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Favorite Things: Shiki

This is one of my absolute favorite animes. Vampires take over a small village over the space of a hot, humid summer. That’s really it—but Shiki makes the most of it from every angle, using a large cast of characters to explore just what this strange summer cold killing everyone off slowly really means to everyone: the girl who couldn’t wait to finally get out of the backwards little village and escape to the big city; the woman who never had a family and finally found one—only to be taken away from it; the surly teen dragged here by his idealistic parents who only just started to make friends, only to see them all start to disappear; the weird monk who has lavender hair.

Art direction wise, this is very stylized, which I think works against it, and the only thing I can’t really be super enthusiastic about. The art style is based on the manga, though the original story comes from a novel, and this is where the story gets its robustness, and where the style and story seem to misaligned, at least for me anyway. This is not to say that more stylized art usually for younger audiences can’t have complexity, but this is a much more robust story than the cover, or any screencaps, will ever convey.

the hair in this anime is truly insane. there’s no earthly explanation for any of this

Because it is based on a novel, it lacks the typical episodic feeling of animes based on manga, and this isn’t to say that it’s better for this, it’s just different. Slightly more compelling, though, maybe. A novel has a better chance of developing inferiority—and therefore some level of complexity—with its characters than visual media, and that manages to come across with what ends up on screen in Shiki.

It has an unbelievable soundtrack as well. Eerie, mournful, gorgeous, great writing music. And it has an ending that remains one of the few endings of anime, tv, movies, whatever, that really stuck with me.

Where you can watch it fluctuates a lot, but as of March 2024 it’s on Crunchyroll at least. Make sure to watch with subs if you can. It really is an unforgettable horror anime.

Oh yeah… there’s a catboy in this. Yeah, it is weird that I have two nickels for “favorite vampire animes that have catboys in them for some reason”


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