Posted on 26 July 2011 with categories: Shiki



Throughout the Shiki series, there were these select times where this blue haired woman turned up. The last time was in a bathtub with a corpse, but we really didn’t know anything about her. This episode tells her story.

Having said that though, that particular story felt a bit too one-sided to me, and was the least interesting bit of this episode to me. I didn’t really “get” the insanity of this woman. Instead though, I loved just about everything that happened around her. This episode actually recapped the entire series from the eyes of some of the side-characters, tying things together in the process. It explains how the fire started, it shows a bit more about the family at the drive-by restaurant of the first episode (when that first episode aired I really thought that they would be important characters), we know who the asleep Shiki was in the house that Akira broke into. Oh, and the nurse also got stabbed through the heart. They didn’t show the process, but the aftermath was there.

What’s more is that Ozaki appears every now and then in this episode, and that surprisingly showed really well how his character developed through the series, and I also liked those tiny details like him trying to relax a bit after murdering his wife.

And so, Shiki is finally finished. There were a few plot threads that I would have liked to have seen a bit more of, for example what happened to Akira, or where that crazy occult woman went who once took over an episode, but overall it has been a wonderful series. Furthermore, I really wonder what exactly got this show 22 episodes of airtime in Noitamina of all things. What convinced the producers to go with what pretty much is a perfect formula if kept up with: Noitamina is big enough for this now.

I think it has a lot to do with the irony of Noitamina in Spring and Summer of 2010: it pretty much was the best half year that Noitamina ever had, delivering three utter classics with Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei, Sarai-Ya Goyou and Shiki, although unfortunately they pretty much flopped. My guess is that the producers are playing things safe for 2011 by not straying from the format they built up (which is something I can understand, after what happened to the Noise-timeslot), but I really do hope that 2012 will show more 22-episode series in the timeslot. That’s really something that can make a great timeslot even better.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 14 June 2011 with categories: Shiki



This episode wrapped up the stories of some of the side characters of this series. None of the main characters made any appearance, and I can understand why it was cut for the sake of the TV-series’ main characters. Yet, it’s great to see this part animated and that the creators somehow managed to find a way to squeeze this in, because this episode once again was just amazing.

One of the strengths of Shiki was that it didn’t just make its main characters come alive: it did this with the whole village. It’s because of that that this episode worked so well; they even introduced a new central character whose context in the series only makes it even richer. With the Awesome Beard Guy out of the way, the squadron that hunts down the remaining Shiki all have their own way in which they go on their rampage.

On top of that, the blue haired Shiki also received an amazing end. It’s especially her development that works well here, especially considering how she used to be one of the major side villains in the first half of the series. She completely changed now that none of her family members ended up rising back up.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 30 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shiki




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.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Gripping atmosphere, excellent use of build-up, everything horror should be.
Characters: 9/10 – the cast is HUGE, diverse and surprisingly engaging.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Good animation, great soundtrack, excellent artwork.
Setting: 10/10 – The village this series takes place in really feels alive and constantly changing.

Suggestions:
Ghost Hound
Jigoku Shoujo
Shikabane Hime

Posted on with categories: Shiki



That really was just an amazing conclusion. It was just stunning, and without a doubt the best ending of the entire season and in my top 3 of best ending of the year. I mean, December has been a fantastic month for Shiki, it turned out to be significantly better than just about anything else that was airing at the moment. This ending was just its crowning moment.

Now, in terms of storytelling there was that point where Natsuno found Tatsumi perhaps a little easily, but in terms of storytelling it was just amazing to see everything just fall apart for both the Shiki and the humans as well. A fire (probably set by the Shiki in a desperate attempt, but more explanation on that will probably follow in the final two DVD Specials) also put an end to the hopes of Toshio to come out of this unscathed either: it’s impossible to explain to the police what happened and if this were set in the real world, it probably would have made the headlines throughout the entire world.

The interesting thing is that strangely enough, the creators refused to kill children under fourteen years old. The ventriloquist is killed off screen, Akira turns out to be alive, and Sunako survives thanks to Seishin’s injury that didn’t turn ot to be serious enough to actually kill him. At the same time though: Tomio Ookawa really was about to kill that girl, and Megumi also got a really gruesome death scene.

Now, I do wonder what the two DVD episodes are going to focus on, though: they’re titled episode 20,5 and 21,5, but this episode showed the preview for an actual epilogue. In any case, I see no way for these episodes to not be utterly amazing. Shiki has just shown how to perfectly make use of Noitamina’s timeslot, with finally another 22 episode series and an array of episodes on DVD only in order to complete the story.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 24 December 2010 with categories: Shiki



This was just amazing beyond words. This pretty much was the episode that decided which sides gets to win in the end, and in the process it did a fantastic job at portraying the regular villagers as blood thirsty murderers. The changes with the previous episode are stunning.

And I mean, there are only four Shiki left alive at this point: Megumi, Tatsumi, Natsuno and Sunako. Combined with Seishin, this is going to make for just a fantastic finale which again is going to be completely different from the past two episodes. I absolutely love how the past episodes have used the build-up that the entire series spent its time on.

