Posted on 17 December 2012 with categories: From the New World

Holy crap… a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This show definitely put that saying into a different perspective. I mean heck, this is just a horror series in disguise. The whole story about that one kid who went crazy actually nearly freaked me out, that’s how good it was. Very, very dark psychological horror.

But with this I also feel so sorry for the people who all had to solve this and clean up, being forced to put so many constraining rules on the village. This was the first time the series showed the story from their perspective. And also their fear of some other kid freaking out. And the thing is that this series has been slowly building up someone for that role: Mamoru.

What’s more, Saki is being forced in the role of a leader now. I can only imagine how different the second half of this series will be, when she is actually put into that position, and forced to make the same incredibly difficult decisions. This show is cruel. Very cruel.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

37 Responses

  1. Silty says:

    Did anyone else feel the parallel between this show and Psycho Pass? Especially the quantification of psychological stability.

  2. wakka9ca says:

    Notice the foreshadowing in the first few episodes. Remember who read the Fiend and Karma Demon stories in class?

    • Scruffy says:

      The narrator has already said (can’t remember which episode) that Maria would cause a lot of deaths. I assume that she’s going to turn fiend, perhaps if something happens to Mamoru?

  3. Spike says:

    Worse then that, did anyone else feel the parallel between this, psycho pass, AND current events?! Reading through comments online for these recent mass shootings / stabbings some people are sounding SCARILY close to the villagers. I read one comment “these crazy people should be eliminated before they become a threat”. I literally got chills as I heard the villagers rational after the appearence of the Fiend. Pretty powerful stuff when you consider there’s people that actually think that way RIGHT NOW no supernatural involved.

    • HunterWulf says:

      Well, i agree there are strong scary parallels between both shows and the recent mass shootings in the US, but not only do you need to consider both sides of the argument (like Shin Sekai is doing here) but also think of how technology could help avert such tragedies (kinda like in Psycho Pass .. well to a degree), since parenting doesn’t seem to be overall improving any time soon and taking the disturbed person to a psychological doctor to help them isn’t going to happen if the parents/neighbors/relatives don’t even notice something is wrong in the first place the only path left is to apply some tech that scans people’s psyche and mental state on regular bases .. doesn’t necessarily mean we have to apply the full Sybil “package”, but if such tech will help detect mental/psychological abnormalities in people before they manifest in form of violent senseless shootings then it’s a must-have tech (and i’m not saying they should be hurt or sent to prison for that, just get treatment and the help they need before they snap and start shooting random people around them).

      IMO putting more control on guns is surely going to help too (you rarely hear about such mass shootings in Japan or Europe where guns law is more strict and not any disturbed teenager could have access to a gun and ammo).

      Either way .. this goes to show how good the writing in Shin Sekai and Psycho Pass is.

    • Sam says:

      So… Death feedback is almost completely pointless as the main thing it’s meant to defend against, i.e. psychotic mass-murderers, render it completely ineffective… Nice one, whoever developed that idea. So now they have a system where if they somehow don’t detect that someone will become a Fiend (Which it looks like Mamoru is going to be a perfect example of) then it will most likely lead to the death of at least an entire village?

      Surely they should just get rid of death feedback at this point, or at least selectively remove it from some people and train them to guard against Fiends/criminals, aka have a police force. It’s so obvious that the current method of enforcement has failed if all they do about it is secretly eliminate potential fiends before they potentially turn. Unless they do manage to catch/stop Mamoru before it’s too late and their detection is truly flawless in its accuracy. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

      • Scruffy says:

        They can still kill .. just not use their powers to kill. The doctor in this episode knowingly administered a lethal injection.

      • HunterWulf says:

        Death-feedback isn’t meant to counter fiends IMO, it’s meant to prevent normal people from using Cantus powers to kill other people (i.e criminals or normal people going rouge against the village), the Fiend is a special case .. still .. even with that .. don’t forget the kid seemed to be in great pain after all the murder he did .. so i suppose going into Fiend-mode and snapping maybe gave him some high resistance to pain (extra morphine from the brain maybe), but i’m sure he wasn’t ok or normal before the doctor injected him.

