「闇よりも」 (Yami Yorimo)
“Than Darkness”

Might as well get my opinion on the animation out of the way first, since it’s going to be the first thing any of us notice on this episode. The return of Yamauchi and Hayama’s trademark style is sure to split opinions the way episode 5 did, and we’ve heard all the points for and against it already, so I’ll give the rerun a miss. I’ll just say that its usage here feels far less intrusive and is a much better fit to the tone of the episode. With Yamuachi at the helm the animation is evocative of a dark surrealism, and this captured Shun’s descent into full karma demon in a way I don’t think the standard style ever could, especially with the way the moody color palette and ambient filters painted Shun’s increasingly uncontrollable powers in a suitably abstract and eerie light. In fact, I’m feeling his directing was a great complement for the depressingly tragic tone of the episode, plus the action scenes here don’t seem to nearly be as janky as what I remembered. While I’m still not convinced on episode 5 this was a far better showcase of his directorial efforts, again with some of the best artistic direction you’ll see this season. Though equal credit should also go to the unsung background artists who have been performing an absolutely stellar job on the series thus far.

The revelations here come hard and come fast. Miss a beat and the Freudian-inspired dialogue about the human subconscious is likely to fly over your head the same way it did mine. That’s not to say things are difficult to catch; the dangerous mysteries of the subconscious is already a well explored science-fiction trope, and what Shin Sekai Yori is doing here doesn’t stray far off the many other interpretations we’ve seen in the genre. Learning that karma demons and the Hasimoto-Appelbaum syndrome was caused people’s juryoku powers seeping uncontrollably through the gaps of the sealed unconscious isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but more an affirmation for the line of thought the show has steadily been directing us in.

What’s impressive, as it always is with this show, is the execution; this was exactly what I wanted the show to deliver on, to see the details of its intricate plot coming together into perfect symphony. Such as having that opening callback to the karma demon tale. Or bringing in holy barrier as a psychological means of directing the unconscious juryoku flow, and then properly connecting the bizarre ecology to it. Because if there’s one thing Shin Sekai Yori hasn’t exactly been lacking in, it’s the details that’s been populating the story, making it immensely gratifying, as it is any good mystery, to see the disparate pieces line up as neatly as they did here. On top of all these, I was also pleasantly surprised to see how much attention went into the small cues across the series. The amount of thought that went to the most inconspicuous or random of things was simply amazing, such as the explanation for the glass balls Shun was levitating episodes ago, or the contrast between normal Subaru and the poor dog’s horrifying change into a mutant, and they add so much more depth to the narrative payout.

But as Saki said, “I don’t really think it matters!”. No, well, yea, of course it does. But you get my point: the heart of this episode really is at the tragedy of Shun’s situation and the romance between the two characters, with the revelations mostly helping to underpin that air of hopelessness surrounding them. Whether or not the two characters managed to strike a chord with you up until now is one thing, but the episode really does a great job in coveying this particular tragic tone, and it’s difficult not to feel the least bit sympathetic for the despair they had to face. (Of course, I expect to be proven otherwise in the comments soon after posting this.) Shun was nothing more but a victim of fate, cursed by the talent he was blessed with. As much as he tried to accept the idea of him being yet another case in human history, we see before long the grief, loneliness and anger he buried in his heart brought to surface when loyal Subaru takes a killing blow from the nekodamashi for him. And Saki, overwhelmed by dashed hopes and her helplessness, can only watch on as she is pushed away by the one person she truly loved. It was positively heartbreaking to see the two be as helpless as they were.

I won’t deny the foreshadowing that’s been pretty explicit throughout the show, but I’ll at least say I didn’t see Shun’s death coming here, only because I didn’t think the show would kill off a major character within the kids’ group before the show’s final stretch. But they did, and the end of the episode was an emotional sucker punch for me in that regard. It’s a beautifully done scene of the tragic final moments these star-crossed lovers had together, and it marks an emotional turning point both for Saki, who resolves to live on, as well as the tone of the story from here on out.




  1. If Shun loved Saki so much, why was he making out with Satoru a couple of episodes ago?

    Sorry, someone had to bring up that question XD

    I felt the tragedy here just as much as anyone could.

    1. ^Yup. Het relationships are forbidden by the Education Committee and Ethics Committee at their age, but same-sex relationships are largely overlooked.

      IMO though, I think Shun likes both Saki and Satoru. I also think Saki likes both Shun and Satoru.

