The only smile this show, it seemed.
This episode really brought the action. Starting right from the end of last episode, with the blowdog exploding, we see that Rijin takes the brunt of the explosion, while the children dive for cover. The kids are unhurt, but Rijin doesn’t survive. But coming over the rise is another army of bakenezumi, not looking any friendlier than the last one. And without Rijin or their own Cantus to use, the kids are sitting ducks. So they run away, splitting up to try to be more effective (I don’t actually see how effective this would be against a whole force of enemy. I guess it’s easier to hide if you find a suitable spot, but it’s not like dividing the forces against you is going to be much more effective when your group of 5 is running from 50, or you are each individually running from 10 or so). Saki, trying to run, falls and hurts herself, and can’t run again, until finally Satoru happens upon her and helps her get moving again.
Saki collapses against Satoru.
The rest of the episode focuses on those two as they are first captured by the bakenezumi, escape using one of the haythatcher fake eggs to dispatch the guard, and then meet another colony of bakenezumi (the Robber Fly colony) with a liaison that speaks their language very well, and offers the hospitality of their ‘nest’ in hopes that the young ‘gods’ will defend them against the invading colony (the Ground Spiders). Having had their ‘godhood’ sealed away, they bluff around it, and later it becomes moot as the colony is invaded and I assume defeated, while Saki and Satoru again try to escape, but at the end they’ve mistaken the roof of a tunnel for the sky, only to find that it’s a tunnel underwater as it caves in on them…
Can they get out?
The action didn’t stop this episode, with only small pauses to catch our breath such as when they were captured, or when they were trying to rest in the colony. Constantly on the run, in danger, and facing scary new beings such as the queen of the Robber Fly colony, a corpulent figure that most reminded me of the Queen in Aliens. Saki faces up to the danger well, even asking the queen to forgive Squealer, their liaison, who had accidentally burned her screen and faced death for it. Satoru also deals with it well, helping them escape the Ground Spiders with the egg, and being a steady figure in support of Saki when she was injured. It’s hard to believe that Mamoru or Maria would have done as well as these two.
The information they got from the library is obviously still on Saki’s mind, however. Alone together after they are captured, the ingrained desire for intimate contact in stressful times that was mentioned leads Satoru to start touching her, and while she initially responds favorably, she becomes doubtful and hesitant upon remembering what they were told. The implications seemed to confuse her: are they only doing this because they’ve been “programmed” or “trained” to do it? Does it mean anything more? Should it mean anything more? She gets out of the situation this time by changing the focus to the single guard looking at them, but what will she do in the future?
This episode actually left me feeling drained by the time that title card flashed up. It was intense, dramatic, and suspenseful and took the excellent storytelling this show has constantly exhibited in a new direction.
This episode was almost so intense that it went too far. And I’m hopeful that there aren’t too many like this in a row because that might kill me. Even so, it was an excellent way to spend time.
How do the bakenezumi get so deformed? The first ones we saw were small rattish things, the ones we’ve seen these last two episodes are larger, stronger, more like deformed humans. And the queen was just disgusting, a blobby corpulent mass of teats and flab.