You’ve got to love Fuji TV’s noitaminA slot. Every season they manage to bring something fresh to the table, and while these projects may not always work out (House of Five Leaves and the Tatami Galaxy, while good, weren’t universally well received), you have to admire them for trying their damnest to open up anime to the masses. Their offerings at the moment include the live-action version of the brilliantly quirky microbe-fest Tales of Agriculture and the subject of this blog post, Shiki.
Shiki begins rather hauntingly – in the middle of a search party for a missing person. This pretty much sets the precedent for the rest of the first five episodes I’ve watched so far. Shiki is based on a horror manga written by Ono Fuyumi and Fujisaki Ryuu based in an extremely parochial Japanese village cut off from the outside world by dense forest. The residents of said village are somewhat traditional and close knit, as you’d expect from a village of that kind. The story appears to start moving when some new residents move in to the house on the hill in the dead of night.
We’re very quickly introduced to a large cast of characters, all residents of Sotobamura. It’s absolutely impossible to remember all of these people, but the main recurring characters have all helpfully either been given actual personalities, or in many cases crazy anime hairstyles, to be memorable. If the number of characters wasn’t hard enough to follow, why don’t we jump back and forward in time as well. Seriously, this show could give Baccano! a run for its money.