Home > Episode Reviews, Shiki > Shiki Episode 10 – A House Divided

Shiki Episode 10 – A House Divided

As expected, this episode covers the lingering plot issue from episode eight: What happened after Natsume’s parents let a vampire into their home? The answer, for the next couple days up through the raid on the hospital, is not much (the girl disappears out a window), but it turns out there is a very good reason for that.

Last episode was one to inspire despair; the vampires appeared in force, violated the one piece of sanctuary Dr. Ozaki thought he had, and rendered all his plans for naught. He was permitted to live (for reasons I still don’t understand, but I’ll get to that), but as a broken man, angry at his own helplessness.

The overall effect was to hammer home how the vampires have effectively taken over the town, how they have hit a critical mass and can no longer be stopped. This episode, which covers much of the same time span (hopping back and forth between present and past with a certain random feel to it all), goes beneath that view to show that, in spite of all that, there may yet be hope for Sotoba.

Even with the timestamps, it's rather hard to keep track of this episode's chronology

These vampires, after all, are not souless things, at least not automatically. They do not always get along or have similar opinions, either. That they function as a group at all is due to a very careful program of brainwashing implemented by Tatsumi, who isolates them, inflates their ego at being higher beings while asserting absolute power over them, forces them to commit heinous acts to further disconnect them from their old lives. It works fairly well in most cases, but there are exceptions.

Megumi, for example, is really upset that Natsuno is being targeted. He’s the target of her obsession, after all, and if anyone is going to kill him it’s going to be her. Besides that, she’s worried that he won’t come back from the grave as she did, which is why she’s initially resistant to the idea. Tatsumi is adamant that he is a threat, however, and threatens to kill Megumi if she doesn’t fall in line.

In addition to being unpleasant, Megumi demonstrates that the vampires have quick healing. The scratches are gone in seconds

Tatsumi plans on killing two birds with one stone in Natsuno’s case, as he also has a fledgling vampire he needs to break in. Toru has also returned, but—decent guy that he is—he’s having trouble with the whole eating people business. Tatsumi makes it clear, however, that either Toru does the job, or his brother and sister will be targeted next.

Targeting family members isn’t always a negative as far as the fresh vampires are concerned; Nao was slowly working through her family members in the hopes that one of them would join her in unlife, and the fact that neither son nor husband did is distressing to her. All of the vampires, presumably, have their own agendas and intentions, and it’s obviously some effort for Tatsumi to keep them all together.

Nao shows a moment of horror at all she's done. Even those who seem outwardly happy have lingering doubts about it all

And it’s really important for all the vampires to stay together, just as it’s important to eliminate any attempts by the humans to hunt them down. Tatsumi knows that they are all quite vulnerable still, and one good lynch mob during the day could ruin their fun. This makes it all the more puzzling why Ozaki was spared (I understand Muroi, as Sunako has a personal interest in him), as he both he and Muroi together might be able to form a convincing witness to what happened.

This entire episode is about the tensions both within relationships and with one’s own resolve. There’s an excursion on the divide in Natsuno’s own family, particularly his frustrations with his parents. Rather unconventional, they brought him here to escape the bustle of big city life, but they also declined to marry because of skepticism with “the system”—a move that Natsume also seems to have taken some flak for.

Natsuno's father tries to get him to appreciate different ways of living, not realizing that all teenagers are concerned about is being normal

His relations with his parents are strained, but he seems to have decided to submit to them for now. When his father removes all the Shinto and Christian-themed wards in his room (he doesn’t approve of “superstition”), Natsuno doesn’t even protest. I’m guessing there was some fight in their past after which Natsuno decided to bide his time until he could leave them for good, but now he’s running out of time.

The only reason Natsuno wasn’t attacked over the last two days, very likely, is because of how difficult it is for Toru to attack him. Even on the night he approaches the building, he hesitates, stalls on a couple entry points, and finally just calls out Natsuno’s name. Natsuno himself, rather foolishly, responds, and Toru halfheartedly tries to attack him. He fails, and then runs away in shame.

Even with vampire strength, it's difficult to fight someone blind and with only one arm

Natsuno, again foolishly, runs after him, leaving the home which is completely safe from all but Toru and a child vampire in favor of the dark of night. But both he and Toru are divided internally as well; Toru for obvious reasons, and Natsuno because Toru, at day’s end, is the only friend he had in this village. However stupid it might be, psychologically he can’t leave it there.

This, of course, is just an invitation for him to get cornered by Tatsumi and Megumi, both fresh from the hospital raid. Tatsumi finally gives Megumi permission to feed on Natsuno, but before she can do so, Toru sneaks up and bites him first (much to Megumi’s dismay and Tatsumi’s delight). Perhaps seeing that Natsuno would die anyway gave him the resolve to act—to save his siblings, or so he thinks—but Tatsumi has his hooks in now, and Toru is likely to be more malleable with this crime on his conscience.

Given these words come from Megumi, who was hardly pleasant even while she was alive, that description says something

So, Natsuno does not seem long for this world, but that raises the question: What happens if, after he dies, Natsuno comes back? I wouldn’t be surprised if Tatsumi, who offers some degree of praise to Natsuno for his bravery before declaring he must die, has some plans for him post-mortem. But with the obvious tensions within the vampire fold, I can’t help but think this might be bad idea for him. The last thing you need in a divided group is another leader.

You can watch the episode here.

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