made them rise. But that's a minor mishap. My real problem was that there was no real back story to the Kirishikis at all. The main antagonists in the story were completely left without any context. While they hint at things here and there, you never really know anything about them. Especially Seishirou, and that really bugs me!
I have to applaud them for not being afraid to kill of characters, though. Far too many horror anime are hesitant to actually kill anyone, and sort of beat around the bush, instead. Especially when it comes to prominent characters, or younger ones. That probably sounds harsh, but it's really frustrating when characters just barely make it out alive, by miraculous events, over and over.
This is where the anime really falls apart. To be fair, the art wasn't truly bad. It was clean and well drawn, and the backgrounds were definitely on a higher scale. The real problem was the style. This especially in the character designs. Almost every character in the show, whether main or just a filler, had the most ridiculous, gravity defying hairstyles. It was annoying to say the least, and incredibly out of place in a horror anime. Even in a comedy, these hairstyles would be considered over the top. The eyes were just as bad. Not only were they too big for most of the character's faces, they were so awkwardly colored. Especially Muroi's, I will never understand why his were so different from everyone else's. The eyes also took away an element of surprise that the show really could have benefited from. If only they hadn't made the vampire's eyes such a dead give away.
The animation was on the crappier side, as well. It seemed to be quickly, and cheaply, thrown together. Many shortcuts were taken. In many scenes the people don't even walk, they just sort of fade in and out across the screen. And there was a lot of still pictures that just slowly zoomed out.
Overall, the art was way too distracting, and I almost dropped the anime because of it.
I don't normally pay as much attention to this category as the rest. The music sounded okay to me. Nothing I'll be putting in my iTunes, but it worked with the show.
What really brings this category's score down was the dialogue. Now I only watched the dubbed version, so I can't speak for the original Japanese! But Christ, this was terrible. So many of the lines were awkwardly placed, or seemed to be missing a lot of context. And a lot of the characters would say things that completely clashed with their personalities. Again, this could just be because of poor translation, but as an official dub I really think they should have done better.
I was so disappointed with the main characters in this anime. All three of the most important ones had almost the same personality. Distant, a little cold, and angry (at either themselves or just everyone in general). There was no diversity! I know it's a more serious anime, but they should have branched out a little, at least between characters. The amount of generic personalities nearly killed me. Other individuals seemed a little displaced, especially Megumi. I know she was supposed to have an outsider kind of feel to her, but they went a little too far with it, and she seemed like she didn't even belong in the story at all.
The worst part out of all of it is they never gave you a character you truly got attached to. There was no emotional connection, none of the characters were really likable. Megumi was obnoxious, Natsuno was too reserved for you to even really get to know who he was at all, Dr Ozaki was way too cold, ect ect ect. There was at least one reason to hate every character. I really could care less who died and who survived, and that really took a toll on my experience with this show.
That being said, I did still enjoy the series as a whole. Yes, they could have done better in a lot of areas, but I still kept watching regardless of it all. It's got it's own way of making you want to watch it. If not for any reason other than who's gonna die next, will that person rise up, and is everyone kind of evil or will there actually be some character development? I will definitely never re-watch it.
I'm not entirely sure I'd recommend this anime, though, especially if you're new to it! Don't ruin your first experience with something that's so-so. If you're really looking for an intriguing, gory horror story, go watch something like Mirai Nikki instead. read more
Aug 3, 2014
"Who's the real evil?" Who cares? It seemed pretty black and white to me logically. (Personally: If you're dead, stay dead.) I didn't feel any sympathy for either side. So I didn't end up contemplating life. Also I already knew humans are terrible. I guess a reminder didn't hurt? (Concept was good enough for bonus points in story rating. But, mainly, the endless blood showers ♥)
I still remember when my brain just said, "Deal with it, it's episode 17 already." The drawing style is unique but I didn't find it beautiful, it was bizarre. I guess it suits how messed up the anime is but it doesn't change things for me; didn't like it. Bonus points: Managed to live with it.
I actually liked the music and anything sound related, it was the one thing I couldn't complain about. It wasn't painfully out of place or too weird.
Oh wow. In one word, UNLIKEABLE. Most of them were painfully annoying or despicable. Even the kind ones were annoying to me, like that best friend guy that kept crying. I can't explain without spoilers but ask yourself, "Is it worth ruining my day for?" Not really. "Why do that?!" or "Just do it!!" moments are too many a person should ever experience in a single series.
I managed to sit through 24 episodes overall so it's compelling in its own way. Who's gonna die next?? Is everyone a piece of *** or will they actually grow as characters?? Tbh, it actually took me a few episodes to understand what was going on so there's some major potential this could have been shorter than it was.
100% would not rewatch. 6 is actually generous but I base my ratings on concept potential usually. Don't get me wrong, it was compelling enough to keep me interested, BUT, it was compelling in a bad way. I kept watching to see if anyone of those fudgers actually pulls through for me.
Conclusion: If you like messed up stuff, this could be for you.
Everyone's review seems to be raving about how good Shiki is and so I'm just wondering maybe there is something wrong with me. (Well, there must be if I managed to get through this bloody anime without losing my appetite but that's another issue.) Why did I bother to write this you may ask?? I think it might be nice for other people to have some closure that they're not abnormal for not raving about it and that it's not for everyone, I'm like Batman of the anime world. Thanks for reading. read more
Jan 1, 2011
And then Shiki comes along and blows that whole idea out of the water.
Originally a two part horror novel published in 1998 by Ono Fuyumi (which was later reprinted in five parts), Shiki was adapted for manga in 2007 by Fujisaki Ryu. Set during a summertime in the mid 1990s, several people in the small town of Sotoba in rural Japan are afflicted with a strange and incurable wasting disease, and the local doctor fears an epidemic may be starting.
Around the same time a new family moves into the newly built Kanemasa mansion .
Shiki may not look the part at first glance, especially because of the colour scheme, but don't be fooled as there is actually quite a deep plot to this series, and while there is a degree of predictability about the storyline, this is balanced some good scripting and a more reasoned narrative approach. One of the things that separates this anime from more recent offerings is that it harks back to older vampire tales, so unlike Fortune Arterial, Rosario + Vampire, and other titles of that ilk, the undead in Shiki are unable to venture out into sunlight, nor are they able to enter a home unless invited, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to this there's an intelligence about the story that materialises in some interesting ways, from the doctor's logical approach to the town's crisis, to the strangely normal reactions of the local women at the beginning of the penultimate episode. Shiki could readily be compared to Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni as it explores certain aspects of human psychosis over the course of the series, and it's pleasing to watch an anime that doesn't assume that the audience are blithering idiots.
The thing that may put people off though, is how everything looks. The town and rural scenery are nicely detailed and varied, but viewers may initially wonder at the incongruity of the bright colours, or even the European styled mansion sitting on a hill overlooking the town. Rather than a whimsical approach to the design, this is a purposeful nod at the stereotypical hilltop "castle" that is prominent in a number of European horror stories.
This slightly methodical approach to design also manifests itself with the characters as it seems as though there has been an attempt to include just about every body shape into the series. Now while this adds a nice touch of diversity, there are some rather ludicrous additions which seem a bit out of place in a rural setting (one example is Ookawa Tomio, the owner of the liquor store, who looks like he was built in a shipyard). That said, the one glaring issue is that the vampires are easily recognisable because of their eyes, which is a bit of a shame as there are several scenes where the effect would have been heightened if there was less of a difference between the undead and humans.
