Posted on 26 March 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, From the New World



Shin Sekai Yori, or From the New World, is a series that set out with a mission. Nowadays most anime adhere to their set of stropes. This is one of those shows that just said “screw conventions!” and it just went with an execution that just took so many different risks, taking almost nothing for granted, and ended up as quite a unique experience because of it.

Where most series that are based on something are based to a manga, visual novel, or things like that, with From the New World they actually set out to adapt an actual novel again, and it shows because the pacing is totally different from any other anime out there, including multiple timeskips that see the main characters grow up from small children to full grown adults. The story… makes use of this really well…

It’s hard to really talk about the story without spoiling, but let’s just say that you should not think that even though there are kids in this series, it’s kid-friendly. Shin Sekai Yori is DARK. It uses a lot of build-up to get to where it’s going, but when it’s there it makes one hell of an impact. It has created this unique setting for itself, and it takes a while to set everything up, but that also makes this series quite varied in its mood. The setting has got a lot of depth to it, and the creators actually managed to pull a ton of potential out of it.

The downside to this series is that it is not the easiest to watch, by far. Some episodes have animation that takes quite a few… “artistic liberties”. On one hand this had some of the best animation of the past half year in any TV-series. It can be absolutely gorgeous when it wants to. For a few shots each episodes. The rest of the airtime is full of inconsistent character-designs, weird camrea angles and jerky direction that makes it really hard to figure out what’s going on. It’s not bad or anything, but this will get jarring on some people.

It’s definitely not a show for everyone. Let alone the dark parts, this is a show for people who are looking for something experimental. A show that isn’t afraid to trip itself up over and over for its vision. And believe me: the vision that this series has is amazing.
One-Sentence Review: Taking a unique setting, along with a “screw conventions!”-mentality, Shin Sekai Yori delivers a storyline with a ton of depth to it for those with an open mind.
Suggestions:
Bokura no
Casshern Sins
Strange Dawn

Posted on with categories: From the New World

So after Psycho Pass I figured that I had already seen the best ending of the season. Tempest and From the New World did have a small chance in being able to match it, but not much, or so I thought.

Shin Sekai Yori just delivered the best ending I have seen since finishing Monster. That just was phenomenal, and it’s really been a while since a series managed to drive me as speechless as in this episode. I really thought that the show was over after Squealer was captured and Maria and Mamoru’s child was killed. But this episode really made its impact when it started with Squealer’s trial. And even the fight itself was pretty damn awesome due to the incredibly fluid animation that they showed there.

The way in which this episode exposed the humans for what they did. It was brilliant. There was all this talk about humans, and being human. And then it turns out that even the main characters just helped slaughter what once were basically just humans. Squealer was an excellent villain, and the ending he got makes it all the more sad, despite the things that he did. This show really knows how to hit hard with its gore.

Shin Sekai Yori was awesome. A-1 Pictures took a huge gamble with it, and it worked! It’s one of the most unique series of the past year. And yeah, there were some parts in which the animation was really wonky, but damn: it just did not care about conventions at all. Those are the series that I really like. I applaud you for it.
Rating: 7/8 (Fantastic)

Posted on 18 March 2013 with categories: From the New World

From the New World has been a delight. It has been such a long while since I saw a fantasy series in which the characters were so cunning. From both sides. The past two episodes were all about trying to kill Yakomaru and Satoru and Maria’s child, and the creators realy took a lot into account here. All tactics really are clever. People make mistakes, but they are covered by their allies in order to balance things out and preventing from god-moding everyone. And that lead to some wonderful casualties.

It also helps that every character involved in these two episodes was one that I really liked. Perhaps Satoru was the weakest of the bunch for having the least to write home about, but Saki has been a fantastic main character over the series, bringing a great balance of inventiveness and insecurities. Kiroumaru expecially surprised me in these episodes when he showed where his intentions lied: the survival of his colony, and how he underlined the difference in mindsets between the humans and queerats: the will to give up. Maria and Satoru’s child is an example of a villain with little screentime done right: he has been built up for ages as an incredibly dangreous foe, and time and time again this has been re-established, without making him invincible in the way shounen series do it: impossible to kill aside from someone who is “stronger”.

