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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: 8.151 (scored by 61278 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
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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
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.
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
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
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
Jan 6, 2014
Shiki definitely falls in the third category.
Now before I go into what's bad about Shiki, I'd like to commend it on what it did well.
The best aspect by far is the audio. Almost every single track on this OST is superb, and the voice acting never feels flat nor lifeless.
Then there's the art which is rather beautiful. I know a lot of people take issue with the sort of designs Shiki has for its characters, but I personally liked them a lot; everyone looks quirky and memorable. The coloring is also great, as are most of the effects and the lighting. Honestly, there's not much to complain about in this respect and it goes beyond saying that the animations are top notch.
Shiki's true downfall is its writing. While it manages to present you with quite a few interesting characters that you'll find yourself rooting for and a few very dark scenes, I find it very difficult to say that it impresses when it comes to anything else.
The first few episodes are definitely the best; they invite you in, they present the world and the characters in an engaging way, and they set up a mystery (at least in the context of the show).
However, the slow and systematic reveal of what's going on in the first episodes is quickly discarded in exchange for a downright pedestrian reveal, at which point the show begins to drag and it continues to do so for quite some time. It's not that nothing happens, it's just that the same thing happens over and over, just to different characters, some of which you couldn't give less of a shit about given that they're either completely two-dimensional or entirely new to you.
Still, to say that there's a bit of filler is not uncommon in most anime so that could be completely negligible if the culmination made up for it, but it doesn't. The final episodes leading up to and including the ending are by no means bad, but they're nothing special either; there are no outstanding quotes, no memorable scenes, nothing that would ever make a top ten or anime history. It's just a decent conclusion to an average tale and that's about it.
Where the terribleness of the writing seems most obvious (particularly in the last episodes or so) is in the motivations of the characters and the absolutely abysmal attempt at depth. The author(s?) are essentially trying to convey that what might sometimes be considered evil, unjust or simply improper by society might be the very thing another person's survival hinges on - and if so, should they not do anything they can to live on, even if that act might be considered evil?
That sounds like a good theme for a story, and it might even imply three-dimensional characters with depth, but in Shiki's case this could not be further from the truth. While the quote-unquote hero of the story shines, the villains are fucking horrible, and I'm swearing for emphasis here.
It's almost as if the author himself had no idea how to portray these antagonists. On one hand he has them commit completely unnecessary acts that would be defined by most moral codes as pure evil, but then he has them go on overly-long speeches about how all they're trying to do is to 'survive.'
There's never a reason - not once - presented there to justify the actions as the villains as necessary, absolutely none; however, the story is still told as if there were and an odd emphasis is made on these completely absent circumstances.
Think of it as being starving and deciding to steal bread, but killing the shopkeeper and his entire family at the same time. But hey, it's cool, you were hungry! Of course you'd choose the worst - and on top of everything unnecessary - action imaginable in order to satisfy what is essentially a simple goal. And that's how retarded the villains are in this show. There's no excuse for anything they do, and that's fine, but the fact they never stop droning about how they're forced into it coupled with the fact that the show is essentially trying to cast their actions in a morally gray area is evidence that the author failed miserably at his intention of conveying a twisted tragedy that speaks of humanity's hypocrisy.
Honestly, I'm baffled by how little understanding the person behind this show has of philosophy, or at the very least ethics. What he has characters do, and the way they justify it is simply... incomprehensibly flawed thinking.
The final aspect I would like to touch on briefly is the portrayal of vampires in this show -- in essence, it's rather poor. Not only are they generic, but their nature and inner workings are explained very poorly. We're never told if they could consume animals instead of humans, nor if they could simply feed from blood-bags. This might seem minor but it has a huge impact on the show and why they're doing what they do.
The real irony is that the author shoots himself in the foot repeatedly. He sets up interesting points of mystery only to break them down in an instant or dismiss them entirely, he tries to present the actions of the villains as necessary in their circumstances and then builds a world and plot to the opposite effect, and finally he tries to philosophize while seemingly having not even a basic understanding of ethics in a story that's completely unfit for the themes and motifs he has in mind.
