「逃亡の熱帯夜」 (Tobo no Nettaiya)
“A Sweltering Night on the Run”

The episode, quite literally, starts off with a bang, as the blowdog from the cliffhanger last week immediately…well, blows itself up, taking high priest Rijin with it and leaving the PK-sealed children to content with an army of queerats. It sets the stage for an increasingly thrilling episode to follow as the stakes continue to rise for our characters, in particular Saki and Satoru who we follow after the group splits up from the escape.

The narrative finesse is back in full form here, with the episode focusing in particular on the ethology conditioning that was brought up last week. The sex-related developments was something I’ve been forewarned about before the show started (Because apparently, I give the impression of being ecchi-adverse. Do I?) but I’ve gotta say, I really enjoyed the way it was handled here. What would’ve otherwise been an oddly contrived flip of personality for the bickering duo is given new meaning thanks to the knowledge of ethology conditioning. On top of the character development, there’s a greater narrative thread in the scientists’ influence on the PK society here: As the stress from the escape piles on, we see Saki and Satoru grow increasingly intimate through the episode after being reunited, with little trace of their childish feud present. Both are them are noticeably subdued around each other, and even Satoru’s typical brattiness is reserved for mocking their perilous situation. This intimacy culminates in the episode-defining scene of the two coming pretty damn close to having sex after being captured and held prisoner by the queerats, a scene which brilliantly showcases how ingrained the conditioning is. How rare is it for sex to hold a meaningful narrative position outside romance stories?

Again, it’s Saki’s reaction that spices things up: Deciding that “We’re not monkeys”, she goes against the deeply ingrained conditioning by breaking off the intimacy with Satoru, and in that act rebels against the norms of their society. Time will only tell what her development in this direction will hold, because with a world so displaced from our sensibilities, it’s unclear what the implications are for both the story and characters. One thing for sure is that we’ll definitely see the story prod at the morality of this further at some point again, among the other facets of their society.

The other half of the episode gives us a better look at how the queerats colonies function. In Saki’s and Satoru’s escape from the foreign group known as the Ground Spider queerats, they are aided by Squealer of the Robber Fly queerats and brought to the safety of his colony. Turns out colony is a pretty accurate description, with the entire setup being eerily similar to an insect colony. The two characters are brought forward to the colony Queen, a disturbing abomination that certainly bears a resemblance to the namesake. Last episode I speculated that these queerats might’ve (d)evolved from humans, but after seeing a leader completely devoid of any human quality, I’m not too sure anymore. The connection to humans is still clearly there due to the death feedback, but I’m now thinking a more twisted truth is be awaiting us. In any case the immediate concern of the story is with the invasion of the Ground Spider queerats, and Squealer is begging for the aid of the PK children to drive them off. However, he’s seemingly a step too late, as the episode closes off with the Ground Spiders breaching the colony and leave us with another cliffhanger of Saki and Satoru literally stuck in the belly of a beast.

What’s perhaps most striking in this episode is the way it was animated. We’ve seen some really varied experimentation with the cinematography up until now in the various flashbacks and stories, both of which remain my favorite moments in the show. The production team is clearly getting plenty of freedom with the series, and this freedom doesn’t get more exemplified than here in episode 5, which features an incredibly different visual style compared to previous episode. This seems to be the result of episode director Yamauchi Shigeyasu and episode animation director Hayama Junichi bringing along the experience from their previous works and incorporating traits of a particular animation style. While the backgrounds remain consistent with previous episodes, the palette and bold designs – which the camerawork seems to put particular emphasis on – gives episode 5 a radically different look, one that is reminiscent of Casshern Sin which both men had previously collaborated on. It’s an incredibly stylistic and mature look for Shin Sekai Yori, but the animation here comes off as stiff, with a noticeable absence of sakuga.

