By Randy Thompson / October 17th, 2012
Shin Sekai Yori is a new anime premiering this season and is based on a novel released in 2008 by Yusuke Kishi. So new in fact that episode three just aired yesterday! With a few episodes already streaming on Crunchyroll, let’s talk about this series and what its deal is. Let it also be known that I have NOT read the source material, so I’m going in to this with fresh eyes and ideas.
Shin Sekai Yori starts off on a very aggressive and quite a bit unexpected note. Taking place in what appears to be modern Tokyo, a young boy appears to be the cause of random, spontaneous people bursting. Obviously something is very wrong in this world. Suddenly fast forward 500 years to a secluded society that appears to carry many of the fashions and customs of early 20th century Japan where we are introduced to our protagonist Saki Watanabe as she participates in a customary ritual. Here it is revealed that she has the power of telekinesis and must cast it off to have it replaced with a power that does not cross that of their god, though it too is a power of telekinesis. What are these powers? What’s the actual difference between them? We’re just cruising through stuff here, so best not to dawdle too long and keep on moving with the show.
Now we follow Saki as she’s admitted to a school to help nurture her power with the other children of their village; a Hogwarts for telekinetic youth so to speak. She’s having a hard time but she makes friends. Though, of course, something sinister is afoot, and everyone seems to be aware that it’s there, but it’s very hush hush: Children who don’t pass school seem to be disappearing and there’s the occasional utterance of a “Trickster Cat”.
By the second episode we are introduced to some more intricacies of this school and this world. They have their own sports where they exercise their mental muscles. Working together in teams against one another, they roll a heavy boulder across a field and crash hand-crafted vehicles into their opponents to either help get the boulder in the goal or prevent the offensive team from scoring. Even in a world where kids are brought up to strengthen their telekinetic powers there’s still P.E. class.
What are these powers being nurtured for? Why is this village closed off from the outside world? What is the rest of the planet like in this future? Who was that boy in the beginning and why is he murdering various citizens? What is the school hiding and why are children disappearing? What is this Trickster Cat that everyone is so scared of? We’re thrown a lot of stuff in the first two episodes and the questions are mounting. There is sure to be a lot coming in this series with more world-building and a plethora of mysteries to solve.
If you don’t mind some rather violent scenes and a tone of odd cruelty sewn throughout each scene then definitely give this series a shot. It should also be mentioned that while the screens of this series are indeed pretty, they do not in any way give the animation quality justice. The first episode especially is very well drawn with incredibly fluid animation and the occasional surreal cuts that involve a different style are refreshing to say the least. It’s too soon to know if Shin Sekai Yori will deliver on execution of all these elements, but it seems to at least be an interesting ride.
Shin Sekai Yori is up on Crunchyroll every Tuesday at about 3:30 PM Eastern Time.
animeCrunchyrollShin Sekai Yori