— Temporal Vortex

Shiki – Why No one Even Considered Coexistence?


Looking back, I merely watched this series because it gave off that Higurashi vibes from the trailer. If I’ll be assessing it right now, I think I was gravely mistaken. It is far from similar to Higurashi. Also, I was 100% surprised that this anime had something to do with vampires. I totally had no clue that the author was Fuyumi Ono, and that she was responsible for Twelve Kingdoms and Ghost Hunt.

I like Shiki because there’s no drawn line between the bad and good guys (or maybe according to Izaya’s favorite quote, between those who are tedious and charming) but I hated the moral hazard of the story. It will confuse you into which side between the humans and shikis you should be siding with. As a viewer it was hard for me to decide. Each side had their own reasons. My only question was…

How come no one among them even considered the idea of co-existence? (regardless of it being cliche)

The Way It Was

Sunako said it herself that she only wanted to live and given the chance that she wasn’t turned into a shiki in the very first place, she won’t absolutely give up her life. Self preservation has always been the primary concern of human beings throughout the ages and no one can blame both sides from doing something to ensure that, or so I think because it acts as a convenient excuse for self-defense or retaliation. Then again, some might say that it’s a different matter for shikis since they’ve already died as human beings once.

I was similarly shocked as Tohru when I heard Ritsuko asking why she ever rose again from death when she was already dead. I was appalled by this because who would have thought there would be somebody among the risen to prefer to die instead of turning back to life. It’s just that I’m trying to think whether Ritsuko could have been one of those shiki that tried to push for coexistence granted that she also had that will to live after rising from her death. How could she easily give up her life as a shiki if she knows right at that moment that other people are also getting attacked?

The Gamble

How come Nao and others who rose, even Megumi (regards to Natsuno), tried to gamble in the possibility that their loved ones would rise instead of merely rotting? Maybe for Megumi, coexistence wasn’t an option since we can clearly see her malicious intents after she was turned into a shiki (actually, even before). Meanwhile, Nao tried to convert her relatives into Shiki but failed to do so since no one among them rose. If Nao badly wanted to be with her husband and in-laws, then she could have done so if she tried to push for co-existence.

Kanami (the one with the red hair) and her mother that has risen actually made it far without having to compromise each others lives. There are shikis that aren’t really bloodthirsty, such as Kanami’s mother and Tohru, but instincts will forever be instincts, add to it the brainwashing they received from their big bosses.

The Manipulators

It is known that shikis have a plan of converting the whole village into a Shiki hideout, and that newly converted view Sunako, Tatsumi and others as their masters. I don’t want to assume that the Shikis could have tried to coexist with everyone granted  that Sunako and the others weren’t around. No one knows for sure. Then again, it can’t be denied that Sunako, Tatsumi and others being around was a big factor on what other Shikis could have opted to choose and follow. If it wasn’t for their instructions, then those who rose could have not discovered their necessity to kill humans in order to live. It was just a matter of pulling some strings so that everyone will follow. Feeling alienated, the newly converted shikis blindly followed them.

Sunako’s perception is of grave importance here because she acts as the leader of the Shikis. All her orders and plans are rooted from her wrongs ways to live. Is it justifiable to scrap humans from the scene just so they could live?

The Instigator

We all know that Natsuno played a crucial role in how the conflict between shikis and humans went on. Was that a feeling of righteousness or not? I don’t really know if that was just a knee jerk reaction to the doings of shikis. Was it really that simple to hunt and kill shikis merely because they are not humans anymore? Natsuno might have hated what Tatsumi and the others did but does that do justice for his decision to hunt them down and perish with them?

I don’t really see his plan outweighing the sacrifices made later on in order to secure the success of his plan together with Toshio. He was missing almost throughout the series after he became a jinrou trying to hide from Tatsumi and the others. He is one of those who can turn the tides of conflict and he certainly did. It’s just that why did he choose to reciprocate it with violence as well.

As a werewolf himself, he is capable of facing off with other werewolves. He has the bargaining power which others failed to possess (We know that Sunako wants him badly to be a member of the family). How come co-existence didn’t even come to his mind? Rather than initiating the negotiations, he started cooking up something with Ozaki.

