Shiki 7 – Vampire Peer Pressure
Some legitimately creepy moments in this episode, including Masao in the coffin during the episode intro and the middle portion of the story. I’m not particularly claustrophobic, but just imagining waking up and finding myself in such an enclosed space, with very little hope of escape, no matter how much I scratch and claw and struggle . . . yeah, pretty damn scary. This made me more sympathetic to Masao than anything else that has been shown so far.
Aside from being creepy, it’s interesting to see how new vampires are “initiated” into the group, and get a bit more background about them. For instance, I like that not everyone who is bitten becomes a vampire. It kind of lends an air of assumed superiority to those who come back, doesn’t it? When Tatsumi tells Masao that Hiromi has not come back to life, there’s a tone to Masao’s voice that could be relief that Hiromi has not turned into some abomination . . . or it could Masao thinking, “For once, I’m actually better than he is. I’m special, and he’s dead!” Just that little fact probably helps make it easier for new vampires to take the plunge into sucking blood from humans. They’re special beings; they have one up on normal humans.
Masao not being able to speak at first is kind of clever too, although there probably isn’t a way to make him learning how to talk again make sense from a biological point of view if, say, something in his throat degraded, and that’s why he is at first unable to speak. But, hey, whatever, vampires are special and can speak instead of breathing. At least there isn’t some other weird side effect to the vampirism in Shiki, like, say, sparkling. Because that would be really dumb!
It’s probably good for Tatsumi and the other vampires that only very few people who are bitten actually turn into the creatures. Tatsumi would probably get tired of digging up people really quickly if everyone became a vampire. His initiation speech would have to take up a fourth of the time, as well, since he would be talking to so many damn people. And think of the lack of food! There would be mass vampire starvation all around if the local population rose too quickly. It’s a lucky stroke of evolution for the vampires that their population is restricted via unknown biological means and various ways that they can die.
But, yeah, it appears as if most of the vampires have the traditional vampiric deaths: Exposure to sunlight, a stake through the heart and decapitation. Tatsumi’s throwaway line is amusing: “But would anyone actually do things like that?” Not for at least eight episodes, Tatsumi, because everyone in this village is too dumb to notice that there are a horde of vampires running around sucking everybody’s blood! As Tatsumi tells it, certain vampires are continuing to evolve — presumably, Tatsumi can sleep whenever he damn well pleases, and he can go out into the sunlight without any problems. I wonder if he was born that way, or if he just borrowed that awesome sunblock from Dance in the Vampire Bund?
Being a vampire, however, is not all fun and games. Tatsumi butters Masao up by calling the needy dope his “special friend”, but then he bombards him with all these vampire rules and pours on the peer pressure so that Masao will fall in line and conform to vampire behavior. I couldn’t help but think of the South Park episode when Stan wants to become one of the goth kids, and that to be a non-conformist, they say he has to dress and act exactly like they do. To be a special vampire, you have to act and play by the same rules as all the other good little vampires, except for Tatsumi of course. Being a special vampire snowflake is fun!
In other news, it cracks me up how readily Yuuki takes to the idea of digging up Megumi’s corpse. The little kid just wants to prove he isn’t crazy, so he doesn’t give a shit who he wants to dig up, and Megumi’s former friend is understandably concerned because, you know, normal people don’t go around digging up the bodies of their recently deceased pals. Yuuki, though, he just can’t wait to unearth that corpse. It’s hilarious, more so because he approaches the matter so seriously. He’s even got digging gloves to protect his hands! How cute~