Shiki 21 – Expressway to the Most Depressing Ending Possible
Digiboy pretty much hits the nail on the head when he writes that there is basically no way the vampires had a shot once the humans got going. This episode makes that quite clear. Whatever advantages the vampires have are negated by severe weaknesses. And you can’t discount the anger of a bloodthirsty animal backed into a corner, and who will do anything to survive.
Every close relationship is basically destroyed. Masao’s sister presumably kills him when he goes into his former home (either that or she is about to give him the most painful okaeri ever). Tohru’s father has to see his son’s corpse dragged out unceremoniously with a stake driven through his heart (and as a lovely bonus, his beard is there too!). The vampire’s powers are turned against them when it is heavily implied that Yuuki bites Seishirou and orders him to kill a werewolf. Muroi’s father is killed after turning his back on his religion. And on and on and on.
Ozaki doesn’t even get the big, dramatic confrontation with Muroi that most other series would be drooling to deliver. They pass each other on the road, get a moment of recognition and that is it. Ozaki has so little control over the group now that all he can do is sigh as Ookawa and the others go after Muroi. The next time Ozaki sees Muroi, I bet Muroi will probably be unrecognizable. And that will be the ultimate symbol of the battle for Ozaki. The humans are going to “win”; they will be the ultimate survivors. But, damn, the cost of life was high. The struggle for survival has killed off just about every shiki and most of the humans.
I will say that the depressing stuff reached almost comical proportions when Yasuyo is chased down and attacked by wild dogs after escaping during the last episode. That was almost too fucked up, you know? But she improbably survives, and I can’t even question it because it’s nice to have at least someone survive in the face of terrible odds instead of dying a pointless, brutal death. I suppose the story still called for more blood to be spilled, however, because the villagers continued their feeding frenzy by killing Muroi’s family and the other keepers of the temple while hunting for Muroi.
What can you even say at this point? The villagers are scared, paranoid and want to survive, but it doesn’t make what they do any more forgivable . . . but it doesn’t even make me angry to see innocents killed in this context. It’s just sad. Sad that to survive, the villagers had to be driven to this level of brutality.
(Side note: The bit at the beginning of the episode with the women happily unloading corpses and having a nice meal afterward, with Masao’s sister hammering a still living shiki in the middle part is just . . . lord. What an unsettling scene.)
There’s still plenty to wrap up in the next episode . . . Tatsumi on the run (presuming he isn’t killed offscreen), what Yuuki will do next (if anything at all), Megumi’s whereabouts, Sunako, Ozaki’s good bye to Muroi (because it would be horrible if absolutely nothing were done on that front) and probably a bunch of other things I am forgetting. Unlike Kuragehime (although I still haven’t watched ep10 yet), I’m pretty sure Shiki can come to a solid — if quite depressing — conclusion.