Despite its flaws I would still recommend Shiki, especially if you can overlook bad writing in favor of a quirky characters, good visuals, fantastic audio or just vampires in general.
If you're looking for a deep story, or at the very least one that doesn't make you mad due to inconsistencies and plot holes, I would steer clear of Shiki. read more
May 11, 2014
I was at first very glad when I saw that it had 22 episodes(and not 12 or 13 episodes most anime nowadays have).
It begins rather slow. Which when you think about it is rather good. That way story can be explained well, in details nevertheless.
I think that's great because I personally don't like story being rushed.
But. As the story moves on I didn't see any progression whatsoever. It went slow, slow, sloooow and so on.
When I begun feeling a bit annoyed by that fact, it finally moved on and started to make a progress.
But seriously, story is great even besides that.
Then I watched last about 10 episodes in a day and was a bit disappointed.
While the beginning was going on like forever, the end was rushed out. Reaaaaly rushed out.
That ruined it a bit. It seemed like they were out of ideas and just rushed to the end. If I don't include that part it was great watching the anime. read more
Jul 4, 2014
As far as the story is concerned, it's phenomenal. Sure, it starts off slow for the first 5 episodes, but that's because those are the introductory episodes. They introduce you to the many characters that populate the isolated village of Sotobamura, introduce the village itself as a character of sorts, and then introduce the main plot to you. After the 5th episode, the story kicks into high gear and never lets you get off until its over. By the end of it, the story will have you asking yourself a simple question: Who are the real monsters?
The art is also extremely appropriate for this horror/mystery series. The art is dark and dreary, but colorful when it needs to be. The characters are drawn with anime hair syndrome, but it does add character to them, makes them stand out from one another. On the other hand, the characters are all like sticks. Tall, lean, anorexic to a point, and every female character(Well, almost everyone) has fairly large breasts. The gore level is also to not be taken lightly. While it will be fairly rare to see guts or anything, decomposing flesh is a constant, and the dissolving flesh of vampires that get caught in daylight is particularly gruesome.
The music is quite fitting, with most tracks featuring gregorian chants as well as an organ. The music tells of death, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and heartbreak. All wrapped up in a neat bundle. I can't tell you how many times I've put the soundtrack on repeat, just listening to it as inspiration for my own stories. To go along with the art, story, and music, the sound effects are also quite fitting. Most of it is constant ambient sounds that are common from one end of the village to the other. Then their are the more common sounds that are standard fair for an anime series such as footsteps, crunching grass, cars, etc.
Going in with sound, there is the English Dub. Funimation managed to obtain the rights to Shiki, and I am very grateful for that. Funimation put their dub pedigree to very good use with this series. No character seems wrongfully cast and each character displays the necessary range of emotions at the proper times. There weren't really any cases of generally bad acting so I really don't see anything wrong at all with this dub. I strongly recommend that if you're not fond of reading, the dub is definitely worthy of a look.
Characters are abundant in this series, and quite frankly, it helps a lot. A majority of the characters present in the series are background characters. And as background characters in a horror story, many of them are picked off one by one as the story progresses. But we're not talking a handful of characters. Oh no, we're talking about an entire village worth of background characters. Some of them return later in the series, but most are never seen again. So unless it's a main character, I'd recommend not getting particularly attached to any one character, otherwise you will most likely suffer heartbreak.
Overall, I found this series to be a masterpiece, worthy of multiple viewings. I found next to nothing wrong with it, and so can highly recommend this series to anyone who is interested in it. Just give it 5 to 6 episodes and you should be hooked. It needs time to rev its engine, but once it starts moving, for the love of god fasten your seat belt. read more
Jun 1, 2014
In recent years, across all media, there has been a distinct lack of good horror. It seems that the entertainment industry has decided ‘horror = jump-scares’ (this is a generalization; there have been some good ones come out, but too few in my opinion). This mentality leads to very little plot and/or character development; leaving the audience slightly shocked but otherwise unfazed. Why should you care what happens to characters that you have been given no chance to make a connection with?