The Impossible?

Ok, so maybe the idea of co-existence was a mere farce.

How many years did Sunako live before she reached Sotoba and plan for the culmination? No ones knows the exact figure but it was hinted that she has been a shiki for a very long time already. She has been to many places, far too many I think, which made her think of creating the village solely for their kind.

If coexistence was even possible, would Sunako even plan to convert Sotoba into a den of shikis if they could find a safe haven for their kind? Then again, Sunako justifies their actions for killing humans as something inevitable or else they’ll die of starvation. This is rather absurd for me, I guess, because they didn’t try to find an alternative. Or maybe they did try, but they weren’t trying enough.

The story didn’t even mention the possibility of animal blood as an alternative for their blood consumption, so I can’t really assume if that helps. Meanwhile, there’s this thing I’ve read from the ANN forums (credit to users batou37 & excaliber736) which says that the story’s problem was the lack of explanation on the actual benefit the shikis get from sucking blood, which I certainly agree with. If you want to be specific (and scientific), is it the hemoglobin? plasma? or other components of blood? Excaliber736, meanwhile, asked why they didn’t even thought of pilfering a blood bank instead? (Or better, running a blood bank) Batou37 said that no one knows for sure if there is this underlying esoteric stuff from sucking blood directly from humans such as draining the so-called life force. But wait, caution for those who are not reading the manga, Kanami once served a glass of blood for her mother, and this just indicates they really don’t have to suck the blood directly from people. Also, I think the show presented a similar scene for Masao where Tatsumi initially presented Masao a glass of blood if ever he still can’t do the sucking himself.

If they could run a clinic, government office, as well a fabulous burial services, why not a blood bank? (regardless of it being open only during the night)

The Unforgivable

I don’t know how to explain this part and I might probably rely on extreme emotions several of the humans felt after losing a loved one/loved ones due to shikis to explain their resolve to hunt the shikis down as the retribution for their killings. It seems vengeance has always been one of the lingering feelings of someone towards the murderer of their loved ones (wait, or maybe that’s just me).

Maybe you can tell that I pretty much do not want to say the words good and bad. Some say that shikis hunting down humans is more  equivalent to humans hunting down pigs and cows so it is perfectly fine since it’s how nature works (although there is a flaw here about sapient beings). As for that, I think it is more appropriate to refer to the intentional killing of sapient beings as something unforgivable, regardless of how you view as it as something good or bad.

Both parties are responsible for killing each others members in their plight for survival. It’s not like humans could simply overlook either and bury the hatchet when it was the shikis who started the assault.

Is it really irreconcilable? I can’t be certain for sure. Just like the final words of Megumi, the people of Sotoba have always been grounded by their own tradition without even trying to consider the culture of people living in the big cities. I’m not trying to say here that what  the shikis did was off little importance because it is important. I’m only trying to say that the gravity of what the shikis did could have been lesser if they tried to be more open-minded (I’m not saying that it’s perfectly fine to kill). I can’t be certain if it is easy to remain sane after discovering the existence of vampires, or the fact that they are the ones responsible for the killings, but I don’t think it also gives them the license to kill the shikis in return. Yes, it is unforgivable and might be unforgettable as well but that should not lead humans from thinking that the only solution is to strikeback through killing. Maybe that was the only thing that the humans thought of right at that moment since shikis are on the process of converting the whole village but they could always strikeback through other ways since Toshio already knew that holy properties do work as a repellent (except for jinrous of course).

The only problem here is that both parties are not open for negotiations merely because they both think killing is the only option when that’s not the only!

PS. I don’t know if that’s human nature. After all, I myself can’t picture the coexistence I’m talking about. (then again, there’s VK, haha)

———————

image credits: pixiv users kani, ナツメ, 北邪魔, もりす@原稿, 如月あい, カナン

16 comments
  1. Eri UriNo Gravatar says: January 23, 20113:34 am

    I could co-existence only if everyone who rose up turned out to be a jinrou. Too bad they were the only ones who could live without feeding on human blood.