As for the animation, the production company Daume isn't really well known in the West, but the work they've put into Shiki bodes well for the future of the studio. The characters generally move well, and while there are some slightly ridiculous body positions and actions at times, there's also a bit more realism about the series since none of the undead can leap over buildings or fly through the air. The action sequences also benefit from this more realistic approach, but there are still a small number of scenes that "bend" the laws of physics at the very least.
One thing that does bear mentioning is the quality and impact of the visual effects, especially the colour scheme, partly because of the variety, but mainly because they provide a number of scenes with some much needed emphasis.
Speaking of which, Shiki features some pretty decent acting, and a number of seiyuu really do put effort into their roles, even if they only have a minor speaking part. Now one could argue that this is to be expected from professionals, but sadly this isn't always the case as there are many anime out there that simply haven't understood that a poorly executed supporting role can spoil the performance of the leads.
The downside is that there are times towards the end of the series where the actors and actresses seem ... a bit too enthusiastic. Fortunately the seiyuu playing the main roles are there to steady things, and their performances are very good indeed.
Shiki is well served by a variety of incidental music, ranging from quiet yet slightly ominous music box pieces to haunting choral anthems, all with some slow techno beats thrown into the mix to round everything out. The series has two opening and ending sequences that, in all honesty, are a bit of a mixed bag. The first OP, Kuchizuke by Buck-Tick, is a pretty angry piece that actually fits well with the theme of the show, but sadly the second OP, Calendula Requiem by Kanon x Kanon, doesn't really work as it's a bit too J-pop for its own good. As for the EDs, the first one, Walk no Yakusoku by Nangi, is a slightly bittersweet track that echoes of triumph, and in all honesty it's difficult to judge how fitting the song is with this anime. On the other hand the second ED, Gekka Reijin by Buck-Tick (again), really does work well with Shiki, and the track is reminiscent of the music produced by some of the "darker" European rock/pop bands of the 1990s.
As for the effects, they're suitably gory when the occasion demands, but even poor effects would be raised by the quality of the choreography throughout this series. Everything from the music, including the OPs and EDs, to the pitch and cadence of the speaking roles, is timed very well, and it's clear a great deal of effort has gone into making this anime an aural experience as well as a visual one.
Now one of the things that is clear from the opening sequence is that Shiki has quite a large number of characters. Normally this would mean that much of the developmental aspect of the storyline would focus on the leads, with the supporting characters reinforcing this growth, but Shiki takes a different line, and it's one that will hopefully be seen a lot more in the future. The main strength of this series is characterisation, and from the bit parts on up, every single role is clearly defined. The advantage to this method is that it's not always necessary to develop a well defined character, and Shiki follows this path almost religiously. While some growth does occur over the course of the series, what's most interesting is how each character adjusts and adapts to the events in the town. Probably the best example of this ethos in action is in the latter half of episode 14, and the methodical approach taken by the local doctor Ozaki Toshio is reflective of the fact that there is a degree of logic and intelligence in the plot.
In all honesty Shiki managed to surprise me. After the recent run of poor horror anime it's pretty obvious that I ventured into the series half expecting more of the same, so when I encountered actual intelligence in the plot, it came as something of a shock. That doesn't mean this anime is perfect though, as aside from the more obvious audio and visual flaws (like not washing off blood), there are several elements in the story that could have been resolved. That said, it's nice to watch a show that sets out to tell a story without assuming that the viewer is afflicted with the moe bug.
The main reason I like Shiki though, is because it doesn't fall foul of the drivel produced by authors of "dark romance", but instead postulates some moral and ethical dilemmas for the viewer to ponder. In addition to this it also highlights the human capacity for adaptation, something which is often overlooked in anime. If you're looking for an intelligent horror, then this series is right up there with the likes of Ghost Hound, Ghost Hunt, and other equally worthy shows.
Given that this is effectively a throwback to the type of horror that epitomises Bram Stoker's Dracula (without certain supernatural shenanigans), Shiki is something of an oddity in anime as the general trend leans heavily into romanticism and moe, and in all honesty I haven't seen a vampire tale this good since Kurozuka, which says a lot more about the anime industry than I can put into words. read more
Oct 6, 2014
This the my first attempt a writing a review, so I hope it's not too bad.
Let's get this going. Well Shiki is quite the good anime, i didn't read the light novels so i'm not going to make comparisons there.
In terms of story I have to say that it has a very nice plot, different from most vampire stories that will make you think about where humanity can go and how far can to stretch your soul into to doing the "right thing". For me it does have some pacing problems but it doesn't take merit from the story.
The art is great to me, different and it blends well with the theme of the story. The sinister colors mixed with some really strong ones makes it even more creepier, and the result is amazing.
The sound is close to perfection. From the openings and endings to the sound tracks in the episodes. It blends perfectly and always entices the special moments in the series.
The characters. Hum that's the hard part. For me it was hard to understand because there a lot of characters, which complicated sometimes to know who they were talking about in some scenes. There are complicated and well developed characters and simpler ones that don't get that much attention. Anyway overall they are enjoyable and you feel the dilemmas and struggles that they are facing. They will make you like and sympathize with them.
Regarding the enjoyment, as i said before, for me it had some pace problems, in a way that sometimes it was a bit boring, witch made it a bit difficult to watch, it took me sometime to finish. But don't let that take you away from it. Overall it's a very good anime, with a interesting plot and characters.
Definitively a anime to watch and take into consideration.
I hope i was helpful :) If not let me know how i can make it better :D read more
Sep 3, 2010
Compared to many other vampire themed animes, such as Blood+, Rosario + Vampire, Vampire Knight, and Trinity blood; this anime comes back to the roots of vampires and their myths. In this anime a town is plagued with death with no reasonable explanation; though thought of a possible epidemic, Doctor Ozaki, the head doctor of his clinic cannot find any actual symptoms related to any known disease, besides Aplastic Anemia, which is the loss of red and white blood cells. As the body count rises, he becomes desperate to find an answer until he comes up to a conclusion, albeit a far fetched one, that it might be a work of Okiagari, or vampires. His next problem then is to convince the village; of course such a mythical conclusion would "never" exist in the rational world. As he tried desperately to prove the existence of okiagari, death sweeps through the town faster and faster, until soon, more than half of the population has been wiped. Still they did not believe him. That is until he killed a vampire, named Chizuru, in front of everyone. Then the vampire hunt begins. There are mini plots within the whole series that I will not divulge, go watch it to see. At first, the anime's plot progression might come up as slow to most people. Even I had a hard time dealing with the first 3 episodes. But it get's really good. The fact that the anime went back to the original vampire myths alone made me smile, such as that they can not enter a home until they are invited in, or that they die if stabbed with a stake at the heart, and the fact that they are UNDEAD; just including those classic myths already got me hooked. This anime has definitely gave back the respect of vampires that Twilight has taken away. And contrast to the other animes I've mentioned, very little gore is shown, at least until the way later episodes, even then, it was there as part of the ambiance, and not for its own sake.
The lines were sharp, and the colors were almost fluorescent. The art of the animation just didn't look like it fits with a subtle setting and plot like that. Not to mention the crazy hairstyles that almost every relevant character had. It was like watching bakemonogatari but with better details. The animation would be more fit for shounen anime in my opinion.
