Return; Shin Sekai Yori Episode 7

illegenes: For the first time, I feel a little disappointed and confused after watching the conclusion to the Queerat arc at hand, wondering if this arc served a clear purpose or not. I did enjoy this week’s episode, no doubt, but there were a few things that bothered me and felt a little clumsy. 

I talked last time about the connection between the power of Cantus on these kids and Dharma/Adharma, and I was hoping to see that line of thought follow up as Satoru continued to use his power for destructive purposes. And in a sense, it was continued – Satoru set the Queerats’ nest ablaze, hurtled boulders at them, and blew up two blowdogs at once. What was intriguing was that these actions were a sign of defense, not offense, like last week. He was using these powers to wage war, no doubt, but rather than indulging himself in chaos, Satoru chose to use these actions as a way to cover his and Saki’s tracks as they tried to escape. The sudden shift of this was rather odd to me, but I chose to accept it because Saki had informed him of his actions and thus these efforts could be interpreted as a way of retribution. What was disconcerting was the ending. No sacrifices were really made. Nothing truly changed. I didn’t get the sense that the children lost something of value here, especially when the Narrator returned with simply saying that the kids had gotten back their Cantus (which to me, was a bit of sloppy writing – shouldn’t there have been a more foolproof way of going about this entire sealing process?) and that everything was okay. Also, why would the children go back to a society which kills children despite knowing that they have broken essential laws?  What happened to the other kids? Why are they still alive? There are far too many unanswered questions here and I feel like the writers could have done a better job in wrapping this up; I do understand that next week, things will be different for our cast, but at the same time, I’m still confused about the exact meaning of this arc. Perhaps this uneasiness will be resolved with unforeseen consequences, which will somehow prove important in the next 18 episodes, such as the discovery of the progress of human society, or how the queerats function in the natural world, or the truth about Cantus and using it on one another. But so far there’s been no real hint of these things, so I don’t feel as of yet that this arc accomplished anything significant. It may also have to do with the expectation of the summary of Shinsekai; I was under the impression that this was the part where the children escaped from their dystopia’s clutches permanently.

Needless to say, it seems like Shinsekai is continuing to roll through this dark and mysterious path as we skip a few years and reenter the world once again next week. Talk about puberty effects (is it me or did Shun grow into quite a fine teenager?) and some homosexual tones, by the look of it! I look forward to seeing all the changes – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and of course, mentally.

wendeego: Since Natasha expressed confusion above about the purpose of the Queerat arc, let’s try and draft what this brief string of episodes accompished:

  • Developing the characters. Before this point, the cast of Shinsekai were pretty bland with the possible exception of Shun. Not only did this arc provide a chance for the characters to interact outside of the classroom, but the latter half also provided our heroine and her friend Satoru with much-needed character development. The latter’s reveling in the destructive powers of PK planted seeds of drama that could be followed up effectively down the line, while Saki proved herself to be far more resourceful and courageous than she initially appeared. It’s enough to make one wonder if Shinsekai‘s initial hesitance to provide character development was a deliberate attempt to throw the viewer off the scent.
  • Introducing sex. This arc marks Saki’s coming of age: not because she has sex for the first time (it’s implied this has happened before) but because for the first time she realizes what the conditioning she has been subjected to means. Her decision against having bonobo sex with Satoru marks her first act of revolt against the system, and heralds later events such as her hijacking Satoru’s programming to restore his Cantus.
  • Exploding the boundaries. Up to this arc, Shinsekai‘s been almost claustrophobic, an eerie exploration of a seemingly utopian society seen through a more typical school-days anime lens. With the introduction of queerrat tribes and the recontextualizing of history, this arc proved that Shinsekai is not so much about a restrictive school for PK users as it is about a massive, damaged world and the question of where a handful of dangerously empowered children fit within it. It looks like the next episode will remain within the bounds of society, but from here on out where the story will end is anyone’s guess.

To be honest, I’d say these past few episodes of Shinsekai have been the best this show has ever been. They’ve been inconsistent, especially considering the first few episodes. But I’ve been waiting this whole time for the show to reach beyond its boundaries and fully embrace the craziness of its world, and for me the introduction of the Queerats–far more varied and complex than anyone might have guessed–did just that. With the end of this arc, Shinsekai’s laid the groundwork for something that could be legitimately fantastic. It’s not quite there yet, but I’m more certain than ever that slowly but steadily, we’re getting there.

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7 responses to “Return; Shin Sekai Yori Episode 7

  1. Although Shinsekai is the one show I’m looking forward every week, it’s indeed clumsy at times. We never even got a flashback at what happened to the other group of kids. And that ending frame, you display above, was quite misleading, as it let the viewers expect sth really ominous. I hope more clarifications will come along the way…

    • I have noticed a bit of clumsy turns here and there but usually the themes and the presentation of the episode overall were so good that they overshadowed these faults. However, I just feel like Episode 7 is where these faults were so blunt that they couldn’t be overlooked, sadly. Hopefully SSY will be a little more tight next time? But I’d also like some answers – we’re nearing the 1/3 checkpoint and we still haven’t gotten any solid clarifications, like you’ve said. I guess we can only bide our time and hope? ^ ^

      • this year was full of ‘good’ shows but not even a single masterpiece… everything started promicing and along the way disappointed me- I really hope this doesn’t happen with Shinsekai Yori. It’d be a shame. Especially since it’s more solid than PSYCHOPASS

        • Hmm, I personally think if I had to choose a favorite, it’d be between Fujiko Mine and Jinrui, both which nearly hit the A mark for me? But I will admit that so far, no shows have earned a solid A rating in my book. Then again, I rarely give out that sort of mark unless its very well deserved, so.

          Lol, Psycho Pass. I have to admit I’m getting a tad bit impatient with how stiff it still is, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see from Urobuchi as to how interesting this show can possibly get…

  2. Pingback: Entering onto the Grand Stage | Chromatic Aberration Everywhere·

  3. I thought that their return home was realistic; they’re twelve and they don’t have much of a choice from most perspectives. It’s not as if there’s anything out there in the world that they can run away to (as far as they know); their choices are the village or living in the wilderness, dodging monks, queerrats, and anyone the village sends after them. No wonder they went back to the village to bluff it out.

    (From a story perspective I think it would change the nature of the story to have them run away and succeed; it’d almost have to stop exploring the society of the village, because the characters wouldn’t be around it any more. I think the story would be forced towards a much more adventure story model.)

    • After watching Episode 8, I understand the focus of the story and where it’s going, but from Episode 7 alone I think I was still a bit confused? To put it simply, there were a lot of points that needed fleshing out in my opinion – for example, the hierarchy and the clan workings of the queerats, or their ties to human beings; I also was amazed that the rest of the group was okay without anyone recounting what had happened to them. Even the whole ‘problem solved regarding the Cantus block!’ part felt forced and clumsy. But I do agree that going back would have been inevitable, though a daring but necessary risk.

      I personally would like the arc of exploring the village as well – to me, these episodes that were focused in the forest seemed a bit too adventurous to me, and I’m more into how the kids work back at home. My issue was just that there were some corners cut around – enough to bother me to the point where I got distracted by them. That isn’t to say that these questions can’t be answered in the future, but it made the ending all the more abrupt and thematically inconclusive in some areas.

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