Anime Review: Shiki
First of all, this show HAS VAMPIRES. And now that we got this little spoiler out of the way, which was constantly teasing you about what the hell is going on in the first episodes, let’s talk about the anime. Its hook for most who watched it when it came out was that IT’S NOT TWILIGHT and that it returns to more traditional forms of the undead. But not traditional enough since vampires in ancient traditions were demons possessing corpses in areas full of sinful people. They were not bishonens with crazy hairstyles. We are still getting Bram Stoker’s romanticized version of vampirism being some sort of a decease which makes you crave for blood.
The story can be seen as three arcs. In the first arc people are dying and the rest are trying to figure out if something other than mosquito bites is causing it, in the second we see vampires turning more people into them, and in the third the people find out what is going on and go to the offence. It seems great the way I make it sound but suffers greatly from tonal shifts. It constantly jumps from one thing to another. First it is occult mystery, then it is vampire horror, and then it is a social drama about vampires having the right to live too… even though they are undead. And to make things even more convoluted, there are also werewolves and some fairy tale about Abel and Cain which never made much sense. What I am trying to say here is that there is a huge build up with very little pay off. And here is why.
The story is introducing a hundred characters and doesn’t bother to flesh them out. It is constantly moving from one character to another, making it impossible to remember anyone’s name or personality. Which by the way, they don’t have much; you will be remembering them only by their hairstyles, and holy crap those are some really crazy hairdos. I have seen less wacky stuff in slapstick comedies. The only ones who you will end up remembering is the doctor for being present and doing stuff all the time. Of course even he needed half the show to realize mosquito bites don’t come in pairs which always happen to have the exact same distance from each other. Oh, there is also that bland pretty boy who serves as nothing more than fujoshi bait by being on every poster of this stupid show.
It is hyping this monster that is killing people, only to reveal in a most anti-climactic way that they were simply vampires, who are just misunderstood and want a place to settle down. It took six episodes to just tell us something 99% of the viewers already suspect or know from the very start, making them lose rewatch value. The creepy atmosphere is great but it is not scary when you know the revelation is anything but that. The vampires are not the demons possessing corpses variant. They are exactly the same as they were when they were still alive. Not to mention it’s a huge troll to feel sorry for them dying, only to be told they are not dead after all. That is one of the worst mood swings even made in a series.
It is making it seem like the vampires have a masterplan when their plan never had a chance of actually succeeding. Seriously, you wanted to turn everybody into vampires and still assumed that would be kept hidden from the rest of the world just because a doctor would say it was just an epidemic? You would have the NSA all over your ass in a day. And where would you find enough blood for thousands of vampires every night without being found out?
It is also hard to give a shit about the so-called tragedy in the story when everybody is a retard who gets what he deserves. The vampires had a plan which would never work, and the humans actually believed it was normal to have half the village dying because of mosquitoes and then they were just casually killing their own family while talking about going for tea afterwards. WTF, are they brain dead? These are your loved ones you are so casually butchering and you act like some sort of fascist assholes, taking joy and pride in cleansing the village from tainted blood! I know it’s supposed to be done that way so it will feel tragic, but it comes off more stupid than sad.
So basically, the script is fucking awful. It doesn’t know what it’s doing with its own concept and the only reason so many liked it is because they thought anything with lots of gore and death makes something deep and mature. You know, like Elfen Lied was. And nobody seemed to mind stuff like why are the werewolves serving the vampires when they are better than them in everything? Or why is everybody making so much fuss about what they want, when they can be simply brainwashed with magic to become mindless killing machines?
But I will admit that the colors are pretty and the music is really nice to listen to. But if that is all it takes to make a show perfect, go fap to Guilty Crown. Bottom line, this is another show for edgelords and fujoshis who find euphoria at the sight of gore and pretty boys with sad lives. It is not as bad as Twilight (few things are) but it still has a lot of gaga BS in it that prevent you from really enjoying it. If you happen to rewatch it you will realize it has a very slow build up, shitty pay-off, and constantly shifts to different stuff in very sloppy ways.