Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Shin Sekai Yori (From the New World) - Episode 18

The previous episode told us that something was seriously amiss in the world of the Monster Rats, in terms of not only their conflicts with one another but also the firepower at their disposal.  So what exactly is going on?

It's certainly a question that is vexing the concerned human parties in town as they pick over the remains of the Robber Fly colony's victory - a victory which came without any loss of life to them, massive injuries to all of their opponents and the complete disappearance of all weapons from the battlefield.  Throw in some arrows that were left completely undamaged even after they've been fired, and theories begin to emerge - has the colony managed to glean information on weapons of mass destruction from a False Minoshiro?  Or do they have human help from somebody with powers?  This latter question brings back some hard to swallow memories for Saki, as she hears it reiterated that there is absolutely no doubt that both Saki and Mamoru died some years previously after their escape from the village.  Is this really the truth, or have the Robber Fly colony pulled the wool over the eyes of their "Gods"?

In light of what is believed to be the case about the colony, the decision of the council is unequivocal - to wipe out the entire colony as soon as possible.  Given how sudden and without further investigation this decision to effectively commit genocide is, the potential for retribution is obvious yet ignored by the powers that be - a grave mistake as the Robber Fly's forces throw caution to the wind and launch a massive assault on their "superiors" and the human town.  It's an uprising that is quelled thanks to some of the vast powers available to the townsfolk but it isn't without its casualties, which in itself looks set to start another cycle of vengeance.

All of this leaves us with another superb episode of Shin Sekai Yori - on the surface it's a brutally compelling progression to the show's plot and some of its major concepts, but did a little deeper and it's much more than that, sporting as it does some obvious nods and probes in the general direction of international politics and foreign policy while also asking some major ethical questions about humanity.  Somehow, it manages to do this without ever feeling too judgemental, and even as a viewer you're left torn in your opinions on what is going on - the Robber Fly colony seem to deserve retribution for their actions, but the town council's quick decision to exterminate them and their clear motivations of revenge and disdain hardly make them paragons of justice either.  In short, Shin Sekai Yori excels in painting a world packing with shades of grey moralistically, and it's this which makes the venture increasingly compelling now that we've ventured into its world with adult eyes as our guides, which has proved to be a smart move.

1 comment:

Chelsea Jones said...

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