I should have learned by now never to doubt Shin Sekai Yori in its capacity to go to dark places, because it seems to up the ante every week.
the boy without a face.” it broke my heart – especially when Satoru had nothing to offer but agreement. If Shun is the boy without a face, I guess Mamoru is the boy without a past – because it appears that it doesn’t take meddling from the Board of Education to make Saki and Satoru forget about a lost friend. Is Mamoru so trivial to the plot that he’s simply being ignored, and so trivial to Satoru and Saki that they can’t spare a word for him? Whether this is the same in the novel I can’t say but again, this is a flaw for me – it makes Satoru and Saki seem somewhat cold and uncharacteristically heartless to abandon a friend this way, even in their memories. I admire Saki’s desire not to die without remembering Shun’s name, and it even has a touch of poignant poetry to it – but how sad for Mamoru to have disappeared from existence through nothing greater than indifference. It paints Maria in a much better light, knowing she was willing to leave her true love and her home behind to support him, simply because it was the right thing to do.
giant leech that can exhale gunpowder and then flame to cause an explosion. This was used to wipe out much of the village, which drained the canals to cut off the leeches – which in turn deprives the villagers of their main method of transport. Yakomaru is one step ahead of the humans at every turn, and the irony in his using mutants as weapons against them is surely not coincidental. It’s obvious that he’s been planning this war for many years – surely since his first encounter with the “young Gods”, and perhaps even longer.
young survivor, a boy who to my eyes looks eerily like Shun, though I suspect this is a character design issue and not a plot point. There she finds a scene which is eerily reminiscent of the grainy black-and-white footage of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb – all buildings leveled and smoldering, victims burned down to their shadows, the wailing and pleading of the dying for water. It’s truly terrible and gut-wrenching, and all the credit to Shin Sekai Yori for earning the emotion these scenes elicit from the audience – this is not clumsy shock horror, but real existential dismay after we’ve reached this point in such a compelling and believable way. Even Tomiko seems to have finally reached the end of the line, with serious wounds her cantus magic can’t heal and the fiend on the way to the village, seemingly to finish the job of extermination. She chooses this moment to pass the baton of leadership to Saki (thanks a lot) and sends her off to the temple, where Shisei and the remnants of leadership are regrouping, and awaits her fate.