Shin Sekai Yori Episode 3: False Minoshiro
“Please cease your destructive activity.” -The Evil Minoshiro
Summary: The camping trip is in full swing this week, with everyone rowing canoes up the river and enjoying the fun of being on an adventure of sorts. As they drift along, the flora and fauna of this “new world” are shown in greater detail, making it clear that this isn’t really the world we know anymore. The gang tells stories around the campfire, leading Shun to suggest that they make animals like the blowdogs and evil minoshiros, animals that most would considere urban legends, the topic they’ll present at the conclusion of their trip. When they actually run across an evil minoshiro the next day while exploring an area that is probably out of bounds, Saki pushes for capturing it, even though everyone except for her was left hypnotised and powerless just by looking at it. After roping up some giant crabs (yeah…), the team manges to catch the Minoshiro, which as it turns out is not actually what it seems.
Impressions: While on the one hand I’m really glad that this show is taking it’s time to really build up the world that it takes place in, on the other hand, I can see how a great deal of people would think that this episode is boring as all hell. With the exception of this episodes flashback at the very beginning, the sense of danger and mystery that the show had been steadily keeping up were almost completely absent this week. It was just ‘Cute kids go camping, a bunch of cute stuff happens that’s totally normal and cute, and then they decide to catch
some Pokemon a mutant unicorn a weird animal’ for the majority of the episode. Seeing as this show will most likely be somewhere around the 24-26 episode mark, I’m glad they’re taking the time to build a good foundation for future events, and I’ve certainly enjoyed series that have taken the slow route before (like Twelve Kingdoms), so I ended up enjoying this episode despite it not having very much forward movement.
The beginning was again a flashback, this time to 570 years after people started to discover their powers, where a team of Ninjas/assassins/rebels break into a palace of sorts and kill the emperor, at the cost of their own lives. The animation style was again a different one than what we’ve seen previously, which was great and I really liked. It reminded me of Gurren Laggan in the way the shadows, colors, explosions, and character movements where done. Again, I find these little glimpses of the ‘past’ very interesting and a good way of seeing a bit of what happened in those 1,000 years.
Obviously society changed a lot over that time, and as this episode shows, so did the natural world. We’ve been getting glimpses at it with all the mentions of the Copy Cats and the Queerats from last episode (also everything on that weird farm from episode one), and this episode hammers that point home, with strange animals everywhere you looked. Weird bird-snake things, giant grabs, the blowdogs (even though they’re only described), and of course the titular False Minoshiro, which looks to me like the result you would get if you cross-breed a Caterpie, a sea-slug, and a corgi. The effect is that we as the audience really understand that we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto. I also liked the idea that humans were the ones who changed it, not physically (like we do everyday), but with the power of their minds.
The kids continue to be cute as buttons, although we did see some unexpected sides to them. Shun was surprisingly adventurous in agreeing to go exploring outside of their prescribed route (giving me more proof for my idea that he’s one of the ones who outwardly do as their told, while on the inside he’s secretly rebelling as was mentioned last episode.) Mamoru showed some backbone by agreeing to help haul the crabs out of the cave when no one else would. Saki showed that she too can be a little ruthless by pulling out the Minoshiro’s…whiskers? While I won’t go so far as to say she looked like she was enjoying it, she had no qualms over hurting the Minoshiro when it was essentially powerless in order to get her way. Maria and Satoru remained the same this episode, which was a little disappointing in Maria’s case given last weeks ominous parting speech. We also got a very nice, sweet little moment between Shun and Saki, while out canoeing at night, giving us a glimpse of the direction their relationship is heading in (perhaps). It warmed the lump of ice I call my heart just a tiny bit.
Other than the big reveal that actually the Evil Minoshiro is in fact a library, not a lot else happened this episode. Knowing that all the books from 1,000 years ago were destroyed or lost helps explain why so little information exists about events further in past. Both of the stories told during school in the last two episodes took place within the past 200 years. In a totalitarian/dystopian future like this, it makes sense that the leaders would want to control information, so destroying and getting rid of books that might be “dangerous” to the good of their society seems very standard. Next week looks like the kids will learn that libraries are fun, and that they are full of information, even the kind that your elders might not want you to ever know about.
Final Thought: Just to point out the level of detail this show strives for; take a look a the outfits for this episode. Actually, for every episode so far. The clothing designs are not only different for every character, but sometimes their outfits will change multiple times over the course of one 30 minute show. I feel like that’s not something you see often, as most characters have one standard outfit you always see them in. Even the design of the clothing itself is great, walking a fine line between futuristic and primitive. Someone clearly really enjoyed their job coming up with all of them. And I, in turn, enjoy picking up all the little details to the designs themselves, especially since I watch the episode like 3-4 times. Like Shun’s outfit looked totally like something Robin Hood would wear, and Mamoru’s overalls had a weird fanny-pack like pocket on the back of them that was cute and hideous at the same time.