    2. 1-Ethics Committee prefers to condition children for same-sex relations to create a society of love like Bonobos which eases the tension and violent tendencies among the PK users without reproduction occurring … until they reach the age that the Ethics Committee finds suitable for marriage.

      2-I think Shun already knew about his fate long before the “mutant egg” incident .. so he distanced himself willingly from Saki becasue if he confessed his “true feelings” to her his departure/death would have hurt her even more.

  2. For a moment I thought I was watching a SHAFT or SilverLink. But its not. Its A1

    I have to agree with you Asobi. The art direction for this episode complemented it.

    That said… I just can’t get enough of Saki and seeing Shun die made me tear

  3. The artstyle did work better this episode, because it empathizes how Shu was unwillingly warping everything around him. What I hated though was the obnoxious face close-ups. It undercut the entire drama because all the emotion is reduced to a bunch of talking heads (one of which is in a mask). I’m still in the opinion that they should stick to one artstyle and not mix it up when its convenient for the plot.

    I always knew there was something strange with Shu. Too smart, too skilled, too perfect. Its clear now that he was always being set up to fall. Since he was the best among the kids, his loss would set a much more serious tone for the rest of the story to follow. In hindsight the extreme measures of the village make much more sense now. Each person is literally a danger to everyone around them and we actually got to see it happen.

    I never could invest in Shu’s relationship with Saki. He had too little screentime for me to care. I actually welcomed his development these past episodes even it came at the cost of his death. His tragedy was at least well done, and I can see how this event will affect Saki for the events to come.

    1. I absolutely despise the change of art style, since it looks so different. Either chose A or B, but don’t change it from episode to episode. It was so distracting that I had a hard time taking seriously what happened in this episode.

  4. This episode was indeed the best so far and the art style did compliment the setting.

    But there was one thing I hated here, the animation itself and mostly whenever Saki did something. I remember me saying “It’s like she’s doing a dance just to turn her head to the left”. It seemed like a lot of unnecessary animation was done with Saki, especially in the first part and it kinda ruined the impact for me. At the end I even was like “That’s it? Felt like half a episode”.

  5. The more focused and isolated nature of this episode worked much better for this animation style than it did in episode five. Granted, the problems with the animation style were still there, but they are far less jarring thanks to the structure of the episode itself.

    In episode five, with them running around everywhere, the last thing you needed was to feel disconnected from the world (especially when it’s as important as it is in this series). The composition of the shots and the camera angles make any sense of direction/movement near impossible to follow. Here, however, you’ve really only got Shun’s little hut to worry about, so the disconnect, while still there thanks to the style, is less of a bother since there’s less to follow.

    Then there’s the flow of the action, which was really bad in episode five. The perspective was all over the place, and deciphering any sequential movement required multiple viewings to get down pat. This still showed up when Subaru fought the Copycat, but again, that scene didn’t last very long. The actual Cantus-driven action was far better suited to this animation style than traditional action scenes.

    The way that camera shot back in forth in episode five is gone here too, though needing the characters to always move their bodies while talking was a bit too noticeable.

    But most importantly, the imagery in this episode worked so, SO much better here than it did in episode five. It was breathtakingly gorgeous at every pass, which is really where this style shines through. Shun’s orbs, Saki trying to break the mental veil on his hut, the aurora, the use of Cantus against the Copycat, how Shun’s new appearance was shown, it was just amazing.

    Fortunately, Shun’s character and the setting-related content was pure genius in this episode; but things like that are par for the course with this anime anyway, lol

  6. Well since I cough off 6 ‘gold’ spoilers last week (including Shun’s death this week), I’m going to lay low on spoilers for a bit. HOWEVER!!

    “pathetically weak” SPOILER WARNING

    I do have a minor spoiler for y’all~~! It’s really minor, heck NOT even a spoiler since you can see it in the preview. Who’s that little boy in the 2nd pic of preview talking to Saki, you ask??? I give you Show Spoiler ▼

    Don’t ring a bell? That’s ok. He’s a bit character. Not that important as far as I know.

    But I will tell you more useless info on him, good ahead click it. I am not even going to bother warning this time since this is so weak, it’s not even spoiler, god damn it!. I don’t even know why I bother to put it under spoiler tag, but hey, I don’t want some spoiler-sensitive dude complaining to me~~!!
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Once again, you’re welcome!

    1. yes, you’re delusional, Justin.

      If you’re referring to “have you already forgotten me” line and grave cut scene, you should’ve known that it’s Shun’s voice who is saying that, c’mon, man.

