Fire on the Hill: Symbolism of Fire in Shiki

It’s a Wednesday but also Halloween, so here’s a Shiki post. If you’ve watched that show, you might notice fire only starts showing up a lot in the end.

It makes sense for Shiki to involve symbolism of fire, because humans tamed fire as a means for having light, including keeping away the nasties of the night like vampires. This also means humans have used fire as a symbol for warding away evil and as a symbol of being primitive, which is fitting for the people of a village full of old people being overrun by vampires.

Additionally, it’s noted at a few points that city people cremate their dead in direct contrast to burying them, which adds a paradoxical element to it being fire that consumes the village – it’s almost as if the city has complete control over what the village does, and yet the city was also the survivors’ salvation and last hope from the shiki. It is the fire that acts as a signal flare for the city people to come and help Sotoba, rather than any one heroic figure such as Natsuno, which adds insult to injury.

Furthermore, for Megumi and Natsuno in particular, it is the city that represents being equal and blending in with the crowd. Megumi goes out of her way to be like her image of a “city person”, and so it becomes all the more tragic and ironic to see her being run over by tractors. The link to fire is that by being killed prior to setting Sotoba ablaze, Megumi not only loses her chance to go to the city like she wanted to before both her deaths, but she loses the chance to be treated like a city person through cremation, even after her death as a shiki. Consequently, Natsuno’s escaping the fate of “death by fire” which most of the other shiki were subjected to, in a way, is another symbol of the outsiders’ and the city’s win – Natsuno never quite fit into Sotoba as a city-dweller and yet it doesn’t seem like he’d fit into the city after his time in Sotoba. Now that he is a jinrou, he no longer fits into any human society and since Sotoba is gone, now nobody will ever suspect he’s a daywalking vampire…

Shiki is one of those shows that can be read symbolically in multiple different ways plus fire isn’t one of the biggest symbols of this show, so this is obviously not a definitive post for the show’s symbolism. So, what do you think about Shiki and messages that can be gained through its various symbols?



3 thoughts on “Fire on the Hill: Symbolism of Fire in Shiki

Add yours

  1. I’m a simple guy. I see a post about Shiki, my favorite Horror anime, and I click.

    As much as I love Shiki, i’d never made the connection about the symbolisms of fire used throughout the show, but having it pointed out, makes me feel kind of silly for not noticing sooner. This was a really cool analysis, thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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