DVD Review: Shiki Part 1
Nothing happens in a sleepy town and Megumi knows that for sure. She hates the villagers and their gossip and the rural location she came to. Megumi has a deep desire to leave the next chance she gets, but she soon realises the village isn’t as sleepy as she once thought. A new family have moved into the area. No one knows much about them and strange things have begun to occur in her neighbourhood; Jizo statues have been desecrated, and a mystery illness has started to take the lives of the villagers.
The first disc concentrates on Megumi and her thoughts on the village. She sees the Kirishiki mansion in Kunemasa as a fairytale castle she eventually wants to live in. She also has her idea on the perfect man too – Natsuno Yuuki. Megumi fantasises that she will live there with him as she’s had a crush on him for a while. He, on the other hand shows no interest in her or any other girl for that matter. Natsuno is far more interested in his friend, Toru Mutou. Although Megumi ignores the other girls in their neighbourhood, one talks about those who live in the mansion and it gains her interest. Apparently the ones who moved in are a family of three, a married couple and their young daughter. Other than that, they have no idea who the Kirishikis are.
Of the villagers mentioned in the story, Megumi is one of the first to come down with the mystery illness that seems to be sweeping the area. Many think it is anaemia, but the village doctor isn’t so sure. It isn’t as simple as that, and in his mind the deaths could have been caused by a new strain of virus.
Shiki is the sort of series that benefits from being watched again – one the story makes more sense, and two the clues stand out more. Take for instance the demons on Megumi’s duvet, the gremlin dolls in her room, and the skull and crossbones motifs on the dress she wore before her death. These are some that aren’t noticeable on first watching as they need a second look.
Natsuno feels guilt for Megumi’s death even though he had never accepted her advances. He only found out later that she had a fancy for him, and feels her loss. His guilt goes so far as to make him feel as though she is watching him from outside his window, even if she is unlikely to come back and see him after death.
Toshio is the resident doctor on hand for everyone in the village, and is best friends with Seishin the monk. He has known him since childhood, but Seishin is a troubled man. After being depressed when he was younger, he tried to commit suicide, and hasn’t been the same since. This alone makes him a dark figure around the community, but he is friendly to others nonetheless.
There is an interesting relationship between Toru and Natsuno. Natsuno doesn’t want to mix with anyone and intends to leave the area soon. As a result, he sees no reason to get to know anyone there, and views making friends with Megumi or others as useless. However, He does inadvertently make a close friend in Toru. He likes playing video games. They first met when Natsuno’s bike needed fixing. Tom had an idea he needed a friend, but didn’t want to show it. Natsuno pretends not to care about anyone, yet he is constantly haunted by Megumi’s death. Everyone in the village thinks he has no emotions, but they don’t know how wrong they are.
Shiki Part 1 is a horror story in every sense. The first two discs serve to mention the many characters in the series, and set the story going. It shows how unusual some of the characters are and their personalities, but the series also has its fair share of big and peculiar hairstyles. It is gruesome and has grotesque imagery from the start. It is out to shock the viewer on purpose, and many will love it for that.
Label: Manga Entertainment
Release date: 8th October, 2012
Running time: 253 mins
Director: Tesuro Amino
Sandie has a keen interest in Anime, Manga and all things Japanese. Her interests other than reviewing are Japanese Language, dress and culture, liking Harajuku Girls, Gothic Lolita, folding some neat Origami, drawing her own Manga characters, writing her own Manga stories and everything in between.
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