Satoru reports to the joint committee heads that the Giant Hornets were completely annihilated by the Robber Flys. In light of very strange evidence, Shisei forms the theory that a human with a cantus destroyed the army. Tomiko refutes it’s either Akizuki Maria or Itou Mamoru, as she confirmed they were dead. At the summer festival, the Robber Flys, condemned to destruction, launch a surprise attack on the village, but Shisei eliminates them, removing his mask in the process. Tomiko vows to give Yakomaru a slow death.
The point when they queerats turn on their own gods came much more rapidly than we expected, and Yakomaru is almost certainly behind it all. There was always something about that rat’s eyes and in his weaselly words that we found unsettling. While he most certainly knows the surprise attack will fail, it is nevertheless a complex multi-layered assault full of feints and gambits designed to create maximum anxiety in the people, who had been previously enjoying their summer festival. Queerat infiltrators even disguised themselves as “monsters” (part of the festival) and handed out samples of poisoned sake.
Their assault may have been thwarted – and then some – by the awesome destructive power of the four-irised(!) Shisei, but the villagers are afraid, and that’s just what Yakomaru wants. Two committee heads are also dead: the most bombastic and overconfident head (who was playing a drum with his cantus when he was taken out by a queerat sniper) and the one head who called for the postponement of the festival until the Robber Flys were dealt with. Turns out that was a good call. Meanwhile, on this night when the dead return from the underworld, Saki has visions of her friends, whom Tomiko is positive they’re dead. But are they really?
Rating: 8 (Great)
The igloo is gone, presumably leveled by Maria and Mamoru, so Saki and Satoru continue their search, following a queerat who spotted them. Saki falls down a snow cornice, but Satoru saves her. They are welcomed to the Robber Fly Colony, which is showing signs of vastly increased technology, and they have lobotomized their queen and set up a representative government. Squealer, now called Yakomaru, guides them to the Goat Moth colony, accompanied by organized soldiers. They find Squonk, who tells Saki he doesn’t know where Maria and Mamoru went, but has a letter from them.
We knew the search for Maria and Mamoru wasn’t going to be easy; in order to survive they felt they needed to erase all evidence they were still alive. It’s a big world out there, and with Canti, they can move quite fast. And while we knew from the preview that this episode would feature Squealer, we would never have guessed how far things have come in the years since they last crossed paths. On the one hand, its a good time to be a Robber Fly; on the other hand, their civilization is developing at a frightening pace, so much so that Satoru is worried the queerats’ ultimate goal is to replace humanity, adopting the material culture they abandoned. It’s not a farfetched concern. They already vastly outnumber them.
After seeing how the queerats ended up solving their “queen problem” (they need them to breed, but they’re too tyrannical and unstable), it’s not a big leap to say they would take a look at solving their “god problem” in a similar way, if humans threatened their survival or even attempted to curtail their progress. Squealer is as hard-to-read as ever; his obedience seems more reluctant that before, and he has much more confidence. Ruthless and violent as queerat queens were, they were always a natural check on over-development – almost an extension of human dominion over queerats. Now that check is gone. If we were humans living in Saki’s time, we’d be very, very nervous.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Trapped in the cave but alive, Saki recites Rijin’s words and somehow Satoru’s Cantus is restored. He uses his powers to bust them out of the cave, but many perils await them on the surface. Satoru seems to have fun killing Ground Spider queerats, and when Squealer and the Robber Fly remnants offer to escort them to safety, Satoru agrees. He defeats ambush after ambush, but begins to experience death feedback, and his powers weaken. Squealer shows them an enormous queerat army awaiting them up ahead.
When Saki somehow restores Satoru’s Cantus, he wastes no time putting on a psychokinetic clinic, kicking ass left and right by dividing boulders into cubic bullets, lifting trees out of their roots and turning them into burning missiles, and directing the flow of water, deflecting boulders launched at them, et cetera. But throughout all this, Satoru changes from the kind, gentle kid of just last week to someone crueler, more arrogant and vindictive. He’s having too much fun. Defense isn’t enough for him. He takes the fight to the queerats, and allows himself to get drawn into a war.
Satoru’s refrain is that if they simply run away, reunite with the others, get back in their canoes and go home, they’ll be pursued. He thinks running would be suicide. He wants to instill crippling fear in the queerats – every last one. But Satoru is just one person, and not nearly as disciplined as the monk Rijin; the extent of the pain and suffering hes causing to living creatures starts taking its toll fast. Thus far Satoru’s actions have only extended and worsened his date from hell with Saki. If he passes out, she’ll be all alone in a sea of queerats with no Cantus to stay afloat; a terrifying prospect.
Rating: 8 (Great)