And then there’s Shiki-
People may find the first half of Shiki too slow for their liking. But the slow build up is exactly what makes this anime so great. You will get to learn about the characters, create a connection with them, and actually care what happens to them (for better or worse). I have seen many anime that suffer from an abundance of filler episodes. Shiki doesn't do this. What it gives you is a well drawn-out story with every episode progressing the story. I don’t want to spoil anything so I will simply say that the payoff for your patience in the beginning is a thrilling ending.
Shiki plays on your emotions, and questions your ideas of morality. It does a great job of leaving you questioning who the monsters are, if any. You will most likely have a love/hate relationship with many of the characters, which only makes the story better.
I think Shiki is brilliant, and it is definitely one of the best vampire stories I have seen or read. I especially like the Bram Stoker style mythology for the vampires. However, that doesn’t mean it is without flaws. I mostly found the negatives with the story bearable just because to me they were minor compared to all the positives. One of the negatives, which is solved partly by the Shiki Specials*, is that I thought the ending could have been drawn out a little longer in order to resolve a few characters storylines.
Lastly I’d like to make special mention of the music, which really added another dimension to Shiki. It is very well done and creates a fitting atmosphere for the story to play out in.
*If you watch and like Shiki then you have to watch the Shiki Specials. Along with giving a proper end for some of the characters, there is also one of the most emotionally powerful scenes I have seen in anime.
Apr 7, 2014
So, the story starts off in a peaceful, isolated village, surrounded by a large forest of trees. One day, the bodies of three people are found, dead, and after that death was a normal occurrence each and everyday. As the population decreased rapidly, the village doctor begins to think it may be an epidemic. The first few episodes explore that possibility. As people keep dying, the doctor grows more and more unstable. A few of the characters grow wary of the strange, new people who just moved into the village. Soon enough it is revealed that the deaths are the work of shiki. The story was original for a vampire anime. One thing that really made it stand out was that gradually the viewer feels bad for the vampires instead of humans, even though the vampires are antagonized at the beginning. In the end, it's an all out war between the living and the undead. There are certain aspects, in the story, I wished were more explored; like the past of several characters. Even still, this anime had a very solid story, overall, and it was well executed too.
The animation flowed well and the style was very different from what is usually seen in modern anime. The backgrounds were very well drawn too and there wasn't a time where I felt I was bored watching it. Eerie atmosphere was achieved when needed. Of course, the animation wasn't perfect. In every anime you have your awkward proportions and derpy faces for a quick few seconds. Some of the hairstyles and clothing choices for a few of the characters were quite abit...outrageous and I don't know if that is a good thing or bad thing, but personally it did take away from the serious nature of the show. Overall, the animation is not drop dead gorgeous, but it gets the job done nicely.
I have to say, the opening and ending songs really match. They have a very old sound to them and reflect the atmosphere of the show...you know I can't quite explain it, but I'll just say that they were well chosen. This area for reviews has always been a very difficult one for me to explain because I usually don't pay attention to the music or sound effects, but the sounds in this anime really did impact what was going on and added to the intensity of each scene. I'd say it was done perfectly.
When it comes to characters, there is a very large range of main characters and many of the characters get a chance to be in their own spotlight for a bit. Each character was either likable or you just hated them. The doctor, who would be considered one of the most important characters, was interesting in the way that he went from acting calm and collected to having anger management issues and mercilessly dissecting and killing a shiki, even when said shiki was originally a person who meant a lot to him. The point is, there is character development and you can go from loving a character to hating them and vice-versa. One thing I do wish was explored further into (as I mentioned before) is the back story for a few of the other main shiki. None of the characters really stand out to be my favourite, in the very end, but that doesn't mean I didn't feel for many of them. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me.
