We’re back from the abyss of the previous episode, where we spent twenty minutes staring at Saki’s poorly animated crotch and crying over a dead puppy. This is back on the right track now.
I do think this show would do better if it had an extra season though. The pacing is fast.
The school board and / or ethics committee wipes Shuu’s existence from everyone’s memory. This shouldn’t be too surprising given what we’ve seen of the village so far.
But what’s far stranger is how instead of having Shuu die of natural causes or wiping all memories of his existence, they replace him with another boy. Why? Wouldn’t this also require them to change the memories of this other boy and his group? It seems like this will only cause increasing complications, with minimal discernible benefits.
Regardless, uncovering the missing memories was creepy enough. But this causes them to go even further back in their memories:
Damn, I didn’t see that one coming. So someone before Shuu was eliminated… Even though secrets are quickly coming to light, we’re discovering even more that remains hidden.
From when she was a child, Saki has differed from her classmates in her desire to know the truth. She was the one who wanted to keep talking to the false minoshiro. She was the one who wanted to see Shuu. Now, it’s Saki that wants to know what happened to her memories.
And in spite of everything that happens, she keeps going. No matter what happens, she gets out of bed the next morning. That’s what courage is.
And this is why Saki is chosen to head the ethics committee. There’s more to being a leader than that. But for the job the head of the ethics committee is required to do, it’s a good starting point.
The meeting with the ethics committee was brilliantly done. They’re summoned, and the people there are being really friendly, taking them through a typical hallway to meet Satoru’s grandmother. On the surface, nothing seems scary or out of the ordinary. But in the back of their minds, the children (and the viewer) are completely panicking. Something terrible is about to happen.
And then nothing does. The ethics committee are not the villains after all— it’s the nature of the world which requires such a horrible response (or perhaps not… but the school board seems to be more the villains there). In fact, Saki is in line to become the new leader of the ethics committee.
Even more remarkable, it’s solely due to the efforts of the ethics committee that any of the children are still alive. So it’s quite the twist.
Mamoru is weak. Or so we are told.
He wouldn’t be able to cope if he knew the truth.
Since a chain is only as strong as its weakest length, the society of this world needs to do everything it can to protect Mamoru. They need to lie to him and protect him from the truth, which will hurt him.
But is Mamoru really that weak? I’m not convinced he is.
Certainly, he doesn’t like to face things head on like Saki does. But he’s not the type to run away, like Maria seems to be. Recall how when everyone else was sexing it up like bonobos, Mamoru remained interested solely in Maria. It didn’t seem like a coping mechanism like the rest had, either. In this case, Mamoru was the only one who wasn’t fleeing from reality.
I’m going to hypothesize that the same is true now. Yes, he left. But was he fleeing from danger? I don’t think so. If he was, he would have stayed in the village like the others and continued to live his old life in constant fear. Instead, by learning the truth he was irreversibly changed. He set out to do something about it. I don’t think Mamoru is as weak as everyone seems to think he is.
This brings out the central issue I have with Shin Sekai Yori’s society. It’s the exact same issue we’ve been looking at in Psycho Pass. In Psycho Pass, the Sibyl system determines everyone’s potential to commit a crime. It doesn’t matter if they actually do commit a crime, or if their desire will go away in a few minutes. If, at the moment, a computer determines they’re likely to commit a crime, they’re on the slate to be eliminated. In Shin Sekai Yori we have the same thing— those with the potential to become mass murderers are eliminated before they can do so.
Yes, nipping these monsters in the bud saves the thousands of people who would be killed if someone went wild. But how many thousands of children are killed to prevent each such incident?
Ethically, this is indefensible. (The treatment of karma demons, while tragic, seems much more humane— no action is taken until the child’s fate is irreversible, and it is certain that they will cause drastic harm.) In fact, to take the measures they do, the village must change their definition of who has human rights:
When do children become human? It’s not entirely clear. And given this, I can understand where anti-abortion people are coming from. If young unborn children are indeed human, then abortion is murder. If they aren’t, it isn’t. (With that said, if anti-abortion people actually believed abortion was murder and that unborn babies are fully human, they should be much, much angrier than they are. But that’s another story…)
Questions of choice are mostly irrelevant if you’re working under the assumption that unborn fetuses are fully human… so I don’t entirely understand why pro-abortion advocates continue to focus largely on this single line of argument.
But back to Shin Sekai Yori. In this society, they’ve simply taken a different answer to when a child becomes fully human— on their seventeenth birthday. After all, a child is still developing up to that point. They aren’t fully human until they can control their cantus powers. That makes sense.
So it’s not a big deal to kill them off if something goes wrong. They aren’t fully human, after all, so it’s not a big loss.
The mental restraints on violence ends up enabling violence. Perhaps the human potential for violence is a necessarily trait after all.
Saki’s dream was crazy, but much less fucked up than the previous episode. I like this more subdued craziness better. They didn’t have to completely switch animation styles for it either.
Maria really seems to enjoy NTRing Mamoru. It’s hilarious how when she is telling Saki her ideas of why Mamoru ran away, she mentions everything except the two most obvious reasons: the conversation about Shuu, and Maria’s own romantic cruelty.