「破滅の足音」 (Hametsu no Ashioto)
“Footsteps of Ruin”
Have I ever told you before why I love time jumps so much? Needless to say, Shin Sekai Yori’s daring leap 12 years forward into the future, where the characters we’ve been following have matured into adults, had me positively giddy with excitement at the potential developments. Of course, it was easy for something to screw up or get lost in this major transition. Anyone who followed the three-generation epic that was Gundam Age should already be well-acquainted with narratives dropping the ball on consistency when spanning across large gapes of time. Thought to be fair that was probably least of the problems I had with that show. But anyway, where was I? Ah yes, as was the case with the previous time jump of two years, my worries for narrative consistency were thankfully unfounded.
In fact, I’d say that almost nothing feels like it’s changed with our characters in the 12 years from the previous episode. The episode throws us for a loop when it opened up with Saki and Satoru having a feud for some time now, but this self-confessed “petty” argument gets resolved within the first few minutes of the show and they’re as close as they’ve ever been. Simply Saki playing hard to get? Don’t fret Satoru, it’s a rite of passage all guys have to go through with! But I guess it makes some sense we aren’t seeing the same major emotional changes, because the 14 year old arc was sorta their maturation arc itself. The onset of puberty and adolescence brought about the major changes in characterization we saw, and their emotional development was a major focus throughout, shaping them into the character we saw at the end of last episode, and as adults now. In fact, the whole scene between Satoru and Saki’s back-forth exchange only goes to show how little has changed emotionally. Their involvement with the village, on the other hand, seems to be something else altogether. Saki is now employed by the department of exospecies control, and Satoru is working as some kind of scientific researcher for the village. Which really doesn’t seem all that surprising, given the amazingly persuasive scientific bullshit he conjured up as an excuse those episodes back. It almost seemed like their feud had something to do with their disparity of roles in contributing to the village, though it’s unclear if they’ll ever expand on this given the heavier subjects we’re quickly moving into. I’d do say this though, and it’s pretty interesting to see how well-adjusted they’ve become to the workings of the village. Considering they had very special circumstances to them throughout their lives (were spared the brainwashing) I was inclined to think some kind of adaptability issue would be brought up, but nothing that obvious here. Adapt or survive, this is something pretty much close to the central theme of the show, and I think I was just reminded of it again. But the new arc doesn’t dwell on this long, instead thrusting us headfirst into a queerat political stalemate that’s is poised to be the first of many foreboding events to follow.
I don’t think there’s any other character quite as brilliantly twisted as Yakomaru, in this show. He is the Tyrion Lannister, the Machiavellian figurehead of Shin Sekai Yori, and every time he appears he brings an edge to the show that’s unlike any other characters’. He shows up here in disturbing flamboyance; clothes that resemble a feudal noble’s, with gold collar linings and all, which alone puts me at unease at just how highly he’s starting to position himself. Behind him, figuratively, is his coalition that has grown 300 hundred thousand soldiers strong, a force that now nearly rivals the originally dominant giant hornet alliance. As the two major queerats powers remaining, both with conflicting ideologies and at the brink of war because of a seemingly accidental killing, I’m sure I don’t have to point out the incredible parallels the situation has to the various ideological conflicts in human history, right down to the conflict between the new age democratic ideology and the traditionalist feudalism that the giant hornets embody. The mental warfare of the trial between the Yakomaru and Kiromaru got this off to a great start, introducing to us the strains and tension between these two factions. They make no attempts at hiding that the Kanto region is only big enough for one of them, pushing blame and forging excuses that undermines the other party’s stand. But then comes a point where Yakomaru came up with an excuse that even humans couldn’t come up with, and that singular point I think is something to watch out for. We’ve already got the hint that the queerats are cunning and intelligent enough to manipulate and outwit children, but this display amongst adults makes me wonder if the queerats are not already seeing themselves on par with the best of humanity. Of course, he gets shot down almost immediately by Tomiko, but this particular display was telling about the queerats’ changing mentality. Not to mention that fact that they’re edging ever closer in civilisation to humanity’s forsaken past, what with their bamboo shields and musket rifles.