      If you’re referring to the new character, I already wrote about it above.

  7. “coughed off” typo above.

    And let me remind y’all that it’s still not safe to click 2-6 spoilers from my last week’s post now if you don’t want spoilers, just you know! I don’t know if anybody is going back now thinking it’s all safe, but no… Well you can click the 2nd one since that’s pretty weak one. But 3-6 are dynamite with a laserbeam caliber spoilers. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn ya!

      1. His spoilers are pathetic and not even shed any of the light novel material so far. I expected a spoiler where if Shun is actually dead or not, or if more characters will die. I know for sure that Maria will cause an incident that she will kill tons of people, I guess from her powers leaking as well due to her emotional breakdowns.

  8. Well done episode. I knew what was coming from the original novel, but it was a nice artistic adaption of a deep dialogue. Seeing mutated Subaru freaked me about at first, but then all I thought was, “What a loyal dog.”

  9. You know what’s the best yardstick for an episode being good?

    When you don’t really feel like you have anything to say about it. That the episode spoke for itself, and spoke resoundingly.

  10. Hell, I don’t like any of the characters anymore.At this point, I’m just watching to see what happens.It’s the world that I’m interested in.

    I like how Shun’s mask looked like No Name’s face from Spirited Away.

  11. Terrible artwork this episode IMHO, decent dialogue. Man, I hate the “dreamy” type storylines. Even though the quality got better, the “dreaminess” stayed. Others may have liked that, but I cannot stand that style of anime. Enough said.

    First off, the Impure Cat seemed, well, ordinary. Maybe the way an adolescent sees it, compared to child myths and expectations? I was expecting the Impure Cat to have a stealth mode, hypnotic attack, and acid spit to get rid of the evidence. Instead we don’t even get a standard mountain-lion attack on Saki, just a “tooth attack”.

    Then we went from The Boy Who Walked Into the Lake to A Crooked Man in a Crooked House. Shun is a “tame” Karma Demon, when I was expecting continuous “beserker mode”. It turns out when a human’s subconscious can use the Cantus, the person starts warping reality without thinking about it all the time. Therefore Shun was more powerful than any other person from the village, and was asked to kill himself before he killed any more people. Of course, fighting your own inner demons is hard to do even when a mundane person. Shun had to kill himself with his Cantus consciously before his subconscious could counter the attack.

    Notice how Shun couldn’t stand to have anyone look at his face, not even himself, so he made a full-face mask? In Shin Sekai Yori, we have now seen masks as an indication of how powerful the person is. The more powerful, the less identity.

    What I’d like to know if Saki now knows the whole truth, who can stop her back at the village? Does she try to hide this knowledge of Karma Demons, like the children hid knowledge of the False Mashino? If I was her I’d kill all the other “tigers” in their containers at all the schools, as a start. This also does not explain why the scientists/monks of the village culled “weaker” children. Enforcing a standard of Cantus strength, only a little greater and not lesser, still makes no sense. If you are trying to prevent the subconscious Human mind from tapping the Cantus, a weaker talent is not a bad thing.

    1. Why would Saki have to hide her knowledge of Gouma? Wouldn’t the elders claim, quite truthfully, that this is exactly what they have been teaching the kids ever since grade school? OK, they have downplayed the physical/genetic disease aspect in favor of labeling it a moral failing. But for all we know, they may have a point. For example, perhaps Shun wouldn’t have been as prone to the syndrome if he hadn’t cleverly tried to circumvent the revokable password aspect of his mantra by creating mnemonics for it. I do wonder, however, what has happened to the other kids who lived in Shun’s village. Are they being brainwashed so that they can return to the academy with no memory of Shun or the devastation he caused inadvertantly? They might be OK with Saki knowing that much, as she might accept it as necessary. But if they’ve gone so far as to send fell cats to kill every kid in the village, I think she wouldn’t accept that quietly.

      As to Maria – if we take her reading assignment in episode 1 as foreshadowing, we should expect not that she turns Gouma but that she brings some dangerous element back to the village from outside.

      1. Since it seems this reply was aimed at me allow me to reply to it here XD

        Sure the elders were teaching the children about Karma demons and not crossing the holy barrier and also teaching them how to use their Cantus powers reasonably .. but that doesn’t mean they will be ok with Saki revealing to everyone (specially those her age) how the ethics committee brainwashes the children, conditions them and manipulates their memories in very unethical ways .. their reasons might be valid but their methods (including sending predator cats after children .. in case of Shun it might have been understandable but what about that kid the broke the rules in that stone-ball rolling game, or the girl with the weak Cantus powers .. did they really deserve to be killed off by giant predator cats .. i don’t think so).

