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Shiki: Part 2 Limited Edition (Blu-ray, DVD)
Blu-ray/DVD Reviews

Shiki: Part 2 Limited Edition (Blu-ray, DVD)

Concludes FUNimation’s underrated horror anime with 13 final episodes that demonstrate a fine example of both physical and psychological horror done right.

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After being met with a bit of a cliffhanger ending from FUNimation’s initial 12 episodes of the Shiki: Part 1 Blu-ray+DVD combo, I was eager to tear into the second half of what I consider one of the most genuinely creepy showcases of supernatural horror in anime. As I mentioned in my previous review, it went to great lengths to present itself in a manner that both alienated and confused viewers, as well as instilling them with a particular feeling of dread. Shiki: Part Two concludes the series with a final 13 episodes on the same mixed Blu-ray+DVD format that drum up some decadently creepy visuals, intrigue, and some good old-fashioned vampire staking, to the extreme.

With Natsuno having been kick-started (unwittingly) into becoming one of the dreaded okiagari, this is the first step down into a gradual descent into madness for the entire sleepy village of Sotoba. Toshio, the determined doctor I spent the first half of the series rooting for as the only “sane” one I could find within the village who actually had an inkling of what might be happening to the unfortunate townsfolk, takes a turn for the absolute worst.

After his wife succumbs to the shiki and returns as an okiagari, Toshio performs some particularly nasty deeds on the undead creature who used to be his wife – some unsettling, wholly disturbing experiments he believes are for the greater good of Sotoba, culminating in his figuring out the most efficient way of exterminating the okiagari – a stake to the chest.

This kicks off a chain of events that eventually finds the entire town setting out on a witch hunt (or a vampire hunt, to be precise). Having witnessed previously beloved characters being forced to undergo the change and watching them interact, co-existing in their little society, I found myself moved to empathize with the lot of them, especially after the staking bug runs full-circle. The shiki are gathered (bringing to mind the horrific ways Nazi soldiers forced Jewish citizens into submission) and dragged kicking and screaming into the sunlight, where they are tied down and forced to burn after lying out in wait all night in their weakened states. Despite what they’ve done to the unsuspecting townspeople, it’s hard to watch these creatures who were once human (and in many respects still are) mindlessly slaughtered.

Shiki goes through an intriguing metamorphism this way. At times it’s hilarious, but most of the time the series is going from bad to worse, while making you watch. It even gets surprisingly graphic, which quite honestly for me was a shock. It’s nothing too wild, but as someone who appreciates copious amounts of excessive gore and similar imagery, I was appreciative that Shiki went there, time and time again.

I’ll readily admit the series’ end is a bit ambiguous, but most of the loose endings are satisfactorily addressed. I felt quite hungry for more, but I realize this is a tale that really only could have ended on the note that it did. Nevertheless, it was a satisfying pieces of horror that I wasn’t expecting to elicit the feelings that it did, making this conclusion was what cemented my decision to consider Shiki a fine example of both physical and psychological horror done right. If you dove into the initial dozen episodes, you owe it to yourself to complete the saga here with Shiki: Part Two on Blu-ray+DVD – it may even inspire you to pick up one of the corresponding novels instead of that horrid Twilight.

 

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05/29/2012

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NR

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FUNimation

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About the Author: Brittany Vincent