Shin Seiai Yori 6, Jojo and Sukitte 5

With Shin Sekai Yori 5 we get another example of how to expand on a world while telling a compelling story. Well, there was that one weird bit that had me scratching my head …

The oddest scene of the episode.

Saki and Satoru are trapped underground. No way out. All they have is each other. I thought they might actually indulge in that pleasant stress-relief technique this time, but it’s not brought up. Instead, Saki has a weird vision of those … whatever-they-ares that gave us the infodump two episodes ago. There’s a naked Shun there, too, coming out of the ground for some reason they (naturally) don’t tell us. Whether this is an attempt to communicate to Saki or just a light bulb going off in her head it’s impossible to say, but then after a close look at the monk’s fire (and whooshing sound effects–this show sounds as good as it looks) we get a flashback to the kids once showing each other their mantras, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours I guess, and she managed to remember it, be fair, steal it. So do these unique mantras work the same as, say, your true name does in Earthsea? … Anyway, in a confusing moment, because we go from the vision to a memory of the flames to the flashback, Saki uses the mantra to unlock Satoru’s cantus. Satoru appears to be sleeptalking, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. Once I did figure it out I marveled that Saki would be underhanded enough to steal Satoru’s mantra in the first place. A bit of a moral issue here, especially since she did save their lives. I wonder what the monks would say?

Satoru is having too much fun.

Satoru recovers and becomes superhuman by necessity, and he’s changed. More interesting questions arise: did getting his mantra unlocked also unlock any other barriers he had, because this new Satoru is more serious, and more bloodthirsty. Now he’s killing ground spiders left and right and enjoying it, until Saki points it out to him. He may have just been lashing out; the kid’s been under all sorts of stress. Maybe he just can’t resist a little fun at his tormentors’ expense. Or is there really any difference? These thoughts hover in the background, however, while the main story goes on, and that’s all about staying alive. It works. After a while I was scanning the trees as closely as the kids were to see where the next ambush was coming from. At the end, they’re still not out of danger, having run across the ground spiders’ main force and Satoru too exhausted from playing hero (another adolescent weakness) to do much. Another good episode.

I’m having more trouble writing about Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure than I used to. The novelty has worn off, and though it’s still fun to watch I can’t think of anything to do except marvel at the shouting, grunting, rock splitting (lots of rocks split in this show) and speeches, both heroic and evil, something this show always delivers. But the highlight this week, well, one of them, was the three foes Jojo, Speedwagon, and their enemy Dio clash hands, keep them together, and deliver long speeches before they separate. Yeah, if your hand is freezing, pull it away! Well, these are real men, after all. The other notable thing was the curious infodump about the two soldiers-turned-zombies, Tarkus and Bruford (Tarkus? Bruford? And Roundabout as the ED? Do the creators have a prog rock thing? The next characters will probably be named Squire or Lake) (and let’s not forget Speedwagon*), suggesting that though they’re zombies right now that they will be redeemed by Jojo and join his side, or cleansed and sent to their graves. Anyway, right now the battle is going on UNDERWATER, and Speedwagon hasn’t yet thawed Zeppeli’s arm (hmm, Zeppelin). I wonder if that kid will show up again.

* Indeed, a quick Wikipedia lookup suggests we are not done with the rock names, which probably everyone watching knew but me.

After the heavy high school social issues we’ve had before it’s a surprise to see a comparatively tame and superficial episode of Sukitte Ii na yo. Episode 5 is nothing more than Mei visiting Yamato’s home (well, actually that’s pretty heavy) and meeting his sister Nagi, who’s phoned him before. Naturally she has issues her own, discovering that her friends liked her only because she lived in a nice big house and she made good cookies, getting into a funk of her own (Mei has no funks this week, but the tradition lives on!), until she and Mei have a nice talk. It’s superficial, as I said, but still effective. She’s obviously jealous of Mei, but Mei senses it and cuts through it through simple kindness and an honest admiration for Nagi’s creative skills. Nagi’s old friends acted like this too, at leaast to her face, so I have a hard time seeing her open up to Mei like that. It was also charming to see Yamato act that way to a stray kitten, but what happened to the other ones? … I’m not so sure what the flying bird metaphor was going, though.