The1st season OP got me the first time I heard it. It was almost celtic, and goes perfectly with the whole theme. The BGM, it was not intrusive, but yet it'll make you want to jump at times; some even sound like something out of the catholic church, which is awesome due to the ties of religion to vampires;the good thing about it is that they also barely use BGM. The 2nd season OP for some reason reminded me of one of the OP's of Rozen Maiden, i don't know why, but I didn't like it as much. The 1st season ED is that like something off a romance anime though, but once you get to the later episodes, you will figure out why. The 2nd season ED I liked because it was indie/soft rock for me, and it was calm yet eerie, which what the anime was about.
There were really only 4 main characters in the anime; Sunako, Ozaki, Seishin, and Yuuki. However, you will definitely be able to tell that EVERYONE is important, even the ones who died, or risen. This is because of the sub-plots, as I mentioned earlier, and they are awesome. However as much as that's a good thing, the downside is that no one really has any room to grow. The viewer really can't see if there is any character progression. However, that really isn't necessary due to the big-picture nature of the plot.
Like I said in the Story section, it is at first slow, but as the people die, and the vamipres close in to the main characters, it becomes a classic thriller. At one point I actually jumped off my seat. This take on the classic vampire is really something that needed to be done.
Basically, if you hate twilight, you would love this. It puts back the vampire's reputation of being mysterious, scary, and are considered "monsters". It went back to the classics of vampire myths, and made it work quite well. I really do hope that this anime becomes a classic; in case everyone needs to refresh that vampire actually DIE under the sun, and not sparkle like a disco ball.
May 27, 2014
I decided to give this thing a look. And I think most people, who like suspense thrillers, might actually go for this thing.
I am usually quite picky about Vampire offerings, because people have done this thing to death (pun intended). More importantly, while almost every authorship has done Vampire stories (comics, novels, plays, movies, and now anime), what is worse is the slow evolution from the original rules for Vampires; a la Bram Stoker- to something where the original idea has begun to evolve into a completely new beast.
While even I have created a new type of Vampire from time to time, in fan-fiction; it is refreshing to find a story that actually sticks to most of the original rules of the game.
"Shiki" is such an offering. Even the characters offered share similar character types to the original Bram Stoker novel of Dracula; even though they carry different names, professions, and characteristics (on the surface), they fit the original places for each Bram Stoker character.
Dracula is a little girl, Sunako Kirishiki
Renfield is a young teenager, Natsuno "Koide" Yuuki
Mina Harker is another teenager, Shimizu, Megumi
Doctor Van Helsing, Doctor Toshio Ozaki
The above is just a short list. You will find other characters that substitute for Bram Stoker archetypes as well. And some of you may differ on my selections. But I think you'll see where Shiki has parallels to Dracula, in characters, basic behaviors, actions, and finally the reactions of all players.
I found it very enjoyable to predict the next thing to happen, because the story is laid out (in general) so closely to Dracula. What a pleasure to see the town becoming less and less of itself; as Vampires increase in number pyramidically. It was even fun to watch, as Doctor Toshio Ozaki finally came to the conclusion that the only way out, was to apply a liberal dose of "... wooden stake through the heart ...", in an attempt to save his town. In the end, instead of a dose of Sunlight, the ultimate solution became a forest fire. Clever!
For those of you who like a dose of humor in your suspense thriller, you are out of luck. Shiki is entirely and totally camp (or in newer English, deadly deadpan serious). Think dialog from Godzilla, and you'll get the idea. This is not a bad thing, in fact it matches the tone intended by the makers, perfectly.
The dialog leads us through each scene, from one nasty piece of work to the next, extracting tension in ways that look innocent enough; but almost always has double meanings. Music is excellent, and fleshes out each scene and major event; always pregnant with expectation. The opening and closing music, while inappropriate at points, has lyrics that matches Shiki's story and intents (which is fairly rare, as the music is usually more important in most offerings, than the lyrics).
There are a few rough spots. Pacing is sometimes irregular, and there are times I do not understand some references that are plainly a Japanese intention (not being Japanese is a handicap for us Anglo's ).
But if you like traditional Vampire tales, you might truly enjoy Shiki. I give it a 7. read more
Aug 25, 2014
Bear in your mind that you may find some SPOILERS in this review!!!
I just wanna talk about the characters. I've never found that many bunch of numbskulls in all the time I've watched animes.
1. If you Know there are shiki/vampires in your village, make you a favor and don't go out at night; if you do, knowing that, carry at least with you some countermeasures like charms, crosses, Buddhas or whatever thing you may think that works against them.
2. Vampires needs to kill people in order to survive, therefore they are killers (I'd daresay murderers) Killing people, murder is not as a grey area as one the main characters (the moral one) thinks and this anime depicts; it's something very bad, a crime, a sin... Once said this, I don't understand why one of the main characters, the one that should how to deal with demons, defend these creatures on the basis that they are beings on their need of surviving. Idiot, their survival means the dead of humans, your kin!!! family, friends...
The conversations between the priest and the girl should be awarded as the most dangerous relativism pedant nonsense of the year...
3. If your best friend, brother/sister, parent... has turned into a vampire; remember that he/she is no longer your kin; don't let him/she suck your blood out of sympathy, it's most likely that you'll regret it in the end.
I thought that it was a serious anime when I started it, my mistake. My hopes for a mature story about vampires or demons, were turned down and flushed down to the privy by the author of this dumb light novel/manga/anime. read more
Feb 11, 2012
Having now watched it, I am wondering what he was smoking.
I'll go through each aspect individually. Tharrrrr be spoilers (at least in the plot section), so read at your own risk.
Art = 5
I'm torn on this one. On the one hand, the backgrounds are great. It looks like a small village. They are beautiful, though a bit colourful at times for an anime which is supposed to be "dark". Points also go to this one for mixing up the character designs and not having all the characters as beautiful supermodels. Though not excessively gory, the blood and gore aren't skimped on either, another important point.
On the other, there are big problems with the character designs. Some of the characters look utterly ridiculous. Seriously, what is with their hair? It detracts from the "horror experience". The best horror anime have characters who look vaguely like real people, not people who have had their hair styled by Ronald McDonald. Okay, enough about the hair.
Another nitpick I had about the art was how obvious it was when a character was turned, so to speak. Red eyes, glowing white skin, just unnatural looking. It might have been more interesting if it was hard to tell the two groups apart.
I am pretty forgiving when it comes to art so I can ignore a lot of ugly if the story is decent.
Sound = 7
Credit where credit is due here. The majority of the voice acting worked for me. Everyone had a distinct voice and most of them were fitting. I couldn't tell you what any of the minor characters voices sounded like (or if they were "off") but that doesn't bother me in the slightest.
The music is ... interesting. The openings are fine, for the most part. Ending songs aren't quite as good but still passable. Some of the in-show music works very well, in a creepy subtle way. By that token, there is also some that are too subtle and fail to evoke any mood. And then there's the weird pop-techno blend song that comes in once in a while. Each time I heard it, I spent the entire time trying to figure out what popular song it sounded like.
The sound is pretty good. It works. No real problems here.
Character = 3
We start off by sticking close to a pink haired girl named Megumi. She is a stuck-up bitch who hates the town she lives in (and many of the people, including some who go out of their way to be nice) and has an unhealthy obsession with a boy named Yuuki. Think she's the protagonist? Nope.
What about Yuuki? He's the outsider who's just moved to a new town and is slowly making friends. Again, not really the main character. We spend a good portion of time with him until about a third of the way in.
