On the Eighth Day of Anime: Succumbing to the Atmosfear. (Shinsekai Yori)

Saki’s last memories of Maria and Mamoru are a farewell in the outskirts of their village. Without being in contact with either of them, she’s spent upwards of nine years just thinking. Thinking of what might have happened to them. Wondering if they’re in danger. Worrying if they’re dead. We’re never given any details of their future after the events of Part 2, and Part 3 does not even attempt to visualize what may have happened to them. We’re only privy to Saki’s inner torment. Despite this, we have an idea of what their fate is. Saki, most of all, knows. They were most likely dead.

Yet that is only a feeling, a fleeting emotion due to stress and worry. We are not shown this to be true. Since we’re never given any evidence, why should we believe that they’re dead? Why, really, should we dwell on such worrying thoughts?

(Hi10)_Shinsekai_Yori_-_17_(720p)_(UTW).mkv_snapshot_20.42_[2013.12.20_21.42.09]

Much of Shinsekai Yori’s tension and stress is of our own making. As such, this is one of many aspects of Shinsekai Yori where what is feared is best left unsaid, and most of all unseen. We know that Reiko disappears in the first episode, and that Saki has a sibling who may have disappeared in the same way, but we’re left to wonder exactly how that happens. Then we’re told about copycats. Is there a connection between those? Obviously. But the anime does not connect those ideas together. We do. What manifests in this anime is a fear that is born of our own curiosity, our own deductions. There is no confirmation in Part 1, no explicit scene where Reiko is shown to be eaten or killed by a tainted cat, but it’s likely. And as long as that likelihood still exists, so does the unease. So does the fear. We get the confirmation that we need in Part 2. We see it almost happen to Mamoru, and Saki encounters one of them herself. The anime finally gives us the satisfaction that we were right, but it is not something to be celebrated. You feel worse after connecting the dots. There is immediate regret, perhaps despair.

Now, imagine this.

Think back to Part 3 where we’re teased about the existence of a fiend. What also exists, however, is a desire to know about it. What does it look like? Is it human? Most of all, is it someone they know? You get this feeling, this hope, that everything will start to turn around once you figure out all of these answers. That, when given the chance, all the mysteries behind this killer would lead to an end to this miserable situation, this dreadful war between the psychics and the queerats. This is, however, merely an additional worry for Saki. Upon this, there is also her questions about Maria and Mamoru, about how they fared after they parted ways with each other. There is this assumption that, if she were to find out all of these questions, she could stop worrying. She could be released from the nightmare.

A closer look at the fiend shows shows that it’s a small child. Saki does not recognize its face. She does, however, recognize its long, wavy magenta hair. She is familiar, perhaps intimately, with its turquoise eyes.  Maria had those same eyes. That hair is strikingly similar to Mamoru’s. It’s their child. They were supposed to be with the queerats. We’re fighting queerats right now. Why aren’t they with their child? Where are they? I know Maria and Mamoru. They would never allow their own child to-

Oh, no.

(Hi10)_Shinsekai_Yori_-_21_(720p)_(UTW).mkv_snapshot_04.14_[2013.12.20_21.55.18]

The greatest fear of this anime has finally been given a name. At the same time, the fate of Maria and Mamoru has been confirmed. We are given the answer. We got what we want. Saki gets her catharsis. There is no satisfaction. There is no hope.

There is only despair.

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