By Randy Thompson / January 12th, 2013
Hey, fellow Shin Sekai Yori watchers! It’s 2013 and we’re right back at it as the show rolls on. What will the gang of Group 1 do now that Mamoru has gone missing? Will they find him? Or will the various village committees beat them to the punch? No time to stop now, here we go!
Reunion, when I look back at it, didn’t pack a lot of information or plot movement. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining to watch, though. The first half of the episode is largely Saki, Maria, and Satoru searching the snow-covered fields of the village in pursuit of their fellow Group 1 classmate Mamoru who ran away from home. The group looks high and low through the blowing wintry precipitation before coming across sled tracks. They follow it before coming to the Barrier that blocks off the town from the dangerous and unpredictable outside world. With little hesitation, Saki and the others continue to track their missing friend.
After a long journey, even noticing that the sled tracks are now accompanied by a Monster Rat’s tracks, Saki, Satoru, and Maria come to a snow hut that houses an injured Mamoru in the care of said Monster Rat, the one whom Saki saved at the beginning of the series. Mamoru explains how, due to his lack of Power aptitude, he has been chosen to be eliminated and that he has been stalked by a Trickster Cat twice. Mamoru spells out that he won’t be going back out of fear for his life.
Snowflakes continue with Saki and Satoru returning home to find out more on the process of eliminating students and, hopefully, a way they can get Mamoru home safely. Of course, the Educational Committee is already aware of what is going on and demands Saki speak with them as soon as she lands back home. They immediately begin a hearing, giving Saki the third degree to find the truth. As Saki honestly comes clean to each and every question, her life is in danger of ending right then and there before Tomiko Asahina of the Ethics Committee shows her face, asking that she handle this incident herself.
Tomiko and Saki speak at length for the rest of the episode discussing the danger that Mamoru and Maria are in, but also the danger the town is in from these events. Tomiko explains that Group 1 is special in that they underwent an experiment — they did not undergo any sort of mental conditioning to keep their free will held back, the committees wishing to see what the kids would do with their complete free will and in the hopes that it would bring about a new leader with a broadened mind.
Time is running short for the runaways as orders will be given to the Monster Rats to kill the escaped children, as well as other villages informed of the renegades. She tells Saki that she can hold off the committee from enacting the plan for three days, so she’ll have to act fast. She also promises that Mamoru will be safe if he returns. As Saki prepares, Tomiko offers to escort her to the pier where Tomiko drops the bombshell that she isn’t even close to the age that Saki guesses her to be, revealing that she is actually 267 years old, attributed to her Power ability to manipulate her telomeres.
With not a moment to spare, Saki now embarks on her journey. Satoru meets up with her, each in special boats, to seek out and save Mamoru and Maria before everything goes to hell. Unfortunately, once they arrive, the snow hut that housed their friend is gone. Now they need to track Mamoru and Maria all over again. Tick tock, tick tock.
The first thing I’d like to get off my chest regarding the turn of events here is how badly this could all go with the Monster Rats. I can’t help but be fearful that we will be retreading events that happened earlier in the series. Yes, Saki and the others have their Power and they don’t have to rely solely on Satoru to save their butts, but I’m afraid that something will occur to put them in a similar situation for (what may feel like) a drawn-out confrontation with the Monster Rats again. I can only hope that this doesn’t occur as I would like to see some more delving into the different committees back in town, with the kids taking them head-on to end the tyrannical rule they seem to have on everyone. No more Squera, no more colony wars. Please.
I’m also a bit let down by the fact that Mamoru just hurt himself and is just hiding in fear. I wanted to see something a bit more severe with his delicate psyche and the events surrounding him now. I’m not saying I want his character out of the picture, but I wanted something a bit more hard-punching.
We are over halfway through this interesting ride of a series. I’m curious what your thoughts are so far. Are you still invested in the characters or story? Have you lost interest? Do you have high hopes for how this will all end up? Let us know in the comments below!
Shin Sekai Yori is up on Crunchyroll every Tuesday at about 3:30 PM Eastern Time.
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