The Houndblog – Shiki – Ep 01 – First Blood

Posted on Jul 17 2010

Hey puppitos – me again! That’s right, the HoundBlog is back for another round of cut-throat, no nonsense critique, plus a bit of wisdom and chuckles for balance, from yours truly. Our selection this time around is Shiki, which I’ve been pretty excited to watch for a while now, so I’m cutting the small talk. Ready?? Let’s get started!

If you’ve watched any anime at all ever, you’ll recognize a lot of very common (one could argue extremely overused) tropes at work in this first episode. Not that a first episode is generally the most interesting episode of any series, but jeez. Could we maybe get something a little more special?

First things first, let’s meet the stereotypes…I mean characters.

Megumi, aka Pink-Haired Diva Who Dreams of Big-City Living: We know this girl right away, of course. She loves fashion and drama and feels destined for something bigger and better than her small-town existence. She yells a lot and has a huge crush on…

Yuuki, aka Purple-Haired Dude Who Thinks Being Surly and Brooding is the Same as Being Cool (ugh): He moved to the small town from the big city, and so he’s either got a dark past or he really appreciates the simplicity of living in the country. Gosh, I wonder which? (Also, this kid is TOTALLY a Johnny Young Bosch character. Am I right or am I right?)

Seishin, aka Monk Whose Stern and Quiet Exterior Masks A Total Macho Berserker: I’m pretty sure he’s killed people with his thoughts.

Toshio, aka Chain-Smoking Doctor With a Devil-May-Care Attitude: As authority figures go, I’d put this guy on the same level as the 10th graders. Also, it’s not mentioned, but I feel like he’s probably a big womanizer. Just has that vibe.

Kaori, aka Smart Studious Good Girl (Bane of Diva’s Existence): She’s all smiles on a school day, which leads me to believe that sunny personality hides a stone-cold killer. Or a child who’ll be forced to grow up and deal with some messed up things really soon.

Love, aka Fat Happy Vaguely Hound-ish Dog: The clear star of the show. More Love! Less everyone else!

Naturally not everyone can be important from the first episode – though I could easily be underestimating them. Here’s the secondary (for now) characters I feel like mentioning…

-Takami, aka Young Naive Police Officer
-Akira, aka Annoying Younger Brother
-Kanami, aka Well Endowed Bar Owner
-Unnamed Cat-Ear-Hair-Guy, Who I Immediately Hate
-Chizuru, aka Pure Evil With Ugly Sausage Hair
-Tomio, aka Burly Old Guy Who I Immediately Love
-Atsushi, aka Tomio’s Less Cool Son
-Megumi’s Mom and Dad
-Yuuki’s Mom and Dad
-Muuto, aka Toshio’s Office Manager (boooo-ring)
-Yasuyuki, aka Guy Who’s Way Too Feeble-Looking to be a Lumberman

Now to the meat: the storylines. Clearly they’re both connected, and I bet they’re going to be the bulk of the plot. Luckily for me, I find them intriguing. So far.

#1: I see dead people. And they are really gross.

Corpses! Maggots! Murder?? Neighboring village of Yamairi is ROCKED by an odd triple-homocide (well, potential homocide). An old lady, her hubby and their neighbor are all found dead by the young monk. Except the two men are eviscerated – crawling with bugs, rotted, dismembered. Gruesome stuff. The lady, on the other hand, appears to have died of natural causes…much later than the two men. Wild dogs are suspected; I call shenanigans on that. Something is afoot, mark my words!

#2: Megumi disappears. And then reappears. And then…

After having a bit of a fight with small-minded but sweet Kaori, Megumi stomps up the hill to Kanemasa, the European-style house inhabited by pure evil. She doesn’t come home that night, prompting all the neighbors to join forces and search for her. On the second night of searching, they find her…kind of. She’s nearly catatonic and mostly listless. The Doc examines her but can’t find any outward signs of trauma. A few days later, she’s dead.

Yuuki, sensitive soul that he is, reflects that now that she’s gone he doesn’t have to worry about being stalked and can leave his windows open.

…OR IS SHE? Dun, dun, dunnnnn!

Like I mentioned, I was pretty excited about this series because I’d read some of the manga and enjoyed it. That said, though, the series only barely resembles the manga I remember. Wasn’t the art different? And the characters were less…you know? Well, I looked back over my notes and as it turns out, I only read 3 chapters of the manga, which is basically like reading nothing at all. My bad. Obviously there will be no side-by-side manga/anime comparisons happening in the HoundBlog, though if anyone wants to chime in about similarities/differences in the comments I’d love to hear that side of it.

So far it’s not bad. It’s not great, either, by any stretch – but I want to watch Episode 2, so I guess Episode 1 did its job.

What do you think of Shiki? Is it living up to your expectations or already a disappointment?

Next Time: Uhh…I…um…I don’t know. There wasn’t a preview! OMG WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?!

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  • christmas4477 August 3, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    I wonder if anyone else if watching this series besides me. Oh well. I’ll be the EagleEyes for this. The first episode left a lot of questions. Hopefully they get answered later on. And I don’t care if it makes me a bad person when I say I was happy that Megumi died.

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