Whilst I was disappointed by the lack of a little storytelling segment and by this episode’s flashback (it just wasn’t particularly interesting), this episode did continue to brew that tension rather nicely, and expanded on the world the characters inhabit too, so I can’t really complain- these are also elements of the show that please me somewhat!
Now halfway through the episode I decided I wanted to base this post on the creatures of Shin Sekai Yori, but then the narrator decided to spoil my fun and covered all the points I wanted to make in just two minutes! Hang on a second, I thought, where have all these new creatures come from in just one thousand years? Evolution doesn’t work that fast, and the countryside’s too lush and plentiful for the animals inhabiting it to have radically mutated Fallout-style! But apparently it has something to do with the unconscious mind of the cantus-users- but what does that even mean? Don’t get me wrong, the unconscious mind is a powerful thing, but it can’t will creatures into existence. If not for the fact all of the characters are able to see the creatures at one time, I may have begun to wonder if they were all simply hallucinating. One of the explanations of why we hallucinate focuses on the emergence of the unconscious into the conscious, which ties in quite nicely with what the narrator said. However, what if one of the features of cantus is to link everyone’s unconscious minds? But then, surely they’d all be a lot more sensitive to each other’s fears and desire- something I’ve seen next to no evidence for. I’m half tempted to accuse the narrator of BS-ing and put the creatures down to some kind of kooky experimentation. Perhaps the cantus ability enables some to manipulate things on a genetic level, creating these weird… things? It would explain why so many of them, including the totally evil minoshiro we saw this episode (which even claimed to be the property of the people), are subservient to the villagers, or at least its leaders. Maybe they feel a sense of duty towards those that have, effectively, created them and granted them consciousness? But if that were the case, I guess the narrator wouldn’t be far wrong after all- the unconscious desires of the cantus-users (probably for power) would have bled through into their conscious minds, inspiring them to experiment on whatever these life-forms used to be, in other words, the unconscious has had an impact on the real world in a big way.
So yeah, in case you couldn’t tell by how much of a tangent I just went off on, I’m faaar more fascinated with the world of SSY than its characters. I still don’t care about a single one of them, in fact, finding them all incredibly dull. Possibly because they only seem to possess a couple of emotions between them (annoyance and brazenness being the main ones!) And then there’s the fact they’re still stubbornly adhering to the archetypes I mentioned during my post on episode one without a hint of an explanation as to why they have all adopted these respective characteristics. I mean, I know it’s not always necessary to have backstories on each and every character, but I feel a little insight might help me actually give two hoots about them! Something SSY, being a show of the suspense genre, should strive to achieve, lest we all disconnect from what’s happening/about to happen to them and feel nothing at all.
Actually, I lied- there is one character I’m vaguely interested in: Shun. It’s not that I’ve been given any reason to be, it’s just, I don’t trust him. Maybe because he’s too nice, or because the teachers (who I don’t trust either) seem to favour him (possibly the result of him being one of the most talented children), or even because he encouraged the other children to break the rules this episode…? I’m not sure. I’m hedging my bets on that he’s working for the village leaders as a spy of some sort… I know it’s not exactly logical, but my women’s intuition is rarely wrong! I just wanted to put that out there so that if when I’m right I can say I called it well before anyone else- I’m kind of competitive like that!
I’m really beginning to enjoy SSY- it’s done a pretty good job of building tension, introducing more and more elements of mystery (the strange creatures, the characters’ cantus, the disappearances, etc.) all whilst dangling the tantalising promise of answers just out of our reach, leaving us hungry for more! It’s not perfect- as I said, I still don’t care about any of the characters, and the narration’s still spoiling my fun somewhat, but I’ve just found out the show’s going to be 25 episodes long, so it has plenty of time to remedy these things!