Shin Sekai Yori

November 17, 2013

We dream that technology advances would spur human to greater heights and achieve the utopia that we always wanted. All the great inventions of the future would soon become the norm and everyday life. Well, if that works out fine. What happens if it doesn’t? Instead, humanity takes another step, no. make that hundreds more steps backwards. The world of the future is somewhat a dystopian place. A pitiful state. Bleak future. If not treaded carefully, it could bring the collapse and the end of civilization as we know it. Before I start going astray and scaring off people about the possible gloom doom about our planet, let me assure you that this was the picture I had in mind when I browsed through briefly over the synopsis of the anime Shin Sekai Yori (From The New World). Seems that instead of prospering like we dreamt we should, we went the other way. Depressing, isn’t it?

Based on the novel of the same name (which I never read of course), the story is set in the future, a millennium from now. People are able to use magic. Although it won’t be the flashy kind that we see in animes and comics. Our protagonists are a group of young teenager born and raised in a peaceful town that may seem like utopia. Didn’t I say it was dystopia earlier? Well, that’s what happens when you discover the truth. The bloody truth of how the world and humanity came to be. Still waters run deep. Sometimes the truth is better left unknown. And because what has been seen cannot be unseen, our group of friends soon get involved in a life threatening adventure. A fight for survival, a fight to protect their friends and a fight to save humanity from the brink of destruction. Where’s a superhero when you need one?

Episode 1
The episode opens with random scenes of kids using some kind of weird powers to do some bloody massacre. A millennium from now, Saki Watanabe undergoes a ritual in the Temple of Purity as her passage to adulthood. She is being taught by the old priest to throw away her worldly desires and make the flames tremble. Saki remembers one night the things in her room start levitating and her parents are overjoyed that this is a sign she has become an adult by receiving the Spirit of Blessing and will now graduate from Harmony School and attend Sage Academy. At the end of the ritual, Saki’s Cantus (magic) has been sealed. She becomes a new student at Sage Academy and her friends, Maria Akizuki, Satoru Asahina, Shun Aonuma, Mamoru Itou and Reiko Amano welcome the late bloomer. The friends are whole once more. They reminisce some of the events they did back in Harmony School but in Sage Academy they practice their abilities in addition to covering normal subjects. Saki didn’t like the next period called Fiends and Karma Demon but Maria assures her this is just the abridged version they learnt. I don’t want to dwell so much on this because it felt like a horror story!!! It still gives me the creeps. In short, this story tells about a boy who wandered outside the Holy Barrier and encountered a Fiend. He sacrificed his life so that the Fiend never found the village. The class practise their abilities as a group like drawing or stacking cards using their mental force. They aren’t doing well since Reiko seems to be the weakest in the team.

After school, the friends talk about rumours that people who never graduated from Harmony School disappeared. There is a door whereby the only time you can catch glimpse of what is inside it is when the teachers open it. Some say they saw graves inside. Another rumour has it that someone saw a giant cat shadow of a Copycat at school. They are always after students. This has Saki to remember her mom comforting her when she was taking too long to graduate from school. She worries that if she doesn’t graduate, the Copycat will come after her. Her mom laughs it off it doesn’t exist. Saki wasn’t convinced because she thought she saw one. Back home when Saki eats dinner with her parents, they talk to her about her first day at Sage Academy. They also tell her about their time at the academy. But Saki’s mind is more preoccupied with something else. One night, she heard her parents talking. Mother was worried about Saki and to a point she is about to break into hysteria that she doesn’t want to lose anymore of her children! She is very worried because Saki said she saw a Tainted Cat but father tries to calm her down thinking she might be just seeing things. Saki wonders what her mom meant when she said she was relieved that she got into Sage Academy. Father explains that they were worried when the spirits were taking too long. He also tells her to be appreciative of their little Cantus. Saki doesn’t seem convinced and leaves the table. A few days later, Reiko vanished from school.

Episode 2
This is another long story I don’t want to dwell on as it seems like something horror. About a bad boy who’s karma spiralled out of control and became some Karma Demon after losing all his humanity. A month after Reiko’s disappearance, it is time for Sage Academy’s team ball tournament. It looks weird but I’m not going to dwell into the finer details because I don’t really understand. A team is supposed to use their Cantus to shove a big ball into a hole in the opponent’s area while the opponent tries to prevent it via some clay dolls before time runs out. So Saki’s team made it into the finals and their opponents surprisingly weren’t the strong favourites because they lost to another team in some accident. The finals begin with Saki’s team doing a trickery by covering up the hole so it is not a violation of changing the battlefield outlay. They were moments away from winning when their opponent, especially Manabu Katayama smashes his clay doll into theirs. The judge-cum-teacher Endou announces the results to be a draw and considers this unfortunate event as an accident. The guys rue that Manabu had played dirty and the team had no qualms in breaking the rules. It was something similar that happened to the group they defeated in the semi-finals. Shortly, Manabu goes missing. Saki and her friends are walking home one day and see a couple of Monster Rats. Saki remembers father telling her they were brought in to help with the village’s construction. The children must never see them as Monster Rats obey humans with Cantus like Gods. Since children do not have them, there is not telling how they will react. Also, they might be secret rebelling. One of the Monster Rats falls into the river so Saki wants to help them despite knowing if the school finds out, they’ll be in trouble. Saki uses her Cantus to lift the drowning Monster Rat. Both are grateful to them (despite they’re speaking in a different language). From the writing on their foreheads, they note the Monster Rats are from Goat Moth colony. The friends agree to keep this incident a secret. Soon the friends go on a school summer camp. The missing case of Reiko and Manabu were soon forgotten. Saki narrates Maria was born 2 weeks after her. Her birth was premature and condition even worse than hers. Had she not been born, untold numbers would have been spared.

Episode 3
The friends row up the river and make a camp. They talk about the mysterious Balloon Dog and think it is some story to scare others (because its self defence mechanism has it to blow up like a balloon and explode. Sounds unrealistic, eh?). This leads them to talk about some evil Minoshiro. Nobody has ever seen it because those who do die. They want to investigate if such stories are true since they are out here. It is narrated that literature hardly mentions about Minoshiro since it is largely censored. It must have come into existence several centuries ago. This is not only true for Minoshiro but other species as well due to evolution. The next morning, the quintet row upstream. They leave their kayaks at the bay and make their way by foot up the mountains. Suddenly Minoshiro appears before them! What the heck is this shiny creature?! However Saki realizes she is the only one reacting while the rest were stunned like statues. It walks pass them and disappear. The friends note that when they saw its light, their mind went blank. Saki didn’t because perhaps she was wearing a sunglass. They want to catch it. But first they caught a pair of giant crab-like creatures. Suddenly it starts running into a cave. They bring out the Minoshiro! Its radiance stuns the friends as Saki uses her Cantus to pull apart those antennas and threaten to pull out more if it doesn’t stop using that light hypnosis. Minoshiro gives up and Saki’s friends return to their consciousness. They have lots of things to ask this walking library. So where are all the books? All stored and archived in 980 petabytes of holographic memory! That’s 15 zeroes, baby! The kids aren’t convinced and think it is using difficult words to confuse them. Saki threatens to tear apart the antennas so it says all records stored inside can be accessed any time. I’m sure they have lots to ask.

Episode 4
Guess what? They need to have some membership to gain access. And so it lists down all the crappy documents they need to join!!! How to solve this? The kids think of ripping off its skin and hack it! Suddenly Minoshiro waives all the requirements. Wow!!! This is one of the very confusing episodes because it explains. Yes. Lots of words and terms. What the heck is going on I still don’t know. From what I can tell, the kids about Karma Demon so Minoshiro says it is some sort of syndrome, blah, blah, blah. It adds that the emergence of the world’s population of psychokinesis (PK) users grew to 0.3% but they became so powerful that they become terrorists. As a result the world’s population took a steep dive. Human societies were split into 4 competing groups: 1) Slave empires ruled by PK; 2) Hunter-gatherer tribes without PK wishing to escape such threat; 3) Bandits using PK for crimes; and 4) Scientists seeking to preserve all ancient knowledge. The more Minoshiro continues with the dark tragic bloody history of mankind, the more the kids feel unstable, thinking it is making up lies to confuse them. To answer their question about the scientist’s society, realizing the dangerous potential of PK, they placed importance of education and research followed by psychological influences. Tests show it can be used to filter out children who violate rules. Since then, removal of children posing potential threat became a generally accepted solution (remember those missing kids?). Next, the research focused on bonobos, a society of primates. When anxiety rises, males and females will resort to sexual play to reduce such stress. But such tests show it wasn’t sufficient and an additional restraint on violence was needed. One was personal restraint and the other called death feedback. The latter uses their PK to stop organ functions to stop them from doing say, killing. Carrying on would kill the person outright.

As for the question if society was specifically made to prevent the appearance of Fiends and Karma Demons, Minoshiro suddenly burns in flames. The kids see a woman holding a baby in the flames. Those flames are the Cantus of a monk, Rijin. He claims they have violated some rules and wants them to follow him back to the temple. They want to know if what Minoshiro said was a lie but Rijin says nothing except their minds have been poisoned by a demon. He then seals their Cantus. On the journey down, they are attacked a Monster Rat. Noting they have no tattoo and are not from wild colonies, they are foreign Monster Rats who have invaded these lands. Rijin easily burns the Monster Rat’s bow and arrows before killing it. Continuing their trekking, the ground then shakes before an army of Monster Rats appear before them. Rijin uses his Cantus to slaughter them all. Rijin is clearly weakened after the massacre. The kids think it is death feedback because the Monster Rats look like humans from afar and it is taking effect. Suddenly a Balloon Dog emerges from the heap of corpses and charges towards them.

