Rewind back to the dawn of fall 2012, you are looking at the fall 2012 anime chart, and you pick probably 5-7 anime you are going to watch. But I can promise that the majority of you, as did I, most likely did not have Shinsekai Yori as a pick. During midst of 2013 I looked at Shinsekai Yori, the promotional picture did not catch my eye and the premises did not spark my interests. However, I did give it a shot and after finishing the anime I can promise that it is truly a spectacle, a diamond in the ruff.
The story takes place in
Japan a thousand years from the present in a utopia where a portion of the population retain a special power called psychokinesis. From the beginning we follow a group of five children as they grow up in the anime and see how they develop within a community bounded by strict rules, and deal with the decisions they make that alter the course of their lives and the entire society they live in. The plot of the show flows very nicely from episode to episode and just as we approach the climax, there’s a plot twist and the storyline from that point just flips upside down in a way you would never expect it to.
The characters in this anime are just something else, with Saki as it’s shining star. The main characters start off as children and by the end of the anime they are adults, with proper illustration of character development. There are a couple of anime who have attempted this children to adulthood metamorphosis motif within one season but they do not pull it off as well as Shinsekai Yori. With an anime that has twenty-five episodes, you would think it would not be enough time for proper character development from children to adults. However, Shinsekai Yori pulls this off very smoothly, which is evidently seen with Saki and Satoru, which even applies to the supporting characters as well. You will not see one character behaving as such and then the next episode they are being the polar opposite, everything is explained and shown very well.
The sound is one of the areas this anime excels in. Every sound that you would not even care for is implemented in every episode and added in the appropriate places, at the appropriate times; the echoing of the voices in a dim room, the rippling of water flowing from a stream. Not to mention soundtrack produced in this amine, which is amazing. Just youtube the battle theme, even if you have not watched the anime yet, it will entice your interests in this anime.
The quality of the art and the animation is what you would expect of any anime standards that are out there today: clear, crisp and pleasing to the eye. The characters and the environment in each of the scenes are drawn to a level of detail, not too simple, yet not to far in detail as well, just in the middle. The quality of art really makes you focus on the message the anime is trying to radiate to the viewer; more than focusing of the wow factor on how amazing the art is.
In terms of the enjoyment, this is not an anime that starts off on a high note and continues as such from there. The first two or three episodes really butters you up, but once you hit the fourth or fifth episode, I promise you, you will be hooked and you will just watch one episode after another. Even if you are more into romance, comedy, action or any genre that is not related to Shinsekai Yori, this anime is definitely worth watching and will probably open the doors to other anime series you never bothered to watch.
Overall I really enjoyed this anime, people should give it a try (unexpectedly, it even became one of my favourites). It did not look appealing to me at first, hence “diamond in the ruff”, but once I started and things picked up, I just wrapped myself in a blanket and marathon’d the whole show. Just looking back at the anime, I will say that one of the highlights of this show is it's ability to take the morals and values of the world we live in and put it into perspective from watching what the characters do to each other and the outcomes that blossom from their decisions. Give Shinsekai Yori a try and you will see what I mean!
I hope you enjoyed my seemingly short review, I would not mind any feedback and if you enjoyed this series or feel enticed to watch it after reading this, feel free to leave a comment !
Little inspection into the dystopia genre is required to realise that the majority of the dystopic anime are set in a cyberpunk universe. Be it Psycho Pass, Ergo Proxy or Texhnolyze, the average viewer is likely to have seen these "hi-tech" interpretations of future societies. Enter Shinsekai Yori – a series where whose setting is uncannily quaint such that on first glance, it is hard to see it as a dystopia; but it is, and an exceptionally remarkable one indeed.
What distinguishes Shinsekai Yori from its counterparts is the sheer unorthodoxy of its universe. It is one where
the modern society as we know it has not been replaced by a technologically advanced civilisation but that of a small picturesque town characterised by a community whose lifestyles have regressed into that of villagers. It is within these bounds that we follow our protagonists from the ages of 12 to 26 in this insidiously deceptive world. Throughout the series, Shinsekai Yori’s universe is constantly developed with fascinating conceptions such as the Karma Demons, Cantus and the Queerats (an entirely different yet intelligent species) that all bring into question many of our humanity’s morals and beliefs. Each concept is thoroughly explored and reinforce each other to create a powerful and fascinating dystopia whose elements successfully examines and challenges the philosophies we take for granted.
Despite its complexity, it does not lazily “narrate” the ideologies that we question. You won't be sitting through monologues of lecture-like philosophy or psychology. You see society being critiqued through the journey and consequences of the actions of our protagonists. This is what I find to be the most impressive aspect of the show because Shinsekai Yori fully takes advantage of anime as a medium - a feat that I feel is rare in this genre. The characters' dialogue exist to explore their mind whilst it is their actions and interactions with this post-apocalyptic world that we explore humanity. In order to truly appreciate Shinsekai Yori, it has to be completed as only then will the experience be complete as the show's construction of its world is careful to convey certain messages and hidden meanings throughout the show allowing viewers to formulate and reformulate key ideas and questions without ever stooping to overbearing narration.
The characters in Shinsekai Yori all play crucial elements to our story and the range of our cast fully captures the countless perspectives that people in such a world can hold. They are all effectively portrayed via their interactions which unravels how multi-dimensional they are. These interactions are genuine and there is an excellent balance between dialogue, silence and narration from our female lead Saki whose voice actor must be praised for such an alluring performance. Despite the show’s timespan ranging from our protagonists’ youth to their adulthood, the pacing is impeccable as it changes from a slower pace to accommodate the universe-building to a faster pace needed to match the gravity of the conflicts that occur.
For an immense dystopia, it only makes sense for it to be accompanied with diverse artwork. As we observe their world throughout the seasons and its numerous settings – oceans, mountains, villages both desolate and populated, they are portrayed with their own unique environment and colour choices. This is all contrasted with the use of experimental visuals and cinematography during the more dream-like and ethereal scenes which do not exist to simply invoke awe but contribute to subtly send hints across to the viewer on certain mysteries and foreshadowing certain events. Complementing the visuals is a soundtrack which encapsulates the essence of the show with each track strengthening the visuals and enhancing the overall experience. The soundtrack demonstrates how effectively music can make emotions across the human spectrum more compelling whilst respecting its role of being a supplement to the show and thus maintains our focus on the story the series presents - one which no extent of audiovisuals is required to make its ideas any more resounding than they already are.
All in all, Shinsekai Yori is a series that delivers in every single aspect it aims to explore. It displays enough to connect all the ideas examined together into a singular full dystopia but leaves enough for viewers to intellectually ponder and elaborate for themselves. It is profound yet not pretentious and examines humanity without falling into a safety net of tropes that may suffice the viewer but do not inspire. Unlike many of its counterparts, Shinsekai Yori is not a dystopia that relies on a singular premise but a whole host of powerful conceptions that coalesce to create, not just a society, but an entire universe. It achieves this with excellence and elegantly provides us with the most wholesome and meticulously crafted package of dystopian fiction I have ever seen and I unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone who seeks the same.
Shinsekai Yori was that show where I could sit in awe watching the director roll out things one after the other making it look so very effortless. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't bat an eye if the writer actually happens to be from the future because his description of the ‘New World’ is not only persuasive but also connected.
The story is set in the future [1000 years from now] where mankind has created themselves an utopia, though the events are restricted to only Japan. It follows the students of a certain batch in a certain school
that helps the students master their PK[Psychokinesis] ability aka Cantus. In this period, PK users[humans] are the dominant species and Queerats are their sub-ordinates or slaves and often address the former as Kami-sama[literally translating as 'God']. We follow Watanabe Saki and her friends through the sufferings and pain they endure as they try to unravel the origin and possibly vile past of their present society.
The synopsis and the first episode speaks a little to nothing about what the anime truly aims to deliver but the intro of 1 minute[First episode] was enough to keep me reeled in. Fourth episode was bewildering, I had to watch it twice to get most of what was being explained. There was also a portion that temporarily lost my attention and then there was the conclusion that meticulously sealed off the deal on this beautiful creation.
Fantasy toned genres never piqued much of my interest but the whole future setting here was surprisingly compelling. Even the plot holes get over shadowed by an unbelievably smooth story transition. One could almost relate our world with the ugly facade put up by the otherwise apparent dystopia. I am deliberately refraining from describing the story but I assure you it's a staggering watch indeed. Whenever I thought- this is it, this is the writer’s limit of imagination, the show would prove me wrong. This is not purely SF or Fantasy, bring in a darker theme, an ingenious screenplay and Shinsekai Yori is born.
Shinsekai Yori does contain violence/blood and profanity saturated at some parts of the show. The happenings and revelations in this series can be depressing hence should not be mistaken as a light watch. Shinsekai Yori impressively manages to portray the discriminatory nature in us humans in a completely unorthodox thought provoking manner. Story becomes pretty linear after 6th or 7th episode, but that doesn't stop it from keeping you at the edge of your seat especially near the end. I still can't commend the writer enough for the conclusion he’s given to this work. Best possible ending, as far as it concerns me.
As for the Homosexual sequences[very little amount of Shounen Ai and perhaps a little Shoujo Ai/Yuri, 1-2 Episodes tops], it saddens me deeply to see people dropping Shinsekai Yori because of the same. I believe they play a tiny yet essential part in describing the re-casted lives of humans of their time and do not qualify enough for a reason to drop this series.
The character designs can be hard to get used to for many, but I've come to realize how much it suits the whole 'Shinsekai' module of the show. A1 pictures out stood themselves again in the Backgrounds Dept. The backgrounds are extremely gorgeous to look at; effects and animation are well above mediocre. Just wow to all the creatures we encounter other than humans and queerats. The color selection fit perfectly and beautifully brings the New World concept to life. Indubitably deserves to be watched in 720p or more.
The characters in their entirety do a great job in painting the manufactured mentality and traits native to the people 1000 years from now. You'll doubt their authenticity, their feelings, pity their helpless state and still be able to relate to a degree, for they are at core still humans like us. Again, this is something that the viewers should see for themselves. [ Queerats : If you're familiar with Harry Potter franchise, Queerats look similar to Dobby, but more disfigured and fat with further diversities as well. Squealer is one of those queerats and plays a significant role in the later half yet main plot of Shinsekai Yori by assuming the personification of 'Resistance' against the atrocities of the Powerful. ]
Sound- Bravo! It blends so well into the setting and environment that I couldn't help being mesmerized by it. The BGMs & OSTs were captivating and spot on almost entirely. A custom version of ‘Going Home’ [adapted from the second movement of Symphony No. 9 (Dvořák)] featured earlier in Mawaru Penguindrum was used in Shinsekai Yori, and for me it worked magic in the latter. I remember watching the first episode again and again just to hear that and the first ED 'Wareta Ringo'. Voice actors did an incredible job, I don't know how but Hanazawa Kana-san's voice always gets me.
