Shiki (aka 屍鬼)
Available in English sub
Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Vampires, Gore
If you liked Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Dance In The Vampire Bund, Death Note, Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin, or Monster you might enjoy this
Watch it free here:
http://www.hulu.com/shiki this is hulu so you will have commercials
Buy Here: not available in English but the Japanese w/English subs is here
boxset: will cost about 15 USD (if you get it now)
Shiki – TV Series Complete Box Set (DVD)
This anime has a very interesting story that latches onto you from the first few moments of the first episode to the final seconds of the last episode. The true purpose of the story is to make you think “what would I do if that were me”? The series looked at what most people would do, then at what a small portion would do and how they would be treated for thinking that way. The characters are all fighting a moral dilemma within their minds over what they should do. This may not be as good a vampire anime as Hellsing but I would say that it takes the silver medal. The entire story (like most horror anime) takes place in a small village in the mountains that seems isolated from neighboring cities. The series follows Natsuno Yuuki, Seishin Muroi, and Toshio Ozaki, for the most part, as the main characters. The first episode does not show this much though as you are following Megumi Shimizu who introduces us to the main characters. We follow Megumi around for a few days as she talks about how everyone in town is “lame and unstylish” with the exception of Natsuno who came from a big town. She watches as a castle-like house is built and hopes that whoever lives there will look at how pitiful her life in the town is and would adopt her as their kid. When the new family arrives in the middle of the night it is the talk of the town. Megumi immediately goes to meet this family the first chance she gets. This is when strange health patterns start happening to people in town.
The animation style of this is very vivid but has a nice grungy dark overtone when appropriate. The characters look as if they were based off normal people you would see walking down the road. The backgrounds were also drawn to look as if they had come out of a photo. You can tell that the artists went out and studied the area that they made this anime about to make it as close as they could.
All the voice acting was great but there were a few characters that got on your nerves after a while. Megumi is one of those with her pitch and know it all/im better then everyone way of speaking she does wear on you a bit. I think the animators noticed this as well and tried to limit her to only parts where she had influence. Another character would be Masao Murasako, he has a very nasally voice and is just one of those people that if given the chance you would probably punch in the face just because they’re so damn annoying. Other then the opening and endings there was not a lot of music in the series but the music it did have fit well with what you were seeing. When it was beginning to be creepy the music mirrored that and added a level of depth to make you feel the creepy-ness.
This anime takes an entire town and makes them all characters while focusing a bit on a few main people. While there is not a lot of character development, there is some. The story; however, does not look at the overall development, but rather the choices that they make to moral decisions such as “Is it ok for me to kill a person if it’s for my survival”? When a member of the town dies you will probably not be emotionally tied to the character enough to care but again, this is not the type of anime that set out to do that. A few of the key players in this anime are Natsuno Yuuki, Seishin Muroi, Toshio Ozaki, Megumi Shimizu, Akira Tanaka, Kaori Tanaka, Ritsuko Kunihiro, Tohru Mutou, and Sunako Kirishiki with more emphasis on the first three. Natsuno just moved to town recently and withought knowing it became friends with Tohru and is trying to avoid his stalker Megumi. Seishin is the local priest and is friends with Toshio the local clinic’s only doctor. Megumi is in love with Natsuno because he is form a big town and she hates her childhood friend Kaori who does not want to leave the town. Ritsuko is a nurse at the clinic and Tohru has a big crush on her. As for Sunako, she is the child with the family that moves into the castle like house on the hill.
This anime is one of those that would go in my top ten list, it was just that good. The way it made you think and put yourself in some of the characters shoes was really well done. It may have done better had it focused more but that’s a bit of a double edged sword because if it had focused more on certain characters you would lose a bit of the feel and the story. This is one anime where the story was only as good as it was because of the all the characters that were intertwined with it. Take out even a single piece and the story probably would have collapsed upon itself.