Episode 5
Rijin sacrifices himself to protect the kids when the Balloon Dog blows itself up. They see more Monster Rats beyond the forest. They want to run but Satoru says it will only give them an avenue to chase and attack. They don’t know they have their Cantus sealed yet. But when they try to escape, the Monster Rats start chasing them. They split into groups but Saki and Satoru are captured. The duo are placed in a cage. They display their sexual intimacy as explained by Minoshiro but Saki stops it. Needing to find a way to get out, the duo use their brains by making the guarding Monster Rat to eat some fake egg. Its stomach blows up. They make their escape till they fall into a chasm. Deep underground, they are greeted by a Monster Rat of the Robber Fly colony, Squealer. He can speak in human tongue and treats them like Gods. He takes them to see their queen. Though they are welcomed, Squealer’s carelessness causes the queen’s tent to burn and the ugly queen becomes enraged and tries to eat him! Only Saki’s intervention to forgive him saved his life. Later they learn that those foreign Monster Rats are from the Ground Spider colony. Several days ago they declared war Robber Fly colony. They are short of manpower (rat power actually) since special envoys were sent to neighbouring colonies for assistance. That will take time and they can’t afford to be attacked now. That’s why the appearance of these ‘Gods’ are a blessing. Should they lose, they will be treated as slaves for the rest of their lives and their queen executed. He hopes they will bring down the iron hammer on them. That night, the Ground Spider colony attacks. Satoru takes Saki and run. Satoru’s quick thinking saves them from the combustible poison gas filling up the underground caverns. But they are only thrown deeper into the underground. Satoru tries to prod the ceiling to make a way out but it starts to cave in.

Episode 6
They are still alive and safe from the poisonous gas at least for now. Saki starts seeing visions of Minoshiro and remembers a way to return Satoru’s Cantus. She uses the ritual she remembers and it works. His first use is to blow up the ceiling for a way out. Saki wants to run but Satoru wants to take the fight to them. Satoru revels in using his Cantus to counter Ground Spiders’ attack. By uprooting trees and rocks to fall on them and even moving their dead corpse as puppets against them. He’s enjoying it. Saki thinks he has changed into a different person but Satoru won’t rest till all the Ground Spiders are eliminated. They stumble upon Squealer and his Robber Fly troop and they pledge to protect them. They will also help guide them to Ground Spiders’ nest colony. They take the long way and manage to stave off ambushes, decoys and surprise attacks with Satoru’s quick thinking and action. But as they go on more, Satoru’s weariness is beginning to show. Saki chides Squealer for getting them into danger because he assured them with scouts that the route they take would be safe. How many ambushes have they been through? A scout comes back with information that enemy forces have gathered at a wide space unobstructed by trees. It might seem to make them at a disadvantage but when they see it with their own eyes, they begin to understand why. The entire colony is there. Can you defeat such huge numbers?

Episode 7
They continue to observe the enemy but they start firing arrows. Saki has Squealer locate their nest and wants Satoru to burn the trees where the nest is located. When they start hurling rocks, Squealer flees. Satoru continues to push his limits by hurling those rocks back. Saki takes him and run. They are shocked to see Squealer confiding with the enemy. In that distraction, Squealer kills his captors. Saki is upset he sold them out but Squealer was afraid they were abandoning him. They abandon him? Didn’t he run first? Satoru is too tired to run now when they hear the sounds of Giant Hornet colony. Reinforcements have arrived. They meet their leader, Kiroumaru but Satoru wants Saki not to show any weaknesses. Even though Giant Hornets are most loyal to human, it is the more reason why they must be careful. Kiroumaru has captured Ground Spiders’ nestlings and will distribute them to other colonies. Kiroumaru wants to talk to Ground Spiders’ commander but the latter makes a surprise attack sending out Balloon Dogs. Thanks to Satoru, everyone on their side was saved. Resting in a hut, Satoru and Saki discuss about what Minoshiro said. If what it said was true, they would be targeted and get rid of next just like how children go missing from Harmony School and Sage Academy every year. Thinking Kiroumaru may have reported them to the committee, since humans face death feedback, perhaps those Monster Rats were sent to kill them out here. That night when they try to escape, they are surprised Squealer follows them. He wants to protect them. But why come alone? He came unprepared. He guides them through the forest when they see a hawk soaring the sky. It acts as Kiroumaru’s reconnaissance. When morning comes, Saki and Satoru reunite with Maria, Shun and Mamoru. They paddle their kayaks as fast as they could but realize Kiroumaru’s naval fleet is gaining fast upon them. However he helps guide them get back. He hopes they will keep this a secret from others because if it was found out, it would mean his death. It proves he has gotten his orders from the committee. They finally parted ways. Camping at the river side, they help each other to restore their Cantus and outwit the adults when they got back. Or so they think.

Episode 8
Two years have passed. Saki and co continue to harness their power at Sage Academy. It seems that Saki and Maria are close to being the point of yuri, it is the same with Satoru and Shun. As long as you love, it doesn’t matter how you love, eh? So close the guys that Saki feels disturbed. I mean, they actually kissed!!! Yaoi fans should love this scene. Saki can’t take it and releases some of her frustration by getting yuri with Maria. Has anybody notice Mamoru getting lonely? Maybe he’s into Maria but she’s not that interested in him. One day, Shun makes a shocking revelation. He tells Satoru he is tired of being his doll and wants to break up. He wants to be alone and distances himself from his friends. Satoru is devastated but quickly finds another mate, Rei just to spite Shun. Not working. In class, the great Shisei Kaburagi pays a visit. Everyone tries to use their Cantus to earn some of his praise but Shun caught Shisei’s attention. He whispered some words into his ear and then leaves. I don’t know what kind of expression that was from Shun. Was he happy? Was he going crazy? Endou ends the class and when Saki approaches him, his egg drop. When it cracks, Saki is horrified to see an eye inside. Later Saki talks to Shun about his break up but he can’t say. He doesn’t think she will understand and only reveals he will be away for a while. He will be out of school to receive special treatment. Saki can’t visit him either since he won’t be at home anymore but some rehabilitation bungalow. She wanted to confess she loves him but he cuts her off. Reminding him about their summer camp 2 years ago. The adults knew it all the time and for some reason, they’re delaying punishment to them. They may be under constant surveillance. Shun warns Saki to be wary of the cats and gives her a charm against one.

Episode 9
It has been 4 days since Shun stopped coming to class. The friends talk about the possibility of being on constant surveillance and the need to find Shun. They split themselves up as Satoru takes Saki to the Pinewind village. It has been many years Saki has been there, Shun’s hometown. Upon arrival, they are shocked to see the place cordoned off. They try to take the long way but it seems the woods are also barricaded. Entering the barrier, they see weird things. Like a Monster Rat and frost on the ground. Arriving at a big hole, they see some people trying beneath it. Saki has Satoru use his Cantus to create a mirror so she can see what is down there. She is shocked to see a tree, one she remembers from Shun’s house. When Saki returns home, her parents are busy arguing about improving facilities, this and that. Saki asks them if they know what happened to Shun. Father tells her talking things like that are forbidden. He adds about facing hardships in life and that parting with friends is one of them. However he lets her know that an accident has befallen on Pinewind. Shun and his family are missing. Saki is outraged nobody told her but mother tells her not to talk back and not to pry into the wrong things. Saki leaves to rest in her room. Mother pleads she doesn’t want to lose another before correcting herself she doesn’t want to lose her. Saki thinks deep what her mother meant till she realizes her name means ‘youngest child’. Then she remembers Yoshimi. Where did she go? Suddenly Maria is knocking on her window. She is scared that they were almost killed. Seems she and Mamoru entered one of those storage rooms that were off limits. They see locked storage drums but when they press their ears onto one of them, they hear those growling sounds. They had to hide when they hear adult voices coming in. They couldn’t see their faces but recognized one of their voices to be Endou. From what they hear, the adults lament about sending the Tainted Cats, Black and Stripes to settle something before he turns into a full Karma Demon. They unlock the drum and use their Cantus to restrain the cats to bring them somewhere. That’s when they heard Shun’s name. In the dead of the night, Saki flees her village to warn Shun but comes across with a Tainted Cat.

Episode 10
The Tainted Cat attacks but thanks to Shun’s charm she’s wearing over her neck, its teeth couldn’t penetrate. Saki chants some words to kill it. Did she twist it like a ragged cloth? She continues walking till she reaches a strange area and knows this is Shun’s presence. He wants her to leave but she isn’t till he tells her what is going on. Masked Shun brings her into his distorted bungalow and will allow her to stay maximum 10 minutes. He starts explaining the real problem comes from the human heart. Something about their subconscious is greater. Despite humans’ best efforts, they cannot control it and is always unpredictable. Cantus is the most tangible manifestation of it. Many methods were tried to seal or purify them but in the end it always slips through the holes opened by their consciousness. This will change the world. That is what the Holy Barrier is for. Not for external threats but to keep internal threats from seeping out. Their Cantus may not change the world overnight, but accumulating it over the years, there is no telling what will happen. After all, they were conditioned since young to be fearful of the outside world. Since that dark boundless world also exists within them, it becomes their subconscious and by linking it with the outside world, they direct such slippages outside the Holy Barrier. The Cantus outside the barrier may have mutated and evolved many creatures like the Minoshiro. Saki doesn’t want to know all that but what is happening to him. Everything around him is distorted. His subconscious has gone out of control resulting in extreme slippages of Cantus. He will turn into a Karma Demon. Even his loyal dog looks like a monster. The head priest has tried sealing it but like a broken lid, nothing will it back any longer. Saki blames herself for not restoring his Cantus properly then. He tells her he is trying his best to withhold warping her. His parents died because of him and he doesn’t want anyone else he loves to die in front of him. A Tainted Cat breaks into the room and tries to kill Shun but his dog saves him and dies. Shun doesn’t hold back his slippages and kills the Tainted Cat with his distortion. He blames himself for his indecisiveness. He knew his dog can never stop the Tainted Cat but went to rescue him still. He could’ve saved it by killing the Tainted Cat first. He reveals he was given pills when first brought to this place. He took them but didn’t die. His subconscious desire to survive must have altered its elements. He is tired of it all and wants to end. Saki is forced to flee as the distortion starts destroying the surroundings. Shun confesses he had always loved her. Shun gets engulfed by the distortion and Saki vows she must stay alive.