I confess, I absolutely adore shows who aren’t afraid to get their feet wet and play around with their art and animation. This goes the same for Shin Sekai Yori, even though noticeable animation flaws came with this new look. But objectively speaking, it’s curious to have a show completely switch up its visual style this early in when consistency is paramount. Its purpose is brought into question given the fact that this seems to be a one-off event; the preview shows Shin Sekai Yori reverting to its standard visual style, which makes me wonder what the shift was all about. I’m assuming this was done to correspond with the increasing stakes for the characters as well as the intimate scenes between Saki and Satoru, where I felt this style worked better to convey the sensual atmosphere compared to the standard visual style of the show. But considering we’ve barely reached any sort of narrative climax on these points, the shift ends up feeling somewhat jarring in nature. I’m all for the creative freedom the series is showing off, but I’m feeling Yamauchi and Hayama had been given too much freedom here. In trying to inject as much of their personality as possible, they made the episode fall somewhat out of line with the rest of the series.

Make no mistake, the narrative hardly suffered for it. If anything it seems stronger than ever, now that the characters are being put through the wringer and giving us some great developments from it.

Random Thoughts:

  • The blowdog with its self-exploding killing mechanism isn’t a particularly unique idea, but the way it expelled shuriken-like bones was a particularly visceral – and brilliant – touch. Also liked how the blowdog concept is based around evolution, which made me remember this particular science article of kamikaze termites with similar traits.




    1. nope, it’s consequences of having low budged.. lots of still pictures with mostly zoomed on the heads, and lack of appropriate sound effects, as well as characters speaking without moving their lips, forgot to anime, lolz.

      1. It seems to be the fashion to make characters (particularly girls) looks really flimsy, like they don’t get enough calcium. I am getting sick of it. But they are teenagers, who can have growth spurts….but I’m sure you’re right. (I haven’t seen the episode yet.)

  1. The Queerat Queen reminds me too much of Dragon Age’s Broodmother. If they were going for disturbing they certainly accomplished that.

    I did like how the setting feels alot more alien than before. I didn’t like the art shift because it was so jarring, but its did serve its purpose making everything bizarre, like the kids are finally stepping into a world they never understood before. The near sex scene, for example by all accounts would be fanservice. But now with the knowledge that they are subject to genetic conditioning makes the whole scene more uncomfortable. Sexual intimacy now feels like its part of this weird place.

    Kudos to Satoru, he stepped up his game on the numerous times they were in danger. He may have been a brat before, but he certainly quite reliable when it counts.

    1. i thought the same at first, then i wondered if perhaps i was hanging up too much on the art style driving the narrative. In the case of Shinsekai Yori the narrative is the driver, with more deeper meanings behind events.

      Perhaps over anylzing, but i wondered whether it was symbolic of the main characters losing their childhood innocence / naivete that was pretty predominant in the first episodes.

      Saki is certainly the femme fatale… all the boys seem to be making diving saves on her at every opportunity!!

      Episode over so quickly…

  2. Call me cynical, but I thought that the animation this episode was supposed to be low budget disguised as “artistic”. Awkward almost-smiling faces, closeups galore, disjunctive cuts etc.

    From reddit: “From the anime’s ANN page, it looks like Shigeyasu Yamauchi did both the direction and the storyboarding for episode 5 instead of the usual staff. He’s mostly known for directing Saint Seiya and Dragonball-Z movies.”

    After reading that, it makes a lot more sense, haha

    zen Pudding
  3. Other people may have hated the animation this episode but I actually loved it. All over myanimelist and others you see “the animation was HORRIBLE” But it was quite nice for me. I don’t know why, All I know is that it reminded me of Casshern Sins for sure…..Thats probably why…

    Some points were screwed up definitely but it looked pretty good regardless. My fav frame was when Satoru saw the queerats behind them and his face got so mature. Its right after Saki said “No, It’s too late”. But at least we get the same animation and art style back again next week.

    The OST during that running scene was amazing. The one when they were chasing after the squealer.

    It may just be my bias opinion, but I just became a SatoruXSaki supporter…I have a weird knack for doing that. I’m weak-minded. All it takes is a scene or 2 of intimacy to get me from 2 of my fave characters. Yes Satoru can be a brat, but hell I was a brat at that age.

    I always go for the pairing that argues too much but always have their moments.

    1. I think we are a bit spoiled because it wasn’t to long ago that a single animator did just 1 episode and you would recognize the animators work per episode.