No, perhaps I do know what it’s about already, when Saki’s colleague from the Department of Pest Control described themselves as Gods of Death. It’s seemingly casual statement that only goes to show just how much power humans wield over queerats, and how insignificant the species is to them. This is power on a level where humans can impartially oversee a war between queerats as if they were gods, and if things go awry can step in and literally stop any war with their limitless juryoku. In fact, remember those Planet of the Apes vibes I got before? That feeling is stronger than ever with the obvious disparity between the species, showcased by the extent of control in all matters queerat that humans have, from their territories to their conflicts. It made me realize just how much the name queerats called them, “gods”, really fitted. Humans are practically playing at god in their management of the queerats, and it seems to connect to Yakomaru’s ambition of seizing “equal rights”, first from the Giant Hornets, and possibly later from humans. There’s even that interesting metaphoric parallel made to the molerats in lab cages that Saki was observing, and this probably translate to the two species by large. Note that at the start, the “queen” molerat throwing its weight around, and during that final scene where Satoru reveals the annihilation of the Giant Hornets, it was noticeably absent among the molerats in the cage. Again, one of those moments that Shin Sekai Yori captures my wonder with these interpretive details in its storytelling and cinematography.
Except like the apes, the queerats are also getting to a point where their intellect is empowering them far too greatly. Through the episode we see hints of the queerats ploy at work, from the missing Robber Fly colony at the war, the excuses to shift blame to the Giant Hornets, and the Goat Moth’s defection. And this all culminates in Satoru’s last shocking statement: the Giant Hornets are eliminated. Not a lot of question as to who’s responsible. Yakomaru’s coalition now has power, or intelligence, to completely eliminate a colony the same way a juryoku user can, and his quest to “for equal rights” leave little to imagination about where this power will be directed next. The preview seems to hint at Maria’s involvement, and it would make sense with easily they managed to eliminate the Giant Hornets, likely weakened by the earlier war. In any case, expect a non-stop thrill ride for this arc; the stakes are steadily being escalated towards a climax, and I just don’t see the show putting the brakes on it this time around.
ED2:「雪に咲く花」 (Yuki ni Saku Hana) by (花澤香菜) Hanazawa Kana
But what are the queerats? Mutated mole rats or maybe (horrifically) humans that have been mutated? Where did 99% of the normal (n-humans) go? Were they just slaughtered, did everyone gain juryoku abilities (j-humans), or were they turned into queerats? The j-humans fear Karma Demons and Fiends but what about normal humans who can’t use juryoku? Does everyone in the village have the ability? Originally, only a small portion of the populace could use juryoku. That would imply that a large portion of the populace may not be able to use it. Do they destroy those that don’t have the ability to use it as well as those who could be warped by it? Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it could be more of a horror story than a dystopia.
Well we already saw what they do with people who have weak powers in the very beginning of the show. There was a 3rd girl in their group who was kind of timid, innocent and not very talented with her juryoku like the others. Then she wasn’t there anymore and no one took notice at all about it. The ones who don’t have power or can’t control theirs well enough are disposed of. Killed and erased from memory. And as for the rest of the population, I’m pretty sure the False Minoshiro explained all of that already. There was a war between normal humans and PKers and the PKers won by annihilating normal humans basically, leaving only 0.2% left of the population, which we can assume is the PKers themselves. I imagine that the gene that made them PKers it typically passed on when they get together and have kids. But as Mendelian inheritance shows us, not all offspring will carry the exact same genes from the parents because there are recessive versions of the genes as well that could make them a carrier but not an actual user. Which is probably why there are some kids with less power. Those who have less and don’t have it at all are disposed of. Like Saki’s little sister. As for the molerats… Because they look at the queerats with so much disdain at times and like they’re so much beneath humans, I doubt they would have experimented so far as to splice human DNA with molerats. They seem to revere themselves far too much to allow animals to carry some of their genetic code.
There are 3 groups after that. PK rulers with human slaves, normal humans who leads their life as a hunter and gatherer and the group of human and PK scientist who made the current society.
It can be assumed that the second group devolved into queer rats.
I think it was pretty clear that queerats are not descended from humans. Humans in the past made a forced ‘evolution’ of mole rate through the use of PK. It’s been shown that you can use PK to experiment with and change the genetic makeup of other living things.
