Shin Sekai Yori Episode 13: Reunion
“A Copycat came.” – Itou Mamoru
Saki and Maria deduce that Mamoru has headed for the mountains beyond the Holy Barrier with a sled, and along with Satoru they chase him fervently in the hope that he hasn’t hurt himself – or been captured by Queerats out in the wild. After managing to find Mamoru and meeting the Queerat that saved his life, Saki, Maria and Satoru learn with horror that Mamoru is now a target for disposal by the Board of Education.
Man, this episode was tense. Anyone would find it tense, especially after last week’s lengthy discussion between Saki and Tomiko involving the making of Fiends and Karma Demons – and the possibility that someone in the cast might become one in the future. It’s definitely suspicious right off the bat that Mamoru would suddenly disappear, and the main cast are worried enough about him to immediately search for him and easily step past the Holy Barrier they’re not supposed to cross. The snow everywhere is a pretty good reflection of the seasonal festivities we’re going to be celebrating these next few days, though I don’t think there’s much for the characters in SSY to celebrate about. It was intuitive for them to pick up the fact that deep, consistent tracks meant a sled with luggage that Mamoru used to travel with, while smaller, patterned tracks that followed it meant a lone Queerat that was tracking him for some unknown reason. I did actually worry a lot for Mamoru after the foreboding avalanche that nearly struck Saki as she passed under them, as well as the precarious cliff that was on one side of the mountain Mamoru’s sled climbed up. With a weak Juryoku and an unstable mind, it was possible that he’d lose concentration and focus, slipping down the side of the mountain to a gruesome death. Off the edge of a cliff wouldn’t be much better either, and I did seriously think for a moment that he’d accidentally fallen off, with marks against otherwise hard surfaces of rock that hinted a fall. Maria the jumping bunny (which I found hilarious) did help to alleviate the tension a bit, and it’s clear that despite being in a relationship with Saki, she also cares about Mamoru a lot, and is willing to passionately show that. She was also the one that begged Saki to not get Mamoru involved with their incidents any more, which does suggest that she has feelings for him that Mamoru would be very happy to know about.
As Satoru said, the resulting sled was fishy. He’s not there, but the sled is – and it didn’t look like an accidental fall, with everything buried all neatly amongst a smooth snowdrift – if the snow covered everything up, then the deep tracks would have been covered too. It was pretty obvious that it was buried on purpose, and almost certainly by Mamoru – I don’t think one lone Queerat would have been much of a problem for any Juryoku user, even one as average as Mamoru. The Queerats generally see the humans as gods anyway, and a single one wouldn’t dare to attack a human by itself, and without any significant power to fight with. Saki was clearly a bit disturbed though, with Tomiko having told her last episode, that Queerats were used to get rid of would-be Fiends. They would have done it with large groups of Queerats equipped with weapons though, while here we only have one small rat from the Goat Moth colony, Squonk. I’m glad he didn’t look too similar to Squealer, who creeped me out both with his suck-up attitude and his later actions – but more surprisingly was his ability to speak human language, which I don’t think he was capable of before. He turned out to be that Queerat from before, that Saki saved when they were all kids – but back then he couldn’t speak to humans at all. It’s a fast form of evolution if the common Queerats are able to pick up the human language so fast, though it might be a hidden part of their subconscious if the Queerats as a species were evolved from the regular humans thousands of years ago who never had any Juryoku powers, and were enslaved by those who did.
“I had no choice. I didn’t want to die!” – Itou Mamoru
So Mamoru didn’t want to die. “Oh shit, here we go,” was my train of thought at that moment – it backs up the methods used in that society of disposal for those whom the Board of Education feel threatened by, for whatever reason. Mamoru evidently also knows more than the rest of them think he does – not only about realizing the truth behind Boy X or Saki’s sister, but also the fact that he’s been put on the list for disposal by the society who has now outcasted him before he has any full human rights. And the way people who are to be disposed of are dealt with are through Copycats – just like what happened with Shun. While the white pills were provided for Shun to kill himself in case he managed to defeat the Copycats because he possessed extreme levels of power, one cat is more than enough to dispose of Mamoru, and he knows that. Even more eerie was the confirmed trait of all Copycats practising to tail you first before killing you, which it tried to do with Mamoru when the school managed to isolate him from everyone else and force him onto the hallway leading to the inner yard – where the Copycats are kept in heavily protected areas. Mamoru even recognizes that cat, which was part of a larger collection of erased memories concerning Shun and his eventual isolation after becoming a Karma Demon. I felt that everything about the build-up during those scenes were all really effective, from the panning close-ups into Mamoru’s eyes and his talented seiyuu, to the visual aspects of how the Copycats were presented hidden in the shadows. What was that whirlwind that eventually blew the Copycat in the school corridor back to where it came from? Part of Mamoru’s subconscious, in which his fear and desire not to die manifested maybe?
We now know that Mamoru escaped for the very valid reason of not wanting to die – so the next question is why he’s been marked down for disposal. One reason would be that he’s too weak, and simply isn’t up to scratch with his Juryoku powers – to prevent a lineage where Juryoku eventually disappears from inherited DNA, the Board of Education would want only those with strong Juryoku to later go on and reproduce. Another theory would be his personality. It’s true that he’s submissive and obedient, but sometimes it’s those quiet ones that can have some hidden tendencies or unstable characteristics to their mentalities as we know less about their personalities, and if the society is monitoring people as closely as we believe, it’s possible that they’ve seen some of his outbursts and recognize the chances of him eventually becoming a Fiend if they snap. Whatever it is, it’s clear that it’s not safe at all for Mamoru to go back – what decisions will they be forced to make next episode?