I enjoyed every second of this anime. I went from cheering on the smart villagers who found out about the shiki, to cursing each and every living being in this anime who participated in killing the shiki. I think this has to be one of the best vampire animes that I have watched. This anime really brought out the classic vampires that I so missed and longed for. It isn't perfect, but it was super entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire way through. It was a pleasure to watch and I would recommend it to any horror enthusiast or just anyone who is looking for a good anime to watch.
I'm sorry if this review was a bit too long and boring. I am not much of a writer myself and I realize I can't do this anime justice with the way I type, haha. 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
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
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
Dec 2, 2010
Shiki is by far the most riveting, suspenseful and thought-provoking series I have seen all year. Truly a category of its own, it not only contains elements of horror and mystery but also makes you question what truly is considered good or evil?
The story is set in a small village where a string of unexplainable deaths start to occur. What is suspected to be an epidemic proves to be something the villagers would never suspect. The main plot and characters are introduced in the first few episodes, while pacing is slow, it provides an important backdrop to the rest of the episodes. As the story progress, we start to see what is really going on. What I like most about this series is it’s nack for detail and realism. Even as some of the characters gradually figure what is going on, there is a vehement disbelief from the villagers in general. The anime pays tribute to vampires well, but even better it addresses our society’s inability to accept those who are different (be it humans or the supernatural). In addition, what I think is the highlight of the series has been the last few episodes where the line between good and evil, humans and vampires have been crossed. What defines a ‘human’, can someone who still feels emotions be considered a ‘monster’? Shiki makes us questions that.
With Shiki’s large cast, it seems likely that characters who don’t get as much screen time to be very shallow and two-dimensional. However, I didn’t get that feeling in this anime. Most of the characters have enough background story told to ‘flesh’ them out. And they aren’t ridiculous or unbelievable background stories, you could say we all knew these kinds of people at some point in our lives. I would say the two most intriguing characters are Muroi and Ozaki. Both carry the great burden of knowing the truth behind the deaths but make completely different decisions in the end. And many other characters surprise me by fighting against expectations.
Rich colours, dark lines and detailed shading. Some of the horror scenes are reminiscent of Higurashi with its emphasis on the eyes.
Gothic opening song and melancholic ending. Background music is very appropriate and adds to intensify the scenes.
I literally marathoned 18 episodes non-stop. It always kept me guessing as to what would happen next. Shiki is also one of the few animes that has underlying meanings to them, it really made me think about the actions of some characters and what some characters have said (particularly Sunako). I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series.
I highly recommend this anime to anyone who has a fondness for thought-provoking shows. It’s definitely not comedic, if that is what you’re looking for. But if you appreciate mysteries, dark themes and some psychological reasoning, then do give Shiki a try.
EDIT: Now that I've finished the series, I'm dropping the score from a 10 to a 9, simply because the ending wasn't as great as the middle. Perhaps my expectation were too high for the ending, I just found it wasn't what I expected. It is also is pretty up in the air, which might suggest a second season.
May 22, 2014
Story: 10 - Recently a lot of people have been dying mysteriously in a secluded village which hasn't had a cure found. But all hell breaks out as the villagers start to realise that those 'dead' ones are actually 'alive' and are thriving for human blood. It could have turned into a mess if it was executed in a different manner yet the way it actually turned out was one of the best consequences of the story. I loved the story a lot and the mystery really works out here with it's kind of spookily looming atmosphere as it gives off a quiet yet fishy aura.
Art: 10 - It was kind of different especially the character's eyes and it was hard to adjust to but it fits in perfectly with this type of anime. The character designs were good too as well as the character movements which didn't look odd which is an important thing for an anime with similar contents.
Sound: 9 - It had this creepy and a bit disturbing feeling which is a good thing as the OST,openings and ending songs were setted at the right places. The seiyuus done a great job at capturing the characters carefully while making sure they don't mess up the aura.