I personally enjoyed Shinsekai Yori way more than I'd initially expected. The entire run had a consistent dark atmosphere, which contributed in keeping the tension. I haven’t been this satisfied with an ending in a long time. This is unquestionably a rare gem among the current trend in Japanese animation industry and is not something one should overlook. Sure there are downfalls like the slow pace in initial episodes, few dry episodes in the middle, minuscule amount of homosexual themes that can irrationally put some viewers off, perhaps some sloppy facial animation now and then, but in the bigger picture Shinsekai Yori more than makes up for the flaws and to me it's no less than something close to masterpiece.
That being said, Shinsekai Yori is not a show for everyone but do try it and decide for yourself.
Overall Score: 8.5/10.
Thank you for reading the entire heap. Feedback greatly appreciated.
Shinsekai yori is truly a great series. I've been wanting to write this review for a long time but I decided to wait until the series finished to do so as to write an accurate and coherent review as possible. After 6 months and 25 wonderful episodes, here it is. I will do my best to keep this review spoiler free.
Adapted of the novel by Kishi Yūsuke, Shinsekai Yori tells a story of a civilisation set one thousand years in the future. Mankind has evolved into beings capable of a obscure power known as "Juryoku" or Cantus, a powerful psychic power that makes the
impossible possible. In this new world, Man has neither need nor want for technology and reigns supreme over the New World's indigenous species called Bakenezumi and other new organisms we come across as the story unfolds. All seems well and peaceful in the Utopia man has created for itself, however, as our main characters learn early on in the story, Man's evolution came at a price and the New World's mysterious history is written in blood and hidden in secrecy.
Interestingly enough, this series, despite its utter brilliance across the board, has been overlooked by many and is appreciated by few, which is unfortunate as this underrated gem outshines any other series of its season by far in terms of story, characters and execution. Not only is the story of Shinsekai yori highly ambitious, it is intelligent and thought provoking in many ways. Each episode, especially after episode 4, is both thrilling and captivating to the point you simply would not, or better yet, could not view this series one episode one at a time if you had the option not to.
Despite its initial appearance, Shinsekai yori is most definitely not a show for kids; be prepared for a lot of death and gore, deceit and some adult themes. The story requires a great deal of critical thinking to coherently understand and appreciate the narrative. I found myself confused several times early on in the series though the plot later on becomes more linear and thus easier to comprehend. Shinsekai yori is a story that addresses inequality and the flaws of the human condition. It shows us the sinister side of absolute control, the price of secrecy and the perils of curiosity. Undoubtedly, Shinsekai yori tells an intense and utterly satisfying story that will leave you on the edge of your seat and wanting more with each passing episode. The characters featured, both the humans and the Bakenezumi are both compelling and likeable. The main characters prove to be intelligent and very inquisitive but are far from perfect as each have intriguing characteristics that defines them with such subtlety and grace I must commend the author, Kishi Yūsuke, for weaving their personas into the story without making it overly obvious and distracting from the plot. It is my fear that diving in any further in the story and characters would simply ruin the experience and thus I will leave it at that.
It may interest you that the title name of Shinsekai yori, From the New World in English, was taken from famous Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's Ninth Symphony, written in 1893. I find this to be incredibly fitting as we find out the world set a thousand years in the future is indeed a New World in its own right.
Moving on, the art is somewhat unusual but fitting for an unusual story, more so than any other art style I can think of. Though not much attention is given to detail as far as facial characteristics go, it beautifully depicts the scenery and maintains an overall cleanliness to it anyone ought to be able to appreciate. Truly, it is beyond my ability to describe the fascinating world of Shinsekai yori but I would wager it is unlike anything you have likely seen; before. A1 Pictures has done this series justice in its world building, using just the right colours and shading to create a perfect blend that is both visually pleasing for the average viewer and stays true to the story's setting. The studio has done an above average job the majority of the time with the animation, slipping up only occasionally and consistently producing quality episodes. It is worth nothing that there are some scenes - quite a few actually, that are absolutely breath taking in their beauty. And of course this is only augmented by the angelic scores that play at just the right time, at just the right pitch to deliver a powerful trifecta performance of story, art and sound in an astonishing meld.
I absolutely enjoyed this series. For 6 months this was the one show I looked forward to the most on a regular basis. While it may have a slow start, after the first three episodes the story takes an sharp turn into awesomeness and intensity comparable to a thriller movie. Having said that, there is something to be said for lack of closure on a rather important element in the story towards the end, which unfortunately is left up to the viewer's imagination and some other nuances, but aside from that, it was overall very satisfying and well worth the watch.
While not perfect, Shinsekai yori still remains a masterpiece in my eyes, and so my final score is a 10 out 10.
Story - 10
Art - 9
Sound - 10
Characters - 10
Enjoyment - 10
Overall - 10
In recent years, many series have found success by centering themselves upon flagrant fanservice and fast-paced action. Shinsekai Yori, however, is the antithesis of this trend.
Before beginning the series, you should be warned— Shinsekai Yori is not a light watch. This is not the kind of anime that will provide laughter and cheap entertainment. It is an anime that requires the viewer to think and analyze in order to fully enjoy the story. As a result it can be a difficult show for some viewers to get into, but what it provides instead is an experience with far more weight and meaning.
the distant future, Shinsekai Yori depicts a world ruled by humans with psychic abilities. Using their "Cantus", these individuals have the power to meld their thoughts with the outside world. Whether for building, crafting, entertainment, or defense against animals and monstrosities, there are a myriad of ways for Cantus to benefit society. But there are also hidden truths surrounding it. Horrors and conspiracies that will threaten the life of any who uncover them. For Saki and the other members Zenjin Academy's 'Group One', this is a danger that they lamentably fall victim to.
Despite the dark, foreboding tone set from the beginning, it's not until the group uncovers a secret on their school trip that everything starts to go dreadfully wrong for them. Disappearances, assassinations, and invincible beasts aptly called 'Fiends' are but a handful of the mysteries revealed to Saki and her friends. Society is evidently not the utopia that it seems.
The story is primarily conveyed through the perspective of Saki, but rather than focus on each character individually, Shinsekai Yori instead centers around interpersonal characterization. Group One is often treated as its own character due to the five's inseparable friendship, and this friendship itself serves as one of the core themes of the story. Gradually and together they mature from the naive children that they were at the beginning of the story, directly as a result of their relationships with others. However, do not be misled: this is not an anime about its characters. It is first and foremost a story about the mysteries and conflict that they find themselves pulled into.
Adding to the main cast is an astute race of bipedal mole rats, referred to by humans as "Queerats". Despite having intelligence nearly equal to that of humans, they are oppressed and treated as little more than the animals they have evolved from. Understandably they are not pleased with this. Instigating the inevitable rebellion is the Robert Fly colony, led by the machiavellian leader "Squealer". His presence serves to create a deeper sense of conflict in the story, but he is also one of the more well-written antagonists in recent years. He is not motivated by tropes such as madness or greed but by a deep sense of loyalty to his people. It's interesting how none of his actions can be defined as inherently 'good' or 'evil', and it makes one wonder if he might have been the hero instead if the story was told from a different perspective.
Such themes are not uncommon in Shinsekai Yori. Rather than presenting its story through black and white reasoning, there is instead an abundance of pertinent ethical questions posed to the viewer. Does the end justify the means? Do the same rights as humans apply to animals, and what truly sets humanity above them if not intelligence? Complex topics such as the human condition are also explored in detail and the story is not afraid to portray loss and death in a frank manner. This is an anime that's meant to be analyzed and it rewards the viewer for doing so.
One of the strongest aspects of Shinsekai Yori is its atmosphere. Throughout every episode exists an overbearing sense of dread and melancholy: the feeling that something very bad is about to happen, and indeed it often does. The pacing is also very much on the slow side, with several expository episodes before the story finally takes off, but once it does it becomes very difficult to stop watching. Shinsekai Yori is a macabre, sometimes uncomfortable story that will succeed in immersing you in its dark atmosphere. There's nothing else quite like it out there, which makes it an especially enticing experience.
As if to defy the conventions of mainstream anime, sexuality plays an important role in the story. The main characters are not innocent and devoid of sexual feelings, even despite their young age in the first two arcs. Much like us, they fall in love, experiment and desire to act out on their feelings. They are not restrained by otaku concepts such as 'purity', and this is an immense benefit given the mature tone of the series. One further thing to note is that they do not only express romantic and sexual desires towards the opposite sex— but towards the same sex as well.
Though one has to wonder why this created so much controversy. Even if the viewer finds bisexual interactions to be uncomfortable, there is scarcely a scene that displays such behavior in the first place. These relationships are not used for superficial shounen-ai or shoujo-ai appeal, but are instead there to reflect the characters maturing in a society unconstrained by social stigma. The most conspicuous of these few scenes is during the ninth episode, when two male characters play on the grass and then kiss for five or ten seconds. Why did such a trivial scene disturb some people so much? It's hard to say.
There are certainly legitimate criticisms to be had towards the series, though. In particular, the first few episodes are filled with expository dialogue which oftentimes amount to infodump. Granted, this is necessary to give the viewer a proper understanding of the setting and the rules which the characters live by, but there is no doubt a more elegant approach that could have been employed here instead. Further problems also exist within the two timeskips of the story, as it will abruptly change with no transition between past and present. This is especially an issue in the second timeskip, where twelve entire years are passed in the blink of an eye. We also see very little character growth in that time, which is quite odd, to say the least.
But these flaws are more than made up for by the sound design. A quality soundtrack in anime is often treated as an afterthought more than anything else, but Shinsekai Yori is one that understands the value that a good score can have. The music here is largely composed of haunting choir melodies, percussion, and ambient noises which serve to heighten the tension and atmosphere of their respective scenes. There's one particular song in the anime, usually used during the beginning of an episode, which was able to send chills down my spine each time it played. Now, this is the sign of a powerful score— having the ability to evoke emotion through music instead of drama. It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that the soundtrack is Shinsekai Yori's greatest strength, and that is not a statement that comes with little weight.
The art also compliments the tone of the anime quite well. Dark shadows accentuate the gloomy atmosphere of the story while thick lines are used to emphasize the characters and their facial expressions. There is a lack of polish, though, with regards to detail and animation quality, but you can hardly fault an anime for not being granted a lavish budget. Shinsekai Yori fortunately makes the very most of its modest budget, and its art quality manages to compete with some of the more mainstream titles to boot.
If you are looking for something unique in an era defined by generic rom-coms and ecchi titles, then this is an anime that will likely fill your appetite. Sure, it may not be a flawless triumph that will be remembered until the ends of time, but as one of the better anime in the past few years, it is well worth your time to give it a try. You would be hard-pressed to find anything else like it.
Fear, Loss, Hope and Betrayal. Desire, Strength, Lies, and Perfection. If only Shinsekai Yori could be described with just these few words. You rarely see an anime that blends the Story, Art, Sound, and the growth of Characters so fluently. Its not simple to achieve this level of artistry. As a result, it’s not a simple story to watch. Your constantly given questions till the very end. However this makes the anime incredibly enjoyable to watch. It feels as though your brought closer into the story because of it. This Dark masterpiece questions humanities desires, darkens the line that separates Children form Adults, and presents
a twisted morality as the cost for power. While never losing hope of a better future.