Also, Shun. The creators brought him back at quite an interesting point in the series. What exactly is he? Is he Saki’s instinct, which she portrays as his memory? Or is there something else going on here? I think that it’s the former, seeing as how this series has been so down to business, and how there have been no hints against the fact that the dead in this series stay dead.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 6 March 2013 with categories: From the New World

A build-up episode. And here this series once again shows how cunning the characters in this series are. And as a contrast, we have a weapon called “The Psychobuster”, to symbolize the huge difference in culture between how humanity is now, and how it is at the time of the series.

What is weird is how the landscape in this series has completely changed compred to today. I mean, usually with post-apocalyptic series, you’d see… the remains of buildings or skyscrapers, or anything. Here, Tokyo is reduced to a desert. There are a few rocks, but apart from that no trace from the skyscrapers that used to be there. Was everything really blown to bits in the past?

Also, the characters still seem to think that Mamoru and Maria’s child still is a fiend. That’s probably a big plot point for the next few episodes, since she seems to know exactly what she’s doing.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 26 February 2013 with categories: From the New World

We were just talking in the shoutbox about episode ratings, and what they mean when I hand them out. I’ve been blogging a lot of episodes over the years, so my standard are pretty high with this: an episode has to be pretty freaking good to warrant a rating above 6/8. And here Shin Sekai Yori pulled it off, with what was without a doubt the best episode of the season. Holy crap.

People wondered why I didn’t rate the latest Jojo episode as high. The thing with that episode was that it was a pretty standard episode that was really well delivered. It was really entertaining, and it deserves points for that, but it did not amaze me. This episode in comparison completely shocked me. It’s here where the series finally reveals what kind of plan the queerats have had since the beginning of the series. And holy crap is it sad! And holy crap they go far here!

Shin Sekai Yori is for children? Hah. This episode showed what amazing villains the queerats are. This episode made brilliant use of how we previously saw the queerats as a simple folk with simple rituals when they start using those rituals on humans. It was slightly shocking when they did it with fellow queerats, but abducting human children in order to let them grow into fiends in order to take over the world and escape the oppression of the humans. Holy crap man!
Rating: 7/8 (Fantastic)

Posted on 21 February 2013 with categories: From the New World

I’ve said this before, but in general, I prefer series that might not look like 100% crisp, but have impressive animation, over crisp series that have harldy move. Of course there are a lot of exceptions to this rule, and it does entirely depend on the character-designs what really is best for a series; Chihayafuru for example really benefits from its crisp and clean animation and Shin Sekai Yori is the entire other side of the coin. I think it has a lot to do with how this is a novel adaptation and the character-designs… they are pretty simple, yet effective. In any case I do like the freedom that the animators have to bring them to life a lot.

That one wcene in which Misaki fought with that mutant. I reallly liked the animation there. It was such a unique action scene and even though it looked a bit confusing, the camera movements were really, really good there. I really hope that the creators saved some particularly impressive animation for the end of the series.

And this episode continued with the horror, and it was really good horror. It’s been a while since there has been a series which had the main character narrate bits of the story, and throughout the series she kept saying how badly things would escalate, over and over again. With this episode, I can understand why. The Queerats really have launched an all out war on the humans, even employing biological weapons by mutating their own kind.

And I must say, Yakomaru is a really good villain. This guy is smart and cunning, and for a long while throughout the series, you weren’t really sure whether he would actually be the villain. Sure there were signs, but nothing was concrete. And now he has just gone all out. In the final month Saki will take over the leadership of the humans. I really wonder what she can do against him.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 13 February 2013 with categories: From the New World

And the psychological horror is back in full swing for this series, and it really managed to deliver a really tense episode. It’s the episode where the proverbial hell breaks loose. What made this episode extra special is that it really showcased this show’s style of direction: paranoid and experimental. The animation here was wild and vivid, full of detail to make every scene more powerful. Kudos to A-1 here for the job they did.