Character: 10 - The characters were great and they supported the story heavily which is what created the ending. I think most of the characters were great including main ones so I can't specifically pin point anyone.
Enjoyment: 10 - I enjoyed this series a lot especially since it's my kind of thing but it's not recommended to anyone because it does have gore and some disturbing scenes, so this series won't be enjoyed by people like them.
People who liked: Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni,Another,Highschool Of The Dead,Shinsekai Yori,Elfen Lied,Dance in the Vampire Bund,Umineko No Naku Koro Ni and Death Note will enjoy this series as there definitely is atleast one similar aspect from those to this series.
Overall: 10 - It's a great series to watch for people who can watch gore and disturbing scenes. Overall it's definitely worth a watch even though it's a highly underrated series. read more
Dec 18, 2013
Philosophical nature aside, Shiki uses vampires to tell its story. These blood sucking monsters from myth and legend are represented wonderfully within this tale. I would go as far to say this is the best (that I've seen at least) that vampires have been presented in the medium. The story is as old as time. Brother pitted against brother. One forsaken by God, and the other blessed. Shiki delivers in terms of something thought-provoking. This show is filled with haunting, almost appalling scenes that are tough to watch (sewer scene anyone?).At any rate, I did have a few issues with the show. It's a slow burn, and does take a while to pick up. I usually appreciate shows that take their time, but in this case there were a few pacing issues. In addition, the end of the show was slightly rushed. Having such a large ensemble of characters and events occurring in the final moments of the show forced the director to glaze over some of them. Regardless of whether the studio ran out of time or money, this is still a problem. That being said, I do believe the director focused on the best possible 3 points in the end (Natsuno, Toshio, and Seishin). At the end of the day, Shiki brings one’s morality to the foreground, and begs the question "What is right?" The beauty is there is no right or wrong answer, and it is up to the viewer to make this decision. Despite some rushed and sluggish moments, Shiki succeeds in what it was trying to do: 1. Bring Vampires into a more grounded setting within the anime medium, and 2. Make one question their own morality.
Stylistically, this show is ridiculous. Character designs are in great contrast with the down to earth backgrounds. Yes, they are entertaining and artsy, but I feel the crazy nature of the characters’ appearances take away from the overall impact of the show. It's hard to feel bad when someone is dying when their tits are big enough to have their own gravitational pull, and are shamelessly bouncing around. I should also mention the hair in Shiki. Seriously this town has one hell of a crazy stylist. Some stand outs are: "Thermal Updraft", "Mountain Pass", "Mother Ship", and the "Too Fabulous for you". Craziness aside though, I liked the overall look of Shiki. But dear God it was hard to take it seriously.
Brooding, dark, and mysterious, the OST for Shiki hits the mark in several points. Mainly sticking to the tone of the show, the music amplified the atmosphere of the work. I actually enjoy almost every track on the OST except for "Pendulum". This is the track with the kid chanting. I found it incredibly cheesy and jarring in several areas. Less is more when building atmosphere, and this song was just overbearing. Voice acting was good as well. While there were no real standouts from the cast, everyone delivered a solid performance.
The cast in Shiki is large and crowded. Taking place within a town of 1300 people, the series takes time to show quite a few of them. While a hand full of these characters weren't rock stars, there are a few select elite that carried the show forward in terms of complexity. Toshio and Seishin are each a side of the coin of morality, and both of these men help carry the show in terms of depth. Each one acting in accordance to their beliefs do what they think is right. Neither is right or wrong, but both provide an in depth look into this ongoing battle that rages in one’s soul. Two more standouts that deserve mention are Natsuno and Sunako. Sunako is the main shiki or vampire in the story, and primarily interacts with Seishin. She provides a much-needed look into the shiki’s point of view, and is pivotal to the overall point of the show (the speech she makes in the shrine at the end). Now for Natsuno. To avoid spoilers I won't go as in depth concerning him, but his role in this world is interesting as well. He almost takes his own side in this whole dilemma, and I find that his own internal beliefs add not only to him as a character, but as a piece of this struggle.