With 1000 years passing society has been shattered through the evolution of humanity. Humans awakening of Cantus/Pk, proved to be unruly. As the episodes progress more of the timeline preceding the present is reviled. As shocking as the past appears, sadly its not an unrealistic possibility given the chaos created through Cantus, and the nature of humanity.
The setting is placed in what appears from afar as a utopia. Vast flora surrounds a seemingly tranquil town. While flowing stream’s cascade into waterways, connecting lands of mystery and wonder. The setting is very breathtaking, although its only the contour of the story. Strongly influenced by the lives and minds of the 5 children in Group One at Sage Academy, a school for teaching children how to use and control their Cantus. The story follows them from age 12 to 26. The main cast is incredibly realistic, often making believable choices and appearing very “human". However they feel distant, as far as becoming attached to them. I thought personally while they each had their moments of brilliance, they struggled to break away from simply, appearing “normal” (Looking past their Cantus of course). Although the cast overall, portray’s friendship and conflict, in a fashion that is easily some of the best writing I’ve seen. Personally I loved having the narration told by Saki Watanabe, I felt an allure about her through out the story. Hearing her reflect thoughts on her past at times, while also watching her own life mature, created a beautiful temperament.
I enjoyed that almost immediately there is a sense of danger placed into the story. Its not direct at first, but by using stories told by children, it makes for a intriguing prelim. The plot is paced extremely well, allowing for proper character development, (which there is a lot of), and story progression to mature simultaneously. At times it may feel that a lot is explained at once. So don’t be afraid to re-watch a section if you think you missed something. Its difficult to review the story with out touching on spoilers. There are so many details intertwined together, to create a perfectly flowing story. It takes adventurous children, turned rebellious teens, and finally determined young adults. Mix’s in a beastly, yet sadly relatable conflict. This being the sub species Queerats relation with the Humans. While using realistic context, the story also ties in romance and desire. Along with unique ideas such as, Cantus Leakage, Karma Demons, and Fiends. When you put it all together it creates a wonderful story. That with each episode continues to impress.
Your taken into this vast world filled with deep colors, blurring reality and fantasy effortlessly at times. The characters are drawn with detail and look very appropriate. I thought each character had a fitting appearance to portray their personality. Although their design consistency, wavers now and then unfortunately. Some details vary depending on the Key animator, working with that episode. Also a few minor animation effects, such as awkward amounts of arrows. Feel out of place but are easily forgotten by the end. Overall the shadows and colors are always vivid. While the art tone maintains a darker look. The entire story resonates to eclipse the viewer into and different but familiar world. Reflecting rivers and warped realities, the mysterious fauna seen throughout the story. All the Art elements together, create a perfect tint for the clandestine theme in Shinsekai Yori.
With music generally maintaining a serious tone, Shinsekai Yori has an incredible soundtrack. Traditional Song of Shadows, Ienikaeru (Going Home), History of Sorrow, Last Letter. They are all such moving pieces and there are so many more. The themes and scenery are portrayed wonderfully though the music, making it all very chilling. It seemed to me that appropriate score’s are often used as an introduction, in place of a opening sequence. It was a wonderful choice for the story, because of the absence of a typical OP, the show maintains more of it's mystery. The voice acting is excellent (Viewed Subbed Version). The tones match with the character designs/personalities, and it never feels forced or inadequate while expressing emotion. The entire Sound (Songs, Effects, Voice) is presented spectacularly.
This anime is incredibly detailed and well written. Ranging in all emotion it dose have a more serious tone to it. This is not a show for everyone. However it is incredibly unique, especially well written, and immense with beautiful music. Your able to see children, grow into teenagers, and finally as adults. The emotions of innocence, adolescence, and maturity, mixing together along the journey. Creates characters that are relatable and show believable emotion constantly. The choices made, and how they grew after each trial, made them feel all so real. You watch as life tries to survive, but it’s more then just that. This a true masterpiece to watch. The story will leave you thinking about not simply what you’ve just watched, but about Life and the choices we ourselves make, and the choices of societies past and future.
"We have to change our way of thinking, If we plan to change the future." Watanabe Saki.
Shinsekai Yori or From The New World's most convincing moments occur within the first four episodes. The story, which follows a group of psychokinetic children in the year 3000 in a dystopic yet serene Japanese environment, seamlessly weaves plot device after plot device until the granddaddy of straight-forward storytelling literally walks up to the main cast. A beast is captured by our protagonist, Saki, and explains to them upon request, what has happened to Japan to change it so drastically in the last 1000 years. The world of Shinsekai Yori takes four well-crafted episodes to establish it's universe believably. What follows seems tangentially related to
the original psychological thriller-cum-mystery opening.
A slew of nonsense begins here, where thematically, there was never any room for. A political drama and action anime begins immediately after episode four with a romantic drama unconvincingly inserted in right afterword. This all joined together by a supernatural setting which seems boundless to the viewer leaves for massive plot holes, unnecessary subplots, and outright disregarded information.
The characters of the series are extremely simple. Many characters are written in as attention grabs, who die without doing anything but progressing the story without adding any additional layer of emotion (Inui, Shisei, Squonk, Rijin). These characters come frequently in Shinsekai Yori and feel cheaply and artificially used. That the story is furthered again and again by use of character introduction and eventual demise at first feels necessary, that the pacing and lack of character focus serve a greater purpose. Yet, by the end of the series we reach a conclusion that nulls most characters entirely from the series, leaving the viewer wondering what the purpose behind many subplots and character scenarios really was.
The main cast of the series feels particularly unkempt. Between the two time skips, none of the development behind the characters is shown on-screen. For the most part, it felt as if new characters were created and replaced the familiarly named cast. Saki, whose character has unbelievable plot armor, manages to survive every obstacle that she comes to face with despite having average to no ability using her psychokinetic abilities. Opposite her is Satoru. Satoru's character repeatedly changes based on situation, and despite Satoru receiving the most screen time, next to Saki, he never truly interacts with another character. Both he and Saki go on many adventures together, but never do they have any sort of deeper connection other than that they were in the same group of friends together. Satoru's character changes from a one-dimensional precocious to a one-dimensional smarmy without reason, and then from the latter to an one-dimensional hero.
Shinsekai Yori attempts at creating a gray morality by only using black and white arguments. Squealer fervently backs up this claim. Introduced in episode five, you can only assume what a character named Squealer can be like. In this leave-it-to-the-name style character design, squealer squeals on the main cast. He betrays them multiple times in three episodes. Then later on when Squealer is reintroduced, he is still literally a backstabbing rodent. The daft main characters seem almost impervious to the obviousness of Squealer, resulting in one of the most painfully direct and drawn out politically based story lines in an anime. The masquerade of moral ambiguity only serves to mock the viewers intelligence, leaving for an extremely expected and dissatisfying ending.
Shun is the most interesting character albeit a Gary Stu. Throughout the first nine episodes of the series, he remains mostly static, supplying seemingly otherworldly insight to the other children simultaneously acting humble. He receives a healthy dose of character development during a particularly interesting story line in the series, but is soon forgotten in lieu of continuing the romantic drama aspect of the series. What is worst about this strange intense focus on Shun followed by a dramatic disregard is that he inexplicably influences events even after he departs from the series. Saki is saved on a handful of occasions through the voice of Shun, which makes it feel once again that the characters only served a greater purpose of linearly reaching a happy ending.
Mamoru and Maria are so negligibly involved in the main series events it is laughable, and like their position to the story, their characters suffer immensely. The most thrilling part of their characters is that an uninteresting romance forms between them with no prompt which should be noted is not even really character. This romance of course serves only to produce a plot point later in the series.
The art and sound receive solid praise. The series has an excellently used voice cast. The lack of an opening helped the pacing of the anime. The background music, while overused and often misused for a cheap "spooky" effect or to create tension in undramatic scenes, for the most part was enjoyably used. Sound effects were decent, but a notable flaw was the clicking of the queerats, which was more annoying than stylistic. The character designs were very bland but served well to create a muted and realistic-looking cast. The animation was regularly on par, but many scenes can be identified as cheaply made by overuse of black backgrounds, extreme close-ups, and static mouths - especially at a distance. Note episode five, without a doubt an atrocity of animation. Beyond that animation was regularly fluid and even exciting. Monster designs stayed fresh throughout the series as well.
What started as a fanciful mystery quickly became a predictable drama. As a final opinion, I do not recommend Shinsekai Yori. Many other anime approach it's philosophical topic in superior ways and do so without treating the audience like children. Shiki quickly comes to mind, with Eve no Jikan following on the shortlist. Shinsekai Yori ultimately is crippled by it's many genres and quick, deliberate shifts in tone. The many plot holes and bland characters make for a regrettable and sadly unmemorable watch.
Shinsekai Yori is propably the most underscored anime of the season, because it's story is building up really slow compared to most other anime. The first 3 episodes it feels like nothing happened at all and a lot of viewers propably stopped watching this great anime.
But if you hold out until episode 4 you are awarded with a lot of insight in what is hidden behind this happy-world facade.
Shinsekai Yori is really dependent on it's story which slowly builds up and keeps surprising the viewer every 2-3 episodes with some new shocking story details or an unexpected twist.
Art: 8 - Sound: 9
Art and sound
are overall very good and match the style of Shinsekai Yori pretty well. Also IMHO the outro song Wareta Ringo by Risa Taneda is the best anime song of the season!
Each character of the group is really unique and the character development leaves no one behind. Also the focus on Saki as leading character is really good while she tries to figure out the greater image behind the story.
It would be 10 points for me, if the first episodes could be a bit more interesting, but otherwise this anime keeps me eagerly waiting for every next episode.
Why 10 points you ask?
Simple because Shinsekai Yori has a story which is so unique and thrilling!
IMHO we need more anime like this which make more use of the story instead of simple fights, ecchi etc. etc. etc...
EDIT: After having seen 19 episodes I can confirm, that this is certainly a masterpiece of a story and a really well done adaption as anime!!
Shinsekai Yori, or From The New World, is a teen-oriented piece of dystopic speculative fiction, the latest addition in this new wave of teen fiction to which the success of Hunger Games has opened the doors.
The series follows the adventures of five kids, from their childhood to their adulthood, in a medieval-ish post apocalyptic setting, where the only human left are the one possessing a special psychic ability called "Cantus".
While the first episode is quite good, establishing the setting and the mysteries behind it ("what's the government hiding?", "how did the world get like this?"), the series pretty much falls downwards after that, with episode
2 weirdly shifting the tone to high-school hi-jinx (admittedly it is foreshadowing but, as it happens many times in the series, in order to deliver us world details it suddenly changes tone, making for a very disjointed and uninteresting episode) and episode 3 basically killing any mystery with a long exposition sequence.
