Warning: The series I am reviewing contains depictions of child abduction, disappearance, murder and violence in a future totalitarian society. It also depicts sexual violence. The show also contains sexual relationships between young people. That is the trigger warning.
Leave now if you wish.
Also spoilers for the episode and the whole series. Do not read any further if you don’t want spoilers.
Recap: This episodes starts two years after the ending of the last episode. Th characters are now fourteen. They are back in school and older. Saki and Maria are together. We see many couples in the school all of them of the same sex. Satoru and Shun walk by holding hands. The anime focuses on Saki and Shun as they walk past each other. Saki stares after Shun. Maria notices this. The scene changes to them being in class. Maria is flying above the other students. Saki is fixing a broken bottle. Satoru tries to impress her with his ability to create a mirror. He and Saki bicker over whether it’s warped. Mamoru is drawing using his power. Shun is trying to hatch a chick using his powers.
Shun then stands up and walks past Saki to embrace Satoru. Saki distracted by this ends up cutting herself on the glass from her bottle. Maria sees this and is quick to comfort her and make sure she is okay. The scene changes again and Saki is outside in a field next to a tree. Shun’s dog Subaru shows up. Shun is not far behind him but Satoru shows up then. Saki hides behind the tree. She peeks at the two boys. A slow music starts to play. The two boys roll around together and kiss. Shun sees Saki but doesn’t say anything. The boys continue maybe even have sex. She runs off and finds Maria.
Maria is with Mamoru having her portrait done. The two girls leave for a walk. Maria tells Mamoru to take a break. He watches them leave. We then get a scene where the two girls play in water together, kiss and presumably have sex. The next scene is in class. Satoru and Shun have gotten matching necklaces. Maria says that Satoru is copying everything Shun has been doing. Saki then asks Mamoru if he is having fun pining after Maria. She then suggests she and Maria get something that matches then dismisses the idea and walks off. While in class she stares after the two boys and then smiles at Maria. She then looks at Mamoru portrait of Maria. The episode cuts to Saki in the bathroom washing her face. She asks her reflection ‘what are we even doing with ourselves?’
Saki leaves school. She comes across another scene with Shun and Satoru but this time they are not being intimate but breaking up. Satoru is rather confused by what is happening. Shun gives him back the necklace and walks away. Satoru even goes as far to tell him not to hang out anymore. Saki is hugely confused and asks ‘but why?’ The next scene is of them in class. Satoru is now with another boy called Ray. The whole scene comes off as awkward and tense as they walk past Shun. The other members of group one look on in shock. Mari and Mamoru think that Satoru dumped Shun. Saki stays silent.
The next scene we meet Shisei Kaburagi. The post powerful PK user. Everyone wants to impress him. He praises some of them including Satoru and then stops by Shun. The whole scene is tense. Adult Saki says Shun is expected to succeed Shisei . They all expect that Shun will be taught directly by him for the first time. But instead Shisei backs away and runs out of the classroom. We hear the teacher and Shisei talking but not what the latter is saying. Shun is exhausted. He knocks over the egg as he slumps. The other members of group one are concerned for them. It is also the first time they’ve hang out in a long time. We then see what happened to the egg, it broke open and an eye was inside.
Then we get a scene of Saki and Shun together in the afternoon setting sun. Shun just runs into Saki by the river. Shun tells Saki to stay back. Shun has a sickness of some kind and need to be by himself. He is in a small bungalow for medical treatment. No one will be coming with him or visiting him not even his dog he says. Saki nearly tell him she loves him but he interrupts her. Shun tells her that he believes they are being watched and that ‘they’ know what happened with Rejin two years ago. He warns her to watch out for cats. She asks him if he means the trickster cat. He shakes his head and then gives her the necklace he is wearing. He throws it to her. It is a charm to keep cats. Shun made it and tells Saki to tell the others. Subaru then shows up. The episode ends.
Analysis: Wow does this episode pack a lot. The last episode allowed for a lot of tension to be released but this one brings some new tension to the story. It had been hinted since the episode one that Shun would turn into a Karma Demon and now we can see it happen. It’s heartbreaking to watch as he pushes away his friends and lovers because he does not want to hurt them. The scenes with Shisei are also good. Now the most powerful Psychokinesis users will become part of the story.
I won’t spend too much time focusing on the same sex relationships here as I already did that in my analysis of bisexuality in the series. So instead I will talk about the other sex relationships. Saki is very much in love with Shun by this episode. Even with her romantic feelings and relationships with both Satoru and Maria it is Shun who her heart belongs to. The scene were she tries to tell him this is actually really painful to watch. Because in the end these two never get to be together.
Shun’s character in this episode is shown to be truly complicated. On the one hand he is love with Saki while also being in a relationship with Satoru. He pushes both of them away because he realizes even before Shisay does that he is turning into a Karma Demon. How long has Shun known this? How long has he been hiding it unable to tell his friends and lovers. How long has he been hurting? This is effective because we don’t know we only learn this as Saki learns it. Also Shun’s dog is the coolest and its great to see him before things start to get really dark. His habit of follow his master around is noteworthy and will become important later.
Also the use of music and animation in this episode was beautiful. I haven’t talked about the music before but when it played during the romantic and intimate scenes it was so effective. We get to see the Utopian side of this dysptopia. These are the things the episode does really well. It’s a great introduction to what is the second third of this anime.
But there is one thing I want to address that I have seen raised about this series. How young these characters are. At this stage they are only 12-14 and engaging in sexual activity. Many are uncomfortable with this. I can understand why that is but I really don’t have a problem with that. For starts the portrayal is not graphic instead going for subtle effect. Secondly these characters are all the same age, this is a case of young people exploring their sexuality together-it is consensual. That is very important, there are no power imbalances here.
Lastly there does not seem to be a risk of STI and pregnancy. STIs are never mentioned in story considering everything else it is very possible they have been eradicated. None of them are engaging in penis and vagina intercourse so no risk of pregnancy. So I don’t have a problem with it. Since I used a picture of Shun and Satoru last time I decided to go with Saki and Maria this time. I’m nearly a third of a way through the series. I think the next anime I will review will be a Wandering Son. Anyway see you next time.