Shiki 17, Kuragehime 6

Your weekly noitaninA fix.

Gotta hand it to Shiki. Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do.

While most of the episode is more of the same, living people getting bitten by the Risen, the remaining heroes all seem to be making some decisions, but the decisions all seem to be rather poorly thought out, or are driven by overwhelming despair. You can’t really blame them. There’s actually a rather funny scene where a man chased by Shiki comes to a house to find shelter, only to find that the residents have already Risen. The pursuers and the residents talk to each other like any normal people would in a small town. It almost makes you forget that the town has been almost completely overrun.

And what to the remaining living people do? Every time they decide to act, they are defeated. We don’t know what happened to Akira but we can make an assumption. Kaori is now all alone and has become completely unglued, asking Seishin for a posthumous name, digging her own grave. On the other hand, a little scene between Tohru and Seishin demonstrates that the undead have their own fits of despair. These scenes, with Tohru’s guilt over killing and the memories of Sunako explaining that there is no terrible death, perhaps helps Seishin make his own dubious decision.

And the bodies continue to pile up. Another nurse from the clinic, then Ritsuko, who has gone out to look for her, to be discovered too late by Toshio. This seems to be his breaking point. Tired of trying to convince people who refuse to believe him, Toshio just says to hell with it and offers no resistance when he’s bitten. And there, I think everyone’s gone now, well, except for Kaori, and she’s losing her mind. Or is part of some grand strategy where they plan to destroy the Shikis from the inside? Nah.

As usual, to pick me up, I turn to Kuragehime. This episode doen’t have the insane highs that some of the previous episodes had, they’re too busy with plot, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

The makeover.

The first question on my mind is “What will the girls look like after Kuranosuke’s done with them?” The answer is … good. Presentable. Not necessarily attractive, but fashionable. The transformation isn’t complete. For one thing, they have to learn to wear heels. And their new looks aren’t going to overcome their fear of places like the fashionable restaurant he takes them to. But in a lovely set of scenes we see them slowly unwind … and behave like the otaku they are. Well, little steps. They see that this night life stuff may not be as frightening as they had thought.

Not if he keeps drinking that.

These scenes are mixed with ones between Shuu and Inari. While at first I was wondering simply how girlaphobic Shuu would handle himself, it becomes moot when Inari spikes his drink and drags him home for the usual blackmail pictures. Serious stuff, but it’s enlivened by Inari’s attempts to get good photos, and especially Shuu’s reaction when he wakes up. In fact, I loved his behavior throughout the rest of the episode. He remains almost entirely straight-faced and sober, even keeping a sort of dignity when he’s running out of her apartment while not wearing pants. Or maybe it’s that he forgets his glasses. He looks more formidable without them.

After a pointless scene between Kuranosuke and the PM we get some background on Shuu. Apparently his phobia comes from seeing his father making out with another woman, Kuranosuke’s mother. “Heavy stuff,” says Kuranosuke, as he learns about it the same time we do. And to finish we get an odd moment where Shuu drops by Amamizukan to shake Tsukimi’s hand. Why? God knows. Maybe he just wanted a moment to bask in Tsukimi’s purity, or maybe because she’s the type of woman who would NOT drug him. Note that this is the first paragraph to use Tsukimi’s name. Apart from some moments where Kuranosuke admires her cuteness she’s pretty much a side character in this episode. Well, wait until the love triangle develops …

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