        Also, the cats are supposed to be those enforcers/police against fiends .. just becasue they are using them in assassinations and preemptive strikes doesn’t mean they don’t hunt down Fiends and Karma Demons with them (like how they sent two after Shun .. and since they are mutated household cats they can replace them easily).

        • Sam says:

          OK I should probably start again with a different way of explaining my viewpoint.

          If the purpose of death feedback is simply to stop criminals who aren’t fiends / karma demons, then it’s pointless at this point, as such people (i.e. the kid who interfered with the sphere game earlier) are assassinated before they can get even close to doing anything, which they arguably wouldn’t be able to do since non-fiends/karma demons would not be able to kill someone. Why are they being culled if death feedback would stop them anyway? What is the point of death feedback at this point – what will it stop? It won’t stop fiends, it won’t stop karma demons, it isn’t being used to stop criminals although it arguably would, and it prevents people from defending themselves against fiends, (And potentially queerat armies etc. but that’s uncertain for me at this point, either Satoru was getting death feedback since queerats are similar to humans or just tired from extensive use of PK if such a thing exists) before it gets out of hand.

          It’s like, in comparison to modern society, it would be like only giving psychopaths and people with mental illnesses machine guns and having nothing to stop them with but random chance, hoping that they can be lulled into a false sense of security to be killed by an injection or something, after killing potentially thousands.

          So far death feedback has done absolutely no good in the show to my knowledge. It partially caused Rijin’s death, potentially could have caused Satoru/Saki’s, I just don’t see why they would still use it.

          • larkspur says:

            It’s possible that they can’t stop using it. We have no idea how long the death feedback has been encoded into human DNA. It would probably be extremely dangerous to un-mutate the entire population.

            Anyway, the death feedback does still at least serve the purpose of stopping well-meaning people from getting into violent conflicts. It also keeps the most powerful psychics from automatically ruling over everyone else.

  4. HunterWulf says:

    Phew, that was one hell of an episode, this show really know how to create atmosphere with its mini-stories (sometimes they are more scary, impactful and artistic than the main story), specifically the story with the Fiend (as we finally get to know what a fiend is, and WHAT a FIEND it is XD) .. they story was just so simple yet one could feel the twisted, somber and dark atmosphere choking him .. the scene where the grandmother as the young nurse tries to help the Fiend kid and comes back the moment the doctor injects him with that medicine and all hell broke loose just a few meters away from her (or was it poison !!! .. wonder if they really knew what he was when they tried to help him .. or were they actually luring him in order to kill him .. gaaah .. my head hurts).

    On the other hand the story of the Karma Demon girl wasn’t as scary but it was melancholic and very sad, it lost a lot of its edge due to it being a smaller version of Shin’s story but you still can’t help feel very sorry for the girl while she is slowly starting to realize how she is messing everything and everyone around her up unintentionally … the story still manages to have an impact.

    Well, now we finally know the full difference between a Fiend (one who consciously uses his/her Cantus to butcher and kill everyone in sight due to a mental/psychological breakdown) while a Karma Fiend is (someone whose Cantus grows so powerful it starts acting pretty much on its own warping and twisting reality around them), now i wonder how that ties with Mamoru’s disappearance (due one very bad joke by Maria), and also with Saki’s foreshadowing foreboding comment regarding how Maria will cause countless deaths and it might have been better if she was never born (who would wish their best friend is never born unless they did something unspeakably evil !!!!).

    Maybe something bad will happen to Mamoru and Maria will in turn transform into a Fiend after a mental breakdown.

    • Scruffy says:

      Re: The joke by Maria. That was an error by the fansubs. Marmoru made the joke not Maria

      • HunterWulf says:

        Wait, but if he is the one who made the bad joke, why did he get scared and run away .. besides .. i have never seen anything that suggests that Mamuro is the type to tell jokes to impress girls (most of the time he is just worrying about something, drawing Maria or just sitting there silently).

        It would make more sense that Maria tried to tease him with a bad/tasteless joke and didn’t foresee how he might overreact and be scared by it enough to run away .. i don’t see how it works if it was the other way around.

