Twelve Moments in Anime 2010 No. 11 – True Horror
Shiki has been one of the better shows this year for many reasons, but prime among them for me is that it is the rare anime that really delves into horror to the point where it settles under your skin and festers, week after week.
And you know why? Because the audience actually, you know, gives a fuck about these characters. If there’s one thing Shiki‘s slow pace has really benefited, it’s in giving the viewer enough time to grow attached to the characters. There are two requirements for real horror, I think: Feelings of sympathy and feelings of powerlessness. Sympathy gives the viewer a reason to care; the powerlessness gives the viewer a reason to feel terror. What is scarier than having no control over a situation? Perhaps, it is what people will do to regain control . . .
That is where the fear originates in Shiki‘s most blood curdling sequence. Fans already have it burned in their minds: Ep14, Ozaki experiments at length on his wife, who has recently risen from the grave as a vampire. She is frightened, confused, in constant pain as Ozaki tinkers with all sorts of chemicals and death-dealing maneuvers to find whatever weakness the shiki possess. And all Kyouko can do is struggle as Ozaki does whatever the hell he wants. It’s undeniably ruthless and cold-blooded, especially as Ozaki records his experiments for posterity.
Is Ozaki just doing what he needs to do to survive, or has he stepped into madness?