Shiki (屍鬼) is a horror show set in a remote village where Shiki, a hybrid of the living dead, vampires and werewolves, slowly overtake the village. A personal disclaimer – I used to think I hated horror, when what came to mind was mindless zombie fests and serial killers with chainsaws. But after watching Higurashi, it’s now one of my favorite genres. A good horror show, in my opinion, isn’t about loud noises that make you jump out of your seat or gratuitous, bloody violence which makes you look away. Horror is about the atmosphere – you can sense the fear of the characters and the knowledge of impending doom. Shiki is excellent in this area. For about the first 15 episodes, there isn’t even any substantial resistance to the Shiki as they slowly overtake the town, and a sense of complete hopelessness settles in. Then the tides turn, and the same hopelessness and terror are transferred to the Shiki themselves as they are murdered and driven from the town.
Shiki has a large cast of characters, all of which are well developed, but in my opinion the focus was spread a bit too thin at times. Particularly with Natsuno, Kaori and Akira – at the beginning, they were the only ones resisting the Shiki, but in the last half they more or less completely disappeared from the story. It would have been nice to see Kaori a bit after her breakdown. Also, this may be an effect of watching only one episode per week, but there were a few characters who seemed important but hardly showed up at all. I saw that werewolf girl with freckles a few episodes from the end and couldn’t remember seeing her before. Also the shiki from the funeral parlor and the creepy little kid who came to Natsuno’s house – whatever happened to them? I couldn’t really follow / remember Seishin’s story from week to week either.
Overall, Shiki does a great job at building a dark, tense atmosphere and follows through on this to a suitably terrifying conclusion.
- Plot / Script – 9 / 10 – Great at building a horrifying atmosphere.
- Characters – 9 / 10 – Very well developed for such an ambitiously large cast.
- Production – Visual – 8 / 10 – Great use of light to build atmosphere, gore is intense but not distracting (except when it should be… i.e. the doctor’s wife)
- Production – Auditory – 9 / 10 – It isn’t Ghost Hound, but the sound still serves to build the tense atmosphere.
- Overall – B+
Voice Actor of the Show Award – Haruka Tomatsu (戸松遥) – Megumi Shimizu – Her character is annoying as hell, and the voice is a perfect fit.
How it would be Worse Better under Director Draggle – More follow up on Natsuno, Kaori and Akira. Also, vampires shouldn’t be able to cross running water or enter churches. 🙂
Recommendations – Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, Ghost Hound