Tuesday, January 4, 2011

[Ended] Shiki: Unique and Thought Provoking

Because this anime is adapted from story originally written by Fuyumi Ono, who also created 12 Kingdoms (Juuni Kukoki) and Ghost Hunt, which are two of my most highly rated animes of all time, from get-go, I had very high expectation for this anime. But people say, higher the expectation is, bigger the disappointment would be. In the case of Shiki, however, there's nothing but satisfaction.

This is a story about vampires. But this is no ordinary vampire story you've ever seen before. In fact, it doesn't even feel like a vampire story in many ways: the early heavy emphasis on "outbreak" paints a theme that is very similar to a pandemic disaster story; then, when the chaos takes over, you can't help to get the distinct feeling that you would only normally find in zombie movies. In fact, this story bares so little characteristics of a typical vampire story, the only reason you may categorize it as a vampire anime is that the so called "villains" sucks blood of live human and can be killed with a wooden stake.

Like any other story, in order to propel itself from good to great, Shiki would need something more than just the plot, the character, the environment, something that communicate in a much more subtle way than image and sound: a moral. It's possible that I'm making it more than what it means to be, but the story ask questions many of us would not want to answer: What standard do we use to judge ourselves on good or evil? And when the very fundamental principle that governs our own survival is at stake, are we really that much different than what we've deemed to be evil?

The overall art style of the story a bit strange, but it's pretty easy to get use to, except the eye thingy and the crazy hair. As for the ending, it felt a bit abrupt, but it did wrapped all thread within the story, directly or indirectly.

Suspenseful, exciting, dramatic, and thought provoking, this is the winning package Shiki has to offer. Without reviewing all the animes from 2010, I can't say for sure where would it stand for the anime of the year, but I could tell you it would definitely earn the

Horror Anime of the Year for 2010

Award. Fuyumi Ono hits another bull's-eye, again!

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 97 (Highly dramatic)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 94 (Not the strong side, but well made)
Art/Animation: 90 (Interesting, strange eye and strange hair)
Sound/Music: 96 (Love the music)
Character: 98 (Great depth and diversities)
Plot: 96 (Thought provoking)
Ending: 90 (Abrupt, but wraps up)

Re-watch value: 60 (Could still be interesting)

Overall: 95 - Among the Best in 2010

Recommendation: If you haven't caught the message from all those paragraphs above, let
me spell it out for you: this is a MUST WATCH anime in 2010. Even if you're really really really really really not into horror or vampire, I still think you would enjoy it.

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