Episode 11
Saki seems down and Maria thought she is worried if Ryou Inaba would choose her. Ryou who? The guy from their group who had his eyes on her all the time. Did he? Speaking of the devil, he wants to talk to Saki. Seems he wants to choose her for the duty pair. During winter, students are paired up for duties and the pair will consist of a boy and a girl if they both truly love each other. However Saki cannot remember doing things during that summer camp with Ryou although he insists he was there. Something feels wrong. Flashback reveals Saki was at Shun’s grave. She heard his voice that told her how his tombstone had no name just like the others. Then he told her to look in a mirror. A bright flash engulfed her. Next thing, she woke up in her room, no memories of him. Then she found a mirror in the storeroom, cleaned it and when she let some light reflect on it, she sees Yoshimi’s name. Later Saki calls Ryou to talk to him. She asks him several questions. First, the things he told her on that camping night. He can’t remember but even if he guessed, it was wrong. Not what Saki remembered. Then she asks about breaking up with Satoru. He gives an ambiguous answer. Final question. About summer camp again. He must remember how Rijin died. He doesn’t know who he is. This has Saki ascertain it isn’t him and turns him down for the duty pair. Then she talks to Satoru about this. Ryou is not the person they both fell in love with. So for duty pair, Saki ends up with Satoru while Maria with Mamoru. The quartet talk about Ryou. Maria doesn’t believe he wasn’t part of their group all along. Saki believes there is another person but not Ryou, though she can’t remember. Satoru also has this feeling and thinks their memories have been altered. To make it simple, they call this person ‘X’. Compared to Ryou, Satoru remembers playing at X’s house, which is very much different from Ryou’s. Saki has him name the 7 main villages and they remember X’s house is in Withertree (formerly known as Pinewood). They decide to go there to check things out.

The village is rundown void of people. There is a big lake which they don’t remember. They can’t go further than the Holy Barrier placed around. Maria too understands what Saki and Satoru felt but Mamoru thinks they may just be remembering things wrongly. They further have this strange feeling that X was there before Ryou. Even so, there was another girl member in their group. What about the discussion they had something similar to this during summer camp? They just can’t remember. It’s like slipping through their finger tips. Mamoru becomes upset they shouldn’t be doing this further since this is violating the Code of Ethics. Later Saki shows Maria and Satoru a mirror with Yoshimi’s name. Saki thinks she was disposed by the school as the writing on this mirror was bad and proof of her beginner level Cantus. If she died in an accident or illness, there was no need to cover up. Maria doesn’t want Saki to dig further but she wants to know the truth. Maria is worried about her friends who are alive now. She notes Saki as strong because she is enduring pain that others normally couldn’t bear. She is able to shoulder the sadness and live on. But the rest may not be strong as her or even them. Mamoru. She knows he can’t cope with betrayal from someone he trusted so it is better off they do not know many things in this world. Because the truth can be the cruellest. If Saki continues to dig up the truth, Mamoru may lose it. But Saki can’t turn back now or else it will haunt her. A couple of adults want the trio to follow them. They claim they work under Satoru’s grandma, Tomiko who is the head of the Ethics Committee. The girls are surprised and think Satoru is a spy but he too doesn’t know his grandma is the head since members of Ethics Committee aren’t public knowledge. The trio will take turns talking to the committee and first up is Saki, whom Tomiko has specifically requested for.

Episode 12
Tomiko looks young… Seems the reason she wants to speak to Saki was because she wants her to eventually succeed her. Saki didn’t think her grades are good enough but apparently it is not the only thing and Cantus that is assessed. Saki has strong personality index and this means her mental stability is strong enough to make her remain the same person when something unexpected happens. Her score is probably the highest in history. When she learnt the truth of mankind’s dark bloody history from the Minoshiro, her personality index stabilized quickly (when the kids returned from the camp, they were each examined thoroughly). Saki’s other qualities like broad thinking and nerves of steel makes her a good leader. The kids weren’t disposed then since it is not their jurisdiction but the Board of Education. Though Ethics Committee has the highest authority in town, they don’t interfere with their decisions. Theirs was an exception. Not because of Satoru but Saki. She feels she is indispensible. Reminding her 2 things in this world they should fear, Fiends and Karma Demon, many people have never seen a Fiend but Tomiko had a close encounter with one. There was this boy called K. He had this desire for destruction. Nobody paid attention to him since the last Fiend appearance was 80 years ago. His mom was an outspoken town council member and there were no established mechanisms for such situations. One day K snapped and started going on a killing spree. He turned into a Fiend. Tomiko was working as a nurse then when K trudged into the hospital. The doctor takes a look at him and had Tomiko prepare some antibiotics. After he had given him the drug, K went berserk and blew off the doctor’s head before he died from the drug’s effects. So in order for such event never to happen again, they had to take steps to eliminate those showing such potential. One way was commanding loyal colonies of Monster Rats to attack. Also, a change in rule whereby a child has only human rights till he/she reaches his/her 17th birthday. This means until then, the council has the right to dispose of that child’s life. So they also used Tainted Cats that were selectively bred for that.

Though Fiends have stopped appearing, another threat emerged. It was the leaking of Cantus. It was thought it would pose no harm to humans, animals or environment. Till this girl, Izumi start to show worrying symptoms. Her leak was so bad that it could alter a human’s DNA. This is what turning into a Karma Demon is all about. Izumi learnt she had put many lives in danger and volunteered to eliminate herself. Unknown to her, all her family members have mutated and died from her bad spill. She was given pills to stop her condition and only one of them was lethal. However she swallowed them all. Saki cannot hold her tears over this sad story. This has something to do with their purged memories as well. She wants them back but Tomiko can’t. Doing so, it would bring greater destabilisation since such incidents are very shocking.  Even if she did restore her memories, there is no way she can keep it from her friends. They too will know and soon everyone else. The important thing is to take care and give attention to the weakest one. A chain is only as strong as its weakest one. But if Saki succeeds her, she can have her memories back. However she still doesn’t think she can fit her role. Tomiko notes she was once like that. One day she will realize that there are things that needed to be done and a task she could only shoulder. One morning, Mamoru goes missing and he left behind a note not to look for him. His friends of course will want to find him. But first they have to rid of Ryou. Though he hangs out with another group, he is officially in theirs. Satoru lies his way that they are researching snowflakes and convinces Ryou to do his own research. As the trio search for him, Maria tries to describe Mamoru’s behaviour lately. He was feeling down and couldn’t complete an easy assignment. The teacher scolded him so Maria joked they may send Copycats for him. He turned pale and took it seriously. That was the last she saw of him.

Episode 13
The trio can’t find Mamoru but see sled tracks leading towards the Holy Barrier. They think he is trying to cross over to the mountains. They think with the heavy load he is carrying and if he is hesitating on directions, they can catch up with him in 2 hours. After they cross the Holy Barrier, they begin to see footprints of a Monster Rat next to the sled tracks. It is bad if it is following Mamoru. Continuing to follow the trail, they come to a conclusion that Mamoru must be desperate in escaping since the track is leading up a steep mountain. Suddenly it ends when they reach a cliff. Could he have fallen off? They slide down to find him and when the thick snow stop them, they think he must have fallen somewhere around here. They use their Cantus to shovel the snow and see his sled. But no Mamoru. Satoru is suspicious why the sled is buried so deep in the snow. If it was snowing heavily, it would’ve covered the tracks. Either Mamoru or the Monster Rat must have buried it. Looking further, they see footprints and a deep track in the snow. They think the Monster Rat was carrying Mamoru but didn’t kill him because the deep track avoided all the roots. The trail leads them to a hut and they see Mamoru sleeping inside. He wakes up and is relieved he is okay. Mamoru reveals he slipped and fell. Squonk saved him. Who? He was the Monster Rat from Goat Moth colony Saki helped years ago. Squonk explains he followed Mamoru by chance. He saw sled tracks and thought it belonged to some colony. Now Mamoru justifies his escape. He doesn’t want to die. Endou had cold eyes when he looked at him as he is already on the list of people to be disposed. Mamoru also knows they’ve been keeping secrets from him especially about Yoshimi and the mirror. He already saw a Copycat twice. The first was 4 days ago when he felt something tailing him on his way back from school. Although he didn’t see it, he knows it is not his imagination even thought it didn’t attack and felt more like tailing him. Then yesterday when Endou told him to put printouts in the storeroom after class, he felt strange about his request since the printouts weren’t many. After doing so, he heard snarling in the hallway. Mamoru froze. He became scared. Before he could fully turn around, a gust of wind blows the Copycat into some portal. Mamoru knew his life is in danger since he really saw this one. Satoru is puzzled why is Mamoru on the hit list. His Cantus is average and has no personality problem. Mamoru suddenly remembers seeing the Copycat somewhere but can’t remember it no matter how hard he tries. It feels it has something to do with his erased memories. Something about going into the storage huts, hiding behind it and seeing them coming out from the drums. Maria feels she remembers something like that. The kids are starting to hesitate if they should go back to the village.

