Home > Episode Reviews, Shiki > Shiki Episode 11 – Cassandra’s Cry

Shiki Episode 11 – Cassandra’s Cry

Shiki is a very good show, but the one problem with reviewing it is that it can prove a bit repetitive at times. Shiki occasionally focuses on secondary characters, but the focus typically doesn’t extend beyond showing the particular flaws in a character and how that makes the character uniquely vulnerable to vampire attack. This time is different only in that Ikumi Itou, the victim of the episode, is aware of the Kirishikis and their nature. Like basically everyone else in the show with that knowledge, it doesn’t help her at all.

As a traditional religious figure of some unknown type (she acts sort of like a miko, albeit in a very traditional, now archaic sense), she’s been granted insight into the situation. Itou apparently does have some actual power as a shaman—or else is just a really good guesser—but her entire shtick makes her look more like a charlatan than a genuine religious leader. Between her unpleasant nature and the lack of belief in the supernatural among the townfolk, it’s hard for her to gin up a response against the Kirishikis. The locals seem to view her as the resident crank at best, and it’s not had to see why.

Tip for the would-be prophet: charging people for basic protection tends to make them skeptical

Eventually she manages to yell at enough people to get a crowd to follow her (although this seems more out of curiosity than genuine belief). After first publicly calling out Dr. Ozaki for concealing the supernatural source behind the epidemic—which he completely denies—she takes her mob up to Kanemasa to confront the monsters themselves. She’s obviously hoping for a torch and pitchfork moment, but the result is something else entirely.

After “scaring” Koizumi into hiding, Itou confronts Seishirou Kirishiki himself. She’s shocked that he can show himself in sunlight—as can Koizumi, naturally—and then that her charm has no effect on him. Dr. Ozaki, depicting himself as the voice of reason, checks his pulse and his eyes and confirms something implied by his character design: he’s human. With no monster to hunt, the crowd shrugs it off and disperses.

Seishirou Kirishiki might not be normal, but he's clearly human. That makes his actions all the worse

Itou is furious, but unable to do anything. That perhaps makes her much more eager to follow after a woman who comes to her house, claiming she’s being attacked by the monsters. Finally, someone is vindicating her story! Only after leaving the house is it clear to the audience that she’s fallen into a trap meant to eliminate another prospective hunter.

Along with Itou, this episode focuses exclusively on the adults of Sotoba, Ozaki and Muroi. Ozaki’s actions are the most inscrutable; privately he is still eager to continue the hunt, but he refuses to involve anyone else besides Muroi, even when given two potential opportunities (with a crowd of worried residents and then with Itou’s stunt) to come clean and start recruiting a hunting party. It’s not like the vampires aren’t aware of his knowledge of them. But both play up the fiction in public, and in Ozaki’s case it’s hard to see why.

Ozaki's caution is somewhat understandable, but he's given a few golden opportunities to let the town know and declines

It seems he wants proof he can present to the villagers about the vampires, and confirmed information about how to harm them. He still wants to capture and experiment on one of the creatures as soon as he can, to determine their weakness and vulnerabilities. His talk of experimentation—which he’s mentioned as a possibility before—comes off as crazy in a mad scientist sort of way, and clearly has Muroi disturbed.

Muroi, being more traditionally Japanese, is rather leery of taking the law into his own hands, thinking that murderers, even monstrous ones, should be left to the proper authorities to deal with. His view will likely seem crazy to Americans with a firmly developed view of the propriety of self-defense, but wouldn’t be outside the mainstream of Japanese opinion—save for the fact that they are not dealing with something as simple as a serial killer.

Ozaki's eyes have been slightly ... off for the entire episode, even when his dialogue is completely normal. Here it's not

Muroi, for his part, can’t help but think of the vampires as human, because of his friendship with Sunako. He’s talked with her enough to know that she’s not an unthinking monster. He also knows that, aside from the Kirishikis themselves, the vampires attacking this town are the relatives, friends, and lovers of the remaining humans. As Natsume proved last episode, the townspeople aren’t yet ready to turn on their returned residents.

Muroi’s own trust is misplaced, however, as Sunako clearly intends to kill him eventually, and nearly feeds on him before deciding not to at the last moment. Her motivation behind it is unclear: perhaps she wants to see him fall into a deeper level of despair first, or she actually did have a sense of regret at the last moment. Given her overall actions, however, I’m leaning toward the former.

Sleep well tonight, all you readers!

Muroi’s current story also points to the problem he has: it’s a Cain and Abel style story, as mentioned before, but in his version the murdered Abel figure comes back as an undead thing to haunt his brother. Muroi equates the victim, therefore, with the shiki, the corpse demon. Traditional vampire lore, however, has the monsters descend from a transformed Cain, and Sunako calls Muroi a romantic after hearing his version of the story. I think she still wants to enlighten him on the subject before he dies.

If the pattern continues, next time we should get some impression of what happened to Natsume in this same time period and how his reunion with Toru is working out. I suspect that, even if he dies, Natsume will be one of the ones to come back.

It's not as creepy out of context, but this final shot of the "distraught" woman Itou was going help provides a dreadful certainty of its own

You can watch the episode here.

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  1. Sacchi
    September 18, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    The best thing of this episode was when the ending song started. So much stuff happened there, I can’t believe what the doctor did lol. He’s freaking awesome.

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