Shin Sekai Yori Episode 6: Getaway
“I’ll blow it all away.” -Satoru Asahina
Summary: Satoru and Saki are trapped underground, with no way of escape, after the tunnel collapsed around them. Saki, while either dreaming or having just dropped acid, has a vision of the false minoshiro and then has a flashback of a time when she and Satoru shared their mantras with each other. Upon waking, she tries performing the same ritual that the monks did in order to return Satoru’s powers to him, and it works. With Satoru’s powers back in working order they are able to free themselves. The two of them then fight their way through the forest against the Ground Spider forces, who don’t stand a chance against Satoru. They meet up with Squealer and the rest of the Robber Fly colony, who join them as guides. The further they go, the more exhausted Satoru gets, much to Saki’s dismay. The episode ends when they finally find the Ground Spider’s base, as well as the huge army that waits for them there.
Impressions: Let’s start with Saki’s multi-colored trip down the rabbit hole. That was some trippy shit. That’s really the only way to accurately describe it. Shun popping out of the ground, the false minoshiro coming out of his face and multiplying only to morph into some other form…yeah, that was crazy and great. What purpose it served, I can only guess at, which would be that 1. she was dreaming and 2. it was her subconscious hypnotizing her in a way so that she would remember that scene in the past. Up until now, I hadn’t really given the mantra part of that very first fire ceremony scene any thought, but it turns out that it is important. The kids know what their mantra is, but telling it to other people is obviously a very big social taboo, as Satoru demonstrates with his unwillingness to share. Saki is very sneaky in tricking him to find out what his mantra is.
I still am not 100% sure what exact purpose the mantra serves, if it’s like a spell that they need in order to access their powers at all, or if it’s what controls their powers, or if it’s the source of all their PK and without the mantra they have nothing. By remembering that she know’s Satoru’s mantra, Saki is able to perform a strange mash-up of the first fire ceremony and what Rijin did in order to give Satoru back his PK. When he does get it back, he act’s like it’s no big deal, which I thought was strange. It doesn’t seem like the giving and sealing of people’s PK is very common or that it can be done by many people so the fact that Saki manages to give his back…you’d think he’d be a little more surprised. But then again Satoru starts to act a little strange this episode.
With the return of his powers, we see again the full capabilities of what exactly those powers can do. It’s also the first time we see one of the kids do such “big” stuff, like ripping out trees, making them fly around, and then setting them on fire before sending them crashing into their enemies. Even though they might only do small stuff in school, like build card houses, it’s clear that PK users (regardless of age), can do a whole lot more than what we were led to believe. This return to form comes with one tiny little string: Satoru starts to act very ruthlessly and isn’t afraid to use his powers to harm others. Saki also notices this change, and while Satoru brushes it off, I’m inclined to think that because his mantra was returned by someone who didn’t really know what they were doing, that something went wrong with the process, leaving his powers or his mental state somehow damaged. After these two episodes that have really focused more on him and Saki, I’ve grown quite attached to him and would hate to see him develop Raman-Klogius syndrome and become a Fiend. While Satoru might act brash, this episode shows some of his weakness, as he tells Saki that he probably wouldn’t have gotten far without her either and that he’s glad they’re in this mess together.
The rest of the episode is spent as a showcase for Satoru to show off, as he, Saki, Squealer (who survived the cave in and the poisonous gas), and the rest of the Robber Flies make their way through an ambush infested forest in order to put an end to the Ground Spiders. As it turns out, the Ground Spider forces are not just made up of the foreign Queerats, but also strange monsters like tree-dwelling eel things, mole men, and frog people. Saki and Satoru don’t recognize any of these strange new creatures, but with all the weird other new species floating around in this series, they just seem like one more to add to the growing pile. As they progress, Satoru gets more and more tired, as over-use of your PK can lead to sickness (that’s why he throws-up after getting out of the canoe in episode 3.)
He of course presses on, but again Saki is really worried about him, and rightfully so. She can’t let the Robber Flies know that she isn’t using her powers, else they would probably turn on her, and with Satoru being so weak, he probably wouldn’t be able to protect himself, let alone her. These leads to some tense situations between the to children and the Queerats, and while the regular warriors don’t understand the human language enough to really catch on to what’s happening, Squealer does look a bit suspicious of the two of them near the end of the episode. It’s anyones guess how exactly their group is going to take down the monstrous Ground Spider troops with one very weak PK user, a smart-but-powerless girl, and a handful of Queerat runts.
The Ground Spiders are not only getting help from all kinds of different species, they also seem to be getting help of a more technologically advanced nature. The pipeline and the machines that fed the poisonous gas into the Robber Fly colony could no way have come from the Queerats, who still fight using bows and arrows to fight with no real armor. So then the question becomes who (or what) is supplying them? and for what purpose? For some reason, watching this episode I was really reminded of the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (or at least what I remember from it, it’s been a while since I read it.) It felt like Satoru & Co. were playing a game, one where they had to advance through the levels by over coming certain traps set for them. It’s similar to the way Ender is taken and trained at a young age through more and more difficult “games” in order to teach him in the arts of war.
The way Satoru progresses through the forest seems more like training than actual battle, even though it’s made to appear that way to him. It also seems odd that even though Squealer assures him that the route is safe, there are still all kinds of traps set up along the way. You can’t plan an ambush if you don’t know exactly the route your prey is taking, which Saki points out in a way when she criticizes Squealer that of course they wouldn’t attack his scouts because then he would think the path was safe. If the Ground Spiders are getting outside help, then whose to say that Squealer isn’t just a pawn in someone else game? One where Satoru and Saki are both being taught how to survive and fight all the while being mislead about the truth of the conflict they’re facing.
With no preview for next weeks episode, literally anything could happen. Saki and Satoru, along with the remnants of the Robber Fly colony, are facing a force that far outnumbers them. With Satoru already weak, how are they going to fight this battle? Will Saki also get her powers back? Where are Shun, Mamoru, and Maria? Are they safe? Looks like it’ll be another tough week of waiting for the next episode!
Final Thought: If you haven’t read Ender’s Game, you should really get on that because it’s good. Like really good. Talk about kids doing violent things. There are certainly a lot of parallels to be drawn between that book and this here show, and if I weren’t so busy I’d re-read it just to point them all out. Maybe I’ll find some time over Christmas ..(side note: Also, they’re making a movie of it? So read the book now, before that comes out. I’ll reserve judgment on the movie till I see it, but given the track record of book to movie adaptions…yeah. It could be bad.)