Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Shin Sekai Yori (From the New World) - Episode 3

After another flashback into the past of its world, and a plucky (and seemingly successful) attempt to assassinate the emporer of its time, we travel back a millenium forward from our current time to rejoin the main thread of Shin Sekai Yori.

As promised by its discussion last time out, this week's episode sees our group of kids allowed to roam free on a camping trip, giving both us and them an opportunity to check out the sights, sounds, flora and fauna.  It's the fauna that really drives this instalment for the most part however, as an evening camp-fire chat amongst the group inevitably turns into supposedly scary stories told by resident troublemaker Satoru.  Given how ridiculous his descriptions of "Balloon Dogs" and animals that will cause all who view them to die is, nobody is willing to take his tales seriously despite his protestations.  Nevertheless, their current locale at least offers them an opportunity to confirm any such scepticism for themselves by going in search of these mythical beasts.

While we're regaled by narrative voice-over suggesting that not only are these mythical creatures real, but that they're also freaks which exist outside the realms of evolution and alongside the growth of the human subconscious, the group makes the decision to straw further than they'd previously been given permission to do by grown-ups - it's a risky decision but one that seemingly pays dividends as they quickly find themselves glimpsing a "Demon Minoshiro", the aforementioned deadly creature previous mentioned by Satou.  Despite having some distinctly unnerving properties, encountering this beast doesn't seem to be fatal, emboldening the group to attempt to capture it - something which could well by the first leap down a massive rabbit hole as the true nature of the beast proves to be something entirely unexpected.

For a little while early in this episode, I was worried that things were threatening to stay too sedate and slow-paced for this third instalment of the series, but although things didn't accelerate massively during the course of its running time they nonetheless dangled some decidedly juicy carrots before us with its discussion of the origins of some of the world's weird and wonderful creatures followed by a fascinating revelation into the true purpose of the "Minoshiro".  This feels like it could well be the precursor to a major inflection point in Shin Sekai Yori's story, and it's grabbed my imagination so much that I really can't wait to see what it's going to do with it.  With any luck, we're on the brink of seeing a hefty chunk of the show's potential being realised very soon...

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