I love vampires, and I love shows that bring up questions that aren't so easy to answer. Shiki is a great addition to works that involve everyone's favorite creature of the night.
Shiki is a rare commodity in the Anime industry. Vampires in this medium generally aren't handled this seriously, or with this much depth. Most are either sex appeal or blatant monsters. With a slow but gripping plot, Shiki delivers the goods. When the end credits rolled I was left only to reflect on what I just witnessed, and for a show that involves vampires (the story teller easy button), I was impressed. As always, thanks for reading.
Apr 13, 2013
It's been a while since I dared to pick up a vampire anime. The modernization and romanticism of these blood-suckers in titles such as Twilight and other anime like Rosario + Vampire left me with much despair for this genre.
Luckily, Shiki rekindled my appeal towards the night stalkers.
After watching the entire series, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I went in not expecting much, and came out finding a hidden gem among anime. But, Frag, what makes this show such a gem? I'll do my best to answer that question in the following paragraphs, my dear readers!
Shiki's story starts off fairly simple. A small back-hill village that seems trapped in it's own little world. And it's because of this simplicity that the producers were able to catch the viewer off guard. Just when things seemed normal enough, there's just the smallest, slightest flash of insanity that reminds you you're watching a very mind-boggling show. As the story went on, the simplicity began to evaporate. What was left was more insanity. More horror. Shiki goes back to the roots of the vampires most older individuals remember. Burning in sunlight, fearing religious objects (such as crosses or buddha statues) and faith, coma-like sleep during the day. I don't want to say too much, for I wouldn't want to spoil anything, but I will tell you that Shiki does vampires justice after shows such as the Vampire Diaries. As the story progresses, you begin to become more enthralled within it's mysteries. Just as one mystery is figured out, more appear. It's what hooks the viewer, and it did so marvelously (I watched the entire series in one weekend.) Some people found the ending to be not what they were expecting, but I thought it matched the series as a whole perfectly; full of mystery.
I've seen quite a number of anime's in my time, and I've really come to appreciate good art when I can get it. I find there are two categories; shows that normalize their art to fit in with other anime, and shows that shape their own style. Obviously, it's impossible to be completely unique when manga itself is a repetitive art, but there are shows that manage to create a style that works well for it. Shiki is one of those anime. Watching it in HD, the animation was incredibly fluid. The scenery was vibrant and colorful where it should of been, and dark and horrifying where it ought to be. The horror scenes are really what entranced me, however. The way that the artists conveyed the terror of being watched during the night, of wondering if you'll wake up the next morning truly enthralled me. It's been a long while since I got chills watching an anime, and Shiki delivered quite well. Major props to the art team.
I had some mix feelings about the sound of Shiki at first. Loved the initial opening theme, but the choir and gothic music felt almost cliché at first. Over time, however, the anime's original soundtrack really grew on me. It didn't completely "WOW!" me, especially at first, but as the story progressed, the music really began to fit in with the emotions that this show stirs inside of you. The ending theme, like many other anime, really didn't impress me, however. It felt out of place for the type of anime Shiki is. Overall, Shiki's soundtrack did a great job after giving it time to settle in.
Now, what really made me adore this anime wasn't any of the above, but the characters themselves. I can't really say that there's a "main character" in this story, but some characters perspectives are highlighted more so than others as the show progresses. The thing about Shiki is that it hosts a massive cast; that cast being the village. You would think that spreading so much of the story throughout many characters would be a bad idea, reducing the chance the viewer can become attached to them, but Shiki manages to do quite the opposite. The key was the fact that the characters were believable. I've yet to have seen an anime (other than Clannad Afterstory) that manages to sport such realistic characters. From Megumi to Natsuno, to Toshio and Seishin; all of them feel like people I've met in my life, people that I can relate to or say I know. It's because that these characters are believable that you so quickly become attached.
