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Shiki: Part Two (A J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 19, 2012 by  



The second half of “Shiki”, the roles are reversed as the humans fight back against the vampires.  But which side will you be more sympathetic towards?  Overall, “Shiki” has turned out to be an enjoyable, dark and violent series that fans of that genre will enjoy.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of ©2012 FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Shiki: Part Two

DURATION: Episodes 13-22 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9 HD Native, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV MA

COMPANY: Aniplex/FUNimation Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: May 29, 2012

Originally Created by Fuyumi Ono

Directed by Tetsuro Amino

Series Composition by Kenji Sugihara

Music by Yasuharu Takanashi

Created by Fuyumi Ono

Manga by Ryu Fujisaki

Character Design by Shinji Ochi

Art Director: Ichirou Tatsuta

Anime Production by Daume

Featuring the voices of:

Kazuyuki Okitsu/John Burgmeier as Seishin Muroi

Kouki Uchiyama/Jerry Jewell as Natsuno Yūki

Toru Ohkawa/David Wald as Toshio Ozaki

Ai Orikasa/Lydia Mackay as Chizuru Kirishiki

Aoi Yūki/Cherami Leigh as Sunako Kirishiki

Ayano Ishikawa as Azusa Koide (Natsuno’s mother)

Gackt/J. Michael Tatum as Seishirō Kirishiki

Haruka Nagashima as Kaori Tanaka

Haruka Tomatsu/Tia Ballard as Megumi Shimizu

Keiko Kawakami/Luci Christian as Akira Tanaka

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Chris Burnett as Tōru Mutō

Nozomi Sasaki as Ritsuko Kunihiro

Shinya Takahashi/Todd Haberkorn as Masao Murasako

Wataru Takagi/Ian Sinclair as Tatsumi

Yuko Mizutani as Kyouko Ozaki

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?

Dark, eerie, scary…these are are words that some have used to describe Fuyumi Ono’s horror novel “Shiki”.

A story that would lead to a manga adaptation featuring artwork drawn by Ryu Fujisaki and serialized in the magazine “Jump SQ” from December 2007-2011, the popularity of the series would lead to an anime TV series in 2010 produced by anime studio, Daume (best known for “Onegai Teacher!”). The series also caught a lot of attention when Japanese rock star Gackt announced he would voice one of the characters in the series.

And now the series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD (in two parts) in May 2012 courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

What is “Shiki” About?

“Shiki” (which translates to “Corpse Demon”) revolves around a small town known as Sotoba.

But dark things have been happening in Sotoba of late. Many people who have caught sickness and are now dying. There was a folk tale long ago that the village had many deaths due to okiagari (vampires) but it is looked only as an old tale that people today don’t take seriously.

Meanwhile, the main doctor in town, Toshi Ozaki is growing frustrated because each person he tries to help looks like they are suffering from anemia but later grow tired to the point that they die. Why are they dying? Is there an epidemic in town?

While scientifically, an epidemic may seem plausible but when teenager Natsuno Yuuki/Koide sees a former classmate that passed away, has risen from the dead, he tells Toshi Ozaki and both believe that perhaps the town is infested with okiagari…vampires or some type of demon who feeds on the living in the small town.

But are these rumors of the okiagari shiki true? But most importantly, can anyone stop it?

In the second half of “Shiki”, after having seen the vampires (okiagari) going after humans and literally increasing the body count.  We have seen a few people starting to know that there is no epidemic in the small village and also seeing the dead awaken and walking around town.

But how can these individuals such as Dr. Toshi Ozaki, Natsuno Yuki, the Tanaka siblings and others alert others that the okiagari exists.  As for now, without any solid proof, it’s hard to prove.  Meanwhile, Natsuno Yuki was targeted by the vampires and is now dying.  With Natsuno being one of the main people in the village to uncover the secret, what will happen now?

“Shiki” features the following characters:

  • Natsuno Yuuki/Koide – The first protagonist of the series. Natsuno has a cold demeanor. Quiet and sometimes emotionless, Natsuno hates living in Sotoba and prefers living in the city. But because of his parents wanting a change of environment and become more creative, they moved away from the city to Sotoba for inspiration.
  • Toshi Ozaki – The Dean and doctor of the local hospital, Toshi is a married man but is often working late. He resigned from a university hospital to take his father’s position and despite people bringing up his father, Toshio was not supportive of his mother or his father due to them putting the Ozaki family’s reputation before anything else. He slowly starts to grow frustrated as he tries to find out what is killing the people in the village.
  • Sunako Kirishiki – A teenager girl who lives in the Kanemasa mansion with her family. She has a genetic disorder known as SLE and can only come out during the night time. She also exhibits these black filled eyes that resemble some of the vampires/demons.
  • Seishi Muroi– A priest and author, he is currently working on a novel about “Shiki” and can detect actual shiki. He is good friends with Toshi Ozaki.
  • Touro Mutou – The son of Takeshi Mutou, director of the Ozaki Clinic. He is the eldest in the family and he is good friends with Natsuno.
  • Kaori Tanaka – A naive girl who thinks Megumi Shimizu is her best friend (despite Megumi disliking her). She and her younger brother Akira are among the few that believe the area is infested with okiagari shiki and hopes people will believe them.
  • Tatsumi – He is the servant to the Kirishiki family but also a special vampire “Jinrou” that can withstand sunlight and is quite powerful. He leads the Shiki.

VIDEO:

“Shiki” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the anime studio Daume has done a wonderful job in character design and art backgrounds. Typically anime studios are on a time restraint and are working on multiple anime series at a time but Daume is one of the few studios that tend to put all their focus onto a single series at a time.

The art backgrounds are lush and beautiful, homes and overall village structures are well-detailed and the character designs are actually quite stylish and with colors that support the darker anime feel but also a colors that look absolutely vibrant at times.

