I suspect something might have happened in this episode, which looked pretty important. We start once again with an out-of-context flashback, an assassination attempt on Empero Jikoutei 430 years before present day. The dude gets stabbed, and… cut to canoeing.
Shin Sekai Yori appears to be steeped in folklore and urban legends, but not in a way that’s conducive to the story like Bakemonogatari was. Or so I thought, but this time the urban legend leads us on a hunt for the apocryphal “Demon Minoshiro,” also known as a “False Minoshiro.” It’s this guy right here:
Before anything happens we get a voiceover telling us how in just 1,000 years, many new species have appeared. This would seem to contradict the slow nature of evolution, and there’s speculation that humanity’s newly-awakened power may have something to do with it. I will say that the world of this story is one of the better aspects of this show. It’s supposed to be post-apocalyptic, but it’s a very unique take on that trope.
Anyway, Saki and friends encounter a Minoshiro, which hypnotizes the group by emitting a strange light. Saki is immune as she happened to be wearing sunglasses. The Minoshiro escapes, so they decide to catch it by wrangling terrifying, gigantic crabs. Have you seen a live crab? They’re like armored spiders with large pincers. Whoever first tried to eat a crab was a brave and/or desperate person. Only their small size makes them lovable and manageable, unless we’re talking about those six-foot deep-sea spider crabs.
So the group’s unlikely plan works, and once again Saki is the only one not hypnotized by the Minoshiro (which, by the way, looks like a rejected Studio Ghibli monster). At this point the Minoshiro begins communicating with Saki, telling her to stop what she’s doing and that it’s the property of the National Diet Library. What does that mean exactly? Apparently it’s a living archive of books, knowledge which has otherwise been lost to time. Instead of spreading this knowledge to mankind, the best thing for it to do clearly is to wander around in the woods avoiding human contact. But now that Saki has made contact with this library, maybe the real story will start unfolding for us? It should make episode four pretty interesting.