I was sceptical about Shiki at first. Vampire anime made after vampires had been turned into useless sparkling sex-symbols? But Shiki brings back all the myths about vampires that have been lost in recent culture. They burn in sunlight, they can't enter holy ground, and they need permission to enter a house. The setting is a little rural town who's only real export is the wood needed to make funeral poles. Foreshadowing has never been so obvious.
Story: Shiki is what happens when a horror movie is stretched over 22 episodes. The suspense builds over the first 3 or 4 episodes, allowing only glimpses of the storm brewing beneath the surface. While Shiki does play on a few cliches, the action and creepy-factor are enough to make you question those new neighbors who just moved in down the street. A lot of the anime reminds me of Bram Stoker's Dracula (the novel, not any movie adaptation) in the way the plot develops.
Animation: What makes the animation so different is how it swings between cult-classic horror film with dark settings and thick contrast and almost slice-of-life (if your life happened to occur in a horror film). One of the more interesting points of animation is clothing styles. While the villagers tend to dress in drab, farm-working clothes, the vampires often wear intricate and gaudy styles.
Sound: The voice acting was chosen well, which I've found is common amongst noitaminA selections. The characters were brought to life by the voice actors, instead of contrasting them, as I have seen in other anime. The musical score was subtle, giving just enough sound that the storyline had a backbone.
Characters: One of the most interesting points is how well both sides, vampire and human, are portrayed. It is done in such a way that sympathy can be given to either side. But, since much of the story is about human survival, the characters aren't given much development beyond how they react to the threat. While this keeps the plot flowing, it hinders the characters ability to connect with the audience.