Episode 14
Only Satoru and Saki return to the village but at different times. Once Saki returns to her family, the chairman of the Board of Education wants to see her now. Saki is being interrogated by the vice chairman, Masayo Komatsuzaki. She must answer truthfully. It’s like she’s under some trial. Saki answers what she knows. It’s like they are trying to pin her on something. There are some moments Saki went silent as Masayo pesters her to answer. Give her some time, lady. Ever thought she is just deep in thought? Don’t want to say the wrong thing, huh? So when Saki reveals why Mamoru ran away due to the sightings of Tainted Cats, they tell her to shut up. Oh, so now it’s you have the right to remain silence. They are disappointed in her so Saki wonders if she will be disposed too. Tomiko enters in time and hopes the committee can cut her some slack. She was partly responsible for this as she told her about Tainted Cats and all because she views Saki as a capable person to lead their village. Besides, the missing of 2 children is their fault. The decision to dispose Mamoru was rash and unwise. They failed to do so and it led to this situation. The committee has no choice but to respect Tomiko’s decision. Tomiko brings Saki up to the room to talk. Saki is surprised to see Tainted Cats sitting tamely by Tomiko. They won’t attack unless ordered to. Saki asks Tomiko she mentioned about conducting experiment on their group. As explained, unlike others, they were not hypnotized and thus by large didn’t take away their freedom of thought. Why them? Because docile ones cannot protect the village. Leaders need to be strong in their conviction and even do dirty work from time to time but too many unforeseen events have happened. Her biggest regret was disposing the boy she had greatest hope for. Children were hypnotized to fear leaving the Holy Barrier. However as seen in their case, they feared death and ventured outside. This is normally a rational decision. But this is also causing a fundamental problem in the village.

In ancient civilization, there were nuclear weapons that can take out an entire city. Now there is a new problem of a similar threat: Humans. A single Fiend can destroy a city with ease. Unlike nuclear weapons, Fiends will continue as long as their body permit. Tomiko wants Saki to bring them back. In return she will vouch for her safety but she only has 3 days to do that. If they continue to hide, the Board of Education will devote its time to dispose them. This means ordering every Monster Rat colony to hunt them down. Saki finally asks why she wields so much influence. Unlike politics of old men, Tomiko doesn’t use wealth, violence and brainwashing. She had time. What does she mean? Making Saki guess her age, she got the last 2 digits correct. Last 2 digits? Tomiko is 267 years old! Her encounter with the Fiend was 245 years ago and has been the Ethics Committee chairman for 170 years. She explains her youthful appearance and longevity due to her genes and chromosomes that prevents her from aging and somewhat regenerates. Yeah, that telomere thingy which I can’t understand. Thus Tomiko herself and her history is what make her influential. Saki is caught up by Satoru. He was questioned by them after being made to wait for ages. But soon after they told him to go after Saki. Their mission is of course to bring back Mamoru and Maria. However the hut is now missing. Did somebody uprooted the entire structure or did it just vanish?

Episode 15
Satoru finds the hut has been destroyed and buried. It couldn’t be the work of Monster Rats and thinks Mamoru and Maria did it. Even their tracks were covered. The duo continue to search for their friends. While they take a break, they see a Monster Rat. It runs away once it realizes it has been spotted. Saki goes after it but falls through a cornice. Luckily Satoru catches her. When she opens her eyes, she is safe but in a hut. Where is this place? They are in Robber Fly’s colony. They are greeted by Squealer now known as Yakomaru who boasts about his colony’s growth. But the duo are in a hurry to find their friends and thinks they are at Goat Moth colony. Yakomaru says it is one of the few colonies that is not aligned with Giant Hornet colony and can only make their journey tomorrow morning as the snow is dangerous at night. The duo want to meet his queen but Yakomaru seems reluctant but shows them the way anyway. Along the way, he shows them the concrete buildings their colony has made. They are surprised how their colony has changed because it used to centre around the queen. When they see the queen, they are shocked to see her in a pitiful vegetative state. Yakomaru explains she has not been mentally stable. Although she was tyrannical, she became worst after that. Because the members of the colony didn’t want to be tools to be discarded, they formed a union to negotiate with her but she went on a rampage. As the queen is the only one who can bear children, they have no choice but to take this path but due to some hygienic complication, the queen contracted some disease and fell into this state. Saki does not like this one bit but Yakomaru tells her the book he read written by them Gods about democracy and equal rights. All other colonies are also dealing with the same problem to a certain degree. Satoru and Saki return to their hut and discuss what they saw. They definitely do not like how things are going. Satoru speculates that they are trying to replace humans. Because back home, they have no houses made of concrete. It’s like they’re trying to take themselves the material culture humans abandoned. And how can Yakomaru get to know all he wants with just a book? He thinks he caught a Minoshiro. Next morning, the duo are surprised to see Yakomaru gathering an army to head to Goat Moth colony. Outside their stronghold, Yakomaru has his subordinate issue a summon. As there is no response, he commences attack. Shortly, Goat Moth retaliates. Thanks to Satoru’s Cantus, he protects everyone. Yakomaru convinces them for permission to attack back since attacking a God is punishable by death. Satoru uses his Cantus to break open the defence but Saki stops him before it gets worse. Yakomaru chides a Goat Moth colony member but Satoru tells him to bring out Squonk as he is the one they have business with. Though they are glad to see him, Squonk doesn’t know where their friends are. They have left to a faraway place. He doesn’t know where or the direction they have headed. But they left behind a letter.

Episode 16
For the first 10 minutes, Maria narrates the contents of what she wrote in the letter while Saki reminisces flashbacks of her childhood days with her. Why they had to leave because there is no turning back once you are branded as disqualified. Maria views Saki to be strong in willpower and will be the village’s valuable asset. Maria views their village has a deep fear for children because they kill them to maintain peace and order. She knows if Saki or Satoru was in her shoes, she would have done the same to save a friend. They will run far away where the village eyes will not reach them and live together in a new direction. She hopes they will one day meet. She wants them to report that they have died and to not look for them. Satoru tells Yakomaru that they will report Maria and Mamoru have died and need to get their stories straight. Yakomaru obliges but of course they don’t trust him. The duo continue to search for their friends and Tomiko’s deadline is nearing and still no signs of their tracks. It dawned to Saki that one by one her friends are going missing and they are both left. She doesn’t want to lose anymore. Saki fell asleep during a rest and dreams of a faceless boy telling her something. That night when they take shelter, Saki wonders if they will forget Maria and Mamoru. Satoru will not let the Board alter his memories again. If they try to force something on them, he will leave the village and take Saki with him. Then they can go look for Maria and Mamoru and live together. Just hearing their name, Saki breaks down uncontrollably. She couldn’t sleep that night because the faceless boy dream continues to haunt her. He told her not to help Maria and Mamoru in their escape and that Maria had to die.

Episode 17
Ten years have passed and Saki is now 26 years old. She is in charge of breeding naked mole rats but her true responsibility is the investigation and regulation of Monster Rats at the Department of Exospecies Control. Get this. Even though colonies of Monster Rats still obey humans like gods, they must still fill in application if they want to have a civil war!!! Yup. That’s where Saki’s department comes in. Saki is surprised Satoru visits her. Due to some petty issue, their relationship isn’t so good. Anyway there is a case that the Spider Wasp colony was ambushed and attacked. Satoru is using them for his farm work and thought Saki would knew something about this. Apparently she doesn’t and this is news to her. They need to identify the culprit and take action. So in a meeting to discuss this, it consists of Koufuu Hino of the Occupations Council, Tomiko and Shisei. Saki first explains the Monster Rat colonies are divided into 2 factions. Those who are aligned to Giant Hornets and the rest to Robber Flies. She also gives the numbers of both sides and their ruling system. While Giant Hornets still maintain their queen, the Robber Flies have discarded theirs via revolution and are represented by elected representatives. This surprises the council. Also, Goat Moths may have been neutral but there is a chance they may be aligned to Robber Flies. Hino thinks they just need to eradicate half of them but the rest want to summon both the representatives. Tomiko suggests questioning both together because if their stories don’t match, they will confront each other to see if they’re telling the truth. And so Kiroumaru of Giant Hornets and Yakomaru of Robber Flies are summoned. It is obvious that they are both accusing each other of telling lies. Yakomaru even went further that the attack on Spider Wasp was staged by themselves. Despite several lives were lost, Yakomaru claims their principals are different than theirs because they do not value lives unlike them who have embraced democracy with every individual holding rights. In the end, the meeting adjourned without a decision. Saki is about to watch the battle between Giant Hornets and Robber Flies. While the battle rages on, her colleague Inui talks to her that despite some of the ancient technology the Monster Rats used in battle, he feels they get their source of knowledge somewhere. He tells her a secret that no one knows. Giant Hornets are always victorious because they take some enhancing drug before the battle. In the end, Giant Hornets emerge victorious although Kiroumaru apologizes it took his troops an hour to rid of those weaklings. Saki returns to her office and at the same time her department chief who was watching over the battle between Goat Moths and Spider Wasps. To Saki’s surprise, she learns Goat Moths won because Spider Wasps switched sides. She feels something amiss. Why would Spider Wasps join their mortal enemies as this case started because of this. Plus, she never received an application for war from Spider Wasps. Next morning, Saki receives news that the Giant Hornet army has been wiped out.

