This one would be easier if someone were to ask me “Have you seen (insert title)?” and I could coincidentally answer, “No. I want to.” Instead, I have to rifle through the chaotic mess that is my brain and stumble onto something not in the area where I keep everything I’ve watched.
I think I’m stretching the criteria a little, as it seems pretty clear-cut: have not watched, but want to. Problem being that, when I want to watch something, I usually do. In fact, I’ve probably seen at least a little bit of it, and this is why I want to watch it. So, I’m using one I’ve seen part of, and very much want to see the rest. (and haven’t been able to just yet)
I choose: Shiki.
(oh good grief! I sound like one of those Pokemon characters!)
This one is particularly unusual for me to want to see. Not only do I usually like things with explosions, but I am generally even less enthusiastic about the horror genre than I am about romantic comedies. I just don’t like the scary, the people dying, the gore, the tragedies with their not-happy endings, etc. It’s really not my thing, or at least not very often, made worse by my appreciation for subtlety, which the hack-and-slash horror flick really does not do well.
But then, my tastes in entertainment just sort of… drifted… towards horror. Coincidentally, this was right after I started working in a place that sold tutus and fake flowers and ribbons and such! 😉
So, I found myself watching horror stuffs, which I never had before. I still kept away from the hack-and-slash stuff, but when I found Shiki, I loved it! They did provide a synopsis for the show, so people know what it’s about, but they didn’t just hit the audience over the head with the whole “vampires stalking the night.”
My summary of the first several episodes:
In a small, rural town, an apparent epidemic begins sweeping through the population. This coincides with the arrival of a strange, reclusive family who just moved into a grand, vacant estate, but it seems they arrived just in time for the town to die. Yet, even they mourn the loss of loved ones, the well-juggled multitude of cast members, in their experiences and investigations, begin to suspect that something else is going on, as terror begins to haunt them, and hunt them, in the darkness of the night. As they circle closer to the truth, the question remains: if they’re right… what can they possibly do about it?
I really liked what I saw of this anime! The characters weren’t all angels, in fact some of them are as scary as any monster, even before they become monsters. Yet some of them are angels, or at least striving to be. The monsters are scary not simply for their physical power, but for their freakish, supernatural abilities, particularly how they can affect the minds of the living with this hypnotic influence, and especially for carrying on the obsessions they had in life. More than once, their attentions focus first on the people they cared most about in life, which makes it all the more terrifying, since a loved one may come back to eat you.
Standing in the path between these monsters and the remaining human population (which, it is a very real threat, could be utterly wiped out by the end) are only a few humans who are catching on to the truth. Most prominent among them is a doctor, who only gleans the truth of things after a conversation with a teenager, who is being stalked by the girl who was obsessed with him when she was still alive.
The single most thrilling thing about this anime is how they handle the business of scaring the audience, and communicating the fear of the characters. They are subtle. Yes, it’s terrifying to have a great, big monster coming down on you and tearing your friends to pieces before your eyes, but there are smaller things which unnerve us as humans. You ever feel that little bit of spider-web thread touch your face? The feel of something so small and light you can only just barely feel it crawling on your skin? That tiny prick? That little thing that’s starting to make you itch, and you don’t know how long it’s been there? Are these not even more or creepy for being so small, yet present?
Shiki works a bit like that, weaving many tiny things together to creep us out, and to culminate in absolutely thrilling terror when the monster steps out of the shadows… or drops on you from above… or crawls out from under your bed, to eat you before you can scream for help, and be gone before anyone’s the wiser.
I am suddenly recalling Batman Begins, when Bruce is learning from his mentor about becoming something criminals fear: a terrible thought, a wraith, an idea… all things which have no substance, no physical form to punch in the face, yet they can destroy us. And the vampires of Shiki are able to be those phantoms we cannot touch, but which can eat us up, bite by bite.
Ooooh, now I want to watch the rest of Shiki right now!