Fear and overconfidence tend to go hand in hand, over a cliff in an ignoble blaze. Not so coincidentally, both of these lead to most of the people in Shinsekai Yori succumbing to the literal blazes of the queerats’ main strategy. It’s surprisingly sobering seeing people who once regarded sentient naked mole rats as vermin exterminated in a fashion that’s ironically much more brutal and methodical. There’s no remorse, no mercy, just deaths abound to punish the humans for their hubris—thankfully none of it accompanied by the annoyance of blurrycam.
I don’t really have much to say about the episode, other than how it did a great job at showing just how effective fear is at simultaneously (and paradoxically) quashing and fostering human resilience. Not only has most of the main village been wiped out by creatures specifically bred to use the peoples’ own security in their system of canals against them, but the fiend slowly encroaching from the outskirts does little to stem the tide of anxiety. I mean when Tomiko of all people says to turn tail and run, you know shit’s getting fucked royally.
Despite being very human in their desire for survival, and easy to wipe out en masse, the queerats are a surprising nightmare for cantus users, specifically because their strategy is so calculating and reliant on using their own troops as cannon fodder. To face an enemy that not only willingly throws itself into the line of fire, but does so with gusto and the very real possibility of doing damage, is unnerving to think about. And to think that that’s not even their trump card conjures up painful memories of facing the never-ending Mongol hordes in any number of medieval grand strategy titles.
Finally, there’s the fiend itself. Despite being thrown off of Saki’s trail fairly early into the episode, there’s still the sick feeling that it’s realized its error, slowly heading back to the ruins of the village to pick off anybody that remains. Hell, it’s damn near an inevitability that shit’s going to get fucked upwards, and the resignation in the air is stifling when Saki isn’t barreling through it at several hundred miles per hour because of bug explosions.
If there’s anything to take away from this episode, it’s that psychic abilities and incendiary mosquitoes are our own worst enemies, symbolic for a lack of foresight and mosquitoes, because fuck giant bloated mosquitoes.
We not only have no way to truly deal with that which we can’t control, but our means for doing so often trip us up in the end. Shinsekai Yori’s kind of depressing, when you get down to it.