An Anime Review by Miasma
The ability to pop people like water balloons. Pyrokinesis. Telekinesis. Barrier creation. It is not just caped crusaders that carry these powers in comic books, but in this anime, it is all of society. And it gets ruined by whiny children. Just kidding. No t quote ruined, but at least it may hinder your initial enjoyment of the experience of watching Shin Sekai Yori, or from the new world.
Shin Sekai Yori follows the lives of children in a village known as Kamisu 66 set over 1000 years in the future. Humans have evolved to have powerful psychic abilities, basically making them demi gods. such as the aforementioned power to kill all things,but this doesn’t really happen. You may think such power world spiral the world into chaos, but it is quite the opposite, There is peace and, you cannot use this power on another human being. The story follows a girl named Saki Watanabe as she grows up in this world, who stumbles upon some information she was not supposed to hear, and she begins to unravel the dark secrets the world around her contains. The world around her is not what it seems, lies have been told, and the truth may not be bearable. It is hard to talk about the plot without spoiling it, but there is action suspense, romance and social commentary abound in this anime.
This anime is adapted from a series of light novels by Yusuke Kishi. And be warned,before I piss off anyone out there I will say this I HAVE NOT READ THE NOVELS. I ONLY SAW THE ANIME. There. I said it, and you have to deal with it.
If you are still reading congrats on having great patience, and as a reward here is my bottom line with this show. I hated half of it, and the ranged from decent to somewhat enjoyable. Episodes 1-11 I could barely stand, and I didn’t find myself caring about what was going on. This is not really the fault of the story as I think that the story is this series’ strongest aspect, but even that was knocked over like a bowling pin by its worst aspect. The terrible characters.
I eventually started to like Saki, our protagonist a little bit towards the end, but everyone else in this series I hated. Even guys in the background. The main group of classmates Saki is friends with experience much of the journey along with Saki, but none of them were memorable to me in a good way. I remember them, but for their predictability and shallowness. There is cliche melodrama when they were kids and this blossomed into episode 8, which includes the most shoehorned romance scenes I have ever seen in anime. It literally comes out of nowhere. All of a sudden people are in love with one person, then onto the next. I was confused, then annoyed then bored.
The first 11 episodes are very slow, and it builds the world up, but it felt like a roller coaster that was built on a track far too high in the sky for me to get thrilled by. Yes this world has its uniqueness, but that only goes so far for me personally when your characters are about as interesting as a wet carrot. Shoutout to South Park.
Early on Saki (besides these powers that everyone has) is a typical schoolgirl who at first had some growth in terms of coming to terms with her powers, but this aspect of her character goes by the wayside when she gets interested in Sasuke Uchiha, or in this case Shun. Shun is that popular guy who is good at everything, and while he does go through some turmoil himself in this anime, I just could not care about him. Call it jealousy if you’d like but characters like him and people like him in real life just annoy me.
Next we have Satoru, voiced in the dub by my man Greg Ayres. I met Greg at a convention, he’s a great guy but I digress. Satoru goes through crazy out of nowhere changes in this anime and he is kind of all over the place. He is brash, loud and adds to the melodrama early on. However, like this anime he too get better with a lot of time.
There are two more main classmates here but I just remember them as whiny and Yuri bait. That is all their characters really have. They have a really forced “role” by series end but many many important things with them happen off screen, which made me cringe. I like my characters to have certain traits and this motley crew tried its hardest to get me to drop the series.
Now that I have gotten all of that out, I have to say this anime is not terrible. It is sort of a mixed bag. In fact I think you should check it out in all honesty. But be warned because nobody warned me. The latter half of the series hits you with much more information about the story is revealed and it becomes a far better series. No longer is it bound by these crappy stereotypes, it is now about action and philosophies involving human nature and our relationship with those both superior and inferior to us.
The animation was pretty good done by A-1 Pictures, there were scenes where they cheated a little bit and it dipped in terms of visual quality but there were pretty moments as well to counter this. I know I mentioned Greg Ayres, but I watched the sub. I prefer japanese voice actors portraying characters this young.
The story is this series saving grace by a country mile. After that lull at the beginning, the show had me on the edge of my seat, especially at the very end. It was interesting in concept to grow up with a set of characters and it made a fantasy story a bit more relatable, but once again this was inconsistent. The character actions were a bit too all over the place and just didn’t feel real to me. The story has somewhat of a solid ending, and a reveal at the end that in my opinion wasn’t that much of a surprise, but for others it might be.
There are a few things omitted from the story i would have liked to see such as (spoilers) when Mamoru the whiny baby and Maria, Yuri fanservice incarnate live their own life in the wild, have a kid and are killed off screen.
Is Shin Sekai Yori a great anime? Not in my opinion. It had its moments but I enjoy actual characters over stereotypes, and it took far too long for me to care. The series is on a lower echelon for me, I’d say it’s alright, borderline mediocre. Maybe stream it and give it a chance. It is a memorable experience for sure but not always in a good sense.
I find it funny how a show about human evolution had some of the most mundane traits anime has to offer.
My biggest complaint with Shin Sekai Yori is its characters and how they act in the crazy world around them. This concept is amazing, and the mental ability could happen someday way down the line, but I’d like to think we would take ulterior options to killing children.
Kamisu 66 has a dark past, and I get that but my biggest question that remained unanswered was that why can’t we just seal off powers like they did early in the series? It is made very clear that power can be stopped with seals, so why doesn’t the village chief in all of her immortal wisdom (another cliche character btw) create seals to stop ogres or alter this crazy rule that people can’t attack people. I am all for a peaceful world but safety within such a society was poorly handled in this show. We shouldn’t feed children to cats, just saying. Why not create prisons of psychic barriers?
Also the Karmic Demon thing with Shun bored me to tears as I did not like him and to be honest, was happy to see him go. Except he didn’t really go, he is in Saki’s mind when it’s convenient, much like Naruto’s parents but at least I cared about them.
Squealer, leader of a clan of monster rats seems to be a fan favorite, but I did not trust him from the start and saw his actions coming. In the end, he is not even that bad a guy, but I was glad to see.
This anime was too often predictable and stereotypical. And in the few times it wasn’t I wished it followed a standard. We don’t need random episode 8 yaoi and yuri fanservice, but it is shoe horned in there for what reason? It even turns out that our top two main characters love each other! They aren’t even gay! I would not have an issue with the characters being homosexual, but don’t tease it then drop it.
And I did not feel any sympathy for the chief of the village, Tomiko. Over the years, who knows how many children she has killed, and when she stays behind when chaos enuses towards the climax of the story, the anime tries to make you feel bad for her? No way.
Not the worst anime ever, but one of the more predictable ones I have seen. Maybe I’m psychic. -Miasma
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