Shin Sekai Yori 23 continues to set up a big climatic finale with telltale comments. When they’re not being chased by or chasing away various monsters in that underground hell-hole, they’re dropping not-so-subtle hints about what’s going on.
And that hell-hole is indeed spooky. I suspect the creators were sitting around with grins on their faces, thinking of things that will wreak havoc with our panic buttons. My favorite were the black widow spider mites that attack in swarms. But if you have a thing about centipedes, cockroaches, bats, whatever those orange slugs were, this episode will give you the chill you want. And we don’t even see all of them. Kiroumaru and that little bot rattle off a half-dozen more. So we watch as one horror after another is conjured and our gang make its way to get that Psycho-whatever, with the so far assured help of Kiroumaru.
But for how long? It’s clear after this episode (and especially the preview) that Kiroumaru’s got some unpleasant plans of his own. But what are they? Is he in league with Squealer? Then why doesn’t he just walk them straight to the Fiend? Because he needs them to get the Psyho-killer (which Saki finds in the oddest-looking vial that looks more like a charm to ward off spirits), the last defense against the Fiend? That is about the only thing I can think of. Still, it’s a roundabout way of doing it. If he and Squealer just killed off this party of humans it’s highly unlucky any other humans will try again. At the moment they’re too busy not dying … which makes me wonder how things are going back there with the Fiend (who travels like any other creature, i.e., slowly) off on this mission. Have the humans regrouped?
We’ll find out next week exactly how Kiroumaru’s played Saki and the others. The most powerful moments of the episode come at the end, when certain events underground (and a spiritual visitation by Shun earlier) break the barriers in Saki’s mind and she remembers Shun again. It’s a hell of a scene. The chanting and guitars and orchestra blaze away more intensely than they ever have, as she comes above ground and sees the sky (with its feel of release), flashbacks, morphing rocks, and, at the end, at the music’s most powerful moment, Shun. … Actually, thinking about it, it’s a little confusing. He shouldn’t be actually there, you know, in the flesh. But in a moment as powerful as this I sometimes don’t think so clearly. I don’t know how the series is going to top it. We’ll find out next week what’s going on, I hope. As for my prediction, I have no idea how the Kiroumaru moment will play out, but Saki will not use the psycho-pass, er, killer, I mean, buster, I think, because whatever that Shun she sees outside is, the one in her head says the Fiend isn’t one. I trust that Shun more.