The people we spend most of the time with are the Doctor (Ozai) and the Junior Monk (Seishein). This is a mixed blessing, since Ozai is perhaps the most interesting and likeable character in Shiki. Megumi is, for the most part, annoying as all hell, though she gets better as the series goes on (and her role is downplayed). Yuuki is tolerable but never really breaks out as a character. He's the stoic (semi-)badass who says he doesn't want friends but has a good heart. Seishein is ... horrible. I know I'm supposed to agree with or sympathize with him since we spend a decent chunk of time with him, but he's a drag in every scene he's in. Ozai is perhaps the most logical and realistic of the characters. He realizes something is wrong and he ATTEMPTS TO FIX IT!
The problem with the characters is development. There is a large cast of characters, the majority of which aren't important anyway, which means we don't spend enough time with any character to get too attached to them. And very few of these characters change in any meaningful way. Most of the characters are the exact same whether alive or dead, though the dead do angst a bit.
The character I had the most sympathy for was the girl in the track suit. She's young, unprepared for this, forced to choose between doing unthinkable things and dealing with friends and family who have risen. Her increasing instability is one of the few interesting changes within the series. Too bad she's downplayed in the second half.
Plot = 3
There are spoilers now. You have been warned.
Shiki is about vampires. If you didn't know that going in, you would have figured it out by the second episode at the latest.
It takes the rest of the characters at least another three or four episodes to catch up. The plot is sloooooow. Most of the mystery, if there was any to begin with, is dispelled right away. Every once in a while, something interesting would happen and I felt like I wanted to see what was next. Then the plot would drag its feet a few episodes with no substantial progress being made.
To sum up the first 2/3rds of the plot, the vampires are killing people. A lot of people die. Only Doctor Ozai, Seishein and a few kids realize what's going on. Then the kids drop off the face of the earth for a while and barely factor in again (with one exception). Most episodes in this bit focus on Ozai trying to do something, the townsfolk doing nothing and Seishein being tormented. Should he do something? (YES!!!!)
To repeat, the vampires kill a good portion of the population and no one is all that disturbed about it.
In the last 1/3rd, the show does a 180 and tries to make us sympathize with the vampires. This might have worked if they hadn't been mercilessly slaughtering townsfolk for half of the series. There are some moments where you genuinely think the vampires have been dealt a shitty hand (not choosing to become one but being forced by whoever bit them), but they are few and far between. Suddenly, the humans are the bad guys for protecting themselves and their families against the immortal people who have been murdering them.
While many of the humans who are cleansing the vampires are obviously enjoying the experience waaaay too much, it's hard to argue that they're wrong in doing it. Should the vampires survive, the humans will just be mined for blood until there are none left. You can complain that the vampires want to live too and they've retained their memories, but the bottom line is that their existence is just to kill former neighbours and friends.
And then there's just moments of incredible stupidity.
-At one point, it's suggested that the Shiki want to convert all the humans they can so the village is entirely Shiki. This would make sense, if you forgot that they NEED the humans for sustenance. Without them, the vampires starve.
-A third to half the town is wiped out and everyone is content to believe it's an epidemic, yet make no effort to do anything about it.
-No one questions why there are now large populations of people who work only at night, why many families have just disappeared and where the death records have went.
-Ozai makes a tape of him dissecting his wife, proving the existence of Shiki .. then shows it to no one.
-If you can figure out Seishein, you deserve a cookie, his entire character and motivations make no sense.
-The technology problem prevalent in horror. Why does no one phone about this?
The final few episodes make an attempt to tie everything together but it only partly satisfies. Many of the characters motivations are still stupid and there are jumps that we're never shown.
This isn't to say that there isn't ANY depth in Shiki. There is. It just happens to be muddied by other aspects. In the second half of Shiki, we start being presented with questions about the value of life, whether it is ethical to kill (if your life is on the line), the propensity to deny rather than act. The questions are interesting. It's the way they're executed that doesn't do them justice.
Enjoyment = 4
I wanted to like this series. I really did. And there were some positives. I liked that they used some old-school vampire tropes (not being able to enter buildings without being invited ect). I liked the tracksuit girl. I liked Doctor Ozai, who has a couple of badass moments (though not enough!).
It's the pacing and the plotting that really let this series down. For every thought-provoking idea ("is it right to kill someone else so I can live?") or genuinely nice/interesting moment, there is much more padding. And stupidity. No one (besides a few characters) seem to ever catch onto what's happening before they kick the bucket. Everyone is so complacent that you wonder whether they're all too stupid to live. I was ready to scream at these characters sometimes. DO SOMETHING!
Overall = 5
See above, really.
Shiki has potential, but squanders it by dragging everything out and failing to make any compelling characters.
Look ma, no Twilight references! read more
Jan 2, 2011
The deaths are, of course, being caused by vampires. While they take their sweet time coming out and saying it, it's pretty obvious from a really early stage. But don't tell any of the characters that, because they don't half take their sweet time working it out. Over half the story is dedicated to watching the cast struggle to grasp something you worked out by the second episode, which is effectively this show's most crippling weakness.
Now stop. Do not hit the "Not Helpful" button just yet. Before you have a knee-jerk reaction to this, let me clarify my point quite firmly: No, I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, think that assuming the existence of vampires to be true is a logical conclusion. Not by a long shot. However, there are several very simple logical steps they should have gone through that would have lead them to it.
The most glaring of these is shown through Shiki's focus on the medical aspects of the show. One of the few things that sets the story apart from every other vampire story is that we see the doctors dealing with all the deaths trying to work out and explain what is going on. This would be a lot more compelling if they didn't miss an obvious sign. They promptly go through every aspect of the deaths, but leave one thing out: every victim shares a pair of bitemarks on their neck. Aside from the symptoms themselves, this is the only thing that every single victim has in common. But the medical staff don't even try to explain it. On top of that, every patient died of severe anaemia, but had no rational way of losing so much blood. Except the bitemarks, the only possible explanation and a plain and simple way of putting the only two loose ends together.
Now, once again, let me clear this up: I do not think that the bitemarks shoudl have instantly made them realise vampires were behind this. But so much about it makes it clear that vampires would have crossed their minds. Even if they initially brushed it off as implausible, they would have thought of it. Instead, this thought takes a long time to occur to anyone, and when it finally does, they are bizarrely accepting of it.
But even once they do realise it, they have to spend a long, long time convincing everyone else. In troper terms, this effectively leads to the villagers Dying Like Animals from sheer stupidity. Which leads to a highly drawn-out stretch of episodes consisting of Dr. Ozaki trying to stop the villagers from essentially jumping headfirst into their own graves.
On that note, the characters of Shiki are, to put it generously, less than likeable. There is only one personality in the entire series that is simultaneously interesting and does not make you want to punch them in the face, and that is Dr. Ozaki. The remaining cast are either boring, or sociopathic for no apparent reason. There are also a small handful inbetween who are mildly interesting but very stupid. Effectively, this is both the best and worst thing about Shiki. On the one hand, the cast is utterly insufferable. On the other, they die. A lot. And it manages to be gloriously, gloriously cathartic.
It is also what makes Ozaki such an empathetic character. Ozaki is the only sane man in the entire village. And he is just as frustrated as you are at their complete lack of survival instinct. Also, despite some earlier absences of common sense, Ozaki really manages to pull out some incredibly impressive tactics. And I mean REALLY impressive.
