To start with, what I’d hoped to get out of this episode was whether or not Satoru still had any feelings for Saki- seeing as they were both alone together once more. I don’t root for them as a couple; I’m just mildly interested as to where his feelings for her have disappeared to. However, what I got instead was a lot more interesting! It seemed as though this episode was making some sort of comment on democracy through the uneasiness a combination of both characters’ reactions and facial expressions, and the music playing in the background, created.
The last time we saw Squealer I remember commenting on just how sinister he was- a slight twitch of his eye betraying that he wasn’t as loyal to his “Gods” as he perhaps claimed. Indeed, he was just as sinister this week, his creepiness excellently helping to convey this episode’s message. The imprisonment of the queens may not have seemed so cruel were it not revealed to us by a character we’re already distrustful of. The menacing undertone to his voice, as well as the camera lingering on his incredibly sharp teeth, making him seem a legitimate threat once more, also helped, in that it gave viewers another reason to be mistrustful of his assertions that such a drastic measure had to be taken in order to survive. I wouldn’t be surprised if such an action had been taken simply because some wished to be more powerful themselves. If this is the message this episode intended to pass on to its audience, isn’t that fascinating? Squealer claims he is simply putting into practise democracy, but this would suggest democracy is little more than an illusion, simply one person/group overruling authority so that they may later become authority themselves. What a big statement for a relatively unknown show to make! Ooor perhaps this episode meant to suggest democracy can be just as brutal as other forms of society? I am reminded of the assassination of Julius Caesar. In order to prevent possible tyranny at the hands of Caesar, 60 conspirators gather to brutally put an end to his life. Whatever the case, this ‘democracy’ Squealer has helped put together certainly wasn’t meant to be viewed in a positive light. If the visual cues and possible symbolism weren’t enough to tip you off, the creepy ‘this-is-bad-guys’ music played all throughout the queen’s reveal, and the following scene, should have been.
So it comes as no surprise how uncomfortable Saki and Satoru were made by all this. Satoru’s claims that the queerats “seem too similar to humans” may ring true in a completely different way than intended, as he and his group have been behaving in such a way as might be construed that they too have been attempting to overthrow society, for years now. It is like the kids are caught between a rock and a hard place- the reigning authority is dangerous, for sure, but where would they be without them? In just as despicable a position as Squealer and the other queerats? And their confusion over what best to do next couldn’t be more obvious as, despite not trusting Squealer, or really wanting to harm the Goat Moth colony, Saki and Satoru choose to aid the Robber Flies in their attack.
On a side note, I love the little visual cues used in SSY. There’s the focusing on Squealer’s teeth, as I mentioned above, but there are also other instances, like when, during recent episodes, characters would wince, and touch one of their eyes, as if in pain, when trying to recover a memory that had been tampered with. These gestures are only slight, and easy to miss, but if noticed they really help stir feelings of apprehension in the audience as the fact they’re recurring tells you something is afoot!