Episode 18
A meeting is held to discuss Giant Hornet’s annihilation. Every soldier was mutilated and it is mind boggling how such a powerful army could be defeated in such a way. Evidence suggests Kiroumaru escaped but his whereabouts unknown. Findings indicate there were no weapons left behind by Giant Hornets not even destroyed ones so can it be Robber Flies took them to hide evidence or something? Saki’s mother, Mizuho who is the head of the Library Committee thinks the Monster Rats captured a Minoshiro and extracted information about them especially those weapons classified as WMDs. However Shisei doesn’t think a bomb wiped them out because he shows them Giant Hornets’ arrows they found are totally undamaged. His only theory is that it was stopped mid-flight by Cantus. He thinks a human’s Cantus helped disarm Giant Hornets. During the festival Saki thought she saw Maria and ran after her but Satoru calms her down. Remembering back at the meeting, although Tomiko plays down that anyone in the village is able to do that, Shisei suspects those who have fled from a long time ago. Although their bones and remains were brought back, he is beginning to suspect it is not them since it was brought by no other than that scheming Yakomaru. Saki remembers how Yakomaru told her they will do all they can to find bones similar and chafe it carefully till it resembles like humans. However Tomiko brushes that off because thorough research like DNA and dental records prove it is them. They are officially dead and cannot be connected to this. That’s why Satoru feels the same way as Saki. He wants to see them even if they are ghosts. Also, the committee has approved the annihilation of Robber Fly colony and its allies and will be headed by Inui. However Hiromi Torigai, the head of the Board of Education is cautious and wants to postpone the annihilation after the festival, at least after things have stabilized. But Hino tells her off that doing so proves that they are just scared of the Monster Rats. The annihilation will proceed as usual.

During the festival, Saki and Satoru realize a villager got poisoned and died. They realize a Monster Rat may have been camouflaging among the crowd. Before they can warn the rest, an explosion rocks the place. Monster Rats start swarming in so everyone runs to the town square where Shisei uses his powerful Cantus to form a barrier. Hino also goes crazy in using Cantus to wipe out the Monster Rats. Satoru realizes why the Monster Rats are attacking them from an opposite direction because they are unleashing poisonous gas in the wind’s direction. With this information, Shisei and Hino blow the poisonous and kill the bunch of Monster Rats hiding in the woods. Suddenly Hino is shot and killed. Shisei detects several Monster Rats disguised as humans among the crowd. He picks them out and he shows why he is the most powerful man in the village. Even if the Monster Rats are equipped with bombs and are on suicide mission, Shisei absorbs the blast without any scratch and hurls it back to them. The impact of the explosion blows away his face mask and it is revealed he has twin pupils in each eye. In the aftermath, Shisei issues orders to be in groups of 5. Those with fewer members should merge with other groups and take precautionary action. Saki learns that Hiromi has perished despite being the most cautious among the committee. Tomiko has never felt so angry in such a long time since K. She wants to make Yakomaru pay and suffer a long and slow protracted death.

Episode 19
Satoru and Saki merge with another group that consists of Fujita, Okano and Kuramochi. As they ride the boat down the river as part of their patrol, Satoru explains his uneasiness over the recent incident. One, the Monster Rat group that they first encountered back in the village was of the Spider Wasp colony. Secondly, the easy annihilation of Giant Hornets because Kiroumaru has one of the most experienced army at his disposal. When they arrive at the hospital, they are shocked to see a big hole at the entrance. Kuramochi doesn’t care about anything else and heads in first. Satoru feels something is wrong. Everything is too quiet. No crickets or frogs. He concludes Monster Rats must be hiding and waiting to ambush them when they least expect it. Once Kuramochi enters the hospital, the rest use their Cantus to burn out all the Monster Rats hiding. Even before they die, they shoot random stray arrows. Luckily none of them hit. Kuramochi didn’t reply when they call out to him so Satoru decides to go in and look for him. Saki is worried since there might be Monster Rats inside. They then see a light in the window and think somebody is using their Cantus. Saki and Okano go with Satoru while Fujita remains in the boat. When they go up the stairs, Satoru can sense Monster Rats waiting to ambush them and uses his Cantus to take them out. They see Kuramochi’s body. Entering one of the rooms, they see 3 cocoons and realize the people in it are still alive. Taking them down, Saki recognizes one of them as Dr Noguchi. The rest is a male hospital staff and a nurse how is in so much shock that screaming is all she does. They are all stunned at first but soon Noguchi regains his consciousness and wants everyone to escape quickly before he returns.

One of the cocooned hospital staff runs out on his own. The gang see him suddenly burst into flames. It is a sign he is back. Fujita tries to help but gets killed too. Noguchi tells them that he has killed everyone in this hospital and the 3 of them only survived. Because they didn’t run or fight back or else they would have been killed. They were probably kept alive because he wants to use them as hostages. But now they have to run out the backdoor. Noguchi wants everyone to go separate ways in hopes one of them will get to the village and warn the rest. Noguchi is pessimistic that even if they have 500 people with Cantus, they can’t defeat him. Noguchi goes off into the woods as Saki senses him circling around the back. Satoru and co hide back inside the hospital. Then they hear Noguchi’s screams. I guess he got done in. Thanks to that distraction, the rest escape via the front. The hospital nurse becomes paralyzed and clings onto the wall. Saki can’t leave her but at this rate everyone will be killed and nobody will warn the village. Okano will stay back to buy them time. The duo remain hidden in the boat as it drifts down the river. Satoru finally understands about Kiroumaru’s defeat and why Giant Hornets lost. He fears his theory has come true. Before we know what that is, he senses a boat closing in on them. It’s him.

Episode 20
As they lay motionless and calm in the boat, Saki remembers how much she hated the Board of Education especially when they send Tainted Cats. Now she understands why. However she still won’t forgive them of what they tried to do to Maria and Mamoru. Especially about the faceless friend she thinks she was once in love with. They must live. They plan how to escape from the boat and into the river bank by placing temporary mirrors as decoy. Once they do so, the Fiend burns their boat. Lying still in the grass, it seemed like the Fiend is heading towards them but soon passes. The duo find a hut to rest and change their clothes before starting their journey back to town when day breaks. They hear explosions in the background but can’t be too bothered with it as they need to get back. While traversing the river, they are seemingly attacked by something beneath. Getting to the river bed, they use their Cantus to lift the large mutant fish up. It starts spewing lots of black powder. Saki realizes it is inflammable remembers the explosion. She pushes Satoru away when the explosion soon begins. Saki is tossed up into the air but controls her flight with her Cantus. She crash lands in the sunflower field alone while continuing her journey and realized that explosion was a suicide attack. She almost got a boulder squashed her and manages to identify herself as human to stop a boy from trying to smash her as he thinks she is a Monster Rat. It is learnt that there were lots of casualties in the village during the night fight. He is looking for his parents whose whereabouts are unknown since the fight.

Saki narrates how the Monster Rats were waging an all-out war against humans. They were successful because Yakomaru was willing to sacrifice his soldiers (they too are not afraid of death) and partly due to lack of preparation on the human’s side. Therefore when the assault was launch, everyone felt helpless. When everyone decided to cooperate, it got worse because this has been all part of Yakomaru’s plan. Because so, human mistake each other as Monster Rats and accidentally killed each other. Due to the death feedback, the killer would also die. Killing 2 birds with no stone. Everyone thought they could heave a sigh of relief when the attacks stop as dawn drew closer. But that’s just a ploy to deprive them of sleep. As they let their guard down, those mutant fish swim through the canals and let loose their inflammable powder. The carnage continues. Thus orders were made to dry up the canals as there were sufficient manpower to guard every one of them. But this is also part of Yakomaru’s plans. When the devastated village is filled with wounded people, they are deprived of any water source and succumb to their wounds. Saki returns to Sage Academy. Although it is still standing, it has become a refugee centre. Tomiko is there, heavily wounded. Saki tells her about the Fiend she saw before her eyes and wants to know what else could use Cantus to kill a human. Tomiko replies there is nothing they could do. Her first encounter with one was just pure luck. The place is soon in commotion as word has been going round that a Fiend is spotted. Tomiko wants Saki to go to the Temple of Purity where the Security Council and her parents might be recuperating. She won’t go as she will only slow her down. Tomiko makes Saki succeed her whether she likes it or not. She also orders her caretaker, Niimi to bring Saki there. He is to tell Shisei what happened and broadcast to everyone to run away as far as possible. With a heavy heart, Niimi takes Saki away for their mission.

Episode 21
Shisei tries to give hope to the survivors and rallies them to quash the Monster Rats. Suddenly the ground crumbles. Shisei could only save a handful of them. The Monster Rats are ambushing them from underground. Shisei uses his Cantus to rip everyone when suddenly a Fiend enters the scene! To Saki’s horror, the Fiend looks like Maria!!! At that time, Saki is relieved to see Satoru alive and well. Shisei holds off the Fiend but as Satoru puts it, it is only a bluff because if Shisei kills it, he will die from death feedback. Also, the subconscious and Cantus leak is all that is needed to just kill Shisei. Satoru wants them to run as Saki sees the Fiend killing Shisei. Traversing the underground tunnels, they find a wounded Monster Rat and question him about their race’s rebellion. It is to liberate their species from their tyranny as they feel they have been treated like animals. They are confident since they have Yakomaru and the messiah whom we all know as the Fiend. But the Monster Rat points out the real Fiends are them instead. When the trio exit the underground, Niimi wants to part ways and carry out Tomiko’s request of warning everyone. Even though there may not be many left, if he can save an extra life, it would not be in vain. That’s the last time they saw him. The duo arrive at the Temple of Purity and was being told by the priest that Saki’s parents did come here but returned to the village because they want to free all the Tainted Cats and set them upon the Monster Rats. They have left something for Saki but before that, they are taken to see Inui who is still alive and unhurt. He explains when his team left to exterminate Robber Fly colony a week ago, they realized the entire army had gone into hiding. They search for 3 days and only found traces of night camp on the fourth day. Then they spot a cave where a small army congregates. Inui orders his men to use their Cantus to take them out. They spot somebody coming out from the cave but realized too late it was a Fiend and got slaughtered. Inui became scared and went into hiding. It took all his skill to avoid detection because the Monster Rats were searching the area thoroughly and knew such extermination squad worked in fives. Inui managed to escape to the nearest village, the one where the summer festival was held. There was not a soul around but thought there should be some at the hospital. To his shock, he realizes that the Monster Rats have been kidnapping human babies. It is when Saki realizes this is Yakomaru’s true goal to abduct infants. It all started with Mamoru and Maria’s child. Yakomaru secretly nurtured this grand plan of his. With this single Fiend to take over the village to abduct more children. Even if he failed, he would just need to wait another 10 years. The abducted children will be turned into Fiends themselves under the Monster Rats’ care and at this rate, not only Japan will fall to them but the entire world. World domination would be possible and the birth of a great Monster Rat empire.