Something or someone was killing everyone. There are enough theories about who it is, but we never get to see the face of who it is. In the meantime he is on a mass killing spree, not unlike what we saw previously in the series when that one kid went berserk, only this time he seems to have done it fully aware of what he was doing. Why? What has squealer done to lead to that? Is it really Mamoru or Maria?

This is where the confusing direction really works. This series always was confusingly told, but when the lives of the characters are on the line it does give the extra edge. The fact that there are hostages that need to be saved who are mentally unstable due to what they experienced and saw gave it yet another edge, and the gorgeous animation makes tihngs even better. This really shows how far the Queerats have come, and how dangerous they can be with the right allies.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 5 February 2013 with categories: From the New World

This really was an episode with some awesome animators. Especially the big fight scenes looked gorgeous and very artistic. The budget of this series has not been as big as its first half, which is quite common for series, but what I love is that the creators still are trying to make it look really nice.

As for the content… I did not expect an all-out war at this point. At all. Perhaps near the end of the series, but I did not expect the main focus of the third arc to be the war between the humans and queerats. Yakomaru so far has been unpleasant, but with this he actually attacked the humans with all sorts of dirty tactics. The weirdest of one is that they now have human allies that can use Cantus.

I wonder… was the first arc the catalyst for this? I mean, the queerats probably caught some snail or something, but did Yakomaru realize with the young Saki and Satoru that the “gods” were mere mortals? I mean, something happened. It’s not normal for the queerats to make such a progression. The question is whether Saki instigated it, or whether she was merely unlucky enough to end up in the center of it all.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 31 January 2013 with categories: From the New World

And suddenly, the lead characters of this series are older than I am. The more time goes on, the rarer this becomes.

And the change in tone is immediately noticeable. The previous arcs were all about the cast growing up, and it explored what would have been expected of them. This to the point that three members of the main cast couldn’t make it. Here though, the cast has grown up. They have jobs and duties now. And with that sorted out, the series can go back to the conflicts between the Queerats again.

Queerats who have become even more dangerous. They’re already numbering almost a million in total. With this I now really get why children are kept away from them. Without cantus… it’s really easy to just get a child killed like that. This episode showed how ruthless some of the battles went on, and with this, we already have guns and advanced military tactics. Not to mention that Squealer is trying really hard to take advantage of the humans in order to get rid of the Giant Hornet Colony.

I really like the politics of it all. I’m normally a big fan of politics anime, and it has been a while since the last good politics series (Hyouge Mono, if I’m not mistaken), and this series also delivers here. The way it stands out is how it puts humans on the high ground: they are gods with their powers and if they tried, they could just wipe out an entire colony of Queerats. With those restrictions, the Queerats have to do battle. I’m also starting to see now why Saki is special: she and Satoru were the first who realized that the Queerats caught one of those snails.

And here is the thing: why did Cantus appear? It’s not like humans have always had their Cantus. It just appeared in the state in which they were as a really advanced civilization. Take it as symbolism as you’d like: too much growth ended up creating something that really bit them in the back. But here is the thing: who says that the same thing won’t happen with the Queerats if they continue to evolve like that? They are currently at the medieval stage and just continue to improve more and more. What if they get so advanced, that at a certain point they also start to develop these cantus powers?
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 23 January 2013 with categories: From the New World

This was a very interesting episode. The thing is, that it’s clear that it had hardly any budget, yet it did have a couple of very talented animators and artists. This episode threw away a lot of conventions, looked inconsistent, spent its first half on recycled footage, and yet looked really gorgeous.

The new footage showed the cast when they were young children, which contrasted really well with what they went through later. And then came that incredibly weird dream that Saki had afterwards. I can only imagine the symbolism that was in there for the final half of this series, but the thing that caught my attention the most was how it stated that it was no use to bring Mamoru and Maria back. That they were better off dying. I mean, dreams in anime are always with a purpose. What was that dream trying to tell her?

I really liked Maria’s letter and how it was written. But really: the writing in this entire episode was just excellent, how it was entirely focused on Saki’s worries about the loss of her friends; it really went in-depth there. Saki and Satoru, they have lost three really good friends now, and they’re pretty much alone at this point. This episode wasn’t really clear whether or not they will return to the village, or also run away. Either way, it’s going to be really tough for them.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

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