That’s why there are so many random new species of animals. They’re all creatures that were created through genetic mutation, either by accident or on purpose (in the queerats case, it seems to have been on purpose, at least judging by what Saki said about the mole rats).
I think you meant Saki’s elder sister?
Based on what Saki said at the start of the episodes, I believe the queerats were evolved by humans from the molerats.
However, I also think that the queerats have some human DNA – based on what Yakomaru said in earlier ep on how part of the queerat skeleton cannot be distinguished from the human skeleton.
incoming plot twist – world is actually fine, everything is happening on isolated island. *cough*lost*cough*
OMG that would mean M. Night Shyalaman wrote it. Ugh… The Village. Such a horrible movie.
There is nothing bad about this idea .. isolation and solitude can have far worse effects (and being afraid to go outside a certain border -either physical or psychological- due to fear of the unknown could leave you lost and clueless).
There are many recorded cases of soldiers from WW2 stranded on islands and in jungles for up to 20 years and they come out when they are found thinking that WW2 is still ongoing !!!!
What await for them http://frozenmyst.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/psycho-pass_01_city.jpg
@Hunterwul reminds me of a joke.
An old man went to cofession to confess his sins. He confessed that during the war, WW2, a jewish woman came to his house to seek refuge. Knowing the dangers, the man asked for sexual favors in return. She agreed.
The pastor told the man that it was a fine cause it was during a time of war. Before, the man left he turned around and asked.
Should i tell her that the war is over?
It doesn’t seem like a far out idea to me that other places would still have actual cities. I find it weird that the entire world society would crumble to such a degree in a few centuries merely due to the appearance of PK. I can understand a substantial numbers of people dying due to some PK users turning into fiends, but for all of society to be downgraded to such a degree would mean that practically every PK user in existence either turned fiend crazy, or purposefully sought the destruction of society. Both options seem kind of out there to me.
But I guess the people who founded the society in this show were against the old society to begin with, given that they sat around for a few hundred years allowing the maniacs of the Slave Empires to slowly deplete the number of people, and then likely did something only when they thought population had dropped to a good number so that they can begin their imperfect utopia project (imperfect because it was not very well planned out, since they got rid of the ability kill rationally without first making sure the genetic causes of Fiend and Karma Demon syndromes were wiped out).
I agree with Cybersteel’s picture above. This is a thousand years in the future. With PK, humanity should be extremely advanced and exploring the edges of the universe, not stuck in a few backwater towns that haven’t progressed in hundreds of years.
I figured that as soon as they met the “false minishiro” that they were merely a segregated minority of humanity, and that the world is actually quite advanced. If this society was started by scientists, it’s only logical that they are observing from outside.
I really really love this show, there isn´t any other anime that can be compared to this one, this is so original 😀 i´m loving it! Thank you Asobi!
So the future is here and Maria is coming to take down the thousands Saki predicted. By age 26 I thought Saki and Satoru will be “producing” new off springs for the village. Wonder if this is a side effect of the non-brainwashing. Also we still don’t know if Saki will the training to live longer. So many question argh!!!
Aside from the philosophical points made by this series, I wonder what the ultimate “boss” will be?
I mean is it about a society trying to re-define itself? Saki and Satoru seemed to have settled in
quite well to their environment despite all that they’ve been through. Really, should the series have
been titled —
The Life and Adventures of Saki and Satoru
Still enjoying the series, but I wonder what its golden thread actually is…
Since Yakomaru is so obviously evil why hasn’t the human society killed him yet? The queerats are still legally animals to the human society, why not send a Impure Cat or two to eat his face and boom all problems solved? They have used similar methods with less cause, and legal rights do not extend to animals.
Because to go in detail about why Yakomaru is an ambitious and cunning weasel that will do anything to grab more power and that’s he’s one that they should be wary about, would require Saki and Satoru to actually incriminate themselves.
Yakomaru is smart enough to know that he can pull this stunt and even though Saki knows what he’s trying to do and knows he’s untrustworthy and dangerous, she can’t say a damn thing because doing so would put their lie about Maria and Mamoru being dead in jeopardy and the rest of the village learning this would put their own lives in danger too.
Am I the only one rooting for Yakomaru?
