By Randy Thompson / October 25th, 2012
It’s here! The much anticipated fourth episode of Shin Sekai Yori. As the episode title implies, we finally get a look at what’s happened throughout the past millennium before our current time in the show. How much do we know? Are there any more mysteries left? Let’s talk about Shin Sekai Yori’s bloody history.
I’m going to award Shin Sekai Yori a medal as it had me cursing the episode before at the 30 second mark by quickly making the previous build-up and the episode title a tease. Luckily this all changed. Through some rather violent threatening on Saki’s part, the library overrides identity procedures and begins to really spill the beans.
Saki and the crew make inquiries to the library, who reveals much of what we’ve been guessing at for the series so far. We learn about the appearance of Power back in 2011, or as it’s described as PK (psychokinesis) and what its users do with it. Finding that they have the power to bend reality at their will, citizens — children — begin going on a murder spree to change the world to their whims.
The fear of the populace erupts and casts the world into its bloodiest war, reducing the population to 2% of its peak. The people remaining break off into four different groups: ones with no PK that became hunter-gatherers, ones that have PK and raid surrounding villages, ones with PK that use those without as slaves, and one who had preserved technology from the prior age and continued to spread their knowledge by publishing books. It is here that we are shown what all these flashbacks have been about at the beginning of episode 2 and 3.
After all these years, it became apparent that PK was here to stay, but there needed to be a way to stop users from killing others. Multiple procedures were put in place, starting with genetically engineering a psycho-biological response to thoughts and actions of wanting to hurt/killing another human that could kill its user on the spot — The Death of Shame. The symptoms are described and we see Saki experiencing them, obviously a response to the acts she had done to the library last episode. We are also given a flashback to the ritual Saki took part in back in the first episode, showing us that she intended to harm one of the monks before collapsing from The Death of Shame.
Next was education and testing to teach users about their power and how to use it appropriately. This also was part of a process for finding those children who were dangerous and consequently weeding them out. Whether they are killed or exiled is up in the air, but knowing Shin Sekai Yori, I’m pretty sure they’re killed somehow.
In the midst of questioning, the library starts up in flames. Saki and the others turn to see they have been caught by what appears to be a monk named Rijin. The monk scolds the children before sealing their Power, explaining that he must take the children to safety and face punishment.
On their way the group is attacked by a rogue Monster Rat that Rijin quickly dispatches to keep himself and the children safe. Along their travels they come about a group of these violent, bloodthirsty Monster Rats. Rijin, already hampered by the psycho-biological effects of killing the previous Monster Rat that initially looked human, gathers his strength to take out the group with a mighty display of Power before collapsing, now facing The Death of Shame. The danger isn’t over yet as something is lurking beneath the bodies of the fallen Monster Rats. The kids, with no access to their Power are attacked by what may just be a Balloon Dog that Satoru spoke of last episode. It’s coming right at them! Will they make it? Hey, the episode ends RIGHT there. Man, they are good at this ‘ending at the beginning of something interesting’ gig.
The first half of this episode is all about answers and they are all welcome. I’m definitely one for exposition so I was heavily intrigued as I watched on, hoping for more and more explanation and I just ate it up. The second half balances things out with some real action and keeps us on our toes, wondering how Saki and the others will come out of this situation. Overall I think that ‘Bloody History’ was the best episode yet with it’s perfect balance between content and action, giving us some much-needed information while also keeping us in the dark about a lot of things and giving us even more questions for the future. I think it’s safe to say my predictions were spot on. What happens in the next episode? I think we are going to get more information on Power/PK and what our protagonists are capable of. Will we get a sense of what these kids are in for? We will see. With our luck they will cut that off at the end of episode 5.
Shin Sekai Yori is up on Crunchyroll every Tuesday at about 3:30 PM Eastern Time.
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