7 thoughts on “Shin Seiai Yori 6, Jojo and Sukitte 5

  1. I found the fact that she replicated the mantra of the priest a bit odd. It just seemed to be a huge leap of faith for us as the viewer to take on. And when it worked, why didn’t he use it on her? She could have instructed him, and then they’d both be free. All very odd. But, I did appreciate that we got to see Satoru’s start into madness. It’s probably representative of the state the TK users were before the new societies. We will get to see first hand why the Scientist decided to build the society they did.

    1. He couldn’t unlock her sealed abilities because he doesn’t know her mantra, I assume. Which begs the question: why not tell him? That moment was so confusing. Satoru looks like he’s asleep and she’s using his mantra without telling him. At least, that’s how I saw it. In which case he didn’t know she did it, but then why isn’t he wonering why he’s got his cantus going and she hasn’t? Is she simply refusing to tell him? This show throws a lot of strangeness at us but usually does a very good job at explaining it through the show’s events. Not this time …

      1. I get the sense that when your Cantus is sealed, you forget your own mantra. Even in episode 1, Saki cried when it was suggested that her mantra and Cantus had been burned in the fire, as if she could no longer remember it despite being attached to it. It appears that they have been conditioned to forget their own mantra when their Cantus is sealed to prevent them from regaining their power too easily. And it isn’t clear yet, but I get the sense that they are conditioned to associate their Cantus powers with the one mantra (maybe they will show this to be false), and only that can be used, meaning that when they forget their mantra, they cannot regain their power unless in the presence of somebody who does know their mantra.

        But yeah, I am surprised that Satoru wasn’t questioning why he has his Cantus, but Saki does not.

  2. Regarding Shinsekai Yori, I think that sequence with the naked Shun was a lightbulb going off in Saki’s head as you suggested. Shun is a very significant person to her, and also associates him with order/reasoning as he typically leads/directs the group. Right before that moment, she was thinking about their Cantus powers and the possibility of death, and the last thing that happened before they lost their Cantus powers was the incident with the false minoshiro (the library), and Shun was being very attentive to it. That might draw Saki’s thoughts to it, which would get her to remember that it used light hypnosis, and that Shun even compared the library’s light hypnosis to the hypnosis used at the temple. She would recall that mantra had significance in the ritual used to condition the children into believing that their powers were not inherently theirs, allowing for them to be sealed/unsealed, leading her to remember an incident where she was able to get Satoru to reveal his mantra, allowing for her to do the ritual herself. It was stated by the library that when in of it.

    I believe that the monks would be very opposed to this. If all the children shared their Cantus with each other, it’d be very difficult to punish them by sealing their Cantus for not following the rules if there are children who can recall the details of the ritual process.

    I think that Satoru was acting out due to stress. Under such situations, there may be a fight-or-flight response, and he happened to lean towards being the aggressor, and since there was at least some success initially, he leaned more and more towards fighting the Ground Spider colony. It may also have to do with Saki not posing more limitations on Satoru since her version of the ritual may have missed the bite of the usual ritual used to keep tabs on other people’s power.

    I just have no idea what to say about Jojo. It’s just insane, although I do find it enjoyable.

    In Suki-tte Ii na yo., I think there is a difference between Mei’s interaction with Nagi, and those with the younger children. The younger children pretty much ignored her at every opportunity while they played their games, excluding her from relevant conversation, and only praised her to get more cookies. Mei actually expressed interest in Nagi’s craft, unlike those other girls.

    1. ” It was stated by the library that when in of it. ”

      Uhhh …. that was a mistake as I somehow erased a portion of my comment. I meant to type “It was stated by the library that when individuals were stressed, it is easier to apply hypnosis on them, and Satoru (at least to me) seemed stressed enough to be in a position vulnerable to it.”

      1. You may well be right about Saki’s line of thinking, but it’s hard for anyone else to get all that in your first paragraph when all we get is that chant music (which signifies: “This is really important!”), Shun rising out of the earth (a WTF moment if I ever saw one) and turning rather grotesquely into a library creature. There’s probably a million ways to explain that.

        True, Mei is much nicer to Nagi than her friends ever were, but I still believe Nagi grew to trust her too quickly, given her experiences, especially since she’s the new evil girlfriend!

  3. Procrastination: Your explanation makes the most sense, that they “forget” their mantras when their canti are sealed. Actually, now that you’ve mentioned it it feels like a no-brainer.

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