        • kuromitsu says:

          Eh? Mamoru didn’t try to tell a joke to impress Maria. He said what he was afraid of, but he tried to make it seem like a joke so Maria wouldn’t be worried. Except it was obvious to Maria that he wasn’t joking.

          Maria joking to him wouldn’t make sense at all. She’s always been very protective of Mamoru, last episode she even told Saki and Satoru to drop the whole memory manipulation topic so it wouldn’t upset Mamoru. It wouldn’t make sense for her to make such cruel jokes at his expense.

          (Also, this is not really up to debate – Maria making the joke IS a mistranslation.)

  5. Entrav says:

    Amazing atmosphere and suspense yet again. It reminds me of when the older Saki said that if Maria weren’t born then untold numbers would have been saved. I wonder if this is the start of a catastrophe?

  6. dango says:

    Genius episode, loved the understanding the fiend and karma demons, behind this. Love the psychological horror aspect to it, its not too common in anime now, but it sure is fun to see it again. I also love how the everything behind each of the circumstances are all set up, and given enough of explanation. Still my favorite series for the fall season.

  7. JustPlain says:

    Total anti-climax of an episode: resolving the system – Group One conflict with making Saki next head. Now they are going to resolve hopefully the Group One conflict as well before the season ends I don’t want to wait for season 2 with a cliff hanger :/
    Still this is the best show this season. Damn so GOOOOD!!!

  8. lily says:

    Did anyone notice how Ryou’s right eye shake or vibrate when he said, “Not to mention we used to be together for such a long time” at 18:26? Maybe some sort of side affect from the memory change?

    • Tanukichan says:

      Yeah, that happened last episode too with Saki and Satoru. I thought it had something to do with the memory manipulation too, but maybe it’s something that will be explained later.

    • imredjimmy says:

      Yeah I noticed that too! I’m pretty sure it’s a side effect from the memory change.

  9. Jack says:

    Too much exposition of stuff we already knew… And I don’t really like how they’re setting up this whole future!stazi thing like “a necessary evil”. C’mon, this is a society that constantly polices the thoughts and actions of every single child (we do not know enough about adult society to know what’s it like), and rids itself of the ones that are found wanting: we’ve seen numerous examples of children being “disposed of” long before they could’ve turned into a fiend/karma demon (remember the main groups fifth child?). Is it any wonder that some children growing up in that atmosphere would go nuts? (Note how Shun’s behavior changed after his experience in summer camp: obviously him turning into a Karma Demon was the product of those events).

    And despite all secrecy and the cheery “atmosphere” at the surface, we’ve seen how the children internalize the paranoia that their society is immersed in. Hate to incur in Godwin’s Law, but I think this is an example where the nazi comparison is perfectly justified: this shows’ setting really feels like the logical conclusion of a fascistic civilisation ruled by eugenics.

    Funny thing about the SS grandma’s discourse, she never once alluded to the possibility of phasing out the canti from the human population – this is a society created by scientists, after all. How come they simply didn’t remove that single dangerous trait from the population, rather than try and mold an entire society to contain its dangerous effects?

  10. dango says:

    Jack your reading into the scenario way too much, though the society enforces these rules I don’t think that is the reason for him turning into a karma demon, it may be a factor didn’t you see the examples of the stories given by his grandmother that the ones most susceptible were the one who were the nicest. I don’t think that this was all driven by paranoia, though this is IMO. anyways it is a cruel system that the show has created. Though I really love this show and psycho pass there definitely needs more psychological shows, brings something more variable to the table and more creative ideas are uncovered this way. Definitely what made the fall season so interesting. (I talk a lot more then before it must because I’m on winter break and want to enjoy a bit of my time, before I have to go study again..)

    • Spike says:

      If you can’t see that this show is exploring an extreme way that humans would deal with a major threat (in this case supernatural) and use it to actually THINK about how YOU would react then yes, this is simple fluff entertainment. Perhaps anime isn’t for you. I’m sure you love Jersey Shore and the like.

      Replace ‘Cantus users’ with ‘Terrorists': Remove them before they become a threat? Check. Protect the many from the dangerous few? Check. Remove those with views differing/dangerous to the majority? Check.

      Most writers don’t just fire off some random thing out of nowhere, there’s usually a reason why they chose a certain message or plot point.