In spite of all the show's failings, in the final act it really gets it together and does a complete 180. This leads to an incredibly impressing finale, that is nothing short of a war. It leads to the point that anyone can (and probably will) die. Sadly this is only for the last 6 episodes, and at this point it is too little, too late. While these episodes were absolutely stellar, they don't quite justify watching the previous 16 episodes.
From a technical aspect, Shiki ranks to the latter on the scale of good vs OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!. The art style is about as awful as they come. The hair on the characters is the most stupid I've ever seen. Anime, as a medium, is known for its love of stupid hair, but even among them Shiki manages to be unbelievably appalling. The sound is quite a bit better, being a user of eerie ambient music. The first OP is also quite an excellent song, excellently merged with the animation. The remaining OP/ED themes are fine, but unremarkable.
I mentioned earlier that there were three ways that Shiki attempts to stick out from the vampire crowd, the first being the medical aspects. While none of these were very well-executed, they are still interesting: The other two being that the humans vs. vampires war is portrayed as simply being two opposing forces simply trying to survive, rather than good humans vs. evil monsters... and the third, being that they focus on the angst of those forcibly turned into vampires, having to kill people they once knew to survive.
Overall, Shiki has a lot of good ideas but in the end doesn't really execute them every well. It's a mixed bag, with enough upsides to keep it watchable earlier on, and with an excellent finale. Still, it really isn't worth watching in the long run.
Animation/Graphics: No seriously, what?/10
For Fans Of: Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, Dance in the Vampire Bund. read more
Jan 18, 2014
Shiki is a very hard series to talk about without spoilers. It’s a show that you really need to see for yourself. Still, I consider this to be the best show to have debuted during the past half year, so I’ll at least try to vaguely explain why I consider it such an awesome and unique series.
Shiki is another one of those series set in a tiny Japanese village that’s set in the middle of nowhere. One thing that immediately stands out is how well it manages to colour that village: even the simplest of residents are given an identity. The entire town has about 1200 residents, and this show manages to make them so life-like that you actually feel like part of the village as the series goes on. It creates a truly excellent backdrop for the series to take place in.
First and foremost, Shiki is a horror series. It’s got a really thick atmosphere and most of the time it’s just building up and dragging the viewer within this atmosphere. It’s got plenty of disturbing scenes though, and that’s really where it’s at its best at. Now, there are times at which this show feels like this series is moving a tad slow and that it’s building up a bit too much. But trust me: it all pays off in the end with a fantastic conclusion. That’s all I’ll say about it.
The character designs in this series are… unique. I admit that they take their time to get used to, but that’s not really a problem considering the charms of the different characters. It’s perhaps not the series with the best characterizations, but they are written really well: when they’re developed, it’s done very boldly. The characters are also incredibly diverse, ranging from teenagers to adults well in their thirties, forties and fifties and that overall makes it into a great and huge cast to watch.
Most of the best episodes of Shiki are located at the end so it takes some perseverance to really get to great parts of the series, but the weak moments are very few and far in between. It’s got a haunting soundtrack and a stunning atmosphere. It’s not something you should watch when you can’t stand gore, but it’s a must-watch for anyone even remotely interested in horror. read more
Nov 14, 2010
The story takes place in a village named Sotoba.Sotoba is a quite and peaceful village,till the chain of bizarre deaths started to occur.Nobody knows the reason but more and more people are dying.Toshio Ozaki is the hospital dean and he suspects an epidemic. But what first starts as an epidemic, turns out to be much more. The first episodes might be boring.I didn't really enjoy watching them but later the show really gets good.There is nothing such as an epidemic the reason of the deaths are Okiagari ( Some people might call them vampires ). Dead ones who come back to life. I'm really glad this anime is here. Because I'm sick of the shows who show only romace between humans and vampires. This anime is different. If you miss old school vampire animes,this is for you.
The art is very abstract and I think the style is unique. Please don't be one of this people who hates Shiki because they say the art is weird. What? They are having interesting hairstyles.Really I never saw so much crazy hairstyles but this is not bad.The art could be better but I like it like it is.
I love the openings! The first opening really fits the anime. To be honest I didn't like it at the beginning but later I just started to love it ! The endings are ok to,but they look like endings of some romance animes. Shiki is just amazing. It has everything !
They aren't much main characters but that doesn't mean other are not important. You don't like Shiki because much people die? Well this is a part of this anime and if you give Shiki a chance you will see that everybody is important. The dead ones to.
Like I said the story is amazing. It's just to good to be ignored. If you still didn't choiced to start watching Shiki you're going to miss something. Clannad or Death Note didn't get popular in one day and look at them now ;)
What is the next thing you have to do? :O
Right go and watch Shiki you will make me and every Shiki fan very happy. If you don't like the anime I'm sorry that I wasted your time. But I think it's worth watching.Do you love Twilight and hate vampires who kill and are "scary" you won't like this.But if you miss old vampire storys without a vampire and werewolf who are fighting for a girl,vampires who can go outside days and they sparkle -__- and stupid " I love you " that is every second sentence in Twilight. Sorry to all Twilight fans but I just want to tell you there is no romance in this anime. Well not that much,but sure there is,so Twilight fans there is something for you to ? ~ :) read more
Nov 10, 2014
While watching Shiki, the viewers are asked a question: Is it ok to kill in order to survive? I'd say - no. But does it make an interesting story? Yes. Yes it does.
The only problem I had with it was the pacing, since it took almost 10 episodes for things to start happening.
Also, time skips are used in the majority of the episodes. The episode shows you scenes from, for example, Sept. 23, then skips to Sept. 27, only to go back to Sept 23 and then end with Sept. 28. Therefore, some people might find it hard to follow, but I didn't think this was a big problem and instead thought it made the storytelling better.
Some of the character designs are very plain, but this was done on purpose, to really make certain characters pop, either by being beautiful, ugly or just weird.
The one thing I liked the most were the dusk and dawn scenes, with gorgeous coloring and a brilliant dark to light ratio.
The sound was the thing that made this anime so spooky, and it did a great job at it. It really captured the mood and was enjoyable. It just didn't stand out and wasn't that memorable at all. The show's first opening fits the show perfectly though, and I personally like it on its own too.
First off, If a character looks boring as hell, don't even bother trying to remember their name, they'll be dead in 10 minutes. It has a lot of characters, and this was a bit annoying at times.
Secondly, I really wanted to like our protagonist, Natsuno. I just couldn't bring myself to. The only time he acted even a tiny bit human was when he was going through his transition to a vampire, which was really disappointing.
There are two characters I'd like to mention though: Toshio Ozaki and Seishin Muroi, childhood friends who are the complete oposite of one another.
Toshio is the cool guy - the one who pushed the story forward, with his scientific aproach to life, his brave actions and a cigarette in his mouth.
Seishin, on the other hand, is a loner who is too weak to see what his religious way of thinking has lead him to become. He does no harm, but he doesn't do much to stop it, therefore his actions are debatable.
Shiki was fun, it kept me on the egde of my seat (after things actually started happening, at least) and I would recommend it to anyone with a passion for anime. read more
Feb 4, 2014
Maybe at first you will hesitate to watch this one and I admit that I am one of them but for some reason I managed to finish the story and leave me "Amazed" and "Satisfied"
Ja! Let's start this one.
