Jul 8, 2016
myronator (All reviews)
Shin Sekai Yori (SSY) is an incredibly ambitious anime that fails to deliver. The initial premise for the series involves a society desperate to control its citizens due to the fear that any one of them could become a mass murderer due to misusing their cantus (magical powers) or simply losing control. In a similar manner, the creators of SSY managed to lose control of their own narrative.

It only takes four episodes before the show veers off course from its original premise. The first two episodes introduce the village and the cantus school where kids disappear frequently. This gets forgotten for episode 3 where an exposition dump tells us the dark history of the world, and that nothing has changed over the past few centuries; humans still murder anyone they are suspicious of. All of this information is forgotten the very next episode as Satoru and Saki begin mass murdering Queerats. Finally, when the kids return to the village where there's a possibility for them to act on the information that they just learned, there's a time skip and they've been brainwashed to forget everything.

The show continues like this until the finale. Every development doesn't change how the characters behave because it's forgotten the next episode. Saki is completely incompetent with everything she does all the way through, even though the show tries to tell us how intelligent and capable she is. The other characters are just as incompetent with almost no personality. What this leaves us with is a show with bland characters making terrible decisions. The emotional parts of the story fall flat, and the climax of the story is completely ridiculous due to how easily it could have been avoided if any of the characters had any intelligence. The ending itself was insulting, trying to get us to empathise with a mass murderer who brainwashes his own people.

The elements were there to make this one of my favourites. The soundtrack was great, and the haunting atmosphere and sense of mystery were enough to keep me hooked. However, once the show was over, I was disappointed. The series introduces many concepts that could be important to our future and are worth discussing, but the show never goes into any depth and usually uses these ideas as a means for plot conveniences (especially death feedback). Unlike other anime that explore similar concepts, there are no lessons to learn from SSY. The biggest praise I can give to SSY is how well it manages to masquerade itself as an intellectual anime.

I would not recommend anyone watch SSY.