What made this episode especially brutal was that the final area that the vampires kept hidden contained all of the vampires who refused to answer to their instincts., ie the most innocent of the Shiki. Tatsumi was also portrayed completely different from what we’ve usually seen him as: his loyalty to Sunako runs really surprisingly deep.

Overall, I really believe that 2010 has been the best year for Noitamina so far. Sure, it knew its share of gems before, but here it just delivered three absolutely fantastic series in the same year. We really have 2009 to thank for that. Up until then, Noitamina was mostly a timeslot of eccentric and Josei series, some of which worked better than the others. Eden of the East and Tokyo Magnitude however opened up the chance for really well produced series, which probably lead to the inclusion of a second spot at the timeslot. It’s really going to be difficult for 2011 to match the same level that the timeslot achieved.

2011 is promising yet another interesting year for Noitamina, as it looks like it’s going to be evolving again. I can’t really predict how these series will turn out, but the way in which three of the already announced series will focus on teenagers children and remains a very risky move, regardless of the quality of these series. Three teenaged Noitamina shows obviously aren’t a problem if they’re going to be good. However, the thing that the Noitamina producers should not do is stop with the adult oriented shows in favour of the teenagers. That’s the thing I’m most afraid of here, especially after the ratings that Sarai-Ya Goyou and Yojou-han received.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 16 December 2010 with categories: Shiki



Holy crap. The finale here turned out as good as I hoped here. It’s not the way in which this episode came with some amazing twists that made it so great; it pretty much continued with the counterattack as it portrayed two sides who are in the middle of a death match in the most literal sense of the expression. But damn, the way in which it did this was just utterly gripping.

Tomio Ookawa… just about everything about this guy is awesome. For most of the series we’ve seen him as this eccentric old man, but he gets absolutely brutal here, being the one who keeps the morale going of the people who are still alive. He’s got enough balls put his own son back into the grave, and is pretty much the co-leader of the counterattack along with Toshio. And at the same time, this episode also turned him into a murderer here, when he even kills the pople under simple hypnosis. I never really expected him to get such a prominent role in the end, but I love it. The tension between him and Toshio should make for a very nice climax that’s really going to make it a close finish. That’s also the beauty of this battle between the humans and the Shiki: neither side feels overwhelming, and both sides continue to successfully kill each other.

On the flip-side, this episode had surprisingly little of Natsuno. I really expected him to play this big role, but it seems that the creators are saving him for last or something. All this episode showed of him was this very weird cliff-hanger in the middle of the episode in which Seishiro was about to get killed. In the rest of the episode, people talk about how something happened, but we never get to see what that exactly was.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 10 December 2010 with categories: Shiki



Just… wow. The counterattack really was the final part that was missing from this series. After the huge amount of build-up, we finally see it used and this show is actually well on its way to surpass itself. Just about everything in this episode was just amazing. The past episodes entirely turned everything around for this series: everything changed. This is exactly what I’m hoping for when a series spends a huge amount of its time on building up.

The hunters have now immediately become the hunted. The interesting thing is that the regular Shiki don’t seem to have superpowers. The only reason why they were so successful during the majority of this series was because of that excellent stealth game that they played. The only ones who seem like they can make the difference are the werewolves, along with Seishirou and Seishin. Especially the latter intrigued me like no other in this episode: what kind of difference here can he make with Sunako next to him?

Three episodes also feels perfect for closing off this series and I really ope that the creators take this chance to give this series the closure it deserves. The DVD sales have unfortunately been pretty bad (the first volume only sold at 606 copies, putting it only slightly below the Armed Librarians and Senkou no Night Raid), so there is no way that this can get a second season, so it really needs to end well within these three final episodes.

It’s interesting how we finally see that red haired woman again that was in the first episode. I’ve been wondering for a while what happened to her, and I thought that Tatsumi got her, though instead the Shiki got her mother. Interesting twist. Meanwhile this episode built up for both Kaori and Ritsuko are building up to something really interesting as well, I’m really looking forward to this finale.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 2 December 2010 with categories: Shiki



Finally, after seventeen episodes of relentless waiting, it’s finally time: the counterattack. And holy crap, this episode twisted this series into a new dimension. Beyond the main attraction of this episode (Toshio), there also were a lot of these neat short scenes that took place during the first half of this episode.

Especially the way in which the episode started was just completely out of left field: usually this is a very dark and composed series, and yet it sometimes includes these really weird and over the top scenes, like what happened previously with the eccentric undertaker. For starters, Tatsumi’s suit was just completely pinpin’, but the way in which Natsuno’s father just popped up from nowhere also came completely by surprise. We still don’t know what happened between Natsuno and his father, but that scene definitely gave a lot of insight there.

Second of all, the Shiki are looking more and more human now that their numbers are increasing. Their conversations almost feel normal now, and this episode also shed a lot of light on the hierarchy between them, and how each of them has a different job. The thing is also that Tatsumi no longer is able to keep an eye on everyone in order to scare them. Because of that, Tohru ended up in front of Ritsuko when she first awakened, who looked more like an angel than a zombie in this episode. You can see that the Shiki are getting confident: it’s not like ten episodes ago, in which they still had to be careful in their actions.

