First of all IT HAS VAMPIRES. And now that we got this little spoiler out of the way, let’s talk about the anime… Which is NOT about vampires. Confused?
The bait of the show was that IT’S NOT TWILIGHT and that it returns to more traditional forms of the undead. Well, to all ignorant folks out there, vampires were in ancient traditions NOT HUMAN ANYMORE. They were demons possessing corpses or dead people who returned to life as punishment for their sins in order to hurt the living. These monsters were later romanticized to represent lust, which was considered a grave sin in western religions. After going overboard, they turned to sparkling pretty boys with hairless chests taking part in adventures full of sex and dreadful storytelling.
Vampires were present in anime for decades as well, the most famous examples of which are Vampire Hunter D and Hellsing. If you are a retro freak, we can throw Vampire Princess Miyu in there. They always had the traditional outlook of Hollywood and nobody complained about it, since the industry wasn’t making a hundred shows per season with them in it and they were never saturated like ecchis or harems or moes. But then the unspeakable happened and its name is Vampire Knight. That frakking piece of turd sold like crazy because it reminded the braindead masses of another frakking piece of gutter called Twilight. It seemed like even anime would follow the trend of retardediness and go down the drain.
And then Shiki came up to somewhat prove there is still hope. It tried to be somewhat different, although it still has a lot of BS in it as well. But it’s ok to some parts so it is not a complete failure.
THAT SLUG THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE STORY: 2
Let’s talk about the story a bit. IT DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE HECK IT’S ABOUT. I can be very specific, but it will spoil the crap out of everything, so if you don’t want that, skip all the rest of the story section. The bottom line is that it has terrible storytelling.
Spoilers begin here. It keeps changing themes and objectives to a degree where it is just random storytelling. At first, it is “what is the cause of all these people dying”. Then it became “protect the village”, then “Vampires have the right to live too” (no kiddin’), then “Kill The Witch”, then “It was Cain who killed Abel but in fact was the same person” weird fairytale. And it sounds very cool while writing it but the presentation is pathetic in the least. I liked how they tried to throw all sorts of themes in it; it’s definitely not a typical Count Dracula variation, despite having lots of similarities at first. But then again that is exactly what makes it so bad; it swifts to completely different types of storytelling with little regard to smooth transition.
-A small breakdown of the plot shows that on the first quarter of the story you are presented with a mystery. Many people are dying and the doctors suspect an epidemic. This part is very mysterious since you are constantly kept in the dark and it makes you think it is going to be something more bizarre and horrifying that Sadako from The Ring.
-And then the second quarter comes along, which is basically revealing the culprit in the most anti-climactic way possible. The bad guys of sorts are Shiki, creatures who look and act like vampires but don’t have super strength or turn to bats; they are just people with no pulse who need to drink blood from the living. This part shows Shiki as just another type of sentient animal, who just so happens to need humans to survive. It sounds like a nice twist but in reality, it trashes the initial mysterious feeling of the show; it took six episodes to just tell us it was the Shiki, something 99% of the viewers already suspect from the first episode. They are not even shown to be evil creepy batmen; they are just some guys who transferred to the village and now turn all the rest in their own kind. Which means, that dread of watching innocent people dying mysteriously is no longer present. That grim of seeing corpse-like monsters attacking your friends is now a joke. It turned from something really spooky to some lame teen adventure like Teen Wolf. By the way, there are werewolves as well and they are equally simplistic on how they act. As for the dead, they are all simply resurrected to be Shiki themselves. And they are not different people either; they still feel and act the exact same way, they simply need to drink blood. It is not scary at all and there is no actual dying going on here; so much for feeling sorry for the little bastards. That is one of the worst mood swings even made in a series.
-The third quarter is even more stupid as it is just about people being attacked and others talking about it, without really doing anything about it. Nothing happens besides people talking and turning to Shiki. It is supposed to be about people being in self-denial and not accepting the existence of vampires but it is stretched for so long and happens so many times it is no longer interesting.
-The fourth is were the shit hits the fan as it becomes a social drama. The rest of the people finally find out that the Shiki are responsible and form a mob that kills them all. And it may sound heroic but in fact it presents all the honest people, whose relatives were killed by the Shiki, to be some sort of fascist assholes, taking joy and pride in cleansing the village by this menace. They hammer stakes in their helpless victims while talking about having tea. That’s right, all of a sudden the hunters become the hunted and from nasty life sucking predators, they are now shown to be good guys who just want to live (?) and have the right to necrolyze the world … like all living creatures want to. And normal humans? No sir, those are monsters who want to protect their families. What kind of crappish plot twist is this?
-The ending isn’t better either. It is vague, rushed, rather open and full of retarded actions and talking about things that make no sense. The whole plan of creating a shiki village is obvious to fail from the get-go, the shiki temselves were completely weak and helpless to even defend themselves, humans want to kill them although they are still the same people, obvious traps are invisible and shit happens for the sake of ending this farce. It failed in both transition and closure so don’t go asking me again why it is a terrible story. It is more than obviously one of the worst examples of storytelling, alongside Twilight and seeing how a lot of people praise it once again proves how ignorant the masses are to a nice and coherent story. Doesn’t anyone ever heard of the term transition? The scenario is like watching Sadako coming out of the well and then Teen Wolf appears and starts to play basketball.
THAT MOB THAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO CARE ABOUT, WHICH SOME MAKE THE ERROR OF DESIGNATING AS A CAST: 3
The series has a cast that numbers over a hundred people. Which means, it needs a lot of attention to be given on each one of them if they are supposed to be fleshed out properly. So I ask you, with only 22 episodes, half of which consists of us being kept in the dark or just watch people talking about epidemics that don’t exist, what are the odds of achieving a good fleshing out? … Not hard to imagine, is it?