Episode 22
Inui continues how he miraculously escaped the Fiend. He bluffed the Fiend by speaking Monster Rat’s language. But as he is tired and ran out of Cantus, a Monster Rat saved him and brought him back to this temple. It was Kiroumaru. The priest brings the stuffs Mizuho left for Saki. First, a letter that wants her to do all she can to bring down the Fiend. It is a mass weapon of destruction created by ancient civilization and designed by people without Cantus to eliminate those with Cantus. It is called Psychobuster. It doesn’t kill the masses and so death feedback is avoidable. Mizuho has also left an object on how to lead them to it after activating it. Looks like a pig, or rather a mini Minoshiro. Mizuho lasts words were to hope Saki can use this Psychobuster to defeat the Fiend and will always love and watch over her. I guess this means she’s gone. The priest brings the duo to see Kiroumaru locked in the dungeons. Saki is appalled at the cruel treatment and frees him to talk. Kiroumaru confirms the Fiend killed his elite troops and this includes stopping their arrows in mid-air. By miracle, his troops sacrifice themselves so he could escape. All Monster Rats know humans cannot use Cantus on each other due to death feedback and Yakomaru’s strategy hinges on this. Since Saki is going to Tokyo, Kiroumaru has once been to that cursed place and wants to guide them there. Along with Inui, they escape the Monster Rats guarding the vicinity via underwater submarine. When they resurface for fresh air, Kiroumaru smells the Fiend approaching and his pursuers so they make a surge to blast forward towards the sea. They arrive at the bay of Tokyo at night fall but Kiroumaru cautious not to wander aimlessly because he remembered his soldiers who wandered near the shore were eaten by some monster. They surface at the first break of light. Tokyo is a vast uninhabitable desert. They activate the Minoshiro and it becomes a mini library and map. Kiroumaru smells his pursuers and didn’t expect them to catch up so soon. There is no place to hide and underground is scorching hell. Inui has an idea that they should go underground because if they do follow, they’ll get a taste of hell. It gets stuffier and stuffier the further they go. Saki has the Minoshiro explain about Psychobuster and it seems it is a biological weapon created by America similar to Anthrax. It’s easy to use but the challenge is to get the Fiend to inhale it. Saki asks Kiroumaru if he had once journeyed to Tokyo, why didn’t his colony settle down here. Unpleasant occupants. He then smells his pursuers although they are far away and took different routes. He smells 7 of them and though 5 of them are lowly officers, he recognizes the 2 as Yakomaru and the Fiend. Yakomaru who has been hiding all the while is out now because he knows the Fiend is his trump card to stand against them and what better way than to make personal command to ensure success. The gang had to traverse through a cave filled with bugs but that is just the harmless part. It begins when there are carnivorous blood-sucking slugs falling from the ceiling trying to suck on them! Inui burns them all with his Cantus. Satoru is injured and needs to be treated or else the bleeding can become worse.

Episode 23
The gang made their way through several vicious strange creatures, including some dark shadow that seems to be lurking. They reach the end of the cave and below them is the rapid river. Kiroumaru suggests they split into groups. Two will return to the caves to lead their pursuers astray with their scent while the other two will return to retrieve the submarine. He believes the underground river flows out to the sea. Inui and Saki go to get the submarine. Inui has his suspicions on Kiroumaru. He was here once and for what purpose. A single loss of life would have prompted him to retreat but yet something must have attracted him to stay and explore to the point he is willing to lose lots of his soldiers. When they arrive back at the shore, Inui doesn’t want Saki to be hasty in bringing the submarine to the sea because Kiroumaru warned them about some nocturnal creature. Before the Minoshiro’s battery runs out, it tells them enough information about some dangerous worm. This is Inui’s other suspicion. He knew they would arrive at this beach by sundown but yet didn’t tell them about this danger. After putting the submarine in the sea, they are attacked by a huge worm. Inui’s Cantus destroys it and they quickly move before more of them appear. Saki sees visions of the faceless boy. She still can’t remember him but he disagrees. She knows his name and can’t remember because of a barrier in her heart. He is after all always in her heart. She will remember it eventually. He also lets her know that the Fiend they are facing isn’t actually a Fiend. Saki is snapped back into reality by Inui when they arrive in a cave with a huge pocket water. The glow worms on the ceiling make it look like stars in the sky and Saki remembers it was that faceless boy who showed this to her. Continuing their journey, they hit a dead end although their destination is just a hundred metres ahead. They can’t make a hole or else the cave will collapse so they will travel by foot underwater. The worm attacks them but thanks to Inui’s warning, Saki manages to evade in time. Unfortunately Inui died in the attack while trying to fend it off. As sad she is, Saki has no choice but to stay strong and soldier on. She arrives in a room with radioactive symbol. Searching around, she finds Psychobuster in a safe. She breaks the wall and higher ground view makes the wasteland look spectacular especially in the shades of the morning sunrise. As she walks on, she starts remembering her last moments with Shun. And there he is right before her! She remembers his name and calls out to him. Is this an illusion?

Episode 24
Maybe Saki’s just seeing things. Before her is Kiroumaru. He brings her to the cave to reunite with Satoru, a little injured when a rock fell on him trying to escape the Fiend. After telling him about Inui’s death, she hands him Psychobuster. Kiroumaru covers himself with bat guano to hide his smell although the Monster Rats think he was never a threat to them. Satoru explains how Kiroumaru killed 7 of them by himself. He brings them to a long tunnel with no other exits. Although it may seem like they have no other escape routes, this mean the enemy can only come in from 1 direction. There are twists and bends in the tunnel so they can run and be out of the Fiend’s field of vision. While Kiroumaru goes to lead them here Saki is still worried about the Fiend and can’t help think is the child of Mamoru and Maria. Satoru doesn’t want her to complicate things with her feelings but she just thought the Fiend doesn’t know herself as human. She wants to give the Fiend a chance to learn she is one. Due to the heavy rain hiding their scent, Kiroumaru returns and suggests using themselves as bait by showing themselves to the enemy just for a moment. Then run and hide. They disagree at this very dangerous proposition but Kiroumaru reminds them many have died so that they could have this one chance to defeat the Fiend. So the game of tag begins. Saki hears Shun’s voice that the Fiend isn’t coming after them and is a trap. Because Yakomaru has predicted the path they would escape, he has laid ambushes along the way and they barely avoid them. They can’t go forward as it will be suicide. But heading back means meeting up with the Fiend. The Fiend closes in so Satoru tries out Saki’s suggestion by putting up a mirror. Because Monster Rats don’t have mirrors, the Fiend never knew how she looked like and thinks herself as a Monster Rat just like them. Maybe if she is showed her own face, she would realize she is different and human.

The Fiend gets upset and breaks the mirror. This forces Satoru to throw Psychobuster. Saki fears at this range, the Fiend and Satoru will be affected. She doesn’t want to be alone and the last one left standing. Good thing, the Fiend got burnt although she still lives while Satoru is unaffected. Kiroumaru meets up with them and it seems the Fiend is not coming after them and thinks she is being treated for its burn wounds. But they can’t head out at the end of the tunnel because they very well know Yakomaru has laid his ambush. As they hide, Yakomaru wants to negotiate. Kiroumaru doesn’t want them to answer for he is trying to determine their location with their voice. Kiroumaru thinks Yakomaru has no immediate solution for this and suggests a suicide move for all of them. Collapse the entire cave with their Cantus. Saki feels guilty for ruining their only chance to defeat the Fiend and wasted Psychobuster but Kiroumaru feels their kind easily gives up. Monster Rats would try even if it means death and although those efforts may be in vain, they lose nothing by trying. They ask why he came to Tokyo before. It was to look for a weapon of mass destruction to destroy humans. However they found nothing. Although they are loyal and serve humans, it was only to ensure their survival. However there was no telling how long this would last and if there was a slightest chance, they might have already done so. Monster Rats do not lust for conquest or oppose mankind out of mere whim. They just want to ensure their colony’s survival and prosperity. Kiroumaru senses the Fiend closing in but passes them. He thinks the Fiend has reunited with Yakomaru as they are afraid they may launch a suicide attack. Because if either one of them survives, they could kill them all. Now that the other end of the tunnel is clear, they should use this chance to escape. However Saki believes they still have another chance.

