I used to do Shotokan Karate. When blocking, they taught me to wait for the last possible moment and then block. You do this so your opponent can’t react and change their attack. The block is meant to be both defense and a counter. Knocking away the incoming punch/kick, and ideally doing some damage as well. Toshio and Natsuno have waited and waited. Watching the town being withered away. Watching their friends, family and even themselves die out. But finally in the 18th episode, they counter. And oh, what a counter.
Shiki has moved at a methodical pace. Watching it has required the utmost patience. It’s probably lost a lot of viewers along the way because of this. But the build-up is what made the counter so great. Reverse Vampire adds it all up:
And geez, it took (Counting from episode 4 onwards):
– 2 episodes for Natsuno, Akira and Kaori (possibly Seishin too) to find out about the Shiki.
– 3 episodes for Toshio, with Natsuno’s help to reveal that this is not an epidemic.
– 15 episodes for the whole village to find out that the Shiki are behind the deaths of their loved ones and their friends.
Toshio’s face when he reveals the misdirection to Chizuru, that whole scene where Megumi’s dad realizes Chizuru was Megumi’s killer was just pure, unadulterated WIN. Finally. FINALLY! After all the false-starts and fake outs, all the rallies that died on the vine, this feels like the first big punch landed by the anti-Shiki group. There’s still four more episodes left for the Shiki to get some shots back in, but now the town knows they’re at war and I can’t wait to see what happens.
(On a separate note, I was surprised at how many townspeople were still alive, the last few eps made it look like just about everyone had already died.)