I don’t know, bald moustache guy seemed fairly open to destroying the entire colony, it wouldn’t have taken much on Saki’s part to encourage that or to attempt to sway her boss prior to the meeting. Kiromaru has a long history of faithful adherence to the laws of humans, anyone would be predisposed to take his word over a unknown quantity like Squealer. Even the use of guns alone would present a clear and obvious threat and should be enough for a preemptive strike against them.
It was said that both Satoru and Saki had a falling out.
I’m thinking it might have been because one of them wanted to get married and have children but the other didn’t knowing exactly the life their offspring would have to live.
I think it’s because Saki was jealous that Satoru was prettier.
“We’ve already got the hint that the QUEEREST are cunning and intelligent …” O_o
For those who aren’t familiar with Japanese history, the attack on Goat Moth and their defection to the very colony that attacked them echoes the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. The East (Tokugawa) and West (Toyotomi) may be represented by the Robber Fly and Giant Hornets respectively. The Tokugawa were initially on the losing end, but Ieyasu was able to force the indecisive Kobayakawa Hideaki (who occupied a key strategic position) to defect to his side by attacking him. With that defection, a decisive victory was won by the Tokugawa/East, and the Toyotomi/West were annihilated.
Could the Robber Fly have learned about Japan’s history, and used the same tactic that Ieyasu used? If the protagonists were able to learn about the history of mankind, then even the queerats could learn about the conflicts between humans before their rise to ‘gods’.
I’m guessing the petty cause of Saki and Satoru’s falling out was their difference in job title — take note how Saki talks about it in the beginning of the episode. And don’t forget that they used to have petty arguments before, so it’s not something completely out of nowhere.
Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’m definitely getting some Planet of the Apes vibes with the bakenezumi. Yakomaru is definitely setting everything up a little too brilliantly. I’m hoping Kiroumaru managed to make it out alive, but since they said his entire colony was wiped out, I’m not going to hold my breath. There go my hopes that he’ll punch Yakomaru in the face.
I don’t see Yakomaru’s colony as democratic, to me they smell more like the corrupted version of communism that we saw in the 20th centuary. I’m pretty sure once they establish their total dominance, over giant hornet and also human, Yakomaru will jump the gun and claim himself as the emperor equivalent sonner than you think.
Hmmm, Dictatorship of the Proletariat?
Soooo much symbolism. I love this show!
I love time skips too, but only when ALL characters get older, not when a handful remains young like no time has passed… unless their “race” allow them to live longer or whatsoever…
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I’d like to know your opinion about something: would this series be just as good if the characters started as adults instead of children from the very first episode, and the youth segments would be short flashbacks here and there? I’m curious to know what people think about that.
Really loved the way exposition was done this episode .. compared to the previous exposition episode with the Fake-Minoshiro (one location/one creature talking/nothing else happening) this episode had many different locations, numerous characters interacting and a lot happening in the mean time.
The political intrigue between Yakoumaru (the sly devilish politician) and Kiroumaru (the proud loyal old-school general) was splendid .. it’s also interesting to see that all colonies solidified either with Fly Robber’s or with The Great Hornets .. not to mention their advancements it warfare and technology (making my previous comment about Yakoumaru attaching human settlements with tanks, machine-guns and nukes to so far-fetched as i thought) .. what also caught my attention is how casually Saki and her friend from the Pest Control department just sat there casually taking while Queerats murdered each other and fought with full force in the background (it’s as if they were watching a foot-ball match not a bloody war).
This complete disregard to the queerats lives and the way humans casually treat their deaths (despite them being sentient intelligent creatures) is going to really come back and bite humans really badly .. specially that we learn by the end of the episode that the Great Hornets were wiped out by Yakoumaro’s army somehow (i’m sure he couldn’t possibly make the jump from gun-powder muskets to nuclear weapons or even tanks that fast) .. my only guess is he has Maria on his side (seeing she appears to dominate the new ED and the preview as well .. meaning she is going to play a very big role in the upcoming episodes like Yakoumaro) .. i suppose Yakoumaro the sly bastard offered to shelter Maria and Mamuro back then when Saki and Satoru were looking for them .. he knew they would come in handy in the future (probably hinted in the way he used Saki and Saturo as weapons to attack the Goat Moth 12 years back .. excellent foreshadowing i must say).