    • foomafooNo Gravatar says: January 23, 20118:16 pm

      Yeah, it just can't be avoided for me to think that the shikis might just suddenly jump on myself and start feeding on my blood, unlike when they're jinrous.

      ps. your url link got eaten XD (doesn't display on the sidebar).

      • Eri UriNo Gravatar says: January 24, 20114:21 am

        I get the same feeling too -shivers- I really wouldn't be able to trust shikis no matter their possible promises.

        PS: What do you want me to do then? xD
        I'm just gonna post it~ http://neonovic.kokidokom.net

        • foomafooNo Gravatar says: January 24, 20114:50 am

          I might be able to trust them considering they have a secured food source (ie. blood bank as I've mentioned in the post), so that me appearing in front of them in a middle of a night won't warrant me a bloodsuck.

          Please don't use the wordpress login next time XD.

  2. KattNo Gravatar says: January 24, 201111:17 pm

    Natsuno did consider the possibility of coexistence when he tried to convince Tohru to run away from the system with him, but I guess Tohru's refusal kind of destroyed that ideal. A kind of disillusionment, that neither humans nor shiki are openminded/strong enough to achieve such a thing.

    And I wonder what can be said of Seishirou, the human living within the Kirishiki family? Can that qualify as some sort of coexistence, or is it void because I'm guessing he has the ulterior motive of hoping to be turned into a shiki himself eventually?

    I really need to finish my Shiki recommendation post on HSA!… The absence of a clear 'good' and 'bad' is one of my favourite attributes of this series. =)

    • foomafooNo Gravatar says: January 25, 201110:13 pm

      I don't remember if he said that to Tohru after he already turned into a jinrou or not. Either way, if he said it after he's already a jinrou, that's not coexistence anymore. Meanwhile if it's during he's still a human, I think Natsuno's idea of coexistence is vague because what I actually see is escapism. We both know that after all else failed regarding Tohru, he went straight to the path of carnage. It's as if coexistence only mattered to him because of Tohru. What about the other Shikis? That's hardly coexistence if he's only trying to consider things because Tohru is his friend.

      As for Seishirou, I don't think it's coexistence as well because even though he's a human, he absolutely sides noone else but the Kirishikis alone. Coexistence involves considering both the humans and shikis.

      I'd love to read your opinions about Shiki too! Thanks for the comment!

  3. RubyNo Gravatar says: February 1, 20115:43 am

    After I finished watching Shiki, I thought it was amazing, 5 stars! but then after reading this.. hmm I'm not so sure anymore XD never realized there were so many flaws and questions to be asked other than the ending. I don't think that the humans and Shikis can co-exist even if they tried~ SHIKI – they gotta kill humans so their population doesn't go down and HUMANS – gotta kill scary looking zombie vampires bc you know, it's human nature! XD

    • foomafooNo Gravatar says: February 9, 20115:55 pm

      Humans like us would probably not easily see the flaw from a show like this since it might easily and automatically put our perspective from the side of humans from the show. But trying to see it from both perspectives, I think it's pretty much easy to notice the flaws and questions to be asked, especially in a mystery vampire anime such as this.

      And true, as much as I wanted the idea of coexistence to flourish in Sotoba, I myself would be scared to actually be sane enough around Shikis, and act as if nothing is absolutely wrong. Human nature~
      My recent post Ao no Exorcist – Because Blue Flames are Kewl

  4. ruegoNo Gravatar says: February 9, 20115:12 pm

    The main point of the story is It's either you're the hunter or the hunted. Humans kill shikis so that the shikis cannot kill any more humans. And shikis kill the humans so that all the villagers will be purely shikis. I personally think co-existence is not possible given that shikis need blood to live. Even for the case of Kanami and Tae-san. For how long will Kanami be able to provide blood to her mother? Humans have limited amount of blood, one day, Kanami will run out of blood to give.

