Merry Christmas everybody! Have a Shin Sekai Yori review.

As always, there are SPOILERS ahead.

Be prepared to see a lot of white in this episode.


Saki, Maria, and Satoru continue their search for Mamoru.  Eventually, they find sled tracks and discover that he’s crossed the Holy Barrier and into the mountains beyond.  After more hours of searching, they discover that Mamoru may have fallen off a cliff as the sled tracks end there.  After going down the mountain, they find goblinrat tracks and follow that to a small hut between two large trees.

I wanted to say this last episode, but I really love Saki’s earmuff things.

Man, it’d be really handy to be able to ski UPHILL. Too bad we don’t have esper powers.

Saki and friends find Mamoru there, seemingly safe and healthy.  Apparently, he had been saved by a goblinerat that Saki had saved two years earlier.  However, Mamoru has troubling things to tell his friends.  He explains to them why he ran away: he was the next in line to be executed.  Although Maria and Satoru try to comfort him by saying that it’s simply him worrying too much, Mamoru has proof that he’s being targeted.  For several days past, a Filthy Cat has been trailing him.  This pretty much cements the fact that he’s going to be executed, but Satoru wonders why the school would want Mamoru of all people to be eliminated.

This actually looks really cozy.

Suddenly, Mamoru remembers something that seems to be part of the memories that Saki and her friends lost.  He remembers seeing the Filthy Cats in the school’s inner yard.  Maria suddenly remembers seeing them too.  The episode ends with Saki and her friends shocked with this revelation.


My Opinion:

A very slow-paced episode this time, with not much as much gorgeous scenery as in the past.  I suppose there can’t be too much interesting scenery when most of this episode’s story takes place on a snowy mountain, though.  The colors for this episode were very subdued, which you could probably tell just from looking at my screencaps above.

The first half of this episode was almost a bit boring to watch, with Saki, Maria, and Satoru just running about trying to find Mamoru.  The one thing that keeps it interesting is that you’re left wondering what exactly happened to Mamoru each time Saki and her friends find another clue to where he went.  So in that sense I think the producers did a good job of writing out that scene.  I feel that the search was just the right length to make it seem intense, but not too long that the episode feels wasted.

After Saki and friends find Mamoru, he delivers a very worrisome report.  Shun has already been wiped out, and now it seems that Mamoru is next?  Will Saki’s circle of friends continue to get smaller the more they attempt to uncover the secrets that the school is hiding?  What will happen to Maria should Mamoru actually be executed?  She seems to be the one who would be most affected by Mamoru’s death.  There’s also a strong hint that she’ll be responsible for something grave down the line, as foreshadowed by the narrator in one of Shin Sekai Yori’s past episodes.  Shun became a Karma demon and died, so would Mamoru’s death (by Filthy Cat) cause Maria to turn into a Fiend?

Speculation aside, this episode seemed to have some animation issues.  I’m not sure if it was intended or not, but the faces of all the characters looked very odd, especially in close-ups.  The animation for the characters’ movements also seemed very strange and crude compared to past episodes.  Because the art-shift in episode 5 was actually intended, I’m not sure if this is actual QUALITY ANIMATION or not. It doesn’t affect the story quality, but it does make for a somewhat uninteresting episode visually.

Overall, this episode strikes me as one of the weaker episodes in the Shin Sekai Yori series.  It’s not an episode you’d want to miss for the revelation at the end, but it doesn’t seem as strong as past ones.  Even so, Shin Sekai Yori’s “worst” episode is still pretty good when compared to… well, a lot of other anime.

Out of five:

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