Episode 25
Saki explains why the Fiend isn’t a Fiend. If she was, why didn’t she attack Yakomaru and his men? If they were using drugs, Tomiko and the rest would have done so a long time ago. Regarding her death feedback not working, it’s because the Monster Rats took her right after birth so she thinks herself as one. In short, her death feedback does not apply to humans but to Monster Rats. Kiroumaru borrows Satoru’s clothes. Then he dashes out to the Fiend while Saki follows him closely behind. The Fiend puts holes into Kiroumaru. He then unmasks himself and the Fiend goes berserk. The death feedback kills the Fiend. Saki also feels pain in her heart but she keeps telling herself she did not kill a human. She sees Kiroumaru dead with a happy face. Prior to agreeing to this strategy, Kiroumaru knows after this incident, all Monster Rats will be eradicated and hopes Saki will spare Giant Hornets’ queen. He wants at least their mother to survive. Satoru praises Saki as amazing but she thanks Shun. Shun who? Satoru then remembers him. In the aftermath, the duo capture Yakomaru and take him back to the village. Before his trial, they question why he killed so many innocent people. It was part of the plan. Once hostilities started, they had to go all the way to win. They are revolting against mankind because they are not their slaves. Did mankind not grant them autonomy? Mankind is only kind when they are in good mood. Otherwise, invoking their wrath would mean eradication of their colony. Saki realizes what Kiroumaru said is true. But had they not revolt, all this would not have happened. Yakomaru says it’s like the chicken or the egg dilemma. They just want to escape that fate as they are highly intelligent creatures on par with humans. The only difference is that they don’t have Cantus. Yakomaru knows what he says will earn him the death penalty but he knows his fate is sealed either way. As for Kiroumaru, Yakomaru thinks he is old fashioned and couldn’t see the truth. He had to dispose the queen because as long as she was in power, there will never be reforms. He did it not for power but for the sake of his colony. Satoru doesn’t believe him because he sacrificed his men mercilessly. Only when they achieve victory that their deaths will not be in vain. Since they lost, he deserves to die. He laments holding the trump card but fell for a simple trick. A chance like this will never come again. Saki wants him to apologize to all the innocent people he killed. He will do so provided if she apologizes to his kind that they crushed mercilessly.

Saki narrates what happened to her parents from survivors. When they left town to release all the Tainted Cats, everyone was in panic because Shisei’s body was hung on the Holy Barrier. Though the Tainted Cats couldn’t stop the Fiend, they manage to slow it down. Her parents then ran to the library to burn away all the books they deem dangerous to the enemy but the smoke drew the enemy’s attention. Saki believed her parents did not die in vain. As the tide was in Monster Rats’ favour, Yakomaru acted swiftly by burning down the Temple of Purity. All the priests perished and those villagers who sought refuge also died. Yakomaru was able to use information he gathered to track Saki and the rest down. Yakomaru goes on trial and asserts his name is Squealer and doesn’t want to use the name bequeathed by them humans. He considers himself not a beast but a human. This causes everyone to laugh. Squealer curses them that such evil will not go unpunished and someone in the future will take his place and carry on his cause. The judge passes the death sentence as giving him peace and sentences him to an eternal and slow death filled with pain. The Department of Exospecies Control became a direct subdivision of the Ethics Committee so Saki now serves both departments. Her job was to save the Monster Rat species and at least the queen of Giant Hornets. Later, she comes across a strange document which tells the origins of Monster Rats’ name. Their distant ancestors were naked mole rats and she thought it is funny that their scientific name, Homocephalus Glaber is almost similar to Homo Sapiens. It’s like as though they mixed humans and mole rats. She also found another document which tells how the change in writing of certain words became Monster Rats and that what had something to do with sinister.

Because Satoru couldn’t get Squealer’s words out of his head, he researched the genome of Monster Rats which was previously prohibited by the Code of Virtue. He found out Monster Rats and naked mole rats have different number of genes. Although mole rats’ features were inserted into their genes, something else was used as a base. The only other species that shared the same number of genes with them are humans or olive tree. I guess they aren’t made of wood so what does that leave us? Yup. Monster Rats were originally humans. For the sake of peace, those with Cantus programmed their DNA to include death feedback and attack inhibition. But those without Cantus became a problem because they are not bound by this and started oppressing those with Cantus. To stop this problem, they changed those people into beasts by inserting mole rats’ DNA into theirs and also to maintain their privilege and class (the reason why Monster Rats are made to look ugly). Saki thought they should have died from death feedback since they had killed so many but Satoru says it won’t because they never considered them human. They weren’t anyway. Saki goes to the museum where everything from the war is put on display, including Squealer who has turned into some hideous blob still in pain. She thinks he has suffered enough and is going to end this. First she reminisces the times when she first met him and their other ‘adventures’ together when they were kids. Even that night long ago when they ran together from Kiroumaru, she knew he was a liar and reported to him. Saki then uses her Cantus to burn Squealer. To avoid serious punishment, she gave a reason she was in a fit of anger. Vengeful fury. Soon, Saki makes her case to the committee of the colonies to be spared, including Giant Hornets. Then Saki and Satoru tie the knot. Ten years down the road, they are raising Tainted Cats (or Tainted Kittens rather). Soon they’ll be raising a kid of their own in this world. They hope when their child grows up, society will be a better place. Wondering if they can change, Satoru is confident they can. They must. They hope an object of fear will change into one of hope.

Brave New World
When I first started watching this series, it gave me lots of frights. I never thought it was going to have horror elements and I know I would have avoided it had I knew if it was going to scare me. So much so to a point I almost had sleepless nights and feared of having nightmares! I know such horror elements won’t be anything to veterans but I am really averse to anything horror. I also fear I will have to sit through the rest of the series with such horror setting. But after Shun’s death and the time skip that brings in the new arc, the story now seems less scary and it got more interesting than I expected it to be and with each passing episode, the more it draws me into the story. Therefore the second half was more bearable for me and I was able to sit through watching the series without having to worry about anything that will frighten me. Although the Monster Rats may be ugly and menacing, they aren’t as scary as Tainted Cats, Fiend or Karma Demon. I can think of so because when the series began, I knew nothing. So when Tainted Cats or Copycats were introduced, they were portrayed as very scary creatures and thus striking fear in me. Once I got to know things better, they don’t seem that scary anymore like when the cats were tamely sitting beside Tomiko later on in the series.

So watching till the end of this series, I can say that this is quite an interesting and engaging series and the little horror part in the beginning was just the little turn off I had. It is quite well paced and divided into several time periods which also serves as the arc for the series. However, aside from the horror part, the beginning was also hard on me because of the explanation and terms. I never read the novel so there were many things that I find it hard to understand. This was made a little confusing in the first few episodes whereby there is some sort of flashback of how the current state of humanity came to be with lots of blood spilled, lives lost and sacrifice. Not that I could fully understand it too when I watched it several times. I basically have an idea what is going on but if I were too think deeper and more analytical about it, I think I would be lost. The most confusing part for me was when the kids first stumbled upon the Minoshiro. What’s the use of having a library that could store every data when a dumb guy like me can’t comprehend most of it? Maybe they should put a programme that allows it to translate it into layman terms.

Despite such difficult terms, I find the concept of such to be interesting. For instance, imagine a world that would be almost crime free if everyone had that death feedback. If you kill somebody, you will pay the ultimate price with your own life via instant death. I think this is quite a cool feature to stem heinous murders. At first it was despicable to learn how the town handles in disposing of their children, making it look like they’ve gone missing. But once the full truth is known, I personally would still say it is not the best method but I guess it is the most effective. I suppose there is this saying if you want to nip the problem, nip it at the bud. So far they have been very careful in assuring Fiends and Karma Demons never appear for a long time till a nefarious plot by the Monster Rats came into play. It is sad that those kids who were disposed of never got a chance to live life to the fullest because of the early symptoms they show, they have been marked to be disposed of. It’s like they’ve been guilty for a crime that hadn’t commit. Like Minority Report. Like a child who inherited AIDS from his/her infected mother. But would you risk it? Better be safe and sorry. Thus, it is with mixed feelings that such a method is used to maintain peace and stability for hundreds of years. Were there no other ways? If they had, I’m sure the adults would have figured it out a long time ago.

Maybe it is because I do not fully comprehend about the terms like death feedback, it made me baffled at times. For instance, when the Fiend killed Kiroumaru, the death feedback only takes effect when she realizes she killed her own fellow Monster Rat. What does this mean? If she had been thinking what she had killed was human all along, the death feedback would not have activate. This shows that it is all only in the mind. So if you know how to trick this, then you can definitely avoid the deadly effects of death feedback, right? For example, if you are going to be a murderous serial killer, all you need to do is psycho yourself that those you are going to kill or have killed are not human. They are lowly scums lower than water fleas. This should do the trick, right? Just like what Satoru said too. If Monster Rats were once created using human genes, then technically they are evolved (or devolved, depending on the way you look at it) human beings. And yet humans have been eradicating their colonies for hundreds of years as penalty and yet not get death feedback since they never considered them to be humans. Maybe that’s why researching on their origins was banned. Imagine what will happen when people start to realize Monster Rats are humans. Instant death. Clearly this shows it is all in the mind.

Although this series does not really explain how humans obtain magic or how Monster Rats come into existence (not at least till the very final scenes), both are very crucial and main themes of this series. With humans being such fragile creatures, this show makes us ponder if we have what it takes to survive this planet in the long run and not become extinct. The way we see this town handling the ridding ‘problem kids’ shows that humans are indeed unpredictable and weak. Despite having magic, it can still backfire and cause lots of problems and turn deadly if not kept in check. It was odd to find that another intelligent creatures walking on the same planet as we do being submissive to us and treating us as Gods. Alas it was just a facade and like any other race, they want to ensure their survival even if this means being submissive for the time being, waiting for the perfect moment to turn the tables. And they almost came close to doing it as seen. What Squealer said that they are being on par with humans is quite true. What is it that makes us humans think we are the most superior beings on Earth? Is it out judgment, perceptive and stereotypes that gives us the right to judge others? Consider if humans and Monster Rats swapped places, I don’t think it will be any different because humans too will one day revolt against Monster Rats if ever a chance rises. Likewise, had Squealer’s plan been successful and Monster Rat taken over Earth, they would become oppressive and treat humans the same way they were once treated. So it’s a vicious cycle. But seeing how such creatures could easily manipulate, deceive and beat us using our past knowledge and inventions are truly scary. It is like as though they are in place to become the next humans. If human is a word to mean the most superior creatures that stands above all on the face of this planet, that is. If Apocalypse won’t come early, can you imagine Earth being overrun by such creatures? Homo Sapiens would become how we perceived dinosaurs to be. It’s scary. It’s unthinkable. It’s provoking. But it’s worth something to think about if we do not evolve to be stronger and are content with the way things are. Weak, and you’re out. It’s nature’s law of the jungle. Survival of the fittest.

