Holy crap, has Ariana finally caught up with this series?

Anyway, now that I’m caught up with the latest episodes, I’ll start doing one review a week.  That should hopefully be doable for me with my schedule.

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Saki looks nice with long hair!

Episode 8 Summary:

Two years have passed since the camping trip incident, and everyone at Sage Academy has started developing romantic relationships.  Satoru and Shun are now a couple, while Saki and Maria have started going out, leaving poor Mamoru all alone.  Even so, Saki feels pained when she sees Satoru and Shun together.

…These kids do not look 14. :/

Unfortunately, romance problems are the least of their worries.  Shun suddenly breaks up with Satoru out of the blue, and things worsen when he’s singled out by a powerful Canti user.  Not long after that, Saki meets with Shun by chance, and he tells her some grave news: he’s been forced to leave the school to undergo “special treatment” for his condition.  He also tells Saki that they’ve probably been monitored closely by the school since that incident two years ago.  Right before he leaves, he hands Saki a charm to keep Filthy Cats away, and warns her to be wary of them.

Hopefully this isn’t the final goodbye they have…

Episode 9 Summary:

Love the lighting in this episode.

Shun has been absent from school for four days, so Satoru convinces the others to go looking for him.  Maria and Mamoru are tasked with searching the school grounds for clues, while Saki and Satoru decide to go to Shun’s house.  Shun lives in a village called Pinewind, so Saki and Satoru take a boat there.  However, they see that the village entrance has been roped off, so they end up having to take the long route.  Even so, there are barriers everywhere, along with many other sinister sights, causing Saki and Satoru’s worries to deepen.  When they finally find Shun’s house, they find that it has been burned to the ground.

Later that night, Saki returns to her home, and questions her parents about Shun.  It’s only then that she learns that Shun and his family have been listed as “missing.”  Saki inquires about this more, but her parents command her to stop asking about forbidden things.  As Saki suddenly leaves the dining table, her mother tearfully cries that Saki should listen and obey her parents’ requests, as she doesn’t want to lose another child.

Oh dear…

That night, Saki ponders the meaning of her name: “youngest child.”  It’s only then that Saki remembers… she had an older sister, didn’t she?  However, she doesn’t get to muse on this bit of information long, as Maria suddenly appears at her window in tears.  Maria tells Saki about what she and Mamoru found out at the school—all the students from Pinewind were absent.  Maria and Mamoru then decided to check out the school’s inner grounds on a whim, and were shocked to find Filthy Cats.  What’s even more shocking, however, is that the Cats are being controlled by the teachers of the school, and that two have been sent out to hunt for Shun.

I know that the animals in Saki’s world are pretty bizarre, but these do not even vaguely look like cats… which I suppose makes them all the more creepy.

After Maria leaves, Saki decides to go out to Shun’s village once again to look for Shun.  What she finds instead is a Cat.

My Opinion:

I really wish *flailing arms around like an idiot* was a sufficient review, because things just got SERIOUS.  Although episode 7 ended on an ominous note, the start of episode 8 was benign enough.  But of course, things started going downhill very, very fast.

Episode 8 was quite a shocking episode.  Shun and Satoru have gotten together, and Saki seems to have a growing romance with Maria?!  Quite a few people were upset by Shun and Satoru’s antics (mostly guys), but all I can say is “well that was unexpected.”  From the previous episodes, there didn’t seem to be much romantic chemistry between them, but a lot can change in two years, so it’s not too far-fetched.  The same can be said for Saki and Maria’s relationship.  Poor Mamoru though… Poor Mamoru.

This episode did a nice job of introducing drama without seeming forced.  Shun was shown to already be having problems (highlighted by his sudden breaking up with Satoru), so his sudden “treatment” was to be expected.  The only problem I had with this episode was that the kids look waaaaaay older than 14.  They already looked 14 when they were officially 12; so now that they’re actually 14 they look like they’re 17 or something.  Seriously.

Moving on to episode 9, I think that this is the best one we’ve had so far for Shin Sekai Yori.  The tension the kids were feeling was portrayed perfectly through the use of light and shadows in various scenes.  Not to mention that we learn so much about Saki and her world in this episode.

When Saki and Satoru first enter Pinewind, what they find are depressions in the ground that look like screaming faces, red flowers, dead moths, and frost on the ground.  This unusual environment instantly makes Shun’s (seemingly abandoned) village seem extremely creepy.  There’s also Maria and Mamoru’s gruesome discovery, which cements the notion that the school really is weeding out students who show a possibility of becoming a “karma demon.”

Saki’s interactions with her parents are also wonderfully portrayed, revealing to us the new world’s stringent rules and extreme secrecy.  Electricity is rationed in Saki’s world, suggesting a shortage (or recent wiping out) of modern technology.  There is also the fact of what happened to Saki’s sister… What’s most scary to me about Saki’s realization is that it meant Saki actually forgot about her sister.  Although Saki was probably rather young when she last saw her sister, it seems very odd to me that she would forget having one so easily.  This definitely points to something more sinister—probably the villages’ doing?

Overall, these are two great episodes that you do not want to miss if you’ve been keeping up with the series.  Unfortunately, it ends on one of the greatest cliffhangers of all time.  Though… (possible spoilers except not really but I’ll still change the text to white just in case): it seems like Saki is the one narrating this whole story since the beginning, as an adult woman.  Which means that these events have already transpired.  If she’s the one telling the story, then she’ll obviously survive till the end.  But the fates of the other four kids are up in the air for now.  Including Shun’s.

Out of five for episode 8:

      

Out of five for episode 9:

        

~~~~~

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