Sunako wakes up and finds herself alone. Scared, she goes off to search for Muroi. Meanwhile, Tatsumi is still busy “creating a distraction” from the last episode. He’s only stopped when the villagers fill him with bullets and he falls into a river.
There’s an abrupt scene change, where Kaori is shown recuperating at a hospital in a nearby town, with her brother by her side. Yuuki is there too, implying that it was Yuuki who had rescued the both of them. Yuuki then goes off to return to the village.
Back in Sotoba, Sunako finds Muroi’s body but has to run away again as a few of the village men are still out combing the forest for left-over Shiki. Around this time, a fire erupts in Yamairi (a neighboring district) and can’t be put out because the water system has been shut down. Ozaki rallies the villagers and tells them to either help him stop the fire from spreading or to help dispose of the bodies.
Megumi (one of the few remaining Shiki at this point) attempts to make a run for the big city, but is cornered. As her limbs are crushed by large trucks, she starts ranting; even the human villagers start feeling sorry for her. They quickly end her life.
It turns out that Tatsumi’s not actually dead—he and Yuuki have a small fight before Yuuki knocks the both of them into a deep pit of dead bodies. Once there, Yuuki lights some sticks of dynamite. It explodes, presumably killing the both of them.
During this time, Sunako has run to the abandoned church to hide, but is found and cornered by the old liquor store owner. Before he’s able to kill her, though; Muroi (revived as a Jinrou) kills him instead, saving Sunako. However, Sunako has lost the will to live and wants to die. This prompts Muroi to talk to her at length, while the church burns to the ground around them.
Ozaki and the other villagers are unable to stop the fire from spreading, and it eventually engulfs all of Sotoba. The only thing the villagers can do is to abandon the village and run. As Ozaki is sitting on a truck driving away from Sotoba, he wonders what he was really fighting for and if his efforts were all in vain.
As fire trucks from the nearby town rush towards Sotoba, another car is seen driving away from it. In a short glimpse we can see that Muroi is driving the car, with a box in the back…
After having watched this, it took me awhile to properly make a review. The final episode did seem a bit rushed when compared to the pace of the earlier episodes in this series, but I think the producers wrapped it up pretty nicely. And it’s very powerful episode to boot.
The events that played out were pretty much as I predicted—all, or nearly all, the Shiki would have been wiped out. I am surprised that Ozaki is still alive, but I guess there’s really no threat to his life now that pretty much all the Shiki are dead. Still… how the heck does anyone recover from an incident like THAT?! (I know Kaori will probably be scarred for life…)
The only reason I “knew” that Sunako and Muroi were going to be alive at the end is because I spoiled myself by researching the ending of the novels this series was based on. Supposedly, (in the novels) Sunako and Muroi survive; so I guess the anime went with that ending since the manga hasn’t finished yet. (Though with the way the manga is going, it looks like this ending will hold true for that too.)
I’m rather satisfied with this ending. It wasn’t as tear-jerking as I expected it to be (I’ve probably been hardened from the last two episodes) but it’s still really damn depressing. I’ve seen comments on another site where people complained about the ending being “boring” or whatever because the Shiki were wiped out too easily; but the reason for that is because the focus of this series is based more heavily on conflicting ideals instead of the action and gore.
I think there might be a lot of people out there who are disappointed in the ending playing out the way it did—either the humans “winning” the war against the Shikis, or Muroi and Sunako surviving—but I think the way its portrayed is good enough. With a series like this, it’s better to leave the “ultimate ending” open-ended instead of trying to make it absolute (i.e. humans completely wiping out Shikis or the Shikis taking over the village somehow). It leaves room for interpretation, which is what I like.
The ending also isn’t necessarily “happy” or “sad”—(though it definitely leans more towards “sad.”) It’s not really “happy” because while the Shiki have been “destroyed” the village is destroyed also, leaving all the villagers essentially homeless. The ending is better described as being “sad” but it also leaves a slight glimmer of hope as the humans DID survive; and Muroi and Sunako have too. I think the best way to describe the final Shiki episode is simply as “an ending” and I’ll leave it up to you to determine what you will about it.
For the series as a whole—I rather enjoyed it, actually.
(even if writing reviews for this series got to be kind of a pain) “Horror” series like this, with much more focus on the philosophical aspect of it instead of trying to be as gory as possible, are my type of thing. If you like horror with a lot of subtle overtones and a deep story, then this is the type of series for you.
Supposedly, there are two un-aired episodes that will be released with the DVD versions of the Shiki anime. With this episode ending the way it did, those two episodes will likely either be about a) a woman (Sotoba villager) who had a big side-story in the manga; b) more back-story on the characters; or c) a “wrap-up” showing what the left-over villagers are doing now. (Also, remember to stay for the credits of episode 22 as it gives a little bit of closure for the more minor characters of Shiki.)
A decent-to-good series overall, depending on your taste and patience for these kinds of things. Out of five, I’d give this whole series: