Anime Review: Shinsekai Yori

Episodes: 25
Genre: horror, mystery, sci-fi, psychological, supernatural
Related Words: psychokinesis, future, humanity
Rating: 5/5

Following a sudden outbreak of psychokinesis in 0.1% of the population, a rapid sy.jpgtransformation swept the world. The godlike ability to manipulate matter remotely turned many power wielders to violence, inciting a long period of upheaval. Finally, after a chaotic era shaped by the rise and fall of oppressive regimes, the psychic humans were able to achieve a fragile peace by isolating their society, creating a new world bound by complex rules.

In the town of Kamisu 66, 12-year-old Saki Watanabe has just awakened to her powers and is relieved to rejoin her friends—the mischievous Satoru Asahina, the shy Mamoru Itou, the cheerful Maria Akizuki, and Shun Aonuma, a mysterious boy whom Saki admires—at Sage Academy, a special school for psychics. However, unease looms as Saki begins to question the fate of those unable to awaken to their powers, and the children begin to get involved with secretive matters such as the rumored Tainted Cats said to abduct children.

– From My Anime List

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General Overview (Without Spoilers)

After watching Shinsekai Yori, I have to say it has become one of my favourites. Right from the beginning to the end, I was sitting in wonder at everything that was happening. It is an anime that confuses you right from the start, throwing you into a world that is both unfamiliar and strange, but that was what made it great. That confusion allowed you to be at the same level as the characters, who are also as lost as you are. As the show progressed and information is slowly being known, you are also faced with the horror and shock that the characters are feeling.

Shinsekai Yori has subtle messages threaded throughout the show, but many pass right under our noses until the very end. It is deep, dark, and dreadful, but thoughtful and insightful. It is a show that you won’t understand until the very last minute, when everything is finally revealed. I, myself, had to take a step back after finishing it to process what I had just watched because it was like a big puzzle had been completed.

Although this anime is great, I will have to say that it isn’t for everyone. It has very dark elements, disturbing scenes, and mature content, but it is a show worth watching if one is willing. The characters had great development; they were relatable and realistic, portraying many flaws as humans should be.

Plot 10/10 – It was confusing, but that was the best part. There were so many little plots going on, but it all worked out to be an amazing ending. Everything worked together, all the events were necessary, and there was not a moment wasted. It was intense, fast paced, and the world was well crafted.

Though the plot could be confusing sometimes in its nature, the world was not. The rules of this new world were laid out bare for the viewer and made sure that everyone knew how the new world worked and how the system operated. It had a great balance of information and action, which gave the knowledge the viewer needed, but didn’t bore them to death.

Art 8/10 – The art was beautiful and breathtaking. It captured the intensity of the plot and the grimness of the situation that the characters were facing. There were times where the animation went a little weird and a few episodes where the characters seemed a little odd, but overall, it was well drawn.

Sound 10/10 – The music in this anime was amazing. It complemented the plot well, came in when it needed to come in, and wasn’t too overwhelming that it drew away from the show.

Character 10/10 – From the beginning to the end, we see the characters grow, transform, and be exposed to the reality of their world. We follow them from when they are young to their adulthood, watching at how they mature to the situation around them. It was very well done and I felt a connection with them as we were also put in the same boat, not knowing anything about the world they live in until the very end.

Overall 5/5 – This was one of the best anime I have ever watched. It was thought provoking, captivating, and it had me in awe the whole time. It was dark and mature, and though it may not be for everyone, if you do try it out, it will definitely be an adventure worth while.

Full Review (*With Spoilers*)

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The anime starts off with a girl named Saki and we see her with another person. They are talking about something called a Cantus and immediately after, we learn that it is some sort of ability that can move and shape objects without touching them.

The story progresses and strange events upon strange events keep happening. One of them being the Queerats, who seem to be servants to mankind and think that man is god. The second being the Minoshiro, the glowing alpaca (as I like to call it) that seems to know everything about everything.

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The entire world is revealed through us through slow and subtle progressions. Nothing is ever dumped on us overwhelmingly, but the little bits of information that they show allow viewers to anticipate what’s going to happen next.

When Karma Demons and Death Feedbacks are introduced, along with Tainted Cats, things get stranger and stranger until you feel like things aren’t as they seem. In the middle of the anime, things begin to pick up. Saki is forced to leave her friends, whose lives are in danger, and face the cold truth of life.

The fiend is introduced towards the end, the Queerats are at war with humankind, and the world is in chaos. Saki and Satoru are pressured to stop this calamity and when they do, they finally discover the harsh truth that the Queerats, who had fought for equal rights, used to be humans.

The build up and subtle progression of the beginning of the anime really make the ending effective. If we look back, we could see that there were hints and ideas that Queerats could possibly be human, from the structure of their bones, to their intellect, to their speech. It was right in front of our faces, yet we never discovered it. That’s what made the anime so great. That it wasn’t all that it seemed and that big dramatic turn made it into a show that no one expected it would be.

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In the end, the anime was a direct criticism of humankind. How horrible humans could be to one another if someone has an inch in power. How, in the nature of humans, it’s natural for us to form groups and separate one another in accordance to race or authority. The world is ugly, painful, and Shinsekai Yori delivered all those themes and ideas in such a beautiful manner.

The pacing of the anime was perfect. Not rushed, yet not too slow. It gave out the events at appropriate timings and never dumped the information on us all at once. I’d recommend this anime to all since it’s a masterpiece to behold.

Rating

five

 

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5 thoughts on “Anime Review: Shinsekai Yori

  1. Adam says:

    I definitely appreciate how well this anime uses information management as a plot thread and source of tension. I loved how we first get fables and rhetoric, and then we see the reality. The story does a great job of first criticizing the way things are, and then showing the horrifying alternative. There’s real room for an interesting dialogue of “How would we change things for the better, without risking another calamity?”
    I know many criticize the series for having a weak first half, but in some ways it feels like a natural progression. Each arc engages a more serious and ambiguous aspect of the whole, becoming more complex as time progresses.
    I think my favorite is the karmic arc, that ending was so beautifully tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eileen X. says:

      I have heard the beginning be criticised as well for being very flat (and I thought it was a little slow as well since it took me a while to get into it) but it was really a necessary and important beginning and now that I look back, it was incredibly well done since it introduced everything in such a subtle and well paced manner. And yes, the ending was just tragically beauitful. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adam says:

        I think it’s a very interesting question to pose to the critics, “What would you do differently? Is there a way to strengthen the beginning without weakening the rest?” If there is a way I’d be very interested in learning it.

        Liked by 1 person

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