With almost everything resolved, the story stumbles aimlessly for ten or so episodes, as... things... start to happen. We get to see lots of short story arcs that, while again foreshadowing small story details, don't really feel connected to each other and don't offer any particularly gripping narrative. The series even pushes the reset button a couple of times, making the character forget, and having to re-learn, story details that we already know... riveting...
The story does pick up a bit with the last story arc, putting together all the awkward foreshadowing it did until that point and finally having a long story arc that feels significant to the world in which it is set.
While I feel that the first batch of episodes was intended to be about establishing and exploring the main characters before letting them loose in the final arc, in the practice it doesn't really work that well. First of all, I'm sorry, but the characters are just not that interesting, as most of them are pretty one note, secondly the main conflict of that part of the series is basically kids vs shady government... which would be fine, except that the government in question is... just not that shady, as again we learn all of their motivations in the third episode... and... they make quite a lot of sense.
Also this series has a serious problem with beating us over the head with things that have already been explained over and over again.
So... with an interesting setting that gets squandered, likable but ultimately flat characters, big problems with tone and pacing, and the trivialization of any mystery element the series could have had... is there anything good in Shinsekai Yori?
Well there is that one amazing musical theme we get to listen at the beginning of some episodes, and the series direction is quite good and can set a very eerie mood when it wants to (and when the characters shut up). Most than anything though I like how it engages with sexual themes, working as an interesting allegory for the sexual confusion of puberty and adolescence.
To be honest I quite like how Shinsekai Yori approaches youth and puberty as a whole. and how it manages to translate those themes into a post apocalyptic coming to age story. Sadly though, while the ideas behind it are solid, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The fact that it is a 25 episode slog doesn't really help, as it does feel that with a few episodes cut down the series would flow a lot better and generally be far more enjoyable.
There's often a point in one's life to acknowledge the possibility of another worldly phenomenon that is outside of our collective conscience from where we live in that is in contrast with our own ideals. This has always been a subject of discussion since Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" that chronicles how our limited understanding of the reality that we perceive may not be what it seems since we're so entrenched in our own ideological society. Many works of fiction have dabbled this subject matter numerous times with some succeeding and others failing. Unfortunately for Shinsekai Yori, it falls into the latter, but not entirely.
start out the basic idea of how the story of Shinsekai Yori pans out is the fact that it's a coming of age story focusing on five different characters and their journey in discovering what the past history of human civilization eventually transpired into pure dystopia. In the beginning it starts off extremely well with building up these characters that are all very unique and distinguishable from each other. There's never a moment where I couldn't remember who a specific person was and it's not just from their appearances but from their well-written personalities and backgrounds. Their childhood arc paces itself nicely in giving an atmosphere for us to take in that's mysterious and puzzling in a very limited understanding of what the world is actually like because that's how the childish mindset would actually be like in this scenario. However, once that arc was finished and we get our first time skip it doesn't get too extraordinary as one would hope.
One thing that makes the time skips really off-putting is how there's hardly any build up on how these characters' personalities matured over time. For instance, one of the most controversial things about the show was the relationship between the characters that were of the same-sex. It's not so much the relationships themselves that I have a problem with, it's how it comes out of nowhere with hardly any development behind it. In this sense it feels as though there was more to their relationships but for the sake of timing constraints they had to rush it so it won't feel dragged out. Because of this one might feel inclined to give it a pass, but for me that cannot be forgiven with the given context this show brings on the table in wanting to be this grand epic that ultimately feels lazy from a writing perspective. In fact, the best romantic development in the entire show was between Saki and Satoru because of how long we've followed these two together and how strong their bond was in helping each other through the hard numerous obstacles. Alas, the rest of the relationships that are thrown out didn't really make a huge impression because how weak and lazy they implemented it into the story; if they actually had anything of value for us to see how they got to that point it would've been for the best.
While the story itself isn't something we've seen before, it is still a mysterious and very suspenseful drama that manages to pull off some great twists through the course of the narrative. That is until the realization comes to mind when the pacing of it all fails to make it a masterpiece in the writing department. Like I said before about the time skips, they really dumb down the pacing because of how they rush some of the arcs that felt like they could've been more effective had they have been done with better intentions such as at least showing us a montage of them overtime. That shouldn't mean that time skips are unnecessary in any given situation but it takes a lot of care and precise handling to make them work. Time skips aside, the other pacing issues mostly happen in the middle part of the show where scenes lacks clarity in it's exposition in giving us a clear concise way of what has happened or what will happen to the characters or future events. Too fast to even comprehend the over-arching conflicts that arise from the protagonist feel muddled and disorganized for us to piece together on what will transpire. This could come into play with the fact that the show skips over some of the important details in the novel, but for the sake of reviewing the show itself there's no need to go over that aspect.
How Shinsekai Yori handles its world-building through expository dialogue receives a mixed response from me. It works like a pattern where one of or all of our heroes are journeying or trying to find answers and eventually they'll talk to someone who will explain everything to them in no more than ten minutes either the dark history of Japan and how it eventually became a grim dystopia or what the ethics counsel is really like underneath. While the history itself is really thought-provoking at times that bring into question human nature and how society structures itself into chaos, I can't help but feel that it could've been done more better with less tedium and not feel like a lazy attempt at being profound.
It's not just the writing that feels off, but the technical side of the show feels very limited and looks really shoddy in the process. That's not to say all of it looks bad, there are definitely a lot of beautiful set pieces drawn into the backgrounds and the character designs look very unique and fit well to the tone of the show. However, there are a lot of problems with the designs of the monsters that inhabit Shinsekai Yori where they don't look really well-drawn and their animations look like if a low-budget studio was hired to animate them. There's even one episode where the animation took a complete nose-dive where the queen of the queerats looks like a huge blob that wasn't drawn fully of what it was originally supposed to look like. I'm not saying that all shows have to look extremely high-budget or in order to be called good art/animation but it doesn't really strike my fancy when there's nothing significant to gaze at to begin with.
Now with all of the negativity I've had for Shinsekai Yori, there are still a number of things that are really good and even fantastic that are worth watching. It is without question that the amount of suspense and heart-pounding tension that Shinsekai Yori has to offer is astonishing to say the least. The first three minutes of the first episode alone garners some needed praise for it's really well-directed atmosphere, right down to the music and editing of all of the events that happened in present-day Tokyo. It's tone is not pretty and it will nonetheless make a lot of people feel uncomfortable to sit through in some instances, but that should warrant a lot of credit to the show in giving us a very mature tone that comes in full-swing. What makes the suspense amazingly good and imposing is the amount of mystery that we are given through the children's perspective and how we can never see how the adults' see the situation that goes on in the world. Often times you don't see stories handle mystery this way and make for an intense experience to go through. The first person narrative through Saki gives a distinct feel to how we see her grow into this person who is fully aware in later life that feels undeniably human to me.
As many have told me about the story in all of its faults is that the ending makes up for it, and it definitely does provide to the story a satisfying conclusion. There were definitely no predictable outcomes that were present in the narrative's end and that guarantees Shinsekai Yori some much needed acclaim for at least not giving us a story that isn't inherently generic in a predictable sort of way. There's no Hollywood gimmick that severely tarnishes the gritty tone, it handles itself in a very realistic fashion that feels very satisfying to see first-hand.
Musically, it mostly consists of really bombastic chanting music that is very haunting and intimidating from the style of tone it tries to set. There are very few questionable choices of songs that Shinsekai Yori has that feel out-of-place in any scene. Intense orchestration that also borrows from some minimalist influence in some ambiance tone it gives with light electronically ambient mixes in-between scenes that are inherently quiet and simple in their nature.
Ambitious though it may be, Shinsekai Yori just doesn't cut it fully as a supreme masterpiece that has come out in recent years with the problems it possesses in giving us a badly paced story that can't really give a concise narrative that's hard to get around. Character development feels good in some areas, but due to the poorly put time-skips, their relationships felt contrived with inconsistent expository problems that feel as though they wanted to make the same-sex relationships so that it would seem more progressive when it really comes off as just lazy development. I wouldn't classify this show as completely bad in that the amount of suspenseful tension makes for a really intense experience to behold in showing us the one great development of Saki into a full realized character. After all, a worthwhile experience with many faults in its technical aspects is at least more tolerable than a show with great technical prowess with no added value to the experience whatsoever.
Shinsekai yori is an adaptation from a novel, with the same name, which has 2 volumes that were released in 2008.
The story of this anime takes place a thousand years from now, many humans have evolved, now they are able to use a psychic power called cantus, but there's no improvement in technology.
In that kind of world , the 5 protagonist, live in a village that's seems normal at first sight, but they start to realize that their town have a lot of forbidden knowledge, to put it simple Shinsekai yori is the tale of a group of friends that start discovering many
conspiracies, and how that affect on their adolescence.
When I watched the series I couldn't help to compare the events, on how the conspiracies affected me, and I didn’t find many differences, because the reactions of the characters are portrayed very well.
The story also has good action phases, fast scenes, warlike times; fantasy besides the humans, the animals have also evolved, now they are able to think, speak as humans, and that makes them more interesting and important in the plot; mystery, the fact that censure/conspiracy is the most recurrent theme in this series makes mystery one of the strong points of this anime, here you are equal with the protagonists discovering the mind blowing secrets of that society. With those aspects and many surprises, the story in synthesis is so dynamic, that makes the necessary suspense to make me wish for more after the end of each episode. (10/10)
Concerning art, with pretty sceneries, animation that is slightly better than the standard in the late 2012, shinsekai yori deserves a "very good" and a bit more in art, but how the complex power of cantus and the mystical scenes are well portrayed, for me it deserves the "great". (9/10)
Now sound, well in like the 5 episode, i realized "wait... this anime lacks of OP", but I don't mind, the ED "wareta ringo" it's so good, even the lyrics of the song have the essence of the series, I’m even grateful that the anime doesn't have an OP, because I can see more shinsekai yori, and that the ED didn't change after the episode 13. Concerning the background music, it never disturbs, it has good relaxing songs, and it placed at the exact moment, so it's good. (9/10)
Characters, I think that here is where shinsekai yori shines the most, because the psychological characteristics of the characters is splendid, there's always an explanation to the reactions of the protagonists, and the reactions are never exaggerated. I consider shinsekai yori as a psychological drama, because the psychological factor is fundamental in the series. Also knowing that they are teenagers, their changes are so unpredictable, that helps to the dynamism of the series. (10/10)
Enjoyment, here there's not much left to say, as I said before I can't wait for another episode after seeing one, I really like this series. (10/10)
And finally overall, I haven't seen a well thinked series like this before, where nothing is random, this anime makes you think, and entertain you. It's seems that many people drop the series (and gave it a low score) in the first chapters, because the story is so slow at the beginning of the series, but who prefers a series that starts good, then it begins to get bad and finally it ends horrible; in this anime occurs quite the opposite, it starts slow but then every ep is better. I highly recommend this series. (10/10)
First let me say Shinsekai yori was not a light watch at all. This is a thinker's anime. Casual viewers will probably be very turned off by the serious nature of the show. Having said that, for those of you who are looking for an anime that shows the story of a dark, fear ridden society in a brutally honest way keep on reading!
Shinsekai yori is unique in which it has no correct set of morals. The line between good vs bad is blurred to the point where the viewer sympathizes with the antagonist.
Why is this?
It is because Shinsekai Yori is
Let me give an example to further the meaning of the previous statement: In modern society many consider stealing to be a sin while others justify the act in order to feed their families.
In other words survival is all that matters and that is what Shinsekai yori is, a situation in which survival is the only thing that justifies an action or not.
Now logic such as this will undoubtedly result in very disturbing outcomes and decisions so viewers should brace themselves for very gruesome events.
If anyone is expecting to see plenty of action/comedy/happiness I suggest you think twice about trying this anime. Positive moments are stretched out far in between and thus rare throughout while tragedy is almost always present. Also casual watchers should beware that Shinsekai yori requires some degree of analysis for it to be enjoyed to its utmost potential.
If you are still with me, Great! Here goes the review. Everything is spoiler free!
The setting involves a dystopian society 1000 years into the future that has actually reversed progress regarding industry and technology due to human beings obtaining telekinesis. We observe the society of year 3000 through the eyes of 5 children who are just as clueless as the viewer. The story is narrated by one of the children, Saki, as the anime shows the events of the children's lives and their fates from the ages 12-26. Throughout the anime the group of five learn of the evils and secrets that society has hidden away. Upon learning, life changing events take place throughout their lives, affecting not only their relationships but their sanity as well.
The story of Shinsekai yori takes the concept of a dystopian future but applies it in its own very original style. It explores various sinister and dark themes of the human mind through solving the thrilling mysteries of the society and its past.
The story was highly original and refreshing due to its thought provoking and mature layout. Taking a story such as this and adding the amount of realism Shinsekai yori provides results in a story that is close to flawless.
Now I must admit, the art would amaze me one episode and then would make me cringe the next. For example there were many instances where some of the character's faces and bodies were so warped it shocked me that such mistakes were made in production. Although having said that, there were various instances where the art was absolutely stunning. Gorgeous still shots and surreal dream sequences beautifully portray the gloomy environment.
Just try searching up Shinsekai yori and looking up some HD scene pics.
I give the art a 7.5 because the production team really made some episodes look absolutely horrible while others were done brilliantly.
To sum it up the art is inconsistent and is a hit or miss depending on the episode.
Shinsekai yori did not have an OP, which may bother some. I skip the OP 95% of the time so the fact that Shinsekai yori had no OP was not a negative factor personally.
The soundtrack was spot on in providing the gloomy dark atmosphere for the anime. It really stood out. Each time a track played it would send shivers down my spine as I watched in awe as to what was happening on screen.
For the episodes where the art was done well, once the music played, it would produce some of the most chilling scenes of any horror anime I've ever seen.
One thing that should be noted about the music is that it is very repetitive and is rarely varied. Although in Shinsekai yori's case this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Why change something that does its job 110%?
Now I have to admit that the characters are decent at best. I doubt that even Shinsekai yori lovers and fan boys would put one of the characters in their favorites. Although they are not very memorable the reason I gave it a 7.5 was because their actions and reactions were very realistic (something the whole anime has going for it). From tough decisions to shocking news, all the characters reacted in ways that the viewer could relate to.
Other than the realism most viewers will likely not be very attached to the characters which will thus reduce the emotion induced upon tragic events.
Nonetheless, I still give it a solid 7.5.
Boasting a plot and environment that could have potentially catapulted it into my group of masterpieces Shinsekai yori falls short due to suffering to a tedious build up with some unmemorable characters and inconsistencies in art.
Overall I highly enjoyed Shinsekai yori and its wonderfully refreshing story and believe that any anime fan that truly loves mystery, horror, and plot twists must give Shinsekai yori a try.
We wage war that tears down walls and buildings brick by brick, as our own inventions create and destroy. We put roofs over our heads only to light them ablaze. We create a hierarchy only to rebel against it. It's an endless coil, a snake eating its tail, feasting on the notion of betterment. If we dismantle our creations enough times and iterate upon them, surely we will reach that stretching plateau of perfection that our own ideology believes in. Yet once the dust and soot settle, we can only regret our impulsivity, our misunderstanding; the ladder of progress we eagerly climb is infinite, and
there is always someone looking down on us. Yet from that rubble, a flower blossoms.
From a New World is desperate to tell us what we've been told before in a unique way. Whether it be that despotism is bad or that uncompromising control of sentience is evil, the results are virtually one and the same, and in this case, necessary. Furthermore, much like any tale of dystopia, we are presented with similar character beats, analogous narrative structure, and identical revelations. Yet none of this is a negative to me. See, I like dystopia. In fact, this signature sci-fi concept is one of my favorite tropes in entertainment. I like seeing similar ideas be iterated and expanded upon. I even find joy in witnessing ignorant, blinded characters have that signature horrifying revelation of, "Oh shit, my entire life is a lie!"
From a New World reinforces that joy, as the narrative itself is, in concept, quite good. An impressive, detailed world that was clearly birthed and seasoned at the hands of a novelist. Their pen bursting with ideas, as they terraform a white mass into something rich and structured. You could make an encyclopedia out of the knowledge given, albeit a short one, and still feel as though the folded over edges that hide that last inkling of wisdom are just out of your grasp. A flurry of creative concepts that give and give until you are figuratively stuffed and questioning what is truly right and wrong in this imagined world.
I don't feel as though I'm discussing the series, though. For all the creative strength that Yusuke Kishi, the novel's writer possesses, little of it is adapted. By that I mean, it feels as though A-1 picture's, in all their incompetence, simply took the words on his page, stripped out the prose and detail, and injected them into their abridged script. I see nothing but the story in From a New World, and for a product that is an audio-visual experience, utilizing both audio and visuals in such heavily flawed ways is beyond inexcusable.
An infection spreads throughout the presented world. That infection is power, the ability to control and manipulate objects and people. These infected people destroy out of fear, out of want, out of desire, and the world collapses at their whim. Through that collapse, a new society and hierarchy are birthed. New rules are created, new ideologies formed, yet the remains hang just below the shimmering surface, waiting patiently. That permeating mysticism is the backbone of From a New World. Especially once we are introduced to Saki Watanabe and her merry clique of character archetypes; each one varies in hair color, personality, and talent. That talent, of course, is what they are together for. You see, in Kamisu 66, one of the many sleepy towns that dot this new world, children discover their innate powers about when puberty hits. From there they are inducted into an academy and begin learning how to harness their strength.
As viewers, we are thrust into this setting with enough exposition to clue us in on just about every action taken that isn't purposefully shrouded behind the pervading mystery. This group is sent out exploring, adventuring, getting in trouble, all with the notion that they will come into their own. What becomes clear is that this society is constantly on thin ice. Any unwanted movement risks the collapse into the freezing water. If the allegory behind power isn't clear enough, let me also mention the subservient colonies of "Monster Rats" that reside in this world as well. Ugly, mole-like creatures that show intelligence, yet speak with slurred, barely comprehensible speech. They don't have power so they serve the ones who do. Get it?
"Are we the baddies?" May as well be the thesis to From a New World, and that is inherently interesting. The notion isn't spelled out immediately but seasoned veterans of dystopian writing can most likely deduce that the progressed, oppressive side is generally the one you should not trust or at least question. Whether their actions are necessary is half the intrigue in From a New World. Once again, all of this is taken from the novel, from the source. These ideas are lifted and splayed out in front of us. Examining the series itself, though? We are left with eerie orchestral vocals and stringing chimes to enrapture moments of total flaccidity.
A-1 Pictures can't seem to get it right. Their feeble attempts with Your Lie in April, smothering every element of music behind manga-esq exposition about how beautiful the music we can literally hear is. Or, in this case, deciding to ignore the fact that anime is an audio-visual medium. The fact of the matter is, From a New World is unbelievably boring. It is, for the first fifteen or so episodes, one of the single most flat and tedious series' I have ever put myself through. Virtually everything about this series is flaccid. The animation, directing, even the musical stings are often used ad nauseam. Nothing is given room to breathe; everything that the adaptors thought needed to be explained was explained.
You see, a novel has the ability to have large exposition dumps because the reader sets their own pace. A fast reader can shoot through these segments and siphon all the necessary information from them. Especially when large sections of supposedly good, mysterious plot progression is back ending these bursts of exposition. Yet the series doesn't have that quality. It's a twenty-minute anime, and that fact ruins the entire product! The writers need to get this massive amount of information across, so they have to cut out those valuable segments of proper writing because there is no time to have them. They rush from beat to beat and those beats are the least interesting part of a visual medium. That's not to say it is unable to be adapted. It simply requires a talented, unique approach to showcasing information diagetically.
In episode three our group stumbles upon what I can only call a glowing information hedgehog. While they call it a false minoshiro, all it is is a glorified exposition machine. That entire episode was them sitting in a generic, boring anime forest listening to this man-made device literally tell them everything they want to know except what just so happens to be a crucial piece of information the entire series wants to keep a mystery. It's genuinely unbelievable how weak this presentation is. Now if there were redeeming factors to the shot composition or animation maybe I could remain engaged for what is a glorified reading of a Wikipedia page. However, there is none of that.
From a New World is ugly. It has this somewhat unique aesthetic, with flat colors and a gray, dusty palette. Yet the director has seemingly no idea how to direct color, or images, for that matter. You'd think it is easy to create compelling shot composition when you have virtually no animation to worry about, yet this series' unsightly palette is all that is to be seen. From a New World uses something I see in every A-1 show and plenty of other anime; I call it "texture muddying." They are clearly rushing the product and the artists either don't have the time or talent to draw proper backgrounds, so they instead just color a texture onto flat environments using what I imagine is a tool from their digital art software. These environments lack all semblance of depth and quality, resulting in some horrendous design. Decent character-designs stand in fields of muddy greens and shit-stain browns that are drained of all vibrancy for no apparent reason.
Similar to last season's Violet Evergarden, the director isn't grasping why one should use a certain color palette or filter, instead prompting for a stylistic choice that holds absolutely no reason or merit. Glaring, abrasive CG rocks are hurled through the air in some tensionless action scenes where the characters take a backseat to whirring, synthetic sound design that is constantly repeated for every telekinetic "move" these characters employ.
This aggressively weak presentation is compounded by endless exposition that disregards any potentially interesting writing for blunt explanation. It lasts for minutes on end with minimal flashbacks or any sort of engaging material to consume. The application of these ideas is beyond misguided and feels downright disrespectful to the author who clearly put effort into this world. More so than just that, the series feels as though it is presented through a passive voice. Nothing is imminent. Nothing is about to happen. It already happened. Multiple episodes pass with virtually no tension established.
For example, a character runs away and hides from their impending doom at the hands of their own people! Yet we don't see this. We see their friend's reacting to their disappearance and then finding them. Seven minutes of exposition as to why they left ensue. A few minor, fuzzy flashbacks reveal what they experienced and then the credits roll. This happens constantly. Everything experienced by our protagonist, Saki, always feels as though it already happened and the viewer is just treading on ground that has been stampeded on. The majority of the actions she takes aren't even out of her own volition, and the small number of actions she decides to take are either frustrating or minor in the context of the entire series.
I can only place this blame on the series' presentation. Virtually every fault is at the hands of the people adapting this novel, as they visibly fumble over themselves and fail to convey any form of intrigue when by all means it should exist in abundance. Once these tedious pieces begin to fall away and we enter the third act of the narrative, we are met with more focused storytelling. It feels as though the earlier segments only existed to convey the few ideas that were carried over into this act. I began feeling somewhat rejuvenated and started to enjoy the kinds of revelations I was expecting from this narrative. None of it was all too surprising, but as I stated earlier, I like dystopian stories and From a New World breathes some interesting ideas into this potentially stale conceit.
Unfortunately, once the final credits roll I couldn't help but ask myself whether the many hours of tedium and despondency was worth the neat conclusion and I can't help but say no. It really wasn't worth it. The presentation is so weak that reading a summary or just the novel itself would've served to be a better way to spend my time. If watching this series was like biting into a sandwich made of mud and feces which housed a delicious piece of chocolate at the center, chewing through all that only for a hint of sweetness would still result in a putrid taste.
The title of the series breeds mystery, intrigue, a will to go forward and discover what comes from the new world, both literally and figuratively. I'm sure the novel follows through with that mystery at least to a certain extent. I can't judge the novel based on the abridged, mangled body presented by A-1 Pictures, though, and I would never want to. What was initially a holistic work was chopped up to only include the most mandatory elements presented in a lifeless way with sporadic moments of inspired shot composition blended hideously with endless, muddy animation and tensionless scene structure. However, the ethical questions of greater good and excusing horrendous actions to negate even more frightening results is fascinating. A truly unique way to expound upon established dystopian concepts and pulling inspiration exactly where it is iterated upon.
Giving appropriate praise where it's due, From a New World succeeds through its ideas, and fails through its presentation. Sadly, that's hardly a feat in this medium. In film, visuals are the single most important element. The same should be applied to animation. We can have a film without sound, without story, yet it can be something that blooms with quality. A novel is bound by different chains, so an adaptation requires a specific effort to be applied to change a long-form story into a completely different medium that utilizes unique presentational elements. As it stands, the title is what breeds the mystery. The cover art was why I initially picked this series up. Yet From the New World, only disappointment blossoms.
Everyday we wake up, preform our daily ritual, then go to sleep, and all the while the world around us seems so perfectly normal. We, as people, have evolved to accept the normalcy of everyday life. It is seeing how people really act when normalcy is torn away from them that many people find so intriguing.
The sad fact of the matter is that mystery thrillers are so rarely done right that people over look them without a second glance. Shinsekai yori is one of those gems that does it right, and should not be looked over so easily.
The Story (10):
Shinsekai yori is set
one millennium in the future. Yet the the depicted future will remind you more of a feudal japan as there are no fancy gadgets or mecha robots to really say "Hey, this is the future!" Instead people in this distant future have created themselves a Utopia, and hold psychokinetic powers know as Cantus.
In this "New Age", Cantus users are the dominate species on the earth, while humanoid rats known as Queerats also inhabit the planet. They are treated mainly as slaves and do work that Cantus users don't deem worthy to be done by themselves. These Queerats literally refer to Cantus users as God.
The events of Shinsekai yori follow a certain group of friends as the try to master their Cantus through schooling. All the while Watanabe Saki and her friends try to unravel the mysteries of their society, and in doing so also unravel the normalcy that we humans hold so dear.
The first three episodes are entirely used for world-building, while nothing special they lay the foundation for a beautifully intricate story to be woven. After finishing episode four, the story of Shinsekai yori becomes a compelling work of art. Any small plot holes this anime may seem to have are hugely overshadowed by the seamless transition from one episode to the next.
It becomes almost impossible not to relate the world of Shinsekai yori to the world we live in now. As normality is ripped away from the lives of our protagonists and the darker themes are revealed you will realize how truly mind boggling the writing of this masterpiece is.
The ending of Shinsekai yori could not have been better. It leaves no questions to be asked and really ends the story right. It does not leave one wanting more, rather the ending concludes the story in a way that sums up all events and any questions you may still have.
One of the biggest complaints about the story of Shinsekai yori is that there are homosexuals scenes, and yes there are. These scenes are in 1-2 episodes tops and the are completely relevant to they story. I assure you that they are not there for no reason, and will, if anything, add to the depth of the presented story.
The character designs of Shinsekai yori may take some getting used to for some, but it very beautifully done and suits the work quite well, the backgrounds are desktop worthy, and the animation effects are quite stunning.
The only misleading part about the artwork is that it appears to be very light and happy. Shinsekai yori is not light and happy, Shinsekai yori does have some graphic violence at heaver points in the show and the art style can somewhat take you out of the moment. But it in will no way keep you from being on the edge of your seat as you click on the next episode.
The highlight of the art in Shinsekai yori is by far the backgrounds you will see. The artists put a tremendous amount of detail into the work, and it payed off in making some of the best scenery porn in anime.
Wow. The tracks played with this anime blend so smoothly into the moment that you won't even realize the music is playing. It sets the feeling in a way that enhances the story, never once did I find a kink in the sound that would have lessened my enjoyment. Something that really blew me away was that Shinsekai yori doesn't have a musical opening. Instead, it has one of the best musical endings in all of anime. That is no exaggeration, the EDs for Shinsekai yori are fabulous.
The voice actors did an immaculate job. I can't express this enough, the voice actors did so well with this anime. They fit the characters perfectly.
Often times we see plot driven anime fall short because of the characters in them. It is when we find a set of characters that fit a story perfectly that it really shines. Shinsekai yori has a beautiful cast of characters. You will even find yourself loving to hate the antagonists. As I said earlier, the VAs did so well with the characters that you will never doubt why they are doing what they are doing, or why they feel the way they feel. What actually happens is that you begin to see yourself in them.
I watched all 25 episodes in one go. I believe this anime to be a masterpiece in the best way. The entire show felt tense/dark, and I couldn't help but get sucked in. Yes there are some pacing issues, and there are homosexual themes in 1-2 episodes but that never took away from the enjoyment I experienced watching this anime.
Where is the line drawn between what's morally just and what's misguided conviction?
Unsettling, immersive, mystical and also sadly overlooked. Shinsekai Yori is a gem that has fallen through the cracks of the general populace's graces. Not to say it isn't known but rather it's become degraded and stigmatized by those that resort to petty remarks regarding the infamous episode 8. This in turn impeded many from watching the show and that's a shame. But for those that have given Shinsekai the light of day, it can be said that it's truly an anime worth one's time and its lately garnered praise is proof of
that. Today I'll try to shed new light on this title, if for no other reason than to encourage a few others to also give it the benefit of the doubt and to see pass the naysayers. For those that do, you'll be gifted with a new anime to remind you why anime as a medium is so remarkable.
By far the strongest aspect of SY is it's story. Most shows tend to tackle only one aspect and keep that as its focus throughout its duration. It's difficult to tackle several major storylines in a short time period but not only do SY do so, it also manages it with ease. The transition from a show wrapped in mystery to one that deals with human ethics were impeccable and well linked. The first storyline we tackle involves the slow unraveling of the show's lore and the dystopian society our characters are apart of. That alone would be enough to last the shows duration but it took this element and further used it by expanding to the second half of the conflict. Through proper foreshadowing and buildup this was made possible as the mystery, when solved, opened up a new bag of worms that is carried all the way to the show's very last concluding scenes.
The second part of the show involved the foreshadowed conflict involving the beasts of the land that "coexist" with human society by serving them. The beasts of the land known as the Monster Rats can be seen as allegorical representations of forced subservience and mistreatment that plagues mankind. The show leaves their presence unsettling but never resorts to preachy melodrama. With those familiar with Orwell's novel Animal Farm, it becomes easy to draw comparisons in the approach the novel takes with SY in displaying this animosity that humanity is known for. But unlike the novel the conflict is escalated to a grander scale. It isn't the most subtle way to tackle the subject but certainly a one uncommonly used, especially in anime, which further makes the title a rarity. The problem begins with humans and how they mistreat the beast. But it doesn't simply show fear and the inferiority complex brought on by it but also the retaliation caused by being in constant oppression. It's a historical fact the oppression leads to uprising and eventually war, this anime perfectly captures that in its own obscure way. If there was ever an Japanese proverb to sum up what this premise tackled it would be "a cornered rat will bite the cat”, the "rat" further establishing the merits of my aforementioned allegory example. In the end the show forces you to ask the question "who was right / who was just?" with its last minute revelation.
If there was ever an area that needed any improvement it would be here. The animation was very lackluster to say the least and when compared to other shows released around the same time it becomes more apparent BUT where the show lacks in fluid animation it makes up for in highly detailed art and proper color placement. There are many times in the show where contrasting colors, monochromatic scenes and color limitation was used to properly capture and convey the given tone it wanted to represent. May that be with a scene involving only cool darkly tint colors to invoke isolation or that of a sunset that brings on an ominous aura. The people behind these subtle but effective choices show that they're very well versed in their field of work. They worked with their limited budget and through clever lighting and other techniques made most of it's limitations to go unnoticed by the untrained eye.
Simple yet effective. It's amazing what a few soundtracks can do to enhance a show's scenes. The color choice scenes I mentioned above became further heightened when coupled with the music. May that be the beautiful yet bone chilling choir chanting along with booming instruments or the softer long sweeping ones that gives a feeling of dismay and helplessness. Each and every track fell into place with grace and is one that will stick with you long after the credits roll. Also worth noting that the ending is among the best I've had the pleasure of listening to with the intricate guitar composition and well timed vocals. The voice actors were all fine and even tolerable dubbed as well. Standout being John Kaiser's role as Squealer.
This is the only area of SY that I can find a true qualm with. Despite it's well explored setting and great world building only two characters were given any layered characterization and dimension. The first being our lead Saki as she's the one tossed into the difficult situations and grows as she learns more about the hidden secrets in her society. What makes her great as a lead is that she isn't portrayed as a 1 sided "fight for what's right" mouthpiece but rather she understands the need for the necessary evils. That doesn't mean she doesn't fight against it but she don't act in a way that's pigheaded or irrational. She isn't made out to be someone with stubborn conviction that isn't subjugated to change but is shown as someone who simply wants what's right. She is later developed as the show goes along, making her time on screen one welcomed.
The other layered character is Satoru as he's a constant companion to her. He doesn't get anything in the way of development as Saki did but he is layered enough that he feels like a person and not a simply a 1 note character. They could of spend more time to flesh him out further but given the show's focus what we got was enough.
The antagonist for the series isn't layered per say but he becomes the one that forced the viewer to take a second look on the show's overall interpretation. As such his role is fine in the context of the story and adds value to it.
