Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shiki 03: Dying Young

EPISODE 03: Third Tragedy

Monk Muroi writes a story about a man forsaken by god. I thought at first he was talking about Judas but when the story mentioned a younger brother that this man forsaken by god killed, I thought: Cain?! Well, enough about this pseudo-Christian references. The connection between Judas and the vampire myth isn't unusual though. True Blood (yes, the HBO series) also mentioned it at one point although the comment was made in passing and really quite an irrelevant detail as one character promptly replied that he thought the first vampire was Jesus, what with the whole drink my flesh and blood thing. Errr.... Do I hear the Spanish Inquisition sharpening their blades?
So anyway, enough about that. After the opening credits, we see Natsuno walking by himself in the sweltering heat. Apparently, he missed the bus but the good thing about small towns is that there's never a shortage of helpful people. One of these people turns out to be Tooru who is learning how to drive from the green-haired nurse. By the way, don't expect me to remember all of these characters' name. There's just too many of them. Also, by the way, the name of the doctor isn't Kirishiki Shoujirou but Ozaki Toshio *shame*

So Tooru offers Natsuno a ride and notices that Natsuno isn't feeling it lately so he asks if he's not sleeping well. Natsuno, of course, has been experiencing weird stuff lately, which contributed to his sleeplessness, but he doesn't tell Tooru this. We learn then that Tooru is the only guy in this village that Natsuno can be more like himself. Even though he's decided that he won't get close to anyone since he never intended to stay in that village for long, Tooru just had a way of breaking down his walls. Also, Tooru is the only guy who is marginally allowed to call him by his first name, Natsuno. Also, we learn that Natsuno has two surnames: Yuuki or Koida, which has gotten some local tongues wagging in curiosity.
Later on, they are joined by Tooru's younger brother and his friend, Masao. But as soon as Masao sees Natsuno inside the car as well, Masao refuses to get in and walks to school instead. It turns out that Masao dislikes Natsuno for some reason. Natsuno doesn't care. The nurse gets off at the clinic and there we learn that Dr. Ozaki is still puzzling over the symptoms of this new weird disease that's hitting town. His thoughts are basically repetitions of the same extrapolations from the last episode.

Meanwhile, we see Masao at home and we find out that he lives with his father, his elder brother, sister-in-law and nephew. But Masao dislikes his elder brother's family and acts all hostile around them, probably because he feels that they are trying to take away his family from him? Which isn't true, of course, but I think that best explains Masao behavior around them, a behavior which is consistent with his later behavior with Tooru and Natsuno.
Back at the clinic, there's an emergency as Nao's condition has turned for the worse. Dr. Ozaki scolds Nao's husband for not contacting him earlier but it has never occurred to the husband that his wife is in any danger. After all, she is still young.
the evidence

Upon check-up, Dr. Ozaki notes the symptoms that he also observed on Megumi. Nao mouths a few words to him, which the viewers can't hear but that's fine because I'm sure Dr. Ozaki's going to exposit on all this later. But aha, progress! Dr. Ozaki notices two puncture wounds on the underside of Nao's forearm, near her elbow. He takes them for insect bites but again I'm sure this isn't the last time we're going to hear about this.
you don't wanna invite these folks to your home

While Nao is being taken care of, Dr. Ozaki talks to the husband, who is a construction company owner, asking him if anyone in their household has been sick. The husband says no, so Dr. Ozaki next asks if any of their clients have been sick. The husband again says no but adds that they recently met the Kirishikis from the mansion in Kanemasa while his whole family is enjoying some fireworks. He remembers noting that the couple has an unearthly beauty and that his own son was afraid of them. Nao, however, invites them over and the Kirishikis say that they are definitely going to come again.

Oh jeez how naive can smalltown people get? If European people appear in your town and they're dressed like they're from the Victorian age, it's probably a good time to move. And for god's sake, DON'T invite them to your homes. Even if they aren't vampires, they're still probably a little unhinged.

Sadly, Dr. Ozaki notes that Nao isn't going to survive.
little girl, you are seriously creeping me out

Meanwhile, Monk Muroi has his own odd guest in the person of Kirishiki Sunako. Their topic of conversation? Muroi's literary works. Apparently, Sunako is quite the avid reader. She also mentions the essay that Muroi wrote, titled "The village is surrounded by death." She adds that after her father had read the essay on a magazine, he decided to move out here. She has her own expectations of Muroi before she met him and declares that he is not what she imagined. From his works, she expected to meet a man with horns but Muroi doesn't have horns; only scars. She then creepily comments that a man can't die from slashing his wrists just before she leaves, her laughter echoing in the dark. Left to himself, Muroi muses that indeed that is true as he holds up his hand, revealing a scar across the wrist.

A few days after that, the funeral service for Nao is held. Masao witnesses the procession and hurries over to Tooru's place to report the news only to find Natsuno hanging out in Tooru's room. Masao ignores his presence for the time being as he excitedly tells Tooru about the strange death, insinuating that it might be caused by some weird new disease. Sigh. It's not weird and it's not new. It's anemia. Your regular anemia. The weird and new part is what's causing it. Tooru doesn't seem to worked up over the event. Neither is Natsuno, which gets Masao a little huffy so he tries to goad Natsuno into a reaction by reminding him about Megumi and how Natsuno spurned a keepsake of hers. They get into an argument about how Megumi was too young, with her whole life ahead of her and how she must be crying in her grave over what Natsuno did. Natsuno, however, has a pretty cavalier attitude about death, saying only that it could happen to the young and old alike and that a dead person couldn't feel anything. This infuriates Masao so much that he attempts to charge Natsuno only to have Tooru stop him. Perceiving that Tooru is taking Natsuno's side, Masao bitterly leaves.

After Masao is gone, Tooru tells Natsuno to be kind to Masao. Natsuno, however, is barely listening as he falls down in bed, mumbling that he's going to sleep there that night. Later, Tooru goes to buy some drinks from the vending machine and there he meets Tatsumi, another resident of the Kanemasa mansion. The two boys talk and then Tooru invites Tatsumi to come hang out some time. Tatsumi gives an odd smile as he accepts the invitation, implying that this is what he's been angling for all along. Before the scene closes, we see one of his eyes glow red.

I was close to dropping this show but decided not to. I think I'm becoming used to the character designs now although Masao is still a little too odd-looking. I'll suspend my disbelief and accept that these folks really never picked up a novel or a book about vampires in their entire life. Or saw Twilight for that matter, which heeh.