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I have to say, these two episodes confirm both what I like and don't about Shin Sekai Yori.

Episode 23

This episode was another one that went right over my head.  A slow-paced, artistically done journey episode that ended with some ongoing confusion.  It seems that Shin Sekai Yori slips in these episodes once in a while to drag out the plot.  Sometimes I have to wonder if they over-shot the timing of the series, and had to use episodes like this to make sure it comes out to the originally planned 25 episodes.

Low and behold, once that music started playing at the end, you knew something big was coming.  Whether the apparition was really Shun or not remained to be seen - still does - but you can't fault the series for constantly trying for impact.  By now it's worn off a little.

Sadly enough, that's all I have to say about this episode.  I'm sure there are others who would appreciate it more than I, but it just doesn't cut for me.  Admittedly the ending did surprise me, but the lead-up was something of a confusing trance.  Most of the time I wasn't sure what was going on; not that uncommon in Shin Sekai Yori.
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Episode 24

Contrasting episode 23, we have this episode.  One of the series' stronger points is making full use of the atmosphere it has created from the beginning to bring out very suspenseful moments, which we readily see here. Saki's personal conflict boils over to affect the resolution of the battle.

It was inevitable that Saki would do what she did.  Her character has faced so much hardship that it's too cruel for her not to try to protect her last remaining friend.  Even at the expense of suppressing the fiend with the psychobuster, which failed badly.

One thing that did stand out, was the discussion of race.  This late in the game Shin Sekai Yori maintains its commentary on all things race-related by considering the upbringing of the fiend.  Can a child raised by queerats not identify itself as a human?  Is it just another queerat aiming for the destruction of the human race?  All of that is more than possible.  On top of establishing the aim of over-throwing the humans via revolution, akin to overthrowing of monarchies, the suspicion surrounding Kiroumaru has been cleared up.  His loyalty may be in question but he's earned the trust of the humans.  Just as Squealer has requested to start negotiations, and with the final episode upon us.

The episode had the usual artistic choices we've seen in Shin Sekai Yori.  One big difference however, is that they served more purpose than what was seen in the previous episode.  Instead of making use of artistic direction for no plot-related purpose, here it enhanced the monologue and added to the dread felt by the characters.  With this I'm more happy to go into the finale.

There aren't many questions left to answer in Shin Sekai Yori, just a resolution to the story.  I do hope the finale isn't a let down, but rather one of the more impressive episodes of the series.

Shin Sekai Yori Episode 25 Preview

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