Art 7/10 : Art for location is really nice. Simple and very detailed. Art for Shiki is not totally good when it comes to its character. I can rate it as an above average only. Lines are too sharp especially on chins, and there are also some issues when it comes to colours. Especially when it comes to the "Risen" features. I've interpret this one as they were emphasizing the viewers on what is the difference between a normal person and a vampire. ( I think )
But, maybe behaviour and eye colours are enough to determine this.
Sound 8/10 : Sounds are really nice but still in an average tone. I've never encountered any issues when it comes BGM and SFX. Totally rhymes with the theme of the story.
Character 8/10 : I am really amazed with this part as handling a huge number of characters is not easy. Although Shiki has only "Four" main characters; the other characters are not generic and they had difference with each other when it comes to 1) Behaviour 2) Characteristics 3) Personality and 4) Traits.
Also I enjoyed the town atmosphere when elders are chatting outside their houses very typical. (Thumbs UP)
Enjoyment 9/10 : I am not a Twilight or Vampire enthusiast but I really enjoyed this one. The idea of the plot and the story is really impressive.
Overall 9/10 : Ending was really impressive.
Note : This review never intended to persuade or to please everybody. All of the words that you read are only based in my opinions.
Jun 17, 2014
Today, a review of the critically acclaimed anime, Shiki, another entry into the vampire genre.
-Story & Characters-
Taking place in the fictional village of Sotoba, our story features two protagonists: Natsuno Yuuki, a high school student who hates living in the sticks, and Toshio Ozaki, the local doctor. A mysterious string of deaths have been occurring, and each victim has one thing in common: A bit wound on a part of their body. These bite marks are caused by the Shiki, or vampires.
One of the most brilliant things that Shiki does is its unique take on the vampire genre. When someone dies, there is a chance that he or she will come back to life as a Shiki, who are immortal, and can only die by a stake to the heart, decapitation, or prolonged exposure to sunlight. When someone becomes a Shiki, however, they actually have to learn how to live and adapt to the Shiki lifestyle. Shiki cannot go a certain period of time without sucking blood, or else they will die: However, the Shiki, while dead humans, are still human. They have emotions, they can be happy, sad, or angry, and are always reluctant at first to hunt humans for nourishment. It’s things like this that make us sympathize with the Shiki, and how they aren’t monsters at all. They didn’t choose to come back to life, they didn’t choose to have to hunt humans in order to survive, it’s simply a cruel twist of fate.
The story itself, for the most part, had a good pace, aside from the halfway point, where it felt slow. It was this rough patch in the middle of the show that actually made me want to drop it because of how uninteresting it was. Luckily, though, it picked itself back up, and didn’t let up. The atmosphere is always eerie and unsettling, and it sometimes borders on the scary side of things, and while there weren’t any plot twists, it didn’t need any because of how well told it was. The closing episodes also featured some of the saddest moments that I have ever seen in any anime, and the final episode in particular had me teary eyed.
The characters, on the other hand, are a mixed bag. A good bunch of them are likeable and interesting, such as Kaori and Akira, and some of the Shiki, such as Sunako and Megumi. A lot of them, unfortunately, are on the underdeveloped side, with some of them being either bland or annoying. Toshio was another interesting character, as he started off as a compassionate doctor and ended up going through a massive transformation.
While the story suffers from a really big downfall in the middle and has some weak characters, it’s very dark, gritty, and, most importantly, engaging.
-Visuals & Sound-
The visuals are rather hard to describe. The backgrounds look great and the Shiki look unsettling, but it’s the designs of the characters that I simply cannot look over. The tone of the show is very dark, yet most of these characters look like they’re part of a circus troupe. Freakishly long, zig-zag hair, a full-on beard that looks like a boat anchor, huge fishy lips, and the list goes on. It was really hard for me to take some scenes seriously when the characters look that outrageous.
The dub is very solid. I haven’t heard of most of these voice actors with the exception of maybe one or two, but I’d like to see them in more shows, because they really nailed their performances, and perfectly matched the personalities of the characters. There was no overacting, and every actor delivered their lines nicely.
Speaking of the audio, it would be a crime if I didn’t mention the absolutely gorgeous musical score. Considering how dark the show is, this composer managed to make it even darker and more effective with its melancholic tone and haunting vocals and chimes. I consider this to be one of my top five favorite soundtracks of all time because it was so effective and managed to give me emotion to scenes that didn’t even have any. While I felt that some of the songs were overplayed at times, I didn’t mind it, because of how beautiful the tracks were. Buy this soundtrack at full price if you have to, it’s a must-own.
Shiki was an anime that really caught me off guard. It got universal critical acclaim, and while I can’t say that it’s quite as good as people say, it’s still a high tier anime that deserves to be on everybody’s shelves. With a captivating story and gorgeous soundtrack, it’s hard not to recommend Shiki to anybody who loves this genre.
Give this one a shot: You’ll love it.
-Laughable character designs
-Opening episodes of the second half was completely uninteresting
-Some characters are likeable, others aren’t
Nov 20, 2013
Story/Ideology and Characters
The first half is simply story telling, and some characters of the episodes are pretty immature, like Megumi or Masao (Honestly, this guy is one of the most stupid characters in the series, although he's a tragedy himself.) The second half brought into light many interesting issues. Like how people are unwilling to accept an unintuitive fact that they are not willing to accept, whether killing shiki is a "justice" thing to do, and how people start to murder those innocent, including Muroi's mother etc. Also it later reveals the reason why Muroi attempted to commit suicide. It's a reason I can completely relate to.
Toshio and Muroi have two typical and completely different reaction to the situation. One is to hunt down every shiki, and the other admits that killing others in order to keep one alive is of course not right, yet not wrong either. "Killing is never justice, no matter what kind of noble cause one upholds." Sunako also pointed out that death treats everything equally and that there is no death that is not terrible. I think the audience probably also can be divided by their preference of the two opinions. The two types are pretty extreme. Most people may fall somewhere between the two.
Music is not very impressive in my opinion. I watched the BD episodes with Japanese audio, but the background music gets cut off sometimes...The OST does fit the series, but it's simple (Simplicity itself is not bad. It's the music that's not great.), not something that would surprise people.
Two bonus episodes
The bonus episodes are pretty good. Usually bonus episodes of an anime are about something not so related to main story and are completely extra, but it's not the case here. Episodes 20.5 and 21.5 are great side stories from viewpoints of two people living in the village.
Hasegawa in episode 20.5 directly points out the brutality and unnaturalness of the fact that most people behave incredibly cool towards killing shiki, not treating them as humans at all, kill humans who are just sucked and take that for granted. Arguably they're doing it just to protect themselves, but Shiki kill humans to protect themselves too. How're they so different from Shiki after all?
Episode 21.5 is about how a woman gets crazy, due to the death of her family and the whole situation. It's nice to have the episodes, since most people behave quite normally and it's not weird to have some people go crazy given what they've experienced.
Overall it's a great story that brings up interesting questions.
Jan 23, 2011
I think the true success of Shiki’s story is the fact that this time such a tale was told through the eyes of Japanese creators, making it effective in two particular ways. First, it was a fresh approach of a legend that belonged to different cultures than theirs, so that automatically helped the creators move off the beaten track. And then comes the slight mix with their own traditional myths of the “Okiagari”, which literally means the Risen.