        As for the children in Shun’s village, i think they are all dead, Shun said himself he killed his own parents in one of his uncontrollable power leaks .. and if the power leaks are as strong (as we saw from how devastated his village and its surroundings was) it’s pretty easy to guess what happened to them.

        Speaking of Mari, i get why you might think that she will bring something back to the village as the kid in the story was about to lead the evil spirit back to the village but chose to sacrifice his life to prevent that from happening, but i think this story is meant just to scare people from crossing the holy barrier erected by the elders (and Shun told Saki that the stories are false and the purpose of the barrier was preventing those inside from hurting those outside not the other way) and remember Shun followed the fate of the kid in the Karma Demon story and ended up killing himself, i highly doubt Mari has the same mindset as Shun .. she definitely won’t kill herself for the sake of the village nor if she was in the same situation as Shun.

  12. Despite reading the spoiler , watching Shun’s last moments was heartbreaking.
    And , although most people have already said it-the snimation style fit a lot better with this episode than it did episode 5.
    I still want to know about more Yoshimi though(am I the only one who feels like this?)

  13. Having read the novel, I realize how limited my imagination was. The imagery was excellent and the whole atmosphere was just devastating. It was so much more heartbreaking seeing the whole thing in action; I was so close to shed tears for Shun. Shun was too smart. Once he isolated himself from Satoru, he had no outlet for his emotions. Despite the fact that he likes Saki, he could not have a relationship with her because of how the society was set up. Such a tragedy.

  14. Phew .. that was impressive, really loved the art style this episode, it fit perfectly with the tone and events of the episodes and created a melancholic and surreal atmosphere .. from the cat attack on Saki at the start of the episodes .. to the final scenes where we see everything being warped by Shun’s power even in his dying moments.

    And as the series hinted (and some people speculated) the mutated creatures we saw around are all byproducts of PK users Cantus energy leaking from their minds through their subconscious (probably even during their sleep when the subconscious is dominant (i.e imagine shaping the world with your own dreams .. freaky) .. and turns out the Karma Demon story fits Shun perfectly and ironically (as he had to kill himself in the end to stop his own suffering).

    Now it’s pretty hard where the series will go, sure Saki is still alive and well, but we really don’t know what might happen, will the elders just let her come back and ignore what happened since Shun is dead .. or will they try to silence her .. that makes me really thrilled to see the next episode .. also .. Shun’s voice in the preview is weird .. isn’t he dead !!?, did his subconscious gain a physical form of its own and comes back to hunt his friends or is this just a voice in Saki’s head .. hmmmmmmmm

    Also … remember the foreboding words Saki said about Mari many episodes ago .. “how many lives could have been saved if Mari was never born” .. after seeing what happened to Shun and understanding the this Cantus power “leaking” happens to everyone with various degrees depending on their power … now we know that surely means Mari will turn Karma Demon too (considering she is the most talented PK user after Shun in the class .. evident from her Levitation technique that no one else in the class mastered) … the real problem is that unlike Shun .. if Mari turns Karma Demon she won’t restrain her powers or hold back like Shun did (and even with that he ended wiping out his own village and killing his parents) .. imagine what a fully unleashed Karma Demon can do .. it will be madness .. and IMO it will be best to use the style from this episode to animate those episodes .. can’t wait to get there XD

    1. On Shun theories: Minor Spoiler – Show Spoiler ▼

      Minor Maria Spoiler – Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Thanks for the food-for-thought you poster there … interesting ^_^

        Although i did mention in another post i made here that Shun’s voice in the preview might just be Shun’s memory haunting Saki as his death was indeed a traumatic experience to her.

  15. I don’t understand why such a few people watch this show. Imo it’s the best from 2012. This story is fucking well written, this episode wasn’t such an “action episode” with many things in it, but I don’t see the time passed while I was watching it. Fucking good emotions.

  16. Dunno if I’m heartless… But if you have the power to change your surroundings… why not shape the world to your liking, instead of fighting against it and succumb to darkness?
    At least I would try to create an interesting world, not a fucking prison for myself!

