First off, in case you missed my reply comment on the previous post, I want to apologize for the spoiler troll mess with the last post. You guys have been awesome, civil commenters, and up until now I’ve had very little need to closely monitor the comments on the series, which was why I didn’t check back until it grew so out of hand. The oversight on last week’s post was a proper mistake resulting from my complacency, and rest assured I’ll keep an eye out for such trolls closely here on out.
Now, how about that episode? Seems like with the series entering its last legs the production quality is getting a suitably equal beefin-up. I can’t remember the last time a Shin Sekai Yori episode was looking quite this good, with some brilliantly animated juryoku action, awesome, awesome close-ups, and pretty consistent drawings through and through. Here’s hoping they can keep this standard up through towards the end.
And I really do hope so, because having suitably great animation (and the consistently awesome cinematography) really piled on to the “first encounter” vibes this episodes had going for it. Not discounting the perpetual tension in this show, but they’ve really brought it to some incredibly chilling heights here. There’s such a striking contrast with that other time we saw a fiend in Tomiko’s memories; Boy K’s depiction was utterly savage, and had a thourghly visceral tone that heightened the sense of danger a fiend posed back then. Not here, with Saki and Satoru’s first encounter. Fear is what all the characters are feeling, and by god, Shin Sekai Yori is going to impart that fear to you. They’ve got the atmosphere down pat with the dilipated hospital and disturbing human cocoons, crazed survivors and close calls with the beast to continuously unsettle, and those oh-so-effective bursts of utter brutality to terrify, all to just make this unstoppable presence known as the fiend scare the shit out of you. I even liked how the show purposefully avoided having any character spell out the obvious identity of the entity, just to make the unnamed seem all the more malevolent. I suppose understanding the circumstances, that our characters can’t retaliate for shit thanks to their death feedback-enforced pacifism, only adds to the terror the fiend embodies. Such terror I myself haven’t seen matched in anime since those first few terrifying episodes of Higurashi, and the effort here comes close.
With this, many of our suspicions can somewhat be confirmed; yes, there is a fiend involved, he/she was responsible for the giant hornets’ elimination, and is definitely linked to the robber fly colony and Yakomaru’s plan in some manner. However, there still quite a bit to speculate on how exactly the robber flys got a fiend to cooperate with them, or otherwise how the queerats managed to subjugate and manipulate such a volatile specimen. It’s still highly likely Maria and Mamoru are connected to this fiend in some manner, and I’ve been seeing the the theory of it being their child gaining quite a bit of popularity. There are persuasive arguements for it: that there is a strong likelihood for a fiend to develop during adolesence is one, and the timespan would put their child in the suitable age range of 10-12. As is the idea that the queerats would be more capable of rasing a child to be their perfect “god” killing machine. It’s an interesting theory which would fit in quite logically, but at this time the evidence is mostly circumstantial, and I’m not entirely sold on it yet. An interesting thing to note at this point is the captured humans in cocoon, and why in particular they were kept alive. Being used as a bargaining chip is a unlikely proposition, but what if these humans were somehow linked to the development of fiends? Maybe Yakomaru’s found a way to convert humans into fiends, or maybe he’s found some way to breed them into his service. Either ways, both thoughts are equally disturbing in the idea that the queerats are toying with human lives.
It’s pretty amazing how humans are still acting with complete disregard in the face of all this. This new arc has been giving this particular point a surprisingly large focus, and I find it’s likely to be one of the key takeaways of this human-queerats war. That the queerats could even come so far is to some extent attributed to this arrogance of humans as the superior intelligence and the airtight belief in their power of juryoku that puts that at the top of this darwinian ecology. Time and time again we’ve seen the queerats intellectually compete with humans counterparts and work around their powers, and yet here we see again another example, where kuromochi declares the queerats as lower in intelligence and has complete security in his powers to stop the queerats, before meeting his end at the very hands of the creatures he belittled. Not every character is so flippingly oblivious, least of all our two protagonist who knows what queerats are capable of, but once again there’s no discounting that ingrained arrogance that permeates the psychic society. There’s that mentality that they are the fittest of this ecology, emphasized by the Pest control department, Koufuu, and humans’ belittling attitude we’ve seen over the past few episodes. That it is, until a fiend turns up and turns their world upside down.
My thanks to bakemochi for doing this week’s screencaps!