When citizens of a secluded village begin dying off in alarming numbers, the sole hospital's head doctor tries desperately to save his patients - but his efforts are in vain. Entire families are wiped out while others desert their homes. All hell breaks loose as the villagers discover their loved ones' corpses are rising from the grave with an insatiable thirst for human blood. Who is safe when the urge to kill in order to survive blurs the line between man and monster?
The first half of Shiki saw the rural community become caught up in the creeping curse of the vampiric okiagari. Part two becomes deeper, darker and the effects are on the township are devastating as families are torn apart and friendships severed by death and paranoia.
The victims who awaken as okiagari are caught in the interstice between life and death. Their struggles become more than that of simple survival as they try reconcile their human emotions with the new inhuman instincts they have gained with their reawakening.
As the community becomes more sparse and strained, fear closes in and human nature shows its true colours.
Dr Ozaki continues to pursue the truth behind the town's predicament and makes a breakthrough when his own wife succumbs to the sickness. The sequences which follow change Dr Ozaki completely and are not recommended for those who are squeamish about medical procedures.
As soon as the okiagari are exposed, the threat of an epidemic recedes and the people of the town identify a physical enemy that can be attacked and eradicated. This is a pivotal point in the series when the horror of the show is turned on its head. The retaliation of the townsfolk escalates at an alarming speed and provides some of the most unsettling scenes I have seen in anime for many years. It is violent and brutal but it is not the graphic gore or the blood curdling screams that make the second half of Shiki so disturbing – rather, it is the ghastly portrait of human nature. There is a something horribly uncanny in actions of these characters, which when related to the history of our species quickly becomes familiar and believable. It is a chilling commentary on what humanity can be capable of.
I tend to watch anime over tea but I do not recommend you do this. Seriously.
Shiki is not in the least predictable. I doubt that any viewer could second guess the fates of the characters when they start the show.
The animation wavers a little in the quality but never to the extent of being distracting or of detriment to the overall progression of story.
If you’re a fan of meaty psychological horror, or of Stephen King's novels, Shiki is for you.