And that’s what Toshio took advantage of in this episode, and he did so wonderfully. I first thought that Toshio would take her to some dark place and stick a stake through her heart or something, but this was of course the perfect chance for him to lure out the Shiki and expose them to the villagers, and it’s really the way in which he did it that makes it awesome. If he were to scream and yell, people wouldn’t listen to him, so he really subtly showed the villagers that Chizuru was a vampire. The look on his face really was priceless. Atsushi’s arrival just made it perfect.

I really love the restraint of this series: it’s just been seventeen episodes of building up, and every time at which you thought that the characters would make some kind of come-back, the vampires only ended up making things worse. Instead, this series was really waiting for this single moment, five episodes before the end, in order to turn the tides. That’s really how you should use build-up. Lately we’ve seen a lot of series that did spend a ton of time on build-up, and yet failed to optimally use it, the biggest offender being Sengoku Basara 2, so it’s great to see another series that does know how to use it effectively without making the build-up boring or wasting all of that effort that was put in building up.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 26 November 2010 with categories: Shiki



I remember how during the first half, a couple of people noted how the first OP of this series showed the people who would end up dying in this series… Yeah. That suddenly got a whole new dimension here.

I mean, if that was the intention of the creators, then they could have just as easily shown the entire cast in that metaphor. I mean, this episode pretty much killed off all of the remaining lead characters: there are only two important characters left that are still alive and unbitten: one of the nurses, and Kaori: Seishin is drugged and will soon be enslaved, Toshio is bitten, the rest of the nurses also get caught in this episode. I mean, I expected some deaths when this series first started, but I never saw an entire genocide coming here…

So I really wonder: what’s next? I mean, the creators have now pretty much ran out of people to kill: we’ve pretty much reached the worst case scenario here. Even though this is a series in which the dead can come back to life, it’s not like the deaths here are reversible. I also keep calling this show for a turning point to start, and yet every episode finds some way to drag its cast closer to despair.

And yet, that can’t go on forever. This series has pretty much been building up for seventeen episodes now; the big difference with a lot of other shows is that it still packs a punch when it’s building up unlike for example Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin and Sengoku Basara, in which the build-up ended up getting a bit boring and random. The question is now really going to be: how does this show plan to use that build-up? What the heck is Toshio going to do once he becomes a vampire? What is Natsuno planning? All he did was run around in this episode a bit. Is Seishin finally going to do something in these final few episodes?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 18 November 2010 with categories: Shiki



This series… every time I think that the turning point is about to arrive, the Shiki prove me wrong by only nibbling away even more lives. I mean, how many characters at this point are still un-bitten by the vampires? I can only tihnk of Toshio, Toshio’s mother, the three remaining nurses, Seishin and his parents, the awesome beard guy and his wife and Kaori. That’s only eleven characters left, out of who knows how many this show started with.

This series makes excellent use of this hopelessness: this episode was mainly meant to give the Shiki some background, and yet at the same time it went back to the despair when Tatsumi trashed all hopes of Akira of being able to fight back. Just one shot of him was enough for that.

The background of course was very appreciated as well. It’s interesting that Sunako, and not the two vampires I thought to be her parents, turned out to be the mastermind behind everything. Up till now, the biggest potential pitfall for Shiki was shallow main villains, because of the relatively little time that has been spent on this threesome, so I’m glad that at least Sunako has gotten a bit more depth here.

This episode also provided a great view into what Shiki think like: they mostly retain their personality, but what changes them the most is their thirst for blood and attacking people. This leads them to attack their loved ones, in the hope of getting them to the other side. Now, the question remains: what makes special vampires? Why did Natsuno and Tatsumi rise up as vampires who have no problems with Sunlight? Is that random, or do certain conditions have to be met? And if that’s the latter, did the Shiki avoid meeting those conditions in order to have something to manipulate their subordinates with?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:53 AM)
    I’ve seen Robot artbooks in the bookstores all the time, but never bought one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:51 AM)
    I think with robot I grabbed random chapters of it and did it that way as is the case with me and episodic stuff.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:48 AM)
    *here
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:48 AM)
    @Bagel: Didn’t know anyone else on hear read robot. Been so very long since I did so…but I never read his bit…
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:45 AM)
    lol…is that his only officially translated work?
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:45 AM)
    @Emma oh wow…Dowman Sayman was in a Robot anthology (anthology book series of various artists started by Range Murata).
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:37 AM)
    I keep telling myself I should read tokyo esp on the basis its getting an anime adaptation but I never liked the ga-rei manga…it paled in comparison to the anime for me and I know esp shares ga-reis author =<
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:31 AM)
    *reads brynhildr* Ends up preferring Kotori to Kazumi…
    SCIENCE!
    What sorcery is this !XD
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:28 AM)
    @Bagel: Thats similar for me I think its a great series that catches interest and engages but I don’t go on a rave about it, won’t read/watch every story in it either.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 08:26 AM)
    this week’s mushishi was nice too, although I can’t seem to muster the intensity of emotions that others seem to have for this series.

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