The past and the future, passing the torch.
The tension continues to mount as Saki and Satoru are determined to get the news of the fiend back to the rest of the humans. What the rest of the humans will be able to do is up for debate, and it turns out that the best advice any of them have is “run away”. When your best defense is to abandon everything you have, that’s not much of a defense.
But there’s not much left in the town. Yakomaru has basically thought of everything. Not content to rely on the fiend, his ace in the hole (and given the rest of their plans, you wonder how much he was actually counting on him in the first place), they’ve employed mutated animals as weapons of mass destruction. After raiding the town all night with parties of bakenezumi, they appear to fall back in the morning, but it’s a ruse to get people to go home and sleep. And then large underwater animals have moved into the canals, that spew out gunpowder clouds and then ignite them, resulting in the wholesale destruction of the town. Looking reminiscent of the footage of areas of Japan after the US atomic bombs, the entire town is destroyed with the dead and injured everywhere.
Saki and Satoru had just barely escaped a similar fate after encountering one of these animals after their escape from the fiend, an excellent plan using Satoru’s mirror ability, and just in time, as the fiend, realizing he wouldn’t be taken to the village, incinerated their boat immediately after they got off. After resting and borrowing other clothes, they encounter one of these animals in a canal, and we see Saki escape, blown clear by the huge explosion. But we didn’t see Satoru survive. I think he probably did, but it’s always a question in this show.
The combination of Saki’s blown clear and their escape pointed out something interesting. I had thought that all of them developed self-levitation, but apparently it’s far more rare. Saki, after flying a long distance from the explosion, crash lands pretty hard in a field of sunflowers. And in their escape from the boat, she and Satoru had to float each other to the shore. Is self-levitation something that takes a lot of work, or is it something that is just impossible for most?
Saki finally reaches Tomiko-san at the Sage Academy, looking broken and battered. And although she knows Saki is an unimpeachable source, she just cannot believe that there is a Fiend… until the rumors start coming through the rest of people at the Academy that he’s been spotted. Tomiko, in no condition to move, and almost paralyzed by fear of the fiend, tells Saki that this is the time that she’s going to be taking over. It’s certainly not what either of them would have wanted, but Tomiko thinks it’s the end for her. Saki is to run to the Temple of Purity with Niimi-san, and can’t believe they’re leaving Tomiko to die. But Niimi, who I get the feeling is Tomiko’s consort, realizes this is her wish and the best hope for the remaining humans.
Once again, Yakomaru is in The Ugly. Yakomaru has been ahead of the humans every step, and the effect it’s having is beating the arrogance out of the humans that are still left. But it’s still a question of who’s going to win, and what the end game is here. It’s pretty certain that Yakomaru will still be ahead of the humans, and even with Shisei leading the fight back against them, the Bakenezumi are in a strong position.