Vampires in this show are just as they should be, afraid of light, can’t come out in the day without burning themselves, they don’t like holly water, charms and crosses, they drink the blood of their victims after completely hypnotizing them and they don’t fall in love with them..*ahem*
They also can’t enter a house uninvited. Then again, they have everything that a traditional vampire would be proud of, in addition to the so well know wooden stick killing method, that in contrary they so much loathe.
The myth of the undead, blood thirsty killers, this time, unfolds in a quiet, isolated village and at first look, common village, were sudden disappearances start to occur after a strange family moves in to the big mansion on the mountain. A few people are becoming aware of something out of the usual going on and that is how it all starts moving.
At first the story runs slow, just as the unaware victims continue to carry on their daily lives. So the pacing of the first part of the series might throw some of the viewers off, especially those who are fans of full time action. Well, how I saw things, this choice of pacing was indeed a clever one, not throwing the viewer into the middle of an already unfolded story, but slowly and steadily shroud him into its mystery. As it rolls, you will find yourself entangled in it, with questions that you just need to find the answers for, doubts about the actions and choices of some of the characters and some very clever twists here and there to spice up your viewing experience.
What I love about this show’s story is that it isn’t focused on the events around only one or a small group of characters, but it rather expands itself to cover the events on the whole village and its people and view the story from both sides, both the humans and the Okiagari. So, that will help you get a feel of the broader plan of what is going on. Yes, it’s quite common to expect the endless battle of humans versus vampires, but this time you get to see both sides. In fact, you might be even puzzled about actually labeling what is wrong and right, bad and good, from some point on. It’s a fight for survival, after all, and each side naturally decides in favor of their own kind.
~~ 友引 – Tomobiki Good luck, except at noon~~
A thing that’s fascinating about the story, which shows the effort of the creators, is this small detail of the dates shown at the start of each episode, that is crucial though for one to complete the puzzle. Until the 19th century Japan used a lunar calendar of six days, each having a special meaning of bringing luck or misfortune. Shiki uses this in each episode to determine what the nature of this day is, usually foreshadowing the events to follow.
Shiki always loves cliff hangers in the ending of each episode, so you will find yourselves trapped in a roller coaster viewing ride, which will be getting more and more intense until it reaches its peak. But when starting watching, you’re nowhere around guessing what would come out of all this in the very end.
I will admit that some of its final conclusions weren’t so satisfactory to me, a few things felt abruptly wrapped up, so only there, is where I deduct a point, because the ending is very crucial to me. But, of course, it always depends on what everyone expects to find as a final resolution. So all in all it was one of the most intense anime rides I’ve ever been on.
Another thing that I loved about this show was its characters. Oh, they were plenty of them, and all so versatile. One can never get bored watching this, since you will find all type of characters, and you can easily pick one or two with whom you maybe will relate and follow throughout the story. A lot of people are accusing Shiki of shallow characters. My answer to them is that not every story created should be character driven, and this isn’t a story about teenage angst or a forbidden romance. You know were you got yourself into beforehand, am I wrong? So if you prefer stories focused on one character only, don't watch this.
To the rest, you've made a good choise, since you’ll find yourselves in front of many familiar types of characters, not in terms of anime norms, but relating to real life-types of people. And you won’t be the least disappointed about the depths of their personalities, despite the big number of characters existing in the show.
“What a wonderful day! No one in the village doing anything.”
Now, I don’t know if some of you might have an experience of living or even staying for a while in a small village. If you do, as I have in my vacations, then you would recognize some types of people in Shiki.
There are the small minded people that can’t compromise with thinking outside their little shells, focusing their lives entirely on their daily village routines, forgetting about the rest of the world. There are the gossipers, who of course want to know every single news of the village, since the news isn’t many anyway. There are the usual working people, who just do their jobs quietly each day. And there are also those who sit around in a chair doing nothing but watch the passers by and chit chat about mindless things. You can also find kids that want to escape this narrowed life experience and make their way to the big city and also a priest and a doctor who both try to find their own way to balance the life in the village.
When the events of bizarre deaths start to unfold, everyone will act differently according to their character and beliefs, and that is what’s the most fascinating about them. You’ll see bravery, stupidity, cunningness, understanding, fighters and whiners, some even getting advantage of the whole thing. Generally you’ll find many approaches and that is what makes the characters so enriched. Concerning most of them, you will never really learn any solid background information, and yet they feel so fleshed out and real. For a story driven show this is definitely a success.
Also, don’t forget that you’ll get to know, many of the opposing threat side of characters, the Shikis, as they all have their own unique personality to show. Being the supposedly “bad guys” who everyone fears, doesn’t mean they can’t be diverse.
All in all I’m more than satisfied from this show’s variety of characters.
The only point I deducted from this section is because of the use of some of them by the creators. I felt that characters like Natsuno, Megumi, Masao and a few others, could have been involved a little more in certain points of the story. They still are there and active, but they didn’t intertwine with each other as much as I hoped to.
Art, Animation: 10
Now this is, mostly, the section were haters of the show focus their flaming on. I won’t try to persuade anyone that what I see is more right than what they see. But then noone can try to change my way of experiencing things, respectively. That needed to be said, before I say that I found the art and animation both to be brilliant!
The art is indeed unique. I am not trying to play it cool saying that.
Unique and different doesn’t always mean it’s good. If those same looking characters were dragged and dropped into any other type of show I would at least thought the people making it tasteless. But not in this case!
The people who designed the characters knew exactly what they were doing. The faces have rough angles and the shape of their characteristics is unproportional. The hair is also so crazy that stands out from miles away. They all are like a weird cubistic imitation of some of Picasso’s craziest paintings. But were other people find this unattractive, here is exactly how this fact elevates the story. This specific oddity makes Shiki stand out, looking like an old creepy fairytail that comes out of a dusty old book or from one of those bedtime stories that a grandma used to tell her grandchildren around the fireplace. They remind me of Tim Burton’s seductive dark style and where could it fit better than in a story about vampires?
Vampires are anything but usual, they are extravagant, they are lavish but they are also fearsome and killers. So, the roughnesses of the sketches as well as the crazy colors depict the wildness of the story itself. Also the eyes of the Okiagari that don’t have pupils make it feel like you are looking inside an empty shell, as referring to them not having a human soul anymore. The backgrounds are drawn very nicely making this look really to be this enclosed village that the story describes, one that is far from civilization.
A small detail I found very beautiful is the part where the eyes of the Shiki were glowing red in the night and then their shadow slowly appeared, making it very creepy to watch.
The animation is equally good. Some movements may seem abrupt, but I think it adds more to the roughness of the story better than having gentle moves that create a smooth flow. So I really don’t find anything wrong with the animation being more rough than usual.
Music and Sound: 10
The music section is many times the most neglected in a series. As a big music lover, I hate it when, otherwise good shows, have some lame BG music and sound to support them. Sometimes I do find one or good Opening and Ending themes that stand alone though, because usually the background music of those series keeps me indifferent.
In Shiki though, the music is so brilliant that I don’t know where to start the praise from. The melodies aren’t just pretty or simply fit well, they are one with the show, the same entity. They blend so perfectly in each frame and time of the show that I’m positive Shiki wouldn’t be the same without its music score.
The first OP is mysterious, seductive, special. The second OP is eerie, magical, like a dark lament. The endings are equally seductive, particularly the second one that reminds me of music of past decades, having a passionate and also sorrowful sound.
The background music is equally awe-striking, it’s sometimes playful, sometimes harsh, others soft or sending chills down your spine. The various tracks use from natural sounds to human voices. Some voices sound like a jukebox, others chanting or making creepy but melodic sounds. Each and every single piece used, elevates the show.