The side characters don't really have much in terms of layered dimensions as they were never given any prolonged screentime to be flesh out. They were better as a whole than when viewed individually. But what can be noted was how the show handled them. It showed how fragile their mentalities were by the misgivings of their society's social order. The bonds they try to uphold and cling on to can be seen as co-dependence since they can't stand on their own. Something like a mental crutch that adds an interesting dynamic to their relationships. It's handled with a certain nuance which makes up for what they lack as individuals.
When I saw the propaganda surrounding this title floating around the anime community I became one of those people that was hesitant to give the title a try. I had forgotten about it and it wasn't until months later after constant praise that I watched it. If I had any regret it would be not watching it sooner as I hold this title in high regards. I can't recommend it enough.
Shinsekai yori is a title that deserves more acknowledgement, not only is it a tribute to dystopian literature but also one that sets a benchmark for other anime titles to reach for. It is truly a masterfully written tale that is handled with a sense of class and finesse. If given the time of day I'm sure you'll receive something substantial out of it.
For similar titles I recommend:
Shiki: A tale about vampires that follow the same ethical themes brought up in SY. Not as polished in writing but still one worth watching.
Suisei no Gargantia: both contain a plot twist that are identical and answers the same questions regarding perception of morality. Although it isn't handled with the same level care as Shinsekai it's still short enough and easy to watch to recommend giving a try.
Wolf's Rain: dystopian-esc setting with discrimination and war, more of a "road" anime shrouded in mystery but gives off the familiar aura of the unknown that SY does.
During the Fall season of 2012, animation studio A-1 pictures was airing two anime. One of them was the infamous Sword Art Online; the international sensation that essentially made money faster than it could be printed. It went down in history as one of the most hyperbolized and dramatic popularity explosions of all time. In the wake of the massive tidal wave created by the anti-Christ itself (or the messiah, depending on your perspective), there was another anime; an anime that was swallowed whole by the mainstream hype of the industry. An anime that barely anyone bothered to watch. An anime that nearly
everyone in its already small audience dropped because of a 10 second yaoi scene in episode 8. An anime that was a complete financial failure.
Why is this story concerning? I’ll tell you why: because that anime was called “Shinsekai Yori”. If the name doesn’t mean anything to you, that’s probably because you haven’t seen it yet. There is little debate that this anime is something special; it has one of the most mature and refined tones in the history of the medium, the music and animation are unbelievably atmospheric, and the world building is absolutely unparalleled. To the anime community, none of that mattered. Shinsekai Yori’s monetary disaster coupled with SAO’s monumental success sent a very clear message to the industry: More SAOs, less Shinsekai Yori’s. *Sigh, this is why I drink. This is also why I write reviews. Ladies and gentlemen: Shinsekai Yori.
Synopsis: One millennium into the future, society exists as a utopia in which every human possesses “the god’s power”; a form of incredibly powerful psychokinesis. Our protagonist, Saki Watanabe, lives in this utopia that is completely barred from the outside world. However, her and her friends begin to discover some of the dark secrets behind their society as their perfect little reality begins its slow, downward spiral into disaster, as all utopias seem to do.
Let me reiterate something I mentioned earlier; this is a very mature anime. When I say that, I don’t just mean that there’s a lot blood and gore/sexual themes (although those things certainly exist in the show). Rather, I mean to say that you have to be a mature person to enjoy and understand this show. The pacing is very, very slow, there is a LOT of info-dumping, and the show lacks the energy or excitement that you would typically see in a psychological show. Virtually all of Shinsekai Yori’s plot is spent building its vast, unique, fascinating, and disturbing world. This anime is the absolute pinnacle of world building; arguably the best of all time. The utopia that is the focus of the story can only be described as staggering. The most beautiful thing about the setting isn’t merely its depth, however, but rather the way in which the show’s themes are built so perfectly around it. The implications of the way this society is run and how it began are legitimately shocking, dark and frightening. This anime will almost certainly give you the chills, but it goes beyond just that; it makes you legitimately think. Perhaps the scariest part about the show is that nothing about it is unbelievable. Nothing about it is unreasonable. There are no good guys, there are no bad guys. There is only a group of organisms behaving according to their nature. At the risk of spoiling the plot, I will not go into much depth about the intricacies of this outstanding storyline. Just know that it will leave a serious impact on you; it is easily the highlight of the show.
Because the main focus of the show is undoubtedly the world building, Shinsekai Yori’s characters don’t receive nearly as much time or attention. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that they aren’t good. Our protagonist, Saki Watanabe, serves as a parallel to the audience’s experience; she learns about the truths of her world at the exact same pace as we do. This makes her extremely relatable and the audience is able to know what she is thinking and what she is feeling at all times. Although some could argue that she (as well as all her friends) merely serves as a medium to explore the setting, the reason I believe that she is a fantastic character is because she is ultimately the one who brings the themes full circle at the end of the anime. Although she is certainly passive most of the time, it is ultimately her thoughts and actions that hammer in the message of the show. Saki is one of my favorite female characters ever. The supporting cast, however, lacks depth. While they all have their own basic personalities and motivations, they ultimately just serve as the passive mediums I mentioned earlier, this time without the thematic implications of Saki. They are certainly likeable (I really liked Sataru), but they don’t offer as much as I would have liked them to. Then there are the antagonists (if you can even call them that). Going into any detail on this matter is a spoiler, but the seemingly evil actions executed throughout the narrative puts the concept of morality itself into question; it makes you legitimately consider what is evil and what is justified. That is the mark of truly fantastic writing.
I also feel the need to mention the superbly surreal presentation of the show. The animation is incredibly crisp and the color pallet is visually appealing, but the artwork stands out in particular for its wide variety of amazing designs. Every human character has a great design, which is impressive enough, but the show also features a plethora of strange, grotesque, and fascinating creatures. Shinsekai Yori does a fantastic job of coming up with creative appearances for these creatures and making them all memorable. In short, the animation is top notch. The music, on the other hand, really steals the show. This anime has no OP theme, as is tradition, but it instead has one of the greatest ED themes of all time. Some would argue THE best. However, it is the OST that’s the really impressive aspect of the sound; it is absolutely mesmerizing. The potent combination of haunting, spine-tingling pieces and sad, somber pieces combine to form a remarkably large part of the show’s atmospheric and chilling environment. Also, the voice acting is well above average. Truly a memorable presentation style.
In conclusion, Shinsekai Yori is one of a kind. It chooses to walk the path of a mature, thought provoking, somber tale and never strays from that path. It’s not flashy nor is it particularly exciting, but it certainly is remarkably written. If you ask me, Shinsekai Yori is a masterpiece. You would be hard pressed to find a more fleshed out and imaginative setting in all of fiction; not just in the realm of anime. Needless to say, I highly recommend this show and I’m glad to see that it has gotten the attention is deserves after an initial period of failure.
These are the words I said to myself when I had the pleasure of completing Shinsekai yori (From the new world). A-1 Pictures, while known from some of it's notoriously bad series, has really left in me shock on just how they could produce a compelling, unique, and deep story. Along with it's fantastic characters and their development throughout the series, to the sensational and masterpiece soundtracks used, Shinsekai yori manages to do almost every aspect flawlessly. It's an anime that manages to leave viewers reflecting on real world issues with Shinsekai yori's universe and how everything is not all that seems.
It tackles on the issues of lust for power, rising against tyrannical governments, morals, beliefs, and psychology of not just humanity itself, but from the other intelligent species living on Earth, and never once did it leave me in boredom throughout the short length of it's 25 episodes run. With all it's praise it supposedly delivered, is Shinsekai yori truly a masterpiece that I would recommend anyone to watch? Is there any aspects about the show that I felt was weak, or tried to execute but not properly? Like majority of my reviews, I'll be going over the the 6 main points: story, artwork, sound, characters, overall enjoyment, and my summary thoughts with the final verdict. I'll try my best to keep this review completely spoiler free as possible as well, while only covering plot points and scenes from the first episode.
"We have to change our way of thinking if we really want to change the future." - Saki Watanabe
The most notable and praised element you'll find if someone were to recommend Shinsekai yori is how it handles the story throughout the series. The rich lore and captivating story line will get viewers invested quickly in the show. This could even be done in the very first episode, like it was for me. The idea of an outbreak of Psychokinesis, the ability to manipulate and change matter; whether it's making yourself or objects fly, setting something on fire just by looking at it, killing someone by just staring, is executed very well in the opening scene. We get to know right away what's happening to our present, the fall and destruction of the old world, and the rise of the new world 1000 years later into the future world of Shinsekai yori. From there on, the story follows the perspective and narration of Saki Watanabe, a 12 year old girl who obtains the powers of Psychokinesis, or what they call it now: Cantus. We also get to see how the world 1000 years later is. To our surprise, there's no technological advancements or flying cars to be found, and it looks like society has taken a step backwards by isolating their scarce and fragile communities from one another. This is all due to humans becoming the dominate force of the world, where Cantus is the building foundation of how their society functions. There are also many other species roaming around the planet. The most notable and intelligent ones, the Queerats, are predecessors of the naked mole-rat. They're bipedal, can understand human language, and worship humans as "gods" from their Cantus. They have many colonies each ruled by a queen, and some work as slaves for the humans, swearing complete and absolute loyalty. Along with Copy-Cats, supposed cat-like creatures that are rumored to come after human children, and Fiends, humanoid creatures that the elders teach the children about to prevent one from ever coming to the village, are all mentioned briefly in the first episode, but later on explored further into the story, and become very significant plot points.
The psychological, science-fiction, and supernatural elements all come together to produce a gripping and epic storyline, leaving almost no details or plot-holes behind. The audience at first may not fully grasp the big picture the story is trying to tell you at first, but later on, specifically in episode 4, we get to see how this supposed Utopian society the humans live in is not all it seems. With a very good beginning, an even better middle, and fantastic conclusion to the story (quite possibly the best I've ever seen), it's no surprise to say that the story of Shinsekai yori is nothing more close to a masterpiece that you'll ever find in an anime, and rightfully deserves that title. The art of Shinsekai yori can best be described as being very diverse and unique when it comes to it's artwork. It makes the setting for a world that's taken a step back of any kind of futuristic technology shine brightly. Visuals, the environment, and character models are all breathtaking to look at. There was not one time that I noticed any horrible animation or questionable choice of visuals/colors for a scene. Blending and shading of scenes are also done very well, weak at times, but executed properly. Whether it be the night sky, mountain ranges, forests, buildings, Shinsekai yori delivers quality artwork, a factor not heavily discussed when describing your favorite anime, into a dynamic and awestruck world.
