By Randy Thompson / November 28th, 2012
It’s here, the all new Shin Sekai Yori is here! Time has passed, people have changed, Powers are growing, it’s all so new here. And it’s even more different than you’d think. We’re gonna hop right into this one, but it’s gonna be a step away from how the last few episodes have been handled. This episode deals a lot with interpersonal relationships so we are going to look at those a bit more than previous installments and cut back a bit on the play-by-play of past entries.
Omen begins two years from where we last left off. A lot can change in two years. Saki and the others are back at school and love is in the air. It seems very important for people to find and choose a lover, almost a rite of passage; though all the lovers around school are peculiarly same-sex couples. Saki is with Maria, Shun is with Satoru, but poor Mamoru is left out and does all the pining he can for Maria.
Even though Saki is coupled with her best friend, she seems to desire a relationship with Shun who, midway through the episode, breaks things off with Satoru who then goes out with the first boy to pay him any attention to get back at Shun. A PK master shows up at school that same day to analyze everyone’s Power and to perhaps choose a successor. Shun, the one whom everyone expected to be the next shining star fumbles his chance due to emotional stress.
Saki and the others shrug off the incident and go about doing their thing. Saki runs into Shun early one evening as he prepares to leave the village. Where he’s going? He doesn’t say. He warns Saki that they thought they tricked the adults, but they knew. He advises her to stay away from cats before tossing her his own cat-ward charm before leaving into the unknown.
Let us start off with some speculation about why all the students in the school have suddenly gone with same-sex partners versus heterosexual relationships (sans Mamoru). While we don’t have a clear picture of what exactly has happened in the past two years, we do have some information from the False Minishiro from Bloody History that might explain things. Humans from Saki’s village are programmed much like the bonobo monkeys in that when faced with conflict or stress it is solved through sex. With the legendary PK user visiting the school and perhaps expectations put on these kids during these years at school, the only way to mentally cope is through sex.
But that doesn’t explain the rampant pansexuality throughout the school, though. Let’s take this programming thing a whole step further. The purpose of this programming is to reduce the desire to kill another person, to eliminate the chances of what happened hundreds of years ago. Perhaps this is all part of the programming — make the kids feel love and desire for those of all sexes to give them the idea that anyone could be a potential lover and thus not want to kill them. This is all a sort of phase that the growing children experience. They may stick with it, they may not. I’m still lost on what the deal is then with Mamoru. He’s been relegated to being the background friend: unpolished and impotent Power, unable to attract a lover of either sex, let alone his crush. We will just have to see what all these experiences produce for our curly-haired friend.
Shun is the golden child of the school. He’s smart, articulate, and one hell of a PK user. Though it seems he has his faults as well. He dumps Satoru because he quickly gets annoyed and tired of the same thing all the time. The next day he’s visibly jealous of Satoru’s new boy toy (I’d say boyfriend, but c’mon, the dude just walked up to him and said he admired him. Satoru is already holding him close and patting his butt!) to the point of screwing up during what would perhaps be the biggest accomplishment of his life. During the last scene he seems pretty well put-together mentally and emotionally, warning Saki and saying goodbye to both her and his dog before he leaves. Personally I hope this isn’t the last time we see Shun. I don’t know why, but I’m rooting for this guy and I don’t want him dead.
I want to talk a bit about our main protagonist: Saki. Saki has always been good friends with Maria, so it makes sense for the two of them to engage in a more intimate relationship. What is curious to me is Saki’s sudden attraction for Shun. Yeah, he’s gorgeous and has amazing Power, but what is it that Saki wants? The last few episodes she made it through the woods with Satoru, the guy who repeatedly saved her life over and over again. The guy she almost went all the way with in that tree. She suddenly could care less for the guy relationship wise. What happened between them? One would think your personal savior would stand a good chance at a future romantic relationship, but Saki continues to surprise me in terms of her character. She’s capable of supreme compassion, but also sadistic cruelty. She’s intelligent, learning how to use hypnosis and to use it to return another’s power. She’s crafty and untrustworthy, getting Satoru to reveal his mantra before getting it herself to memorize it. Just who is Saki and what role will she play in all of this as it unfolds? I honestly don’t know.
This was a rather different episode and certainly a joy to watch to keep the brain going. This time I really want to open up the comments and encourage discussion: What are your thoughts on the series so far and, specifically, this episode? What’s up with all the kids and their lovers phase? Why hasn’t anything happened to Saki and the others these last two years since the adults know their secret? Where will this all go? Go ahead, let’s discuss. I’m sure I’ve got a few things wrong and would love to get more diverse perspectives on the subject and this beautifully drawn, complex episode.
Shin Sekai Yori is up on Crunchyroll every Tuesday at about 3:30 PM Eastern Time.
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