Posted by Benjamin Webb on Oct 3, 2012

Shiki Part 1 Blu-ray Review


Shiki Part 1 Blu-Ray

Studio: AIC Spirits
Publisher: Siren Visual
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: In stores now.
Price: $59.95 AUD (Buy Here)

Overview

Shiki is an Anime series set in a small rural town where not much of anything happens and everybody knows everybody and their business. However, things change for the mysterious when some new residents move into a mysterious European styled castle nearby.

Is this a series that you will enjoy? Read on to find out if this is the series for you.

Story

Shiki takes place in a small rural town in the country of Japan that is neither densely populated or anything special. It is a town where everybody not only knows each other, but also knows everybody elses business. Whilst most people within the town have come  to accept this fact as a part of their life, one girl does not like this at all. And when something interesting does happen, she feels that is necessary to investigate it.

In Shiki, a strange and rich group of people from out of town move into their recently build European styled mansion. This creates an alluring mystery to the general population as to who they are. Very early on, we get hints that they may in fact be vampires, or some other kind of mythological creature when townsfolk begin to develop bizarre symptoms with puncture marks similar to a vampires bite.

What’s really interesting with the story-telling in this series is that it doesn’t just dump a whole lot of information on the viewer at once. You kind of experience the story as the characters do, rather than having someone spend a whole lot of time explaining what is happening around you. For instance, when I learned of the family being vampires, it was after analysing a bunch of hints littered throughout the first few episodes. However, it wasn’t until I realised that the family were approaching people and asking for permission to enter their homes before my suspicions were proven correct. Someone well versed in vampire lore will probably have worked this out much more quickly than myself.

Unfortunately for the show, I just could not feel any interest for it. Maybe it was a lack of any relatable characters, maybe it was the pacing – - I’m not entirely sure. It was just completely uninteresting to me, maybe you’ll have a better impression from the story than what I did, but I had absolutely no will to get through this series other than I had to.

Visuals

This is where the series is actually at it’s strongest. I really liked the visuals in this show. They were just so much more interesting than the story could ever hope to be.

Let’s take a look at the character designs. Each character has a unique and interesting look and feel to them that easily reflects their personalities. For instance, there is one girl who is incredibly image obsessed and this is reflected through her look. She has bright pink hair, wears fashionable clothing and generally looks out of place in comparison to the rest of her town. This aesthetic is carried over across all of the characters in general. For instance the vampire family have this rich and well dressed look to them that is completely out of place anywhere but with the most highest of society.

There are also some really nice looking backdrops and set pieces within the series. These only further enhance the incredible visual quality behind this series. One such example of this is this one scene where a family is celebrating outside and the vampire family come to chat to them. Everything in that scene looks simply amazing. Not only the set-pieces, not only the backgrounds, but also the characters themselves. It was a really well done scene.

Overall the visuals in this series are simply amazing. Anyone with an appreciation for art will enjoy watching this show.

Audio

The audio in Shiki is neither impressive or unimpressive, it is just there. Sometimes there’ll be some dialogue that makes you laugh, but most of the time, it’s just as mundane as its setting. The only interesting character in the show initially is killed off really early and doesn’t return for what feels like a long while.

As I said in the story section, you aren’t really dumped with dialogue that throws the story at you. Rather, you begin to understand what’s going on by listening to what’s being hinted at. Some people may not be so open to subtlety, while others will think it’s clever.

I personally didn’t mind the language tracks included with the disc. Both the Japanese and English did a fine job at conveying what the characters were saying and doing. I think that only the most die-hard anime fans will complain about the subtle differences in dialogue between the two tracks.

Extras

What’s really strange about this series’ packaging is that it does not list any extras at all. Fortunately, by accessing the discs menu, you can see that this is not the case. There are in-fact extras included with this series, which is a good thing.

The first disc of this two disc set contains one extra, which is the commentary of the first episode of the series. This commentary is quite interesting to listen to as the cast and crew talk about various aspects of the show. I usually love watching things like these.

The second disc contains a much larger plethora of features, which include a bunch of preview features, clean openings and closings commentary for episode 12 and trailers.  It looks like a fair amount of added time is here, so it definitely increases the value of the series exponentially.

Overall

Shiki Part 1 on Blu-Ray Disc is an excellent buy for people into the vampire genre. It’s a fairly good series that people who enjoy this kind of thing will enjoy. Just because my own enjoyment of this show was limited, I can see why other people will find much enjoyment in this and as such, I would heartily recommend Shiki to all vampire aficionados.

8-0-capsules-out-of-10

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