Only second to the story, the sounds and music that Shinsekai yori produces incorporates the strengths of compelling human emotions with realistic sound design and high class soundtracks to bring life to an engaging story. Every sound; whether it was simply as turning the page of a book, the listening of footsteps through the school, the background noise of wildlife, and the echoing of voices, Shinsekai yori always used sounds appropriately and in a meaningful way to describe what's happening right now. This was the first anime ever that I actually appreciated the different sounds used and how it set up the mood. Simply amazing. The OST tracks were all very unique and memorable to listen to. 'Traditional Song of Shadows', a very commonly used soundtrack in the anime, always gave the feeling of suspense, anxiety, and hype whenever it came on, and was always used in the right situations where the audience was left to feel emotional with the situation at hand. 'History Of Despair, used for compelling and especially suspenseful moments, filled me with emotion while listening, I could actually feel the tension and suspense inside of me. My personal favorite and arguably best soundtrack: 'Wareta Ringo', the ending theme for episodes 1-16, is a masterpiece, and I never once skipped the ending just because of this fantastic song - And I always skip the endings. With greatly used sounds, very well composed soundtracks that'll get you tapping your foot everytime they come on, the sounds for Shinsekai yori is one of the best soundtrack I've ever witnessed in anime, right next to Clannad and Clannad: After Story's soundtrack.
The characters of Shinsekai yori, like the rest of the anime, were crafted and thought out beautifully. Character development, dynamic and complex personalities, interesting backstories, and realistic values were presented in the majority of the cast. At the top of my head, I could only think of 2 or 3 characters that may have had wasted potential, but not too many fell under that category. The main characters in Shinsekai yori are all children, so you get to experience they're perspectives in their dystopian society. Saki Watanabe is the main protagonist and narrator of the story. A very outgoing, yet sensitive girl who values her friends, family, and town very dear to herself. She argues a lot with her friend Satoru, and is very close with her two childhood friends Maria and Shun. She has trouble at first with her Cantus, but gradually overcomes it. She is my favorite character, as we get to see her fantastic character development the most. Satoru Asahina is a very observant and intelligent, yet energetic boy who likes to pull pranks and tease Saki a lot. He's a very likable character that at first I did't think much of, but later becomes very significant and important, especially near the middle and ending. Like Satoru, Shun Aonuma is very clever, and the most mature one out of the group. He's the brains at the sage academy with near perfect scores every time. The elders expect great things of him when he reaches adulthood. A pretty complex character, but not nearly as great as Saki and Satoru. Maria Akizuki is Saki's best friend who's the most feminine of the group. She's shown to be protecting and commanding Mamoru, the groups other member a lot. She's remains a pretty static character throughout the length of the series. Mamoru Itou's a very shy, timid boy who rarely expresses his concerns or opinions in the group. He's my least favorite of the main characters, but by no means a bad character. Like Maria, he's also a static character. Squealer is a queerat with very high intelligence, sly, and astute. He is the representative of the Robber Fly colony of queerats. He's my second favorite character, and possibly the most complex and dynamic character of the storyline, with fantastic character development near the ending.
My experience and enjoyment with Shinsekai yori was nothing like I've ever witnessed before. I've heard praise, mixed opinions, and spite from this anime, so I was going into it without the intent of thinking highly of it at first. But boy, was I completely blown away over how good this anime actually is. Like mentioned above, it just does almost every aspect right. It gets the plot moving smoothly, with making sure the audience knows what's going on through the narration, delivering a fantastic story. It has fantastic artwork and scenery, masterpiece soundtracks and different sounds used to fit the mood and premise of the scene, very well crafted characters who have great character development and important roles, rarely being wasted. This anime will make you think, it'll make you feel sad, happy, emotional, and an array of different feelings while you experience Saki Watanabe's life with her friends in the new world ruled by the super-human ability of Cantus, and how it affects everything around the world, the different species and how they interact with humans, and the government of a supposed utopian society not being all that meets the eye. You will want more after reaching the fantastic conclusion, like I did.
A recommendation to anyone who wants a compelling, dark, psychological story, with all other aspects of characters, sound, artwork, and enjoyment being near perfect in every sense. Shinsekai yori is an anime I'll never forget, and will remain in my top favorites for years to come.
Shinsekai Yori (From the New World) is something of an eclectic anime series. It's based off a novel, which hands it very different premises compared to anime that are based off manga or games (and for that matter, original anime), which is pretty evident in its characters and story, following few of the bigger anime clichés.
Much can be said about its story and its contents, but at heart it's a big metaphor of growing up, from the utopian-seeming setting in the beginning to the more nuanced view we're treated to later - not as a result of the world changing but as the result of
the viewer - and the main characters - simply finding out more about the world and how it works, and adapting accordingly. It doesn't just settle with "children growing up", however, at every point and turn there's dark revelations and disturbing implications, some of which are never answered but deftly left for the viewer to contemplate, and right up to - and including - the ending, you always feel that something is just... out of place. The setting feels off, but in a good, "this is disturbingly cool" kind of way, so while maybe a little uncomfortable, it amplifies the overall mood of the series. Dread is, perhaps, a good word for the sensation.
The characters are treated to a lot of interesting hurdles and obstacles, and it's interesting to see them interact with the world and each other, even if some characters take an unfortunate role as vassals of the story or infodumpers. Even so, the series' focus on karmic elements, the evil of the subconscious and the gnawing effects on those humans left isolated from their peers all serve to further define and contribute to the character dynamic. The latter half, where the pace really picks up, also brings about themes of oppression and supremacy and skillfully manages to instill a sensation of moral gray rather than good and evil. Conflicts are abound, simply put, and challenges the characters in intriguing and often unexpected ways.
Aesthetically there is little to hold against the series. The colour palette is lush and the animation fluid. It rarely fails to deliver excellent character designs and animations, and likewise its special effects are lovely indeed. On the auditory side, it delivers a soundtrack that contributes strongly to the perturbing mood of the series. The opening theme is as harrowing as it is good, and the ending theme wrote itself swiftly into my favorite list. The voice acting is overall good, I am especially impressed with newcomers
To sum up Shinsekai Yori is hard, but its essence is a dark story about a world where few things are as they seem, that deals with a large host of themes - many more (and no less important) than the ones already mentioned -, set in an aesthetically wonderful world. It adheres to few of the clichés and stereotypes of the day, and is that anime that comes along once in a while with a really refreshing concept and story and executes it well. Characterization could have been done a little better, initial pacing maybe too, and some story elements were a little hard to accept, and so on and so forth. Regardless, I can only finish with this: Give Shinsekai a try!
Upon revisiting this anime exactly two months from when I last finished it, (03/31/13) I am reminded of things that I have missed and that is this.
If there is anything to be said about this anime, it's that it is extremely emotionally draining. With the trivialities of art and aesthetic pleasure aside, this anime is incredibly real with its plot twists and deep themes. With enough analysis, one could make an extremely satisfying paper on the choices of the characters and the moral injustices that may or may not have been present during the series.
Starting off with my initial impression of this anime, I
would like to say that I knew what was coming (having finished it) but admit that I had no idea what the hell I was in store for when I watched that first episode. Did I expect this to be a happy-go-lucky anime? No. Did I expect this anime to be abundant with extremely dark materials? No. Did I expect a lot of the things that happened? No.
The truth is, all of the events that transpired made sense in the end, and that many of what seem to have been irrational decisions were not without reasoning behind them. The story is so complex and ripe with plot layers that it's hard to comprehend many of the actions that the characters devoted themselves to.
Which is why I would give the story a rating of 10. It was incredibly well done and, though it may seem naive to rate it such high a score, I believe that it deserves the effort that was placed into it in order to lead us into a state of enlightenment at the end.
As touched upon very briefly during the intro paragraph, I mentioned that the aesthetic appeal was none too great in this series. And although many viewers would be put off by this "more realistic approach" to an anime that is quite newly finished, I would like to state that it was self-evident that the art helped itself rather well. With a more human approach to anime, Shinsekai Yori did a fantastic job portraying humans in their own habitat.
Which is why I gave it a 9. Not incredibly pleasing in an aesthetic manner, but did work quite well in order to provide a more realistic approach to modern day anime.
Dvorak, need I say more? Being an avid follower of classical music, "Largo" (aka, Going Home) from "From the New World" by Antonin Dvorak is a beautiful piece that is visited in much of its glory. Playing the part of one of the main themes of Shinsekai Yori, I was quite disappointed to see that not much of the rest of the movements of this said piece was shown. Otherwise, the sound was superbly done, with amazing ending songs and a dramatic opening tune that always nicely introduced the episode.
So, well, 9. There could have been much more variation of songs, but otherwise the sound aspect of this anime wasn't very crucial in understanding the major themes and plot. Well done, and an extra point for Dvorak.
I could write an entire essay on the analysis of these characters. With that being said, I leave much of the judgement up to you, as the main individuals of this anime were incredibly well-written and developed. Though antagonists or protagonists weren't very clear, I would have to say that this aspect made many of the characters more believable, as no individual can always be extremely good or extremely evil.
The characters in the story made extremely practical decisions based on their situations and acted very maturely in certain predicaments despite their age.
Bravo, indeed, for the characters. Bravo. 11 if I could, but I can't.
This was obviously an extreme displeasure to finish. As explained prior, this was an extremely draining anime that I took much time and deliberation to finish. Breaking down before the half-way point of the story, I could not find myself enjoying this anime but continued for all the other rewarding aspects. I think that I enjoyed it, but am unsure due to my feelings for the overall perspective on this anime. It was wonderfully done and I enjoyed it.
I simply wish I could have enjoyed it more. Sorry, 8.
This is the TL;DR part. Damn it, if there's going to be something you're going to not regret watching this entire freaking year, it's got to be this anime. Rich with make-believe history and moral lessons (as well as absolutely satisfying characters), this anime has made it to the top of my list of favorite anime. Just watch at your own caution and know what you're getting into. Much content in this anime is suggestive but all leads to an established point. Watch it, and you'll be smarter having finished it. Cheers, and enjoy.
What started off as an interesting piece on a dystopian style future fantasy world quickly squandered all the good sense it had at the outset and devolved into a moral confused and seemingly pointless story line.
My main problem with this series is that it began with some top-notch world building mixed with an air of mystery that should have been the main focus of the show, but it seemed to just forget all of this and move forward in a completely unrelated direction. In this world, every child has the potential to essentially destroy the society and everyone in it, and the people find
that the only way to preserve their own way of life is to kill any child who seems to be straying and to employ the widespread use of memory alteration and hypnosis. To me, this seemed to be setting up a very thought-provoking question: should this society exist, or would it actually be better off destroyed?
Instead of engaging this morally interesting and consequential question, the story runs through a veritable roller-coaster of plot contrivances to set up a completely asinine and borderline offensive question: is it okay to commit genocide on intelligent, seemingly conscious creatures if you have magical powers and they don't? Then the show has the gall to act as if the big reveal at the end somehow changes things and tries to present that question as morally gray while a character who could reasonably be called a civil rights activist is portrayed as the ultimate villain.
The main characters in this show are incredibly boring and most of them seem to exist only as plot conveniences. Characters are introduced, given the most cursory amount of development possible, then discarded once they have served their apparent purpose. Meanwhile, we are simply told to believe that the protagonist is a strong and interesting character, but she never really lives up to it.
Overall solid artwork, animation, and sound can't save what is, at its core, a fundamentally broken story.