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?
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.
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?
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.
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)
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