      So seeing the style shift didn’t hurt so much for me, it wasn’t bad animation either just a little bit jarring at first.

  4. Plot-wise, things are still progressing ever so interestingly enough. On the other side of things, I actually think a time skip (hypothetical) tied the series of events in this episode together pretty well. The intimacy between Saki and Satoru, their collected reaction to the happenings, just about everything seemed to indicate that they have grown, (but guess not). I understand that, the protagonists coming from a relatively controlled society, the happenings in this episode are likely the most intense and stressful incidents they have experienced, which justifies the genetically inscribed behavior finally kicking in towards the opposite gender. But their reaction to it happening for quite probably the first time seemed all too learned. The shift in art style definitely did its part in changing the mood and atmosphere, but I guess that isn’t really surprising since from the start the shifts in visual and atmospheric presentation have been frequent. It’s one of the very interesting components of the series to be honest, a fresh way of keeping things fresh.

  5. Apparently, there was a some serious fooling around for Saki and Satoru before Saki broke it off in the novel, but it was understandably cut out of the anime.

    Dunno how true the claim is.

    1. The two did spend some time touching each others in the novel. Show Spoiler ▼

  6. I actually think that the change in characters’ looks and to an extent, guest directing for this episode is because they are showing twelve-year-old teens (almost) eloping. They just don’t want to scare the audience away.

  7. The animation in episode 5 was HORRIBLE and took me back to Voltron or Star Blazers days, it was the sloppy quality of some of the 1980s anime that made it to the US just because it had 65 episodes. Honestly, I found it distracting, even to the point where I thought the camera stayed too long on the tunnels and didn’t even show Satoru and Saki. You know – where the actors/actresses appear to say something but the camera just shows the background?

    Anyway, it is obvious that without their PK powers the children can only fake their superiority to the queer-rats for so long. Even using what had to be explosive gas in the deeper tunnels was just accidental. They need to break the hypnotic conditioning and make it possible to use their Cantus or they are all causalities in this queer-rat war.

    I applaud Saki saying “We’re not monkeys”. Hypnotizing children, enacting genetic modifications, culling the rebels – this is how a totalitarian government would respond to the uncontrollable PK powers. You see the same in the X-Men movie (made in 2000). Government never depends upon morality and human nature stopping criminal activity, government uses proactive force. The more uncontrollable the populace, the more stringent the force. Creating a village where genetically modified queer-rats provide slave labor while children who do not conform to the standard are culled is evil. But enough of a rant about an anime series.

    I could skip episode 5, I want the children either relearning their Cantus powers or to where they meet up again.

  8. Good art or not, frankly I don’t care, the plot of this anime is fantastic, When I see an episode I can’t wait to see another soon. It has various animes this season with excellent animation, but with terrible plot, like K, for example, that I dropped.

  9. This episode’s been something like riding down a slope without brakes – I keep looking for relief spots where they would be safe, or better yet, meet an enlightened queerat who could tell them (and us) the ‘real’ history of the world.

    A clarification regarding the caged scene:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  10. Well, I was surprised by the preview last week because it looked like there was a timeskip. The plot is still wonderfull even if the animations are a bit awkward for this episode. Definitely looking forward to future episodes now.

  11. seriously speaking… this show does not allow us to have any rest. it just brings us from one hair raising loop to the other….

    but i’m loving it

    and WOW…. the cage scene was just HOT…. and right from the start of the show… saki has this femme fatale… i really thought they’d be going through all the way

  12. I didn’t get the point of being sliced across the forehead – Satoru seems to have learned nothing from it.

    Giving the haythatcher egg to the queerat guard was, at best, reckless and endangered Saki (because
    of the unknown consequences). Later, pretending to be sent of Providence was cruel and opportunistic
    since there’s no evidence that they were in danger from Squealer or that Satoru did it to protect Saki.
    Saki’s actions, on the other hand, provided more benefit to the pair in the queerrat’s nest by opening the
    door of hospitality with the queen.

    I’m still not sure what to make of the series. If intimacy were so stress-conditioned, I don’t believe it would
    be so easily turned off. Rather, I think the point was to show that Satoru and Saki thought that was what was
    expected of them under those circumstances. Sadly, it animated as an awkward attempt at Hentai fanservice.

