“We ultimately fear what spawns from within us.”
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.