Natsu Reviews: Shiki

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For my next series I thought it was time to switch genres, and go with a horror anime. What I thought I was about to watch was a dark and disturbing series like Ju-On. What I ended up with was an incredible mysterious, dark, thrilling, look into humanity and what really defines a monster. I got the amazing Shiki.

Shiki

Click to watch on funimation.com

Click to watch on funimation.com

Synopsis: Horror series set in a small village where people start dying mysteriously one after the other.

Holy crap, this series through me for a loop! Admittedly, I’m not really a fan of horror. Thrills and excitement others get from being scared don’t work the same way for me. I tend to criticize the poor and often dumb choices of the characters who should have known better than to stick around when it became obvious that something was going wrong. But this series I found interesting. Especially towards the end.

Story: The basic plot and set up for this series starts out a bit slow and if you only watch the first episode it can be kind of confusing who the main character is. The truth is that the main character is the whole village. There are many characters that tend to be focused on so I guess you could think of this as an ensemble cast. Each of the characters that are focused on get plenty of time for the audience to get to know and thus we genuinely care about what happens to them throughout the course of the series. The story starts to take shape after about 3 episodes and the plot becomes pretty easy to understand, but that doesn’t hurt the story in any sense. There have been plenty of series with a dark plot that once it had been explained deviated from the potential such a plot could have that would make it better. (*cough* Sword Art Online *cough*) Since this story is based in a more realistic setting it gets more psychological as time goes on. The choices that are made greatly further the story and bring it to life in new and interesting ways. The undertones at the end, about who are the real monsters though, is what really sold me on this series.

Rating: I give the story for Shiki a 4 and a half out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars. I really would have like to have given this a 5, but the story does take a little time to get going. That’s fine if it’s just in the first 2 episodes but if I have to wait until after an hour into the series to get to the good stuff I feel like it could have been handled better. But once it did get started I did not want to go to bed without finishing. Also there were a few episodes that prolonged the advancement of the main plot that I felt were unnecessary.

Art: The art for this series was pretty solid throughout and of good quality. It won’t compare to artwork from series cranked out by Ufotable like the Fate series, but it is very good. Considering all the graphic deaths that take place and the setting changes as well as how many characters have to be drawn and moving in any given scene the fact that the art style never slacked was amazing.

Rating: I will give the art quality 4 out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars. It wasn’t the greatest art quality I have ever seen, but it was pretty high up there.

Sound: By this point you should know that I skipped the OP and ED. I’m sorry after a point the show was getting so interesting that I didn’t want to sit through  either to wait for the next episode. The soundtrack really set the mood of the animation very well. Not to mention all of the sound effects. Blood everywhere! They did a good job with their liquid sound effects and the sound guy had the creep factor on high.

Rating: I give the sound for this series 4 and a half out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars. The sound design and soundtrack really went well with the setting of the story. The only reason I can’t give it a 5 is because it didn’t make me want to jump online to purchase the soundtrack.

Characters: There are so many characters in this series and they each have their own unique and fleshed out personalities. You won’t find 2 characters in this series that are exactly alike, only ones who share common interests. And to make things even better as the story goes on the way that characters react to different circumstances really makes both the story and the characters stand out even more. Even characters that I had initially brushed off because I didn’t like them became interesting later. Dr. Ozaki, (the Junior Monk) Muroi, Megumi (the girl in the first episode of the show), Natsuno, just so many good characters!

Rating: I give the characters a 5 out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars. For a horror series that I was expecting to be typical creepy or jump scare, the characters were well detailed in their personalities and their interactions with each other as well as the story.

Enjoyment: By now it should be apparent to you that I really enjoyed this series. And to be honest I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I feel like I owe everyone who worked on this series a huge apology because I went into this series with a bad attitude and expecting it to just be another annoying horror series. I had a biased view before even watching an episode that I would not enjoy this series simply because of one or two shots I had seen from it during some Halloween AMVs a few weeks ago.

Rating: I felt like halfway through the third episode my preconceived notions vanished, and I started to just enjoy the show for what it was and not for what I thought it would be. Considering some of the interesting twists it takes and its views on human nature by the end I was picking up my jaw off of the floor. I tend to expect gruesome death from a horror series, but the way it was handled in this series was much more eerie by how it was delivered and how the other characters reacted. I give this series a 5 out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars overall.

Dub/Sub: I have to go ahead and apologize to all of you on this one. I just finished watching this about 30 minutes before typing and while I intended to watch it subbed I just couldn’t wait to type up my thoughts about this series so I can’t compare the sub to the dub right now because I honestly haven’t seen it. I liked the way the dub was handled so well that I didn’t want to watch the subbed version because I was worried it might be too different. While this is an anime and the setting in finalized in the art, the Japanese have a different approach to horror than most English audiences are used to. So I decided to just type up what I thought and not watch it subbed. Please don’t think I’m only trying to pat my voice actor friends on the back for doing such a great job. I have told several of them to their faces that I think a performance sucked when I didn’t like it. And they’re big boys and girls too, they can handle criticism. Just ask them about encounters with sub only fans and how they deal with it without being a jackass.

Overall: Overall, this was an amazing series that I think should be added to your collection. Use it for late night sleepovers, hazing the new guys to the anime club, or just chilling with you and some friends that love a nice dark story. But seriously, if you want a dark, thrilling ride, that will make you contemplate humanity and what it means hours after you’ve finished it, Shiki is one you need to watch right now!

If you want to watch it and let me know what you think you can check it out here.

http://www.funimation.com/shows/shiki/home

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