So it’s over. I’m really glad that our characters managed to stop the fiend so early on in the episode, it allowed the dust to settle, and really gave me an opportunity to mull things over…
Something I’ve touched upon before in one of these posts is whether or not the queerats were justified in their revolt. I argued that many of us sided with the humans, despite their cruel treatment of the queerats, because they were humans, therefore we identified with them more than with the queerats who, let’s face it, many of us Fallout players wanted to hit with a stick of repellent, on instinct! So it was an interesting twist that they too, for the most part, were human. This makes their oppression by humans all the more unjustified!! And I’d like to remind readers that the Ethics Committee, or at least some of its members, were aware that they were actually exploiting fellow, albeit mutated, humans, so they cannot be pardoned by acting out of ignorance!!!
What I’d like to know is why the humans continued to force the queerats into slavery long after they stopped being a threat? At what point did the humans’ behaviour change from being the result of wanting to protect themselves, to being the result of prejudice? Yes, that’s what that was, prejudice! The cruelty they suffered was because the humans were the in-group, the queerats, the out-group. And why were they the out-group when in terms of genes, intelligence, moral development, and the way they behave as a collective they were so similar to us humans? Because they looked different!! That’s the only marked difference!!! That’s why, in spite of all this, Satoru couldn’t bring himself to say that they were one and the same at the end of the episode.
So is Shin Sekai Yori trying to suggest that what makes us human isn’t any of that that I listed above, but our appearance? I don’t know, maybe… But at any rate it is suggesting that is vastly influences our interactions with other humans, which is something we all knew already, really- just think of freak shows, why they originated, because some enjoy ridiculing those who are abnormal, or why there’s racism in the world- and that this is unfair, why else would we be made to feel sympathy for Squealer at the end, despite all that he’s done? That’s what I’ve always loved about Shin Sekai Yori, it’s always been ballsy enough to point out such fundamental flaws of humanity.
So am I happy with how it’s turned out? No, not really, But I kind of expected that- didn’t I say that it would be difficult to feel happy after so many characters had died? What I didn’t expect was the show to try to attempt to finish with a message of hope, hope that humanity will change. The entire show seemed to be built on the premise that humans are terrible. It’s made grandiose statements like, when given weapons we are compelled by our evil nature to use them, and fear of our destruction will lead to our destruction. So when, at the end, it turned around and said b-but we can change! : 3 before showing us a montage of all who had suffered, I just felt like screaming come on, where’s your evidence for that!? Please, I’d love to see some!!
All in all, a really great show! Stay tuned for my upcoming review of it!! Can’t capture all my thoughts on it in just one post!!!