As Fuji TV's sole noitaminA anime for this season (its other offering being a live-action version of Moyashimon), Shiki is also the last summer season show I'll be covering on this humble 'blog, although to be honest I'm probably already watching enough new shows to drive the average person to insanity. Good job I'm already insane, huh?
Anyhow, Shiki's opening episode is an interesting medley of seemingly disparate goings on - After beginning the series with an all-out search for a girl named Megumi, we then step back in time a few days to meet this girl for ourselves as we also become a little more familiar with the show's Sotoba village setting. Megumi Shimizu is a fashion-conscious girl who hates her home town for that reason - It doesn't suit her fashion sense, and she feels out of place in this backwards village, with her only dreams being to move to the city or, if all else fails, move into the brand new European-style mansion (we all live in houses just like that here in Europe, honest!) that's been built at the top of a hill with her unrequited love Yuuki Natsuno, a boy who has moved to Sotoba from the city himself.
Megumi's delusions of grandeur is set against other goings-on, from the discovery of three bodies who seem to have died from natural causes through to a family of three moving into that aforementioned mansion. Both of these points are seemingly pertinent to the story going forward - The first on account of the fact that one of the trio of bodies found clearly died some time after the other two despite sharing the same building without raising the alarm, while the second seemingly ties into Megumi's disappearance, discovery and subsequent death. So far, Shiki has certainly served up plenty of unexplained happenings, as you might expect from a story of this ilk.
That said, it's really rather difficult to piece together all of these pieces of information into something coherent at this point, which I'm quite sure is exactly the point of this episode - You can't have a horror mystery serious without mysterious things happening, right? So for now we'll just have to take all of the head scratching as read, while instead focusing on the interesting juxtaposition between the light-hearted and the (literally) deadly serious which, when coupled with the small vilage setting, certainly has shades of Higurashi, albeit with more visual flair and a much broader range of characters. How many of these individuals will actually matter through the course of this series? Again, it's impossible to say just yet - This is definitely going to be one of those "wait and see" series for now; let's just hope it lives up to its big billing.