Based on a manga by Fuyumi Ono and Ryu Fujisaki, the eerie vampire adventure Shiki (2010) takes place in Sotobamura, an isolated village of 1,300 people "surrounded by death," i.e., it's set amid forest of a kind of pine tree used to make grave markers. Even at its liveliest, Sotobamura feels dead to the local teenagers, who want to move to bigger, more exciting places, especially perky, fussy Megumi. But when a foreign family moves to an enormous chateau they've built at the edge of the town, Megumi and other locals begin dying of a mysterious disease. Dedicated Dr. Ozaki, who runs the local clinic, discovers the deaths are linked to anemia, but none of the patients show any sign of injury or internal bleeding. Ozaki and sullen teenager Natsuno suspect the deaths are connected to okiagari, undead creatures who stalk the night. Unlike Hellsing and other recent vampire anime, Shiki is genuinely creepy and disquieting, rather than a simple gore fest. Director Tetsuro Amino skillfully builds a suspenseful tone that may remind horror fans of When They Cry. The character designs are odd, with hair that suggests awkward paper sculptures, but what they do is so interesting, the strange appearance becomes unimportant. Shiki is not a series to watch alone late at night, but otaku will be waiting impatiently for the conclusion of this intriguing series.
Official Site: www.funimation.com/shows/shiki