The Internet is a strange place, it has its pros and cons and it has so many corners, deep points, dark side, light sides, You never know where you find yourself, and thus a fine evening when i was sitting alone in my room, just going through random things in the Internet, i don’t even know how i got there, but i was on the website called myanimelist.net , (mind you i was never a die hard Japanese anime fan, the only animes i had watched and liked were Pokemon(my childhood) and shinkai’s movies ). Randomly looking at titles of animes, i encountered an anime called Shiki also called Corpse Demon, and if you have read this blog, you might know that i am a huge fan of horror genre. Anyway i began reading the plot and needless to say i was intrigued by it, i will not write my own plot for the review , i am going to post the same plot i read, for you.
“Fifteen-year-old Megumi Shimizu dreamed of a glamorous life in the big city; however, her unexpected death in the quiet village of Sotoba marks the beginning of what appears to be a ferocious epidemic that turns the hot summer into a season of blood and terror. A young doctor named Toshio Ozaki begins to doubt the nature of the disease and comes to understand that to discover the truth, he must abandon his humanity. Meanwhile, Natsuno Yuuki, an antisocial youth from the city, is haunted by the sudden death of Megumi and must realize the pain of friendship in the face of his own tragedy. Toshio and Natsuno form an unlikely pair as they work together to save Sotoba before it transforms into a ghost town of vampires.
Shiki, adapted from the horror novel written by Fuyumi Ono, goes beyond the average vampire story. It tells the tragic tale of survival in a world where one cannot easily distinguish between good and evil. Abandoned by God, the Shiki, as the vampires call themselves, have only their will to live as they clash with the fear of the paranoid/unbelieving villagers. Shiki explores the boundary that separates man from monster.”-link
If you are intrigued by this, (if you are not-What are you made up of!!) check out the anime, being a slow builder, the anime will be hard to watch but once it sets up its pace it flourishes to become a masterpiece!
If I say so myself, I watched the complete anime in two days! yes in two days. And after finishing with the ending, I sat at my bed, staring into the wall and thinking- ‘oh my god, what have I watched’. This was the anime which started me taking them seriously. I used to think that animes are always like Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z, being made for children and filled with hilarious pointless jokes. This anime takes all these animes dump them in a cellar and then vapourises them with its harsh reality and its deep themes.
This anime is probably not for faint hearted because once things hit the roof and the show takes its pace, it gets filled with blood, gore and cringe worthy horror sequences. You would want to hide behind a blanket while Humans turn on Shiki and they in turn hunt humans. The Show has its flaws and quite huge ones, but those flaws are easy to forget in the tension in questioning our own belief. The anime makes you question yourself at what humans are, at what we do to make a living and what we CAN do?
This is probably the most underrated anime out there, over shadowed by animes like Clannad, Naruto Shippuden and Your Lie in April. And i understand why it is, the anime is too deep in philosophical way, this kind of story is what stays with you for years and you will keep on questioning and thinking about it in years to come and i am sure in years this anime would be regarded as a classic.
While analyzing the anime what we need to understand that what the anime is trying to tell us, The anime is trying to show us the dark side of Human disposition, we kill for survival yes, but after some time, anyone and i mean anyone who gets a hang of it will start it for pleasure and fun. We as humans wage wars with ourselves, we are a society filled with flaws and those flaws are not something which we can ignore, countless innocent people are dying due to so many wars we fight. Humans have always survived by eliminating others, the history of wars goes to way back to first civilizations. It is part of what we are and what we have become and its terrifying. The anime makes us question that have we lost all humanity and what exactly is humanity, have we lost so much that we cant even get redemption for it? Have we lost our purpose of existence in the image of greed and power. Is there no hope and the anime answers this too, with a Shiki women who can’t get herself to drink human blood, with Seishin ‘The high priest’ who helps Sunako leave and stay alive, who finds Humanity in such a vile creature as Shiki. We as humans can not loose humanity from us, its what makes us human, some try to suppress it some try to destroy it, but no one can take it away from us. I think that is why Mahatma Gandhi’s non violence worked, he believed in Humanity and he had his hopes that we would change, that we would stop the unnecessary killing. But the question still remains- Did We?