With that being said, the anime series still has a softness (that most anime TV series has) and one should not expect OVA or film quality type of anime, but still this is a series that looks fantastic with its detail of structures and interior of homes. “Shiki” definitely looks very good!

AUDIO:

“Shiki” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0. This is an anime series that primarily focuses on dialogue and if there are action sequences, the action is quick. But the series does make up in ambiance. You’ll hear like insects flying, heartbeats, wind, cars passing by and everything that one can expect in a rural village. If anything, the series utilizes a spooky ambiance and sound effects to freak viewers out. The English soundtrack has more dynamic range but when it comes to voice acting, both are well-done.

The biggest standout for this series is the music. The musical soundtrack by Yasuharu Takanashi is fantastic, especially the opening and ending theme of the series.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Shiki: Part Two” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 18 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer, ADR Director, voice of Yuki), Ian Sinclair (voice of Tatsumi), J. Michael Tatum (voice of Seishiro) and Lydia Mackay (voice of Chizuru).
  • Episode 22 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer, ADR Director, voice of Yuki), Cherami Leigh (voice of Sunako), John Burgmeier (voice of Seishin) and David Wald (voice of Toshio).
  • Preview Featurette Vol. 05 – (1:46) The original Japanese DVD Volume preview for Vol. 5.
  • Preview Featurette Vol. 06 – (1:46) The original Japanese DVD Volume previews for Vol. 6.
  • Preview Featurette Vol. 07 – (1:16) The original Japanese DVD Volume previews for Vol. 7.
  • Preview Featurette Vol. 08 – (1:14) The original Japanese DVD Volume previews for Vol. 8.
  • Preview Featurette Vol. 09 – (:39) The original Japanese DVD Volume previews for Vol. 9.
  • Textless Opening Song – Calendula Requiem
  • Textless Closing Songs – Gekka-Reijin
  • TRAILERS – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRAS:

“Shiki: Part Two” comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD of episodes 13-22.

There have been a few dark, creepy anime that has made it to America within the last five years. And similar to the United States, even Japan has had its share of anime series incorporating vampires to a storyline.

But what makes “Shiki” so unique is that it doesn’t retain the banality of the usual vampire storyline. This is not a series about a group of teenagers unleashing a counterattack against the vampires, nor is this a storyline about a vampire or human falling in love. This is a story about a rural Japanese town in which the vampires plan to eradicate all humanity and literally turn everyone into a vampire.

Each time we were introduced to a character, you would expect that this character would be a main character in the storyline, but beginning with the first episode, viewers quickly learn that each character is essentially going to be a victim. In some way, it reminded me of “Boogiepop Phantom”, a darker anime series from 2000 that seemed every character introduced, their livelihoods were futile.

But what makes the anime series work is that we get to meet these villagers, learn of their quirks and if anything, feel comfortable with each and everyone of them…that is until the okiagari begin to target them.

The same can be said with “Shiki” as the townspeople think that people are dying of an epidemic, while very few people suspect that a new family that has moved to the area is responsible. And sure enough, when people start to see old friends who have died, walking around, what do you do? How you can fight against these reborn monsters?

The first half of the series focused on the deaths of many in the village and the discovery by Natsuno Yuuki, Toshio Ozaki and brother and sister, Kaori and Akira Tanaka discovering that there is no epidemic but deaths caused by the okiagari (vampire). And to make things worst, there appears to be no defense against them. They keep rising and they are growing by the numbers. Also, it doesn’t help that there are specialized vampires such as Tatsumi who can withstand the sunlight and literally use his charm to get people to let him into their homes and thus leading to a person’s quick death.

The second half of the series, the roles are reversed dramatically.  We knew that the people of the village were starting to find out about the vampires, we knew that Natsuno and Toshio Ozaki had to do something.  And that something begins with this second half of the series.

We have seen the perspective of the humans, the second half gives us a glimpse of the vampires.  While some seem vicious, those of the village who were brought back as vampires struggle with their past human feelings of caring for an individual, wanting to be with a person or their family but unfortunately, because of what they are, they crave blood and when they don’t feed, that is when the vampire takes over their body and literally makes them to vicious monsters.

Unfortunately, without spoiling the series, there is not much that I can say but that everything you watched in the first half of the series and made you sympathetic towards the humans, your perspective may change as you get to see other side of things.  Especially learning of the history of certain individuals.  But for those who have been wanting to see humanity fight back, will then you’re going to love what happens in the second half of the series.

And if there is anything that I can say is that the violence and bloodshed will increase dramatically with each episode and for those who have a low tolerance towards blood, you have been warned… as this series gets bloodier and bloodier with each episode.

Also, don’t forget to watch what happens after the ending credits of the final episode.

As for the Blu-ray release, Daume, an anime studio who usually doesn’t rush into anime production has once again done a fantastic job with this series. With most TV series, many anime studios are typically hampered by multiple projects they have to get to a television studio but with Daume, one of the few that tends to focus on a series and thus dedicates its staff into making wonderful looking anime series. Granted, the setting is the country and a lot of the backgrounds one will see are trees, fields, forests, etc. But they manage to put quite a bit of detail on their background art and also on the actual character designs which are quite stylish. Especially with the combination of dark to vibrant colors that really pop on Blu-ray. The voice acting is well-done on both lossless soundtracks and there are a few audio commentary tracks included.

Overall, It’s been a long while since I have watched an anime series so dark, eerie and where situations are so unexpected. And from this second half of “Shiki”, all I can say is that… I enjoyed this series a lot.  It’s quite violent and bloody but for those who are up to a very intense but enjoyable series featuring humans vs. vampires, will find “Shiki” to be a series worth watching.

Recommended for anime fans who enjoy violent, dark and eerie anime!






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