Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shikabane Hime - Aka 03: Baby!

IN A NUTSHELL: Several young women mysteriously die after hearing the sound of crying at night. Keisei, Makina and the gang trace the incidents to a local clinic. In order to find the shikabane responsible for the deaths, Makina has to pose as a pregnant teen who wants to get an abortion.
EPISODE 03: Voice of the Night

A young couple are walking together in a dark alley when they suddenly hear an eerie sound. When they look back, what they see is so horrifying they start running for their lives. At that moment, Makina, with Keisei not far behind, arrives. However, they are too late as all they find is the dead body of a young woman on the ground.

too dark to see

The next day, Ouri gets the colds so his friends accompany him back home where they order him to rest. After they are gone, however, Ouri sees the cat and once again, the cat tries to lead him somewhere.
cat needs a name

Meanwhile, Minai and Makina are hot on the trail of a suspected shikabane. But unfortunately, the monster once again manages to escape, leaving only its victim lying dead on the ground. Later, after regrouping at the temple, Keisei and the monks discuss the type of shikabane they are dealing with. So far, they do not even know what the shikabane looks like upclose. They also do not have any idea as to the past identity of the shikabane.


The other monks are getting impatient, but Keisei remains calm. He points out that the shikabane only attacks young women. What's more, these women are all recent patients of a local clinic. With this for starters, Keisei sends out Makina to do undercover work.
the cat that started it all

Meanwhile, back with Ouri and the cat, they find themselves outside the clinic. Ouri's colds gets the better of him and he passes out. Fortunately for him, the doctor spots him and brings in for treatment.

you know there's something wrong with your manhood when you start dreaming in pink

Ouri has a dream with his brother in it fighting unknown creatures. He then wakes up to find himself inside the clinic. To his surprise, he also finds Makina there, talking with the doctor. What's even more surprising is that Makina seems to be crying and begging the doctor to perform an abortion.
makina in moe mood

The doctor buys her act and agrees to do the job. While he goes to make the necessary preparations, Makina turns on Ouri and demands to know what he is doing there. Before Ouri could, however, make an appropriate response, Makina loses interest and proceeds to look around the place.


Soon, she finds herself in a nursery, empty but for a single baby. When Makina purposely heads for the child, Ouri tries to block her path. This forces Makina to push him away. In retaliation, Ouri grabs her collar but stops immediately as soon as he sees the scars on her body.
hmm, this baby needs a diaper change

Later, Makina examines the baby to see if it is indeed a shikabane. The doctor appears just then and informs her that it is just a normal baby. Even so, Makina tries to run out of there with the baby in tow. But, unfortunately, the doctor has already released the real shikabane and it catches Makina off-guard, rendering her unconscious.


Ouri, who is too busy watching the whole thing, does not notice the doctor come up behind him. He passes out after being hit on the head.
it's a bit drafty for that, don't you think?

Meanwhile, Keisei is busy with his own investigations. With the help of a colleague, he finds out that the doctor has been conducting experiments, combining human DNA with shikabane flesh. But since shikabane notoriously do not obey humans, he figures out that the doctor must be using something to bend the shikabane to his will -- namely, the child in his care.

mad scientist

The shikabane was originally a patient who died while giving birth to her child. She became shikabane because of her attachment to said child. All the other victims that Keisei and the others saw were not actually killed by the shikabane. The truth is they are all test subjects of the doctor. When the test fails, they revert back to their human forms.
she's pissed

Meanwhile, back to the clinic, the doctor administers the serum on Makina. But little does he know that such a thing would not have an effect on one who is already a shikabane. Makina frees herself from her bonds and grabs her gun.

all's well that ends well

Upon seeing her free, the shikabane starts attacking her. But with the shikabane still restrained by chains, it's no match against Makina's furious bullets this time. After killing the shikabane, Makina comes to stand before the kneeling doctor. Ouri shouts for her to stop, reminding her of her duty as a shikabane hime. Makina shouts back that the doctor is worse than even a corpse. In the midst of their argument, Keisei then arrives, just as Ouri loses consciousness.
sad, sad scene

The next day, Keisei pretends that the thing at the clinic never happened. He lies, saying that the police told him where to pick him up. Later, Keisei goes to visit the doctor and his wife. Apparently, the doctor's wife is ailing from an incurable disease. In his desperation, the doctor believed that his experiments with the shikabane flesh would help him find a cure for his wife's disease. Keisei wants to know how the doctor knows so much about shikabane. But, just then, he discovers that all this time, he has been talking to a dead guy. Someone has placed a knife right on the doctor's heart. Outside, a mysterious person licks blood dripping form his hands.

Still monster-of-the-week episodic approach but things are slowly unfolding. The mysterious guy is definitely up to no good.

I want to know the names of all the other shikabane hime and their monk guardians.

Makina's intonation -- or lack thereof -- bothers me. I understand that she's supposed to be an undead so she has to sound like someone dead would probably sound like. But it's still weird though. I haven't gotten used to it even after three episodes.

The mysterious spirit cat is also another interesting point. Just what is it? A spirit? A familiar? A hallucination? And why does it seem as if only Ouri sees it? Why does it only talk to Ouri? Why does it keep leading Ouri to supernatural incidents? Why does it keep leading Ouri to where Makina is?

Which brings me to another question -- just what is Ouri's role in this series? Because he's not a very likeable character. He needs to have at least one redeeming aspect.