    1. Let me explain why .. if you know anything about the subconscious you should know very well that no person has direct control over their subconscious, the problem Shun was facing (and basically the problem with all Cantus users) is that their subconscious is using their Cantus power in order to reshape their surroundings even aganist their concious will .. it’s “leaking” like Shun said … he clearly explained that in normal circumstances thought and action have a delay between them that prevents people from doing stupid things they don’t mean to .. but when the Cantus power starts leaking through the subconscious that delay is removed entirely .. meaning any emotions or thoughts in your head might impact the world and reshape it even if you don’t want them too.

      Example .. say you got in an argument/fight with your friend over something, and for a second you got so very angry at him .. in normal circumstances at worst it would end with a brawl or fisticuffs .. and then you reconcile later .. but if your Cantus power was leaking you might actually instantly KILL him despite not wanting to at all just becasue you felt angry at him.

      That explains why all the precautions that the Elders and the Ethics committee took .. why they created the death-feedback kill-switch, limited the children’s usage of Cantus power and conditioned them to have positive feelings and live like bonobos (And remember that Shun removed the death-feedback kill-switch placed on him when he used his Mantra to unlock his power as the death-feedback was part of the hypnotic ritual to lock cantus powers that all the children has to partake once their cantus powers manifest).

      I hope that made things clear XD

  17. Even I knew what was coming with all the death flag, I havent felt this sad from an anime since Wolf’s rain. 🙁 But boy was it fast. At least I was right with why Shun was levetating the zen balls from the last episode. I am frustrated how Saki kept saying “Shun, Ive always….” and never finished it in this episode. And Shun!!! You felt the same and was making out with Satoru! But that cant be helped I guess. So sad, but luckily I root for Saki x Satoru, as the 2 ppl who like to argue but actually care for each other. This better not be a 12 episode series. If so, better be season 2, we’re not even halfway.

  18. Ah come on! Did they really just kill off Shun in this series? Oh man! He’s the only decent guy compared to Satoru and Mamoru! Plus he’s the most powerful and most intellectual so I really expected great things for him like him leading the revolution or change in their current society. But no, they just killed the guy off. I also love his chemistry with Saki and really dont want to see Saki hook up with Satoru, they dont go as well together. Damn, this show is going downhill.

    1. Oh my god, the sky is falling becasue the show isn’t going in the direction i want it to .. seriously .. why not just go make your own show or fan-fiction where Shun lives and show it to people to see whether they will like it or not .. or you can keep it to yourself XD

      Joking aside, it is clear that Saki will be the one who will change the society (as the story is narrated by older version of her .. meaning she will survive long enough to tell the story), she might not have the same powerful PK powers as Shun but she is as smart as he is .. actually not being as powerful as he was (in terms of PK power) is a good thing for her since it lowers her chances of turning into a Karma demon .. that’s why she is the perfect candidate to survive and be able to change the way her society operates.

  19. … Have the people complaining about them “killing off” Shun not caught on yet? From next episodes preview, it looks like… Eh, if I’m right we’ll find out next episode. Just don’t count him out so quick.

    1. While i heard Shun’s voice in the preview that doesn’t mean he is back .. it could be just a voice/memory that’s haunting Saki (sure the experience was traumatic to her) or something more complicated as in his subconscious wanting to survive so much it uses his Cantus power to materialize itself leaving Shun’s body moments before he died and materializing with a physical form that carries Shun’s memories but isn’t really him .. then it comes back hunting Saki and his old friends XD

  20. They can’t exactly spill the beans on all this.

    Mostly because the moment people realize that the holy barrier doesn’t do jack squat, just tricks people into thinking it does so that their mind projects everything behind it.
    If you go around telling all the kids that, then the gimmik is over, and you’re left with the problem again.

    That’s why they can’t tell the kids the truth at grade school.

  21. This was easily the best episode so far. I really enjoyed the animation in this episode. I feel so sorry for Saki though losing the one that she loved, you can’t tell me that’s not heartbreaking. RIP Shun.

  22. The hopeless naive romantic in me is hoping that somehow Shun isn’t really gone forever, but in the event he is, good lord is this show wrenching out my emotions one by one.

    Even though I’m in the camp that doesn’t enjoy this shift in art style, I’ve nonetheless loved SSY and this episode did some amazing things to strengthen that opinion.

    It’s been too long since I’ve seen an anime that I literally had no idea how it could end, or even in what direction it will go next. That is a welcome feeling.

    Lastly, I agree with k and EmD about Shun’s feelings regarding Saki and Satoru. There’s nothing I’ve seen so far that suggests he couldn’t have loved them both. That is the complexities of the human heart right there.

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