  11. Arno says:

    OMG if you begin to see connections with real life events then you are deeply skrewed by anime, and you must hurry back to school.

    The first step in literacy in history is not to confuse it with fiction, and the first step in literacy in fiction is to accept it as fiction.

    This is just a cheap show meant to fascinate pre-teens, there is at least one of those every year and the recipe will always be the same : a context of “magic and shit, whatever ash-pull” and then lots of abuse for shock-value.

    By the way it is the same for Western movies, when you see abuse scenes you can be pretty sure the director added them because he knew his story suked.

  12. Arno says:

    “Pre-teens” because they are the only ones who will rebel against obvious common sense, and insist they find fascinating depth in a show presenting high-heeled wolves called cats.

    “Pre-teens” because you can sling to them any awfully bad animation and they will still call it “the best anime ever” and drool over it endlessly on forums. Provided there is cruelty against children in it.

    • wakka9ca says:

      So can you elaborate more on what is not a “pre-teen” anime by your definition? Some examples are appreciated.

      • HunterWulf says:

        Don’t bother, he is trying so hard but still it’s obvious he is trolling.

        • imredjimmy says:

          He hates the show so much, yet he comments on every single episode review. Wow, he sure has a lot of time to waste. I wish there would be a place to dump all the trolls so they could annoy each other instead of us.

          • seizonsha says:

            I would like to know how he would defend his position when considering that this is based on a novel by a celebrated Horror and SciFi author who writes for a very much adult audience…

      • wakka9ca says:

        @seizonsha: Not to mention the novel is a winner of the Japan SF Taisho Award, which along with the Japanese Nebula Awards, are the equivalent of the American Nebula Awards, one of the most prestigious SF literary prize.

        • wakka9ca says:

          And also it’s okay to criticize since there are certainly flaws. However, you have to backup your argument and provide response when the opposite side ask you some questions. I guess it’s too bad there is just random hate probably stemming from homophobic behavior triggered by episode 8.

  13. Kamen Grinder says:

    Infodumping. Someone translates the book so I can drop this joke.

  14. NEG says:

    MARIA RETARDED.

    She already caused a disaster.

    :(

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  • DreinBecker
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 07:33 PM)
    @Asuka I bet you Hori is pregnant and they’re going to have a huge arc where they have to deal with the fallout. I saw no condoms used
  • Asuka111
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 07:37 AM)
    @Lacrid Surprising, yes, but it seems they’ve brushed over that so far. The story has gone back to normal romcom/slice of life.
  • LacridSayo
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 07:11 AM)
    Wow, Horimiya managed to surprise me twice. They teach me that in the face of adversity, conformity is the way. Also, Miyamura and Hori f&@ks.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 04:09 AM)
    The whole world structure and the framework of spirituality, eyes of death perception, counterforce and whatnots are kept intentionally vague so he can have some wiggle room to bullshit and handwave plot elements as they go on. KnK was a pretty good OVA series tho and Ufotable had a big party to play in that.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:56 AM)
    Here’s some classic Nasu at work.
    http://lparchive.org/Fatestay-night/Update%2003/30-P02-034.jpg
    A f*cking security system? No, it’s a person creating a small alternate world around them from their mind. Plain and f*cking simple.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:45 AM)
    I’ve heard people criticize Nasu as “writing terrible history fanfiction” and “Like my old bad fanfiction” “When the action scenes actually happen they suck”
  • Raggers
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:44 AM)
    @K-Off: didn’t we all.
  • Raggers
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:44 AM)
    @Aidan: I didn’t know what they were, but “withering eyes of death perception” doesn’t really leave a whole lot up to the imagination anyway…
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:42 AM)
    @Aidan Reminds me of my English papers where I bullshitted tons of explanations to fill up a ten page report.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:39 AM)
    And the eyes of death perception. Ho Boy. He talks about how it’s not cutting but severing and bonds and blah blah blah.
    Here’s the shorthand. You cut a tree with a knife you make a small cut, cut a tree with a knife while using the eyes of death perception and the tree withers and dies. There only took one sentence to explain something that Nasu uses 10 or so paragraphs for.

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