    Shikis suck the blood through human, since it gives them power over them also it raises the probability that the human would rise from the dead. If they just took the blood out then that human would just die, and no chance of rising again

    • foomafooNo Gravatar says: February 9, 20115:51 pm

      True. Kanami will never be able to provide enough blood for her mother forever, which is why I tend to point my finger to Shikis on being responsible as to why the coexistence idea didn't happen. They were the ones capable of looking for an alternative source, ie blood bank, and yet they chose to kill humans instead. Of course they started it and everyone would retaliate. The extent in which you can blame humans here is very minimal except for the act of killing itself as a revenge.

      Shikis need not necessarily suck the blood out of people which is why I could definitely imagine them sucking blood from tetrapacks. They only need a reliable and very concealed blood bank base for it to work out.
      My recent post Ao no Exorcist – Because Blue Flames are Kewl

      • ruegoNo Gravatar says: February 9, 20116:01 pm

        Yup, they do not need to suck them out of people, but they do it so that they would also turn into shikis.

        Sunako mentioned that she wants to live in a village wherein shikis would not need to go into hiding anymore. So they plan to turn everyone into shikis and have a village just for them. Thus the blood sucking. 😀

        • foomafooNo Gravatar says: February 9, 20116:04 pm

          But the thing is, they won't actually need to convert the village anymore into a Shiki village if coexistence happens. All Sunako had in mind was a place where Shikis could freely walk at night without having to run away from people simply because they are hunted down.
          My recent post Ao no Exorcist – Because Blue Flames are Kewl

          • ruegoNo Gravatar says: February 9, 20116:18 pm

            I think it's hard to co-exist given that you're living with someone who looks at you as a source of food. lol.

            I think the problem would've been solved if Sunako and the gang would just wait for the blood to regenerate from the humans before sucking them again. Ozaki mentioned that blood would regenerate after a few days. Shikis were welcomed by the villagers at the start, so if they just waited for the blood to regenerate before drinking again, then there wouldn't have been any problem. There were only 4 of them in the beginning, and there's like 1300 villagers at the start

            • foomafooNo Gravatar says: February 9, 20116:28 pm

              Haha. True! It's rather hard which is why we find it impossible. Of course we won't know unless we try. Ooops, I don't want to sound like some morally upright guy here :D. All I'm saying is that, this is definitely an ideal situation that I'm proposing, and that I myself see it as something hardly achievable as well.

              That's a nice idea you have there but I think humans would actually notice it eventually. And if that time comes, they're doomed. Even if you say they alternately do the sucking for all the villagers. Also, Sunako has her pride. She won't allow Shikis to continue existing while hiding at the same. time.
              My recent post Ao no Exorcist – Because Blue Flames are Kewl

  5. theradioactivesamuraiNo Gravatar says: March 19, 201111:05 am

    What plays a large part in the impossibility of coexistence would be how the townspeople found out why their loved ones were dying. It wouldn't be just easy to go hand-in-hand with… creatures who endangered their loved ones' lives, and turned them into monsters who could just very well attack them. On the shikis side, of course they'd think. "Why would I let my loved one be the eaten, when they could be the one eating?", thus the cycle. I think Seishirou had an easier time with this because he was just feeding two shikis (iirc) and because he wasn't personally related with any of them.

    Nonetheless, I think you wrote a very fair blog entry. Tbqh, I never did question the possibility of coexistence, but that's only because I wanted a good battle. XD

    • foomafooNo Gravatar says: March 19, 20112:06 pm

      yes, exactly. I'd definitely feel some rage building up in me as well if that happened to me. Even if things are already gone with the wind… I don't think I'll let them off the hook that fast XD. They should be punished! (ugh, as if there was a lawyer in Sotoba).

      The cycle was very dubious imo. I won't really wish my family members to be shikis as well. I mean if I myself is already suffering why let them suffer as well >.> so I can't really understand Nao's choice of action. And true, Seishirou had the easiest time because he's just part of the "family from the big city" facade…

      Ohhh you thought it was fair? I thought the entry was inclined in saying that it was the Shikis' fault. Good thing you read it as fair since I wanted it to be like that.
      My recent post Tatami Galaxy – The Search for the Rose-Colored Campus Life

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