Shiki Part 2 Review

Anime

Shiki Part 2
Studio: Daume
Publisher: FUNimation
Format: Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack
Release Date: May 29th, 2012
Price: $64.98 – Available Here

Overview:
As readers from the last review (Shiki Part 1) might pick up on, Shiki is a pretty promising story about vampires or shiki as they come to prefer being called.  As it directly relates to the end of Part 1 though, there will be considerable spoilers for everything that happens in those episodes from here on out.  Where Part 1 was a slow boil of pasta sauce for the dinner, as the shiki crept into the community through feeding, Part 2 is where the pan gets knocked over and pasta sauce goes everywhere.  No seriously, it looks like it will take months to get all the stains out.  Part 1 is the suspense, Part 2 is the action and does it ever bring the action.

Story:
Picking up where Part 1 ended, things look pretty hopeless for the town of Sotoba, one of the main characters is being drained, more people are dying everyday, to the point where a new clinic and funeral home have opened in town to capitalize on the boom in the death business.  As Natsuno is helplessly being drained by is only friend, it leaves his sidekicks, the Tanaka brother-sister duo, to fend for themselves, which is terrible because they are pretty inept.  Even, Doctor Ozaki is troubled by his own problem of his wife being drained in his own clinic, which takes a turn for the worst when she succumbs to death, but he remains by her side should she rise from the dead like so many in the town before her.  Luckily or unluckily, depending on personal stance, she does return as a shiki, so Ozaki does what any rational man of science would do; study, research, and record the weaknesses of this enemy.

After an extensive bout of findings, Ozaki’s childhood friend, Monk Seishin, comes to discover the now finally lifeless corpse of Mrs. Ozaki.  This ends up drawing the line between the two forever as Seishin cannot stand for such treatment of any creature simply trying to survive, so that he sides with the shiki.  With the humans armed with the knowledge of how to kill the shiki and the shiki armed with allies, human and shiki alike, it all comes down to who can wipe out the other first.  Where the only aid the humans’ really have is the unavoidable daytime sleep brought upon the normal shiki, which is undermined by the special jinrou who can not only stay awake but walk in sunlight.

Once the shiki presence is outed to the remaining human population it is all out war between the sides and it’s a long, difficult, and incredibly bloody fight that lasts a few days and nights, which provides almost everything one could want from a fight between vampires and humans, from humans becoming worse than what they hunt, to the desensitization of what they are doing, to cunning counter-attacks by the shiki.  The story builds to an end where viewers can find themselves siding with either group, which is perfect for an anime so set on presenting both sides from the get go.

Visuals:
Shiki Part 2 remains at the same high quality art that Part 1 provided, but this time with far, far more red.  There is gallons of the stuff, so this is definitely one thing viewers need to know going in.  Part 1 was pretty light on this, with blood limited to the punctures on the humans left by the shiki, but this time with the humans on the giving end almost everyone ends up covered in the stuff.  This is really to be expected in something with vampires in it, but may catch some off guard because of how light it was earlier, so fans that love that stuff will probably enjoy it.

Part 2 also keeps up the contrast of humans to shiki through apparel and dress.  Almost all the humans wear fairly drab clothes, where the shiki dress in outlandish and stunning outfits.  Those worn by Chizuru in particular, as that woman knows how to dress for fanservice from incredibly low-cut tops to an outfit that’s little more than straps.  But it’s not just the women, as Tasumi, the jinrou, knows how to live it up to with a leopard-print lined jumpsuit with spiked shoulder pads that screams, “I am so awesome that I can wear this and still be taken seriously.”

Audio:
The music of of Part 2 keeps up the pace, though none of the music was nearly as outspoken as a few in the first part.  The opening theme this time is “Calendula Requiem” by kanon x kanon, that’s about a flower that shuns the light in hopes of rain to fulfill it nourishment, but dies when the rain doesn’t come, which fits perfectly in the shiki of the story both in terms of their requirement for the blood of the humans and as the humans fight back denying it to them.  The closing theme is “Gekka-Reijin” by previous openers Buck-Tick, that’s mostly about someone walking in the moonlight and dreaming of others, that fits the reminiscence of some of the shiki and their hopes of being with their families or others in their new state of life.

The voice acting is still up to par, both English and Japanese, and continue to fit the characters well both in changing from human to shiki and realization of different truths.  From the English however, Natsuno and Ozaki still have the closest to a flat performance, but again it may simply be from the character’s being the most distant to the others.  But, as with Part 1, it can be viewed in either without worrying about quality of the voice work, so probably just keep to however that was watched.

Extras:
The extras are kind of limited again this time around, with the most significant difference being the additional episodes included in the volume, episodes 20.5 and 21.5, though these are put into place in the episode list.  These additional episodes each tells a side story that was only mentioned in the standard episodes, one focused on a shiki and one focused on a human, and how this event has impacted them when their families were both completely taken away and didn’t rise. These episodes add more tragedy to the series and give the viewer something to think about, but as they are presented in the episode list and play through in numerical order, it’s had to tell if they actually constitute as extras.

In the actual section of special features, there are two more commentaries with the English cast as they talk about things from the characters outfits to how/if they would accept life as a shiki or vampire.  There are also 5 more preview featurettes for the series and trailers for both Shiki and other FUNimation titles.  Finally there are the credits-free opening and closing themes, for those that want to see all the beautifully done visuals that accompany the music text free.

Overall:
Shiki Part 2 is an awesome ending to a great series.  The art is beautiful, the music wonderful, and characters on both sides that viewers can find themselves relating too.  There are a few slight problems in that the extras offering is pretty limited and that, while the last episode does have something after the credits, it doesn’t really add to the experience.  Ultimately, with those minor issues aside this is a great vampire tale.

9-0-capsules-out-of-10

Bachelor of Science in Game and Simulation Programming

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