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 opens were the last one left off. Saki facing the Impure Cat. The cat tries to attack her by biting her neck but the necklace protects her from its teeth. Next the creatures jumps at her again but this time is not only stopped mid air but is killed. The collar falls from around her neck and to the ground. Broken. Saki visible shaken is now her kneels looking out on the horizon. The scene cuts to her in what looks like a lake with trees and vines growing out of it. The setting is surreal and confused. Animals are mutating at a startling speed with one example being a fish turning into an insect as it leaves the water. Saki walks on. Eventually she stumbles and falls. Shuns voice can be heard as he tells the story of the Karmic demon again. She asks Shun where he is and he responds scared that she is here. He tells her to stay back, to keep away, to leave. Saki demands answers. Saki struggles again to tell Shun what he means to her. She then says she was nearly killed by the cat. Shun appears before her wearing a mask. He allows her to stay for ten minutes only. They enter a small crooked house. Shun restrains himself by focusing all his psychokinesis on crystal balls.
Shun tells Saki many things. No one is fully in control of their minds and by extension their psychokinesis. Society tries to control human’s power but something always leaks out from the subconscious mind. Psychokinesis is altering the world around them. That is why spiritual barriers exist to protect humans from the monsters they create from their own unknown nightmares. Spiritual barriers send this power outside of the villages and created all the weird animals in the series. Saki pleads with him to just tell her what happened to him. That’s all she wants to know. Shun’s dog comes in. He too has been mutated by his master’s mind. Transforming into a strange and grotesque creature. Shun’s powers are out of his control constantly changing and distorting everything around him. Shun has become a Karmic Demon. Saki’s mother has given Shun books on the Karmic Demons. Everything they know about them. Shun has been keeping notes before he dies.
Saki pleads saying there must be a way t save him. But the lid is broken on Shun’s power. There is no way to help him. Saki says she must have caused this when she broke Rejin’s seal on his powers, she might have damaged him. Shun tells her not to blame herself and begs her to leave. His parents died trying to stay with him. He yells for her to leave. Saki asks if there is anything she can do even if she can’t save him. The second Impure Cat arrives then. Shun’s dog attacks the cat and he is killed. Shun out of grief kills the cat. Shun says even his dog wanted to save him. Shun says he tried to leave his dog behind but the dog always followed him and Shun wanted him to. Shun says he has already tried to poison his body already. Shun’s power spirals out of control again. Saki flies into the sky. The mask melts away from Shun’s face. His last words are ‘Saki I’ve always loved you. Goodbye’. Saki flies above him watching the destruction, tears falling from her eyes. She screams out Shun’s name. She decides she needs to live and flies away. The last image is of Shun’s mask breaking apart.
Analysis: This episode was such a kick to the stomach. All the foreshadowing of what would happen to Shun has finally happened. It was his death that finally said to me that yes this was the type of story that had the nerve to kill off a character in a way that it would really hurt. And by god did it hurt. So many questions are also answered here. Now we know what a Karmic Demon is. Now we know those old legends read in class have at least some truth to them. We understand more about how this society works and why it does what it does. Why the Impure Cats are used and who has control over them.
The animation in this episode is really something else. The scenery changes according to Shun’s inner thought capture both his torment and his confusion. Showcasing both his suffering and confusion over what has happened to him. The music again is used to reinforce everything else. The dialogue is between Shun and Saki is enough to make a person cry. The last scene where he tells her he love her is so full of sadness. So too was the nice touch with Shun’s dog. That dog was always following him and Shun was always trying to ditch him. This shows why. This episode shows this series two greatest strengths-creating both a compelling atmosphere and foreshadowing what is to come using them to great effect.
But we also see Saki’s determination to keep on going when she says ‘I need to live’. This will become a plot point later so I will save it for then. Just to point it out for now.
Another great scene was when Saki faced the Impure Cat and we learn why Shun gave her that collar. But it does leave me with one question though. The cats are clearly not immune to power as Shun later shows when he kills one. Also why haven’t more people come up with Charms to try and fend them off? Maybe this will be explained down the line and I’ve just forgotten the explanation but why don’t the people the cats target just kill the cats? If anyone reading this has any idea feel free to leave a comment below.