So this episode we see the war between the queerat colonies draw to a close, and the children make it back to their village. As with other episodes, some interesting questions were raised, including: whether or not the children had done the right thing in helping the Robber Fly colony, and how dangerous an element are children in the society our main characters belong to? As is my tendency, I have formulated these questions simply by observing characters’ behaviour and/or facial expressions, and making my own inferences from that- Shin Sekai Yori is a show that doesn’t give much direct insight into characters’ thought, you see- so pardon me if any of what I say seems a little screwy!
Whilst the conclusion of the queerat war may seem a little… anticlimactic, definitely going out with more a whimper than a bang, I actually felt that was kind of appropriate. Perhaps it was right of the show not to allow its audience any satisfaction, not showing scenes of celebration, but, rather, of the helpless Ground Spider nestlings being captured and guaranteed a life of slavery? Because this method of concluding the war highlighted just how senseless it all was to begin with! The Robber Flies fought so as to prevent the Ground Spiders from making slaves of them, and killing their queen, Saki and Satoru, taking pity on them on these grounds, quickly joined the fight. But during this episode the war is resolved when the Ground Spider’s young are captured, and it is determined their queen is to be killed. You can see from Saki’s troubled facial expression that the realisation she’s fought against such cruelty only to have ensured the very same cruelty is received by the opposition upsets her considerably. So why then should we be allowed satisfaction when the outcome of this feud is so barbaric? Sadly, this idea wasn’t explored in as much depth as I would have liked as the story swiftly moved on, focusing once more on the danger the Ethics Committee posed to our young heroes.
Something I’m beginning to wonder about whilst watching SSY, is just how much of a threat is the Ethics Committee? Or is it actually the children who pose more of a threat? This is something I briefly touched upon during my post on episode 2. I suggested we ought to consider the children themselves a valid threat, as the mass-murdering cantus users before them shared certain childlike characteristics with them. This week my suspicions of the children were reinforced when I began to notice that the death feedback seemed to have less of an impact on Satoru, a child, compared to that priest guy, Rijin, an adult. Rijin seemed to suffer considerably immediately after killing but a single minoshiro, whereas Satoru was still persevering long after having wiped out a large number of the Ground Spiders. So why was the effect of the death feedback not as great on Satoru? Perhaps the powers of the children are more unwieldy, more difficult to control, more powerful? That would certainly explain why Saki so easily cancelled out Rijin’s seal, and why Kiroumaru helped ferry the children’s canoes to safety despite, probably, being under orders to kill them. And why would the Ethics Committee even bother to remove rogue elements like that brat from episode 2 if they really didn’t pose a substantial threat? Surely were they all powerful, a slap on the wrists would be enough to set the more unruly children straight? Maybe having them ‘taken care of’ is an act of fear? You know, remove them before they truly realise the power they wield? Of course, I don’t have any concrete evidence to back up such a fantastical theory, but it certainly helps explain a few peculiarities, huh?
So where is the story going next? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. Interestingly enough, the preview of next episode showed our characters a few years (?) on, so obviously they haven’t been disposed of by the village. This fuels my metaphorical fire even further- why would the village spare such obvious threats if they were not, in some way, wary of them? What’s stranger is the fact they chose to return to the village, and their everyday lives, knowing what they now know about the Ethics Committee in the first place. I think this could relate back nicely to what I was saying during a previous post on it sometimes being preferable to remain in blissful ignorance, then to face a troubling reality.From what I could see, Satoru’s also developed his more antagonistic side, so perhaps it’s him and not Shun I should be suspicious of, given that, unlike Shun, Satoru’s nasty streak has already revealed itself to us? Anyway, I’m extremely excited to see where all this takes us!