    There are story inconsistencies with high priest Rijin. It’s pretty obvious that his (story) purpose was to “seal”
    their Cantus, but Squealer said that war was declared sometime before their meeting with Rijin. Didn’t Rijin
    realize/know/care about the danger to himself and children who can’t defends themselves? It doesn’t seem
    like a small group of Ground Spider queerats, and they don’t seem to move about very stealthily.

    I’m hoping that things begin to get a little better. Right now it seem very choppy.

    I really like the ED theme.

  13. I’m glad the show is reverting back to the old animations style next episode-I have nothing against this style , I just prefered the old one.
    And I really hope that Saki and Satoru reunite with Shun , Maria and Mamoru.

  14. I liked the previous animation style opposed to this one too, but I can accept the change for this episode. It sort of pushes the crazy and fast paced developments. Saki and Satoru don’t seem to have a moment to rest really throughout this episode, with one thing happening after another. The obscure style emphasizes that (not to mention the intimate scene) and sort of makes it like a dream. In fact, after that one line in an earlier episode where an older main character seemed to be reflecting on past events, it makes sense that a character is recalling these events too and its like a dream (or nightmare) because everything happened too fast to remember it well.

  15. “shuriken-like bones”? My first thought was “shrapnel”. Which, of course, leads straight into bio-engineering… Which isn’t that unlikely, looking at the false minoshiro from last episode…

    1. Very good observation, the shuriken-shaped objects that so-called blow-dog spread every where when it exploded seem to be really artificial .. combined with the existence of the false Minoshiro and Saki’s remark about “how could something evolve into such a suicidal creature !!?” really point towards human tampering with those creatures through biological engineering or through advanced PK powers.

  16. Satoru continues to be the best character. Not only does he employ sarcasm constantly, escaped imprisonment through his wit alone, but at the first chance goes for that booty. Truly the star of the show.

  17. Thinking of what the library said in the previous ep and the unusual creatures running around I started thinking that the queerats could be mutated humans that didn’t have PK abilities. The library never had time to explain what happened to the various human tribes. This is pure speculation though.

  18. I think people are really overreacting with regards to the style change this episode .. for me it just took few moments to get used to but the effect that i think they intended was achieved .. it really gave the episode as a whole a surreal, weird, disjointed feeling .. the whole episode felt like a weird dream (specially with its sexual undertones, bizarre gigantic six-breasted Queerat queen, and dynamic camera work).

    It was like those dreams that you wake up from all sweaty and saying “what the hell did i just dream about !!!” …. you try to piece it all together but it feels disjointed, weird and surreal .. that’s the feeling they wanted to invoke .. and seeing we are back to the other style next episode i can say i’m 70% sure this style was meant the way it is to get that feeling through not because of technical difficulties or low budget .. it’s also meant to emphasize the uncomfortable shift in the characters life from their confined, sterile life before in the settlements into a wild, bizarre and crazy world.

    And it seems Satoru actually found himself (rather rediscovered himself) in this “new world” they ventured into .. it’s as if he was unknowingly frustrated by the boring and suffocating sterile controlled life back in the settlements and was expressing that indirectly by being annoying and obnoxious, but once he got his chance to experience a world filled with thrills and danger he actually starts enjoying it and starts acting differently (note that he so far seemed the one most interested in learning stories about the outer world, its bizarre creatures and dangers) … this gives the change in his personality in this ep some deeper meaning.

    Overall it was a very enjoyable episode IMO.

  19. For me, the shift in art style (particularly the emphasis on close-ups and the lack of sakuga) was a bit jarring and left me somewhat queesy, but overall it didn’t take away from the emotions and events in the episode itself.

    The highlight for me had to be the ethology conditioning of intimacy as a placating/calming device; nothing short of fascinating, as it calls into question the interactions between all the main characters, their village as well, and even further – what relationship dynamics could evolve from this. Is it a result of free will or such conditioning whom they end up with? Like I said, thought-provoking to say the least.

    Despite some mild mind-screws and visual rollarcoaster rides, I’m absolutely loving this series so far.

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