By Randy Thompson / November 20th, 2012
Things are starting to get really interesting in this episode of Shin Sekai Yori, and it seems that the momentum for these intriguing new developments aren’t going to stop with Summer Darkness. This episode seems to finally close the Monster Rat War arc (It’s really only been going on since episode 4, but it feels so much longer) and it’s giving us a peek at what even worse obstacles everyone will need to overcome. Enough stalling, let’s jump right in!
Escape left Saki, Satoru, and Squera confronting the big, bad Ground Spider army. With Saki still Powerless and Satoru on the brink of exhaustion, how are they supposed to get out of this jam? Luckily, Satoru is the little engine that could; he knows his limits so he and Saki carefully plan a means of dealing maximum damage and confusion to the enemy with minimal effort. As they enact their plan, Squera takes off in fear deep into the forest. Knowing they can’t take out everyone, Saki grabs Satoru and they make a break for it.
They make their way through the trees, hoping to finally get out of this horrible situation now that they’ve laid a good bit of waste to the Ground Spiders. As they dash through the flora, they come across Squera who has been captured by two soldiers of the Ground Spiders. The moment they lay on him Squera alerts the two guards to the kids’ position, stabbing his gods in the back. As one of the soldiers rushes the kids, Satoru unleashes his Power to put a stop to the Ground Spider. Oh yeah, and Squera isn’t done with that back-stabbing — the Robber Fly proceeds to cough up something from his throat, what turns out to be a knife, in the middle of all the hubbub. He quickly dispatches the guard beside him before taking care of the other currently held in place by Satoru. Squera quickly runs up to the kids, apologizing for his betrayal and says that he shall continue to help them out. The kids are obviously upset that he would turn on them so quickly, but they give in when Squera announces that help is nearby in the form of the Giant Hornet colony.
The kids plus Squera make their way to the camp of the Giant Hornet colony where they meet the leader, Kiroumaru. Saki is very relieved to finally be in safe hands, but Satoru warns her that they may have gone from the frying pan and into the fire: The Giant Hornet colony is the colony most loyal to humans. Because of this they follow the humans’ laws and rules and obediently do their duties provided by these laws. If Kiroumaru finds out they broke the law and had their Power taken away, the leader of the Giant Hornets may have no choice but to kill the two to deliver their punishment. If they can keep the secret then Kiroumaru will be their savior, if not then he will be their executioner.
In the dead of night, Saki and Satoru discuss what course of action they should take; their discussion leads to the conclusion that they need to leave and get back to the village before anyone finds out. Without any hesitation both kids run under the cover of night to get back to their home. Squera follows them and assures them that he’s there to help them get to safety. Saki, feeling that he means well, accepts this offer and places her trust in the Robber Fly.
The group continues their way through the (never-ending) forest as the night goes on. They are alerted to a hawk flying high above, but it isn’t just a regular bird — that is one of Kiroumaru’s reconnaissance birds that reports directly back to the Giant Hornets. Saki and the others keep still and wait for it to pass before continuing on their way. As night fades to day the escaping group makes their way to the waterway they can take back home. As luck would have it, they meet up with some familiar faces.
With the whole group finally back together they get in their boats and make their getaway. Finally these kids are out of danger and are making good time back home. Oh, that bird from before? Oh yeah. Oops. While traveling down the river, Saki and crew spot the Giant Hornet’s ships cutting them off — Kiroumaru is closing in. Suddenly we see their boats being pulled by the giant ship, the kids happy and safe. Kiroumaru tells them to keep this a secret as he will be killed if any humans find out he helped Satoru and the group knowing that they were fugitives. He carries them along until the end of the day, leaving them ashore and near their home.
Saki, Satoru, Maria, Shun, and Mamoru get a chance to take a breather and set up camp. Gathered around the campfire, Saki and Satoru explain their story as well as letting everyone in on the fact that Satoru has his Power back, returned to him by Saki and her hypnosis. The kids are overjoyed and happy to know that they can have their Power returned to them, but they are reminded that they need to remember their mantra. Satoru only has his back because Saki knew his mantra. Shun exclaims that he remembers his due to a mnemonic device he created to keep it in his mind. Rijin may have erased their power and their memory of their mantra, but not anything else. Seems legit enough, I suppose. Even luckier that Maria, Mamoru and Saki have their mantra written down back home. Everything will be back to normal by tomorrow!
The next morning the whole group makes the last leg of the trek back home. Saki and the others are relieved to finally be out of the forest and out of the war, hopeful that they can go back to their normal lives and let things run their course. They pile out of the boats, but something is a little off. Somehow the adults know…
Usually I don’t go into what comes up in the next episode preview, but this warrants some coverage.
It’s time-skip time! Looks like everyone is a little bit older and, of course, they are going to have to deal with some repercussions of their exposure to the False Minoshiro/Library. Where will this leave Saki and the others? Next episode, everyone, next episode.
I don’t know about you all, but while I think there were some great points these past few episodes I am very happy that this little mini arc in the forest with the different Monster Rat colonies is over. Yes, it’s important world-building, and it had it’s moments of drama, suspense, and action, but I just found myself less invested with the story over-all since the death of Rijin. Sure Saki and Satoru probably would be dead if it weren’t for Squera, but that guy just was an awful guy with more than his share of flaws: cowardly, disloyal, fickle, and just plain stupid. And he wasn’t even meant to be a real antagonist, which these qualities would work for. Personally, I hope that’s the last we see of the guy. He did one last good thing, Saki held his hand, and he said good-bye to his friends/saviors/human sacrifices. Are we going to get an explanation of how the others survived without their Power? Were they helped by Monster Rats as well? My guess is no, that it was just convenient that they all met up at the same time, safe and sound. How Mamoru would have made it through that horrible forest and fighting is beyond me.
I think there are plenty of good things to come with how the village will deal with the kids and their transgression. I’m actually also surprised with how this episode ended. No abrupt cuts in the middle of action or just at the climax of the situation. It was really a winding down of things with a taste of what’s to come. Will we see the return of the Trickster Cat? I’m sure we’re in for a lot of new twists in the next episode!
Shin Sekai Yori is up on Crunchyroll every Tuesday at about 3:30 PM Eastern Time.
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