Did you enjoy Shiki, Frag? Well, if it wasn't apparent enough already, it has truly been one of my greatest pleasures of anime to watch this year. When a company can piece together all these delicate categories of anime in just the right way, it can create a genuinely memorable experience for the viewer. Shiki is an anime I'm proud to add to my collection of favorites. Something I should mention is that the show really manages to get you to think about morals. What is truly right or wrong? Is there such a thing as pure good or evil? The best part is that Shiki leaves it up to you to figure out the answers yourself.
To sum it all up, I urge you to give the show a chance. Two episodes in, I was hooked, and I'm willing to bet it'll do the same to you. I'm surprised this show isn't more popular; it's a real breath of fresh air when it comes to the long neglected genre of vampires. Even if you've never been one for blood-suckers, you might find the genre more appealing after sitting down and watching Shiki. read more
Feb 27, 2011
Then I saw Shiki.
It’s surprisingly good. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece but it’s interesting, not to mention actually quite frightening, as horror stories should be. The first few episodes hint on what is happening, but you’re not completely sure what it is until the characters discover it for themselves. Because of that the pacing is quite slow for the viewers, but for the characters it’s actually timely and realistic.
Speaking of the characters, there are a lot of them and as expected with a large cast, development is hard to manage. There are some characters who disappear from the story for a bit, and when they come back, clearly a lot happened but not a lot about it is said so you’re left to ponder on it. There are some scenes that I would have liked to see, and I’d like to give some examples but I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoiling anyone.
Fortunately though, the most interesting character in my opinion is the one who is most developed, and that is the doctor Ozaki Toshio. You get to see a lot of what is going on in his mind - what he discovers as the story progresses, how he deals with it, what kind of person he is, etc. I really think his character is very fascinating, and will make you think what you would do if you were in his place. How far will you go to survive? Ozaki and the other characters all answer that question in their own way as the story progresses.
It’s generally a likable cast, and the voice acting only makes them even more so. Among the roster of the voice actors chosen for this anime, I noticed that a good portion of them are relatively new/under the radar, including the young and promising Yuuki Aoi. Regardless of tenure, all members of the cast, even those with the smaller roles, are good, capable and convincing.
What isn’t entirely convincing though, is the art. Sometimes the facial expressions of the characters are too exaggerated, that it seems fake, such as this scene: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lha4faBeSw1qdbg2p.jpg
I get that she’s really happy to see Natsuno, but I don’t think she’s that happy.
The character designs in general are a little cartoony, with the weird hairstyles and all, but only for the more dominant characters. The lesser characters look more subdued. The gore seems a bit over the top too, but I think it’s acceptable in this case because it’s part of the story-telling.
Overall, the art is okay. The visuals really compliment the story. It’s a little inconsistent now and then and the colors clash sometimes but I like how they went for something a bit more colorful, because usually with horror anime the visuals are dark and gloomy.
As for the music, I think the soundtrack is very well done. From the subtle sound effects to the background music, it all really contributes to the feel of the story and makes each scene more special. The OPs and EDs are very good too. I really like the first OP, “Kuchikuze” by rock band Buck-Tick. I think it really goes well with the series. The vocals are really good, the lyrics relate to the story and it’s quite catchy and memorable.
I think the main reason why I like Shiki is because it’s not shallow like most vampire anime. It allows us viewers to think, instead of blinding us with how “cool” vampires are. Sure, vampires are amazing beings with many traits and abilities that normal humans don’t have, but they are still monsters, and to survive, they need to feed on humans. If you think of it that way, vampires aren’t really that cool, huh? It seems that in the latest vampire anime, as well as in general media, they fail to emphasize that in their representation. Thankfully, Shiki does well in that aspect and in many others. If you don't mind gore and you want to watch a horror anime that’s a little more deep than the usual, then surely Shiki is for you. read more
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.