What we need to understand is that Building great buildings, standing at our two small feet, ruling above all that is not what makes us human beings, Ants can make high rises among themselves, they create their own towns in their mounds they even make highways in their towns, do this make ants human. A lot of animals can proudly proclaim to stand at two feet and many creatures have a bigger, better and cleverer brain than us, do this make them humans. Even Bees’ colonies have a queen and a perfect organized system, do THIS qualify them as humans. NO!
We are humans because we are compassionate, when god created us, he gave us a power, he gave us a power of clear thinking, he gave us a powerful conscience and a power to make a judgement. And what way do we use it. The result is in front of you all, in every piece of news article about wars and terrorism. In our search for power and progress we forget who we are and what we are here for.
Its amazing the power of this anime, it made me a small time student-photographer and movie reviewer cum blogger philosophical. I can rant about this endlessly without this reaching to anyone, i don’t really care, because I am not the only one against it. There are many like me working for Humanity and very well know but their voices have been timely suppressed, what am I against them? I can be just glad that to those few 10-20 people who will come across this article they will get to know about this anime and will probably skip and read a few lines here and there because everyone is in a rush and hurry. Anyway back to the anime…
We are introduced to various characters which are well built throughout the episodes especially the child hood friends Seishen- the priest and Toshio- the doctor. Another theme of the show emerges out here, the clash of religion and science, this theme is shadowed by other themes but is an important one too. I was frustrated by awful vampire movies out there especially the Abysmal Twilight (yes i am looking at you Stephanie Meyer), this one does it all right. We are introduced to the Shiki as blood thirsty killers, but as the show goes on, we get to know more about them and our way of seeing them changes and then the creators of Anime dehumanizes the humans in probably the most disgusting, cringe worthy episode in the anime history, especially the sequence involving the sewer massacre, where Humans start slaughtering them and enjoying the killing, and the scene involving women of ‘sotabo’ singing ‘three blind mice’ and talking as if they dump dead bodies and burn them daily and the men impaling the body’s with wooden steaks. Its like a huge fist thrown directly on to the face of the viewer without any warning and thus the viewer looks at shiki as better beings and starts to fell bad about them. And thus the blood thirsty human killers are ‘humanized’.
Probably the most important scene involves Sunako and Seishin talking in a church as she says to Seishin
“Don’t you find it…ironic? I really killed so much people…I may really be an atrocious mass murderer, but i still don’t consider the number of people I killed to be something big. There is no God for us to pray at times like this. There is no one to seek help from. No justice to be upheld in our case. Since I am a murderer. But I becoming a murderer was not because of my ideology, nor because of my view on values. If I’m left without human blood, I’ll die, as simple as that…I became what I am because of the bloodthirsty providence. Muroi-san, this is what having been abandoned by God means…”
She thinks that Shiki have been abandoned by God and left to die, thus the important theme of belief and faith overcome the other themes revolving around the anime.
Why do we have faith? Faith gives us hope, faith in a way rekindles hope and also acts as a judge of our deeds, its not God who makes us think that whether what we are doing is right or wrong! Its the fear of God and the Faith which helps us reconsider our choices. Remember when you were small, and you were not allowed to do something and you were going to do the same thing, what was it that stopped you? It was the fear of your parents and your faith in them that stopped you, the same thing applies to religion, with the faith comes fear of the powerful, fear of someone who will judge you once you die, that makes you wonder about your choices, but without faith… You become like Shiki. Just what ‘Tohru’ realizes after becoming Shiki and he says
” At first, everyone is disgusted. Afraid to bear the sin of killing people. Afraid to receive punishment for replenishing themselves with the life of another. But, once you realize that you won’t be punished for killing people, you get used to the guilt pretty soon. The guilt of using humans for food. Aren’t humans the same?”
But there is always hope, and just like Sunako found her faith as Seishin and she survived the Shiki massacre, we all can find our faith and help others too just like Seishin did.
This review-analysis-rant is already 1900 words long. See this Anime made me too serious, i think i will go and watch some Charlie Chaplin shorts now.
Another thing about this anime is its magical, enchanting and beautiful soundtrack. Just listen to it and i would advise to read through comment section too, there you will find many good comments including many of mine.
This Anime deserves 10 but due to some technical issues, slow building up and a little bit of flaws i will give it 8/10.
Cheers and have a great day.
PS: if you have watched it i would love to discuss about it.
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