Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Shin Sekai Yori (From the New World) - Episode 21

There seems to be no let-up in the Monster Rats' invasion of Kamisu 66, via a number of innovative and downright sneaky plots to overthrow their human masters.  Surely they can't hope to challenge Kaburagi Shisei, however?

Although they do surround him, it's very much clear that the Monster Rats have no chance against the town's protector... but what about if they had an Ogre to back them up?  Saki and Satoru's worst fears are confirmed as said Ogre arrives on the scene to wreak utter havoc amongst the remaining humans, and what's more it has a somewhat familiar face... a thought that perhaps isn't the main concern as Shisei is easily defeated by the Ogre.

However, Shisei's actions at least buy enough time for Saki and Satoru to escape the rampaging Ogre, and once their escape brings them into contact with an injured Monster Rat they learn what we ostensibly already knew - this rebellion has taken place due to the dismissive attitudes of the humans towards the Monster Rats, treating them as slaves and little more than an irritation with not a thought for the intellect or emotions of this race.  Mind you, if this is enough to leave you feeling sympathetic towards the Monster Rat cause, you may want to steal yourself for the next revelation about Yakomaru's master plan... the building of an Ogre army powerful enough to overthrow the entirety of Japan, if not the world, by stealing young human orphans.

Just as I was worried that this week's Shin Sekai Yori was going to be an exercise in revealing the obvious, so it proved itself to have been underestimated by me just as the humans in this show underestimate the Monster Rats - a couple of twists were all it took to usurp my expectations and take the show as it stands into some even darker territory.  All of this aids in making the series increasingly fascinating by the week - whenever you find a grounding to sympathise with one side in this current struggle, so something comes along to make you question their morality, and it's these shifting ethical sands that have really driven so much of Shin Sekai Yori in such a vastly compelling way... provided you don't end up hating everyone with its narrative, that is.  We seem to be all set up for a big finale with Saki in particular at its centre, and for all of its slower moments it feels as though this show is all set-up to end as an utter and thought-provoking story-telling triumph.

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