Shiki 5 doesn’t bring us much closer to any answers, much less ways to stop the dying. In fact, the show pulls off some misdirection such as we had in the first episode.
The first part is all Seishin. He’s going around to the victims’ households in search of a clue. The one he gets doesn’t make much sense at all. Many of the victims quit their jobs shortly before dying. As if they knew the end was coming. Then it would follow that they had been bitten already and were preparing for the next step in their, er, afterlives or afterdeaths, whatever. However, this isn’t the pattern for everyone. Tohru didn’t quit anything after he was bitten (for he was indeed, in spite of Natsuno thinking it was all a dream), on the other hand, he was a student and didn’t have anything to quit. Same with Masao’s nephew, who himself falls ill, much to twisted Masao’s delight.
After that the show spends time with Natsuno and Masao, mostly the latter. But it’s interesting that Natsuno gets a end-of-summer card from the late Megumi. Slow mail? Maybe. Typically, he doesn’t seem to read it, but tears it up and watches it blow away, from the place where he had seen the ghostly Megumi, as if sending her a message in return. But he hasn’t seen her since Tohru died. Maybe it’s just his way of closing out the past, or at least a part of it he doesn’t wish to remember. But he can’t ignore Tohru’s death. Tohru, like it or not, had become a friend. We see Natsuno’s reaction. Perhaps because of his visions and dreams about the vampires, it’s not grief, it’s anger.
As for Masao, here’s where the misdirection comes in. We get a lot of him, and it isn’t pretty. Convinced he’s misunderstood and put-upon (when really he’s just a tool) he can barely contain his glee when his nephew falls ill, and when his statements give him a well-deserved slap from his father he can’t understand why. But when he goes to Tohru’s wake something in him cracks. Tohru had been like a brother to him, and we maybe gain a little sympathy for him. On the other hand he can’t articulate his grief, or his condolences to the grieving family (while Natsuno, having the same problem, manages to say the right things to Tohru’s father), to the point where he has to flee. At this point I’m thinking he’s going to be another regular character, contributing to the story, and if he’s a tool, well, Ghost Hound‘s Masayuki started the same way, but he straightened out (Come to think of it, Natsuno shares some qualities with Makoto). But in the end, after all that attention, Masao’s bitten by a vampire. Just like Megumi in episode one: they spend a lot of time with one character only to wipe them out.
This show makes me scratch my head sometimes.
Kaichou wa Maid-Sama 19 concludes the butler/footman competition arc. Just as well. Any time we can get rid of the boys from that other school I’m happy. Misa is still in drag, with all the complications that come with it.
The competition continues along. It’s actually nice to see Misa and Usui working together like they do here. Discussing a tea-setting, arranging the food. And they do fine. What doesn’t work is the minor bickering they indulge in afterward. Usui tells Misa she’s getting reckless … Huh? Sometimes it seems like this show has to force a bit of conflict in, even if it makes no sense. And I still don’t understand why participating in this butler competition is going to help the maid cafe, but I went on and on about this last time.
Now, I get it that they want to have the contestants try serving a customer. Why did it have to happen in a boxing ring? When I saw that I had visions of something else, maybe serving the customer while they’re pummeling you. But no, it’s just an ordinary service—in a boxing ring. The only thing that happens is that Misa falls through the ropes and Usui injures both arms blocking her fall. Now she has to do all the serving while Usui stands by … until they’re called on it.
It’s another episode where Usui is used well. He’s doing this for Misa’s sake and by playing the violin shows just how far he’ll go to support her. He doesn’t get in her way, well, apart from breaking her fall, or mess with her plans. Interesting that Misa is the one to call bullshit and admit that Usui is injured. Competition be damned, she’s not going to force him to undergo any more pain on her behalf. She says later that she’s beholden to him enough. Even more interesting that Usui tells her he’s depended on her as well, though he doesn’t mention anything specific. It’s a nice moment in an otherwise tedious cute scene at his apartment later. Unfortunately it’s in the contract that every Maid-Sama episode has to have a scene like that.