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