For Saki as the main heroine, she has gone through many hardships and an adventure of a lifetime that will change her outlook of things in the future. She might be a strong willed person but she is still human. After having watch her friends go missing one by one, she finds it hard if she could go on and maintain her sanity. Even at times that call for harsh action, she still manages to show her kindness. Maybe because more violence or punishment won’t get them anywhere. Thankfully she has Satoru who has always been by her side to keep her going and they both support each other very well. After so many heart stopping incidents, she has become stronger and better, taking the first bold step in changing the future. Instilling fear into kids may be an effective way for many to stay within the lines. But when you have so much fear, won’t your heart not be at ease at all? Notice the gloomy setting of this town? At least for the adults. Kids will be kids and at their age are still carefree till they grow up and learn to become an adult. With Saki as the new head, hopefully things would be better for future generations for both humans and Monster Rats.

In the end, Saki and Satoru are the only main characters who survived from start till finished. Every other supporting characters even those who made their short cameos perished somewhere along the way. What a grim outlook. Reiko became the first ‘victim’ and was never heard of ever again. I wonder if Saki and Satoru who finally remember Shun, will they remember her? We didn’t even remember her, right? Guilty as charged. Then Saki had to watch her first love Shun die due to some unstoppable Cantus leak and had his memories of him removed. Technically he isn’t dead since he occasionally appears in Saki’s dreams so it’s like he’s living in her heart. I don’t know how Maria and Mamoru survived after they ran away. Either they moved to another town or they really become Tarzan and Jane of the wilderness. I wonder how they died at the hands of Squealer, seeing they can use their Cantus to just turn the Monster Rats into bloodbath. Unless they got their guard down. Maybe. Because it was at a time after Maria gave birth so it’s like killing 2 birds with a stone. Thinking of the child they had, if that is the case, I just thought Maria was just a teenager when she bore her first child, right? That means right after they ran away they must have had sex. Ah, I remember what the Minoshiro said about humans and stress… On several occasions, Saki could have lost Satoru too but I guess it won’t be fun to see the heroine being alone so I guess it is a good thing Satoru is as tough a survivor as she is. What about Yoshimi? I thought there would be something more to shed a light on her mysterious disappearance but seeing how things are revealed towards the end, I don’t think where she went or ended up didn’t matter. We have an idea what fate dealt her so it probably wasn’t worth to bring up such memories again. Even the all powerful and mysterious Shisei succumbed to his fate. And I thought I get to see more of him later on but I guess even he has his limits. Tomiko is a great lady but too bad she didn’t survive long enough. I guess she is lucky to have lived over 200 years old and even luckier to escape unscathed when she encountered her first fiend. It’s time to move on and pass the baton to somebody younger and more capable.

It’s hard to pin Squealer as the villain although he acts very much like an antagonist throughout the series. It was very evident from the start that he could not be trusted. There were many signs to indicate that he could betray our protagonists any time and each time he smoothly had some sort of excuse to back him up. You can tell by the way he talks to them. Despite speaking fluently in human tongue and polite at first, whenever the humans disagree with his suggestions, you would notice that he makes a short pause with that unhappy look on his face before agreeing to their ways. It’s like as though he is forced to listen and acknowledge. Would you not if you were in his shoes? Thankfully humans still have their gut feelings, something I guess science and technology couldn’t explain, to rely on. They know better than to fully trust him and maintain some reservations. At times, it proves useful because they barely got away with their lives by the skin of their teeth. Despite Squealer’s unacceptable actions to slaughter humans and he got what he deserved, like I said, if you had a chance to change fate, would you not take a gamble? As long as differences of superiority exist, I suppose we can forget about talking things peacefully over picnic. Kiroumaru lives up to his honourable pride till the end despite at times I doubted him if he is in cohorts with Squealer. Because he too is a Monster Rat albeit from a different colony and sometimes when he smirks, it looks suspicious enough that it makes you wonder if there is something evil going on behind that smile and mind. So it proves that not every Monster Rat is despicable. Same case with humans. There are good ones and there are well, erm, not so good ones. Like Hino whom we could tell is just a bloodthirsty Monster Rat hater. He got killed by the thing he hates most. Isn’t that ironic?

The art and drawing make the characters look a little bit cartoonish although you can recognize some aspects of typical Japanese anime. Especially in the early parts of the series when the protagonists are young, their kiddie version seems to make them a bit cartoonish and thus a little cute. As they grow older, of course more handsome and prettier as the young teenagers they turn into, they have that slight anime-look. Though generally the design of the characters are simple and not much detailed. I think I’m saying this out of bias as a human because I think all the Monster Rats and other odd creatures like Minoshiro and Balloon Dog look ugly. Well, maybe except for Kiroumaru because his mane gives off that respectable feel like a lion. But nevertheless he is still to a certain extent, ugly. Forgive me. In a way, it gives a little horror feel. Well, I don’t expect cute creatures to be in such anime. It would be such a mismatch to see them in a bloodbath. As for the background and scenery, some are quite nice and beautifully rendered. Despite being in a dystopian future, I can’t help feel it has this fantasy-like feel to it. Maybe it’s because of Cantus, Monster Rats and the lush greenery of the village. Say, I’m not sure about other towns but doesn’t this one feel like back in the old times where no modern future gadgets or inventions are seen? Maybe that is what we really call living the simple life. Yeah. Who needs iPhones, iPads and iPods anyway?

Because of the time skip and different points in time, the main characters have a pair of different seiyuus to reflect the period they are in. Satoru, Mamoru and Shun (Kanako Toujou, Haruka Kudou and Mai Toudou respectively) have females voicing them when they are 12 years old and then switch to a mature voice when they hit 14 years old and above (Yuuki Kaji, Motoki Takagi and Ayumu Murase respectively). Oddly, I thought female characters usually have only one seiyuu but in the case for Saki, she also has two of them. Risa Taneda (Yukari in Yuyushiki) when she is 12 years old but Aya Endo (Sky Raker in Accel World) serving as the more mature sounding woman (as I found out the narrator’s voice belonged to her and supposedly around 36 years old). The only main character without double seiyuus is Maria and is voiced by Kana Hanazawa all the way. Yui Horie had a cameo as Reiko. But because she was disposed off as early as the first episode, I never really got the chance to spot her. Other casts include Daisuke Namikawa as Squealer/Yakomaru (Waver in Fate/Zero), Hiroaki Hirata as Kiroumaru (Sanji in One Piece), Yoshiko Sakaibara as Tomiko (Kate in Chrno Crusade), Kousuke Toriumi as Inui (Gennousuke in Basilisk), Takanori Hoshino as Shisei (Shido Fuyuki in Getbackers), Tomokazu Sugita as Rijin (Gintoki in Gintama), Miki Itou as Mizuho (Fujimura in Fate/Stay Night), Sakiko Tamagawa as Minoshiro (Natsumi in You’re Under Arrest), Yuri Amano as Hiromi (Ifurita in El Hazard series), Sanae Kobayashi as Okano (Lucy in Elfen Lied) and Ryota Ohsaka as Ryou (Kiri in Sket Dance).

I guess with every anime that comes out now, the opening and ending credits is a must, right? Sometimes it has become an art and thus if you buy those DVDs, you get clean opening and ending animations without those credits interrupting your admiration of the ‘beautiful’ artwork. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that this series doesn’t have an opening theme. In a way, it breaks away from such ‘routine’ so it is a little refreshing in that sense. Just like how One Piece recently over the past few years never had an ending theme. I suppose they can save some cost by not featuring a song. Oops… But there is an ending theme, though. The first one is Wareta Ringo by Risa Taneda. I thought it feels out of place although it doesn’t sound bad, especially the stuttering guitar parts are quite creatively played out. After watching at the pace of this anime, hearing such song really feels odd but it is a welcoming relief (at least for me) since it does take away the tension especially for the earlier episodes. I thought the series finally decided to put an opening theme at the end of Mamoru-runs-away arc but it actually serves more as an introduction for the second ending theme, Yuki Ni Saku Hana by Kana Hanazawa. So technically that episode 16 is the only episode we’ve got both an opening and ending theme. The song sounds like it has tragic and sadness in it, which is quite befitting at the way this series is going. There is some background music too but the one that has child voices and played usually in the beginnings of the episodes has that creepy and ominous feel to it. It’s like a choir of children singing for a temple hymn.

Knowledge is such a power thing and it could also be a dangerous thing if it falls into the wrong hands and used for the wrong purposes. Humanity has advanced so much only to regress backwards and even in danger of being replaced by another creature. And the ironic part is that men were the ones who tampered with DNA and genes, trying to play God and create such intelligent creatures. Just backfired, huh? We reap what we sew. I just hope that one day that everyone in this world and the universe (assuming there are other intelligent life forms out there) would just get along and live a non-violent life where you don’t have to worry if you’re going to be the next on the hit list and free if your kind is going to be eradicated soon. Not possible in my life time? Being human is complicated and frustrating. No powers, got problems. Have powers, also have bigger problems. If reincarnation does exist, maybe I want to be a rock at the bottom of the sea. Life would be so much easier and simpler then.

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