And if anything .. Maria is the in fact the equivalent of a nuclear weapon any way .. like Satoru’s grandmother said .. all PK users are like nukes, i just wonder wether she is siding with Yakoumaro out of her own volition or is somehow forced to !!!? can’t wait to see next ep XD
Oh, and i hope Kiroumaro really survived the onslaught and massacre of his army .. he is a really interesting character (in terms of visual design and the ideals he holds) and i wish for him to get his revenge from the bastard Yakoumaro.
Squealer (I refuse to call him Yakomaru) has now upgraded from creepy to “DEAR GOD STAY AWAY FROM ME YOU EVIL THING!”. He’s proven how extremely intelligent he is at manipulating both humans and fellow rats to achieve his ambitions.
What is really troubling is that none of the Town Elders are worried. They are technically gods who can wipe out armies in seconds but Squealer knows this and is surely planing something to stop his “gods”. And I’m almost certain its got something to do with Maria.
Leaving the rat politics aside, I liked the interactions with Saki and Satoru. Its the kind of closeness they’ve always showed throughout in a teasing matter. Disappointed they aren’t a couple yet, but at least Saki’s co-worker is at least shipping them. Also grown-up Saki is hot, I dig the side-tail
I’m almost certain that their “petty argument” was the result of village brainwashing.
Their comfort within jobs within the village would be the same.
The last time there was a time jump, their memories were altered significantly. Why wouldn’t it be the case this time?
There was no talk about their friends or their history. Everything about how they met, how they fell out, how their lives are going…all of it is hazy and never touched upon.
Look for that to start to come around next episode.
This ep was pretty meh for me. I’ve never liked the queerat story lines. They just seem so petty. I mean, the current human society has such an aggressive approach to monitoring child development and removing potential problems.. and yet, they can’t do the same with their slave labor? Why are the queerats even around? Any of the humans could wipe them out, as the kids discussed last time. They could use brainwashed defective humans for labor. Oooor, they could brainwash the queerats as well and prevent all this silly rebellious behavior. The whole “conflict” with them is boring.. I’d rather the story took a different direction with Saki and her role as apprentice-leader vs the current society.
And I also expected Saki and Satoru to be a pair by now, since they essentially already were. Even if they were both in love with Boy-X, they at least have that in common.
They never expected the queerats to be much of an issue, which is why the current development is so ominous because us as viewers know they can, and will bring chaos to the established fragile balance. It will shake up the society as a whole, and will possibly devastate humanity as we know it.
This episode gave me the chills with way the characters reacted to the situation at hand. We’ll have to see how they deal with Maria.
Saki and satoru just keeps looking prettier/bishier with every time skip… Not tht I am complaining.
I keep getting the chills every single time Squealer (Pfffshaw no way I’m calling him Yakomaru) appears…. This is my expression while watching this episode…. I hope Kiroumaru is still alive…..
And why do I have a feeling Maria will play a big role in this arc? Love the ED though.
I sense a disturbance in the Force
Stupid rats （ばかねずみ）taste like chicken! ね？
There’s something I want to ask, is this anime full with lesbians and gays? This anime looks interesting and I’m planning to watch it, but after reading some info about it it made feel a little bit uneasy. While the story is progressing, does the main characters eventually become straight or are they still into homosexual?
I really want to watch this anime, so if they do become straight later I will watch it, but if did not I might skip it.
Can anyone please answer me? Thanks.
Show Spoiler ▼
Seriously, don’t worry about it. There is a little ( A LITTLE ) homo, but it’s not just there for random fanservice / sexual scenes. They even cut out sexual scenes to focus mainly on the story.
There is a little lesbian/gay, but it’s part of the story. If you know what I mean. Like, this anime heavily explores/questions certain concepts of life/society/humanity, etc., and these homo relationships help achieve it. Don’t wanna spoil…
but anyway, if you’re uncomfortable with yaoi/yuri, don’t worry about it, it’s very minimal
Regarding whether they turn straight or not — that would be spoilers 🙂 but as the characters and story grow/develop, so do their relationshipszs (and their orientation).