Most of the characters are nothing but caricatures; they are just given a vague personality and exchange a few lines, even revealing their pasts. That may count as colorizing them nicely but most are given only that. The scenes keep flipping left and right to dozens of individuals, who are just showing us who they are. None really manages to affect the story; they are just talking and turning to Shiki or Werewolves and then… continue being the exact same people. Where is the character development in all this mess?
But to be honest, there is one character who does more things than all the rest put together; he is the only interesting person in the entire show for the same matter. Who could that be? Why, it must be this pretty boy we see in the entry picture, right? This hunk with the open shirt. … BZZZ! Nope, not him. He is just another side character who hardly does anything; call him a red herring or fangirl bait. The real hero of the show is the doctor of the village. He practically IS the story; without him nothing happens or advances. Heck, he is the one who brought a closure to this mess; even if it was poorly presented. So what we effectively have here is a bunch of people we hardly get to see enough to like, talking and pseudo-dying, and becoming Shiki and… that’s all there is actually. Most of them in the end get killed by their own friends and relatives and they are still the exact same people as when we met them, despite the million shitz that happened in their life (?).
Some may say that since they are all colorized, they deserve to at least get a better score than that 3 I gave them. Well I’m sorry but those guys again have no idea of what a character is. Because most of the people in this show are like those in Elfen Lied. Lots of gore and death and yet THEY MAKE NO SENSE. They lack reason completely, they do the most ridiculous things, they don’t see the obvious. Somebody who suspects his village is full of vampires will not take a shovel and go dig graves all alone in the night. He would flee the village, phone the police, yell in the middle of the street, or buy a dozen crosses. Yet all we see is most of the characters having a normal life and rejecting all rumors, even if half of their friends and relatives just died mysteriously. Heck, it took half the village to turn to Shiki before the other half was convinced something is a bit off. HALF OF THEM.
And why were the werewolves the servants of the shiki when they are superior in all accounts? It sure is not respect to seniority as we clearly see them betraying one another when it suits them.
And what the hell did the original Shiki planning to do with a village full of bloodsuckers like themselves? Of course and it would fail right away if the other cities and villages were seeing a village where everybody is asleep during day and people disappear all the time.
And how can a cast be interesting if half of the mood swings are based on brainwashing? Seriously, how can you like a character who can turn into a zombie through hypnotism every time the scriptwriter wants to pull out some low tier tragedy out of thin air? Oh those poor people who want to have a normal life but when the shiki feel like it turn them to drone murderers. No cast or story that are heavily depended on ga-ga tactics like this can be realistic or sympathetic in the long run. THEY HAVE NO FREE WILL TO DO ANYTHING. They have no control over their own actions; more than obvious in a story where only ONE character actually does something. They are practically robots!
Nobody makes sense… besides the doctor; he was a smart one and had even the guts to experiment on his own wife’s corpse. Though, even he needed 10 episodes to distinguish bite marks from insect bites. He made this elaborate epidemic theory full of scientific terms and facts and was totally blind to THAT? So what if the marks were too small to notice the holes? Do bugs always bite in pairs and always in the exact same distance from one another?
THAT BEAUTY SHOP WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE A RURAL VILLAGE: 8
The setting of the story is a rather isolated small village on the mountains. That is why most characters there have extravagant hairstylists and wear cloths that you would expect to see in Shibuya. Yeah, the feeling is off. As are most hairstyles in this show; what the hell is this? I have seen less wacky stuff in slapstick comedies.
Other than that, everything else looks gorgeous. The use of shading and visual effects manage to transmit dread and uncertainty to you … Too bad it is mostly shitting around with fake drama around people who don’t really die. The backgrounds are otherwise very well drawn. And when they had the need to show gore and blood, they were not holding back; I liked that a lot.
THOSE SOUNDS WHICH ARE SUPPOSED TO BE … UM … SOUNDS: 8
The soundtrack is a very hard thing to decide if it is good or just plain weird. It offers a great atmosphere to the series but the transition from one part of a song to another part again feels weird. I mean the opening videos; you just can’t get the idea that the music does not unfold smoothly. It misses the proper moments to have heights and lows while listening to it. As for the voice acting, I say it is fine as I wasn’t annoyed too much with anyone, other than that pink haired bitch on the first episode. The dialogues are otherwise nicely written. Although they do lack common sense at many points that make you feel they are artificial. I mean, why the hell is a huge guy talking about village rules while sticking pikes though people’s hearts, as if there is a law allowing that? They are Shiki you idiot; there are no rules about them.
VALUE, ENJOYMENT AND ITS LACK OF THEM: 4
I must admit that the visuals and the BGM are very good. It also has lots of WTF scenes, gore, murder, blood, even action. The thing is, all that all loosely placed throughout the series and most of what you see is people who talk about things which don’t matter or doing actions which are completely retarded. It gets annoying fast in a series with slow plot. The story elements are also interesting on paper but the presentation is just dreadful. It was a drag when the show shifted from spooky mystery to silly vampire hunting.
It is not as bad as Twilight (few things are) but it still has a lot of gaga BS in it that prevent you from really enjoying it. If you happen to rewatch it you will realize it has a very slow build up before shifts to something entirely different in a very sloppy way.
Think about the Interview with a Vampire movie. It had all the same elements but there, it was convincing and it wasn’t frakking around. It never resorted to stupid plot twists like making the vampires turn from something powerful and scary to some wimps who can’t even fight back. It never stretched the theme to a hundred different people, thus making you not care about anyone for long. And it sure had characters who would affect the story every step of the way and not just one of them a little bit in the end. That was a great story. This is shit.
But it still got a medium average because the visuals were decent.