Home > Episode Reviews, Shiki > Shiki Episode 9 – Out in the Open

Shiki Episode 9 – Out in the Open

Something the opening sequence teased us with is the prospect of a small army of red eyed vampires emerging from the forest, an unstoppable force of supernatural power claiming the town as their own. That becomes a reality this episode, as Ozaki’s clinic is the stage of a vampire raid, seeking to ensure that no victim of their attacks makes it out alive.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. The episode ends with a moment of despair for our heroes, but begins in hope, as Dr. Ozaki begins his night watch of Setsuko Yasumori in the clinic. By this point her son, grandson, and daughter-in-law have all been claimed by the “illness” and so Ozaki is determined to save at least Setsuko.

Muroi's latest tale, entitled "Shiki," deals with a Cain-like figure who is seemingly cursed by God even before he kills his brother. I'm guessing the story will prove important later

Working with Muroi, he keeps a vigil over Setsuko, discussing the possible defenses against the vampires in the meanwhile. Muroi notes that he’s still not completely convinced about the existence of vampires, but any doubt goes away when they both hear scratching on window of Setsuko’s second story observation room. Pulling the blinds aside, Muroi and Ozaki join small but growing club of those who have seen the vampires in action. This time, it’s Nao, Setsuko’s daughter-in-law.

Nao, despite her obvious supernatural abilities, can’t get in, and Ozaki and Muroi deduce that she can’t enter the clinic uninvited. With the attack blocked, Setsuko continues to recover, and even starts to come out from the semi-comatose state that victims develop after their first feeding. Ozaki thinks he finally has the situation beat.

Setsuko processes her experience as best she can, but even when she treats it as a dream it still has the power to frighten her

Unfortunately for him, Tatsumi is already on the move, and secures an invitation to the clinic from Ozaki’s unsuspecting wife. While a hoard of vampires surround the clinic one night as a distraction, he secretly enters, beats up Ozaki, and takes Setsuko outside to Nao and the rest of the turned townspeople. It becomes clear that the crowd isn’t just for intimidation purposes, as the whole set of them feed on Setsuko, ensuring she is bled dry before daylight arrives and Ozaki can try to help her recover.

Ozaki is thus left with another dead patient, and is back to square one. The clinic is no longer safe, and his story isn’t going to be any more plausible just because Setsuko is covered in “insect bites” rather than just having the usual two. He and Muroi are aware of the true threat now, but that’s not going to keep them, or the other townspeople, alive.

Tatsumi is easily the most terrifying of the vampires seen so far, even with his ridiculous character design

So far in my viewing of Shiki, my main concern is how the show will remain this good when it’s less than halfway through its run. It’s managed to continually up the ante, but there should be a theoretical limit to that. Although, we still haven’t seen the resolution to last episodes invasion of Natsuno’s home, so there’s at least another episode of content there.

One thing this episode makes clear, however, is that there are still ways to make the protagonists suffer. Ritsuko Kunihiro, one of the more attractive nurses at the clinic, spotted Nao on her way to deliver sandwiches to the overworked Ozaki, and the show continually hinted that she might be attacked. There is a considerable effort at emphasizing the emotional connection between Ozaki and his staff (even the ugly nurses come off as noble and sympathetic), and as Ritsuko is one of those shown turning into a skeleton in the opening credits, I think she may not be long for this world.

Ozaki's relationship with his wife seems somewhat unique. I've of the opinion that if this were set in America, she'd be a valley girl

As mentioned above, this episode also introduces Ozaki’s wife, a somewhat flaky looking shopowner who apparently doesn’t even live in Sotoba. The exact nature of her relationship with her husband is unclear, as they seem fond of each other but not much more than related associates. We also see Ozaki’s overbearing and generally unpleasant mother, who urges him to avoid his work with the victims to protect himself from infection. How Ozaki married as he did and his bizarre family relations are left unexplored for the moment, but I suspect they will get more time as they start dying.

Why Ozaki is even still alive is unclear; Tatsumi says he’s off-limits for some reason (at least for now) but that’s something I’d expect for Muroi, not him. Perhaps the Kirishikis have something planned for him too. They don’t seem that worried about leaving witnesses alive; Kaori, Akira, and (maybe) Natsuno haven’t been systematically hunted down, even when they’ve made themselves vulnerable. I’d like for there to be a convincing in-story explanation for this; with the “anyone can die” feel this show has created, it would be a same for the main characters to be arbitrarily extended a plot immunity card.

Days have passed since this incident, so the fate of Natsuno's family is still up in the air

This episode ends with Megumi breaking off from the main feeding group to some unknown goal, so maybe we’ll get to see what happened with Natsuno over the last couple of days next episode. What is clear, however, is that the forces of darkness are still ascendant. And more than that: They are increasingly in charge.

You can watch the episode here.

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