As far as the voice acting is concerned, I saw a few new actors involved in this, which I find good for a change. They all did their work marvelously well, projecting each of the character’s unique personality. And then they went through many phases, having to show pain, anger, fear, scream or whisper. They all had a hard job, but pulled it off perfectly.
Many times during a show I find myself indifferent about what is going on with the story and the characters. Some stories manage to grab my attention back again, but usually I always experience one or two times of boredom that I just have to be patient until the good parts come in. Not with Shiki. Every time I started watching this I felt like I was glued to my screen, completely forgetting what was going on in my surroundings or how did I end up watching this at those late hours, hearing and watching nothing else but the show itself. I found myself so concerned about everyone’s fate, the art and music working like a magnet on me, that I just wanted this to go on and on as much as it was possible.
Overall: 9 - 9.5/10
For those of you who love intense experiences and look for a little more thought provoking shows Shiki will come as a real treat. It will keep you excited, at the edge of your seat, and at the same time it will make you the player of a big puzzle were you have to be very careful on what you see to finally create the whole image. What is equally cool about the whole viewing experience is that there are so many point of views from which you can observe this show that I’m sure that watching it a second time you’ll come up with different notes about it.
So if you love vampires or just love to watch a little deeper emotionally shows with a complete lack of pantie shots and silly fanservice, then this is exactly the show you’re looking for. A traditional, creepy, mystical, magical, dark, haunting and twisted fairytale. So just grab a mug of hot milk and join us near the fireplace.
Have a nice and creepy ride! :)
Thanks to everyone for reading this relatively long review. Please feel free to leave a comment on my channel with your thoughts about it or about the show.
Nov 21, 2010
I’ve watched a total of 16 out of 22 episodes of the show and have so far loved every single episode of it! Vampires singling out a small remote town and picking off each of the (mostly) unsuspecting residents one by one, the story may seem clichéd when presented to those who haven’t watched the show, after all vampires are no new occurrence are they? But the vampires featured in this show (referred to as Shiki or moving corpses) are a breath of fresh air to those sick and tired off the angsty, misunderstood veggies vampires rife in today’s media. These vampires return to their original Stoker-esque roots, not being able to go out in sunlight, fearing crosses and not being able to enter a home unless invited making the show far scarier overall than if it were just another cheap imitation of the Twilight saga.
There’s no single main character in this series, every character no matter how minor plays some kind of role in adding to the rich tapestry of the overall story. However the story mostly revolves around the Shiki and those with direct experience with them. The three main protagonists, Natsuno, Akira and Kaori are you three average teenagers until the Shiki strike. Yet they’re forced to grow up pretty sharpish as they start to work out what’s really been going on behind the facade of a supposed epidemic and go about trying to save the blissfully clueless town. That’s about it for character development which is a shame but necessary as if the show were to focus on each and every character it’d never end!
It’s important to note that everyone in the show’s expendable, even the main characters. This I love as it helps to increase the tension felt by the viewers as their favourite characters are caught in rather sticky situations.
Frankly, I’m not a fan of the kooky art style. It kinda ruins the overall look of the show to plop crazy looking characters (sometimes with hair bigger than them!) into such beautiful backdrops. But if you’re into art a little bit unique and out of the ordinary you may find you like it! The show has a good range of ugly and beautiful people, making it far more realistic than the average anime which could be considered a positive I suppose! The animation of the show however is superb. It’s hard to describe but it was great to see scenes in which the animators would try to do something a little different to keep things visually exciting!
All four of the opening and ending themes are so beautiful it’s almost impossible to say a bad word about them. The second opening is in my opinion the best as it adds puts a beautifully eerie spin on the show capturing it rather nicely. The insert themes are pretty creepy too. They’re not noticeable to the point of annoyance yet you hear enough of them to know when shit’s gonna hit the fan!
Overall enjoyment: 9
I’ve immensely enjoyed this show so far. After recovering from an arguably slow start the show keeps getting better and better and the character’s situation becomes increasingly dire. Each episode ends with an edge-of-the-seat cliff-hanger leaving me desperate for yet another episode each and every week. I’d definitely recommend this show to any fan of the horror genre of anime, lovers of the traditional vampire, and haters of Twilight alike. I hope this has helped you a little on your decision of whether or not to watch this show! Bye~!
Jul 5, 2014
Note: this review covers both the main series and it's special episodes. Spoilers may be included.
Do you remember the time when vampires where these dangerous and terrifying creatures of the night? Or are you an unfortunate soul like me who's last few watched works of entertainment with vampires had this sweet and "glittery" tone to them? If you belong in the first category bless you. If you are in the latter, you may just want to pay attention to what I'm about to say here.
Because it's time to talk about Shiki. A show which has no romantic ideas about vampires and instead portrays them as the dangerous and sneaky bastards they are. Shiki is scary, Shiki is gory and Shiki is certainly not sweet.
It all starts of in a small village in the middle of the mountains. The villagers go on about their everyday lives which aren't really all that eventful, much to the boredom of certain inhabitants of the village. Except today something stirs up the daily pattern, a new family will be moving in. They will be living in the old European-style house near the village.
As you may expect by that rather cliché premise, the new residents are not exactly what they seem to be at first glance. Soon enough the village starts suffering from mysterious deaths. And to their surprise some of the dead seem to not be quite as dead as they should be as certain attentive villagers begin to notice. This is where Shiki slowly begins to turn more grim by the second as the villagers try to find out what is going on and slowly a conflict between them and the vampires begins to arise. In said conflict one can find a lot of themes regarding ethics and what is right and what is wrong. While these themes are explored decently enough I still wish they would have woven them into the story with a little more "finesse" as Shiki often tells you about it themes rather than showing them.
Something Shiki does quite well is maintaining a creepy atmosphere as it has a brilliant soundtrack and good animation. It is sadly not perfect in those categories as animation can go from brilliantly portraying just how scary a vampire can be to making some fall of a building seem very silly. Still, overall it is quite good. The same can be said for its soundtrack. It does really well at keeping up an atmosphere but I still can't help but wish they used the music more wisely and kept their best tracks for special moments instead of having music all the time. Silence has a lot of power as well. And this is something Shiki didn't quite get.
The reason I haven't mentioned any main character or even any character at all so far is because there really isn't a fixed main character. Instead there are a whole lot of people from the village all giving you different perspectives on the situation. Having such a huge cast of characters it is very difficult to make them all interesting to the viewer which is sadly something Shiki fails at. I'm not going to lie, characterisation in Shiki is pathetic. Not a single character in the whole cast feels really fleshed out and there is barely any development for any of them. The only remotely interesting character is the villages doctor as he is the one who gets the most focus because it is him who is the most busy unravelling the mystery behind the deaths.
Luckily there are the two extra episodes which give us a bit more characterisation and are definitely among the top episodes in the series. I strongly recommend watching them along with the show as you would be missing out on quite a bit if you didn't.
In the end Shiki is a good vampire show. It's exciting mystery and great atmosphere make up for its poor characterisation and make it well worth your time. Shiki isn't a masterpiece, but it is certainly not dismissible B-horror either.
In the case you liked Shiki you may also like these titles:
- Higurashi ( murder mystery in a small village )
- Shinsekai yori. ( Story driven anime with great atmosphere. Far more mature than Shiki )