From The New World Episode 19

"So, which one of us is gonna die first if we don't have a black dude?"

“So, which one of us is gonna die first if we don’t have a black dude?”

Summary: Saki and Satoru get separated from the rest of their patrol group and team up with three other survivors. In search of the other group’s lost, they end up in an abandoned hospital surrounded by Queerats. However, they soon find out the Queerats are the least of their worries.

I have long wondered how exactly the Queerat invasion and the whole self-censorship plotlines would go hand in hand, and here we finally have the answer From The New World has so long been building up towards. There is a Fiend loose in Kamisu’s 66th District and it is every bit as horrifying as the show has been implying. If you can put two and two together, you should be able to figure out who it is hiding within the smoke and setting people on fire for great fun, but this episode nevertheless did a great job at building up tension. For 22 tense minutes, From The New World went back to its psychological horror roots and beyond, resulting in a paranoid episode that has you on the edge of your seat.

While this was never explicitly stated, it is safe to say that Yakomaru is behind all this. How exactly he managed to “tame” a Fiend and use them for his own gains remains to be seen, but it must be said he indeed had a very effective trump card up his little sleeve. Yakomaru seems hell-bent on taking humanity’s place as the new dominant species on earth and even goes as far as to have them exterminated by the result of their own mistakes. Ever since Tomiko revealed the truth about the boy named K to Saki, I’ve always seen Fiends as gruesome products of societal pressure and the sheer destructive chaos being human can turn your mind into. You have to hand it to the little guy, aside from a cunning intellect, Squealer also has a great sense of humour.

Where this episode was a bit lacking in terms of actual storytelling — hence the somewhat shorter post — the tension leading up to the reveal of the Fiend could be cut with a knife, and I especially have to congratulate those responsible for this episode’s sound design. The chilling soundscapes interspersed with creepy effects, terrifyingly effective moments of silence and the Fiend’s horrifying scream made this episode a sick joy to listen to. I do have a slight problem with its over-the-top portrayal of fear. Surely, there must be a more subtle way of showing someone being scared out of their socks than soaked in sweat and inhumanely wide-eyed, right? This seems to be a thing in many anime. It also almost exclusively happens to side characters who are just there to get killed off. Looks like this particular side character can rest easily though, as the Fiend prefers to go after Saki and Satoru in stead. Their identity remains shrouded in mystery, and it looks as if next episode will do less to change that. Now for something completely different?

Random Observations

  • To put into perspective just how threatening the Fiends really are: They are basically Accelerator from A Certain Magical Index, only sans the power limiter and the blossoming consciousness. Owch.
  • I still love the delicious irony in Satoru and — in a lesser degree — Saki being horrified by what the Fiend is doing to their fellow humans, only to do the exact same thing to the Queerats.
  • How exactly did Saki and Satoru end up separated from their patrol group? Did they kill off Saki’s parents off screen?

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