Huaha. I promised myself I would write a review after letting my giddiness simmer down. So! Here I am, doing exactly that. Still a bit giddy, though. Well then!
With the original author's imagination and seemingly plausible scientific facts coupled with the direction and pacing of the series, the show pulled this off with aplomb. I must admit, I was kind of worried when this started, because anime of this genre can seem really good at first but fall flat by the ending. Shin Sekai Yori started slow and strong, building up solid foundation and groundwork for its characters, and finished strong, with little loose strings left hanging. It pains me that I can't write anything too specific, for fear that it may spoil all of you, but I can tell you to pay attention to the story -- stick with it. You won't regret anything.
I have a love and hate relationship with the way Shin Sekai Yori is animated. But it's possible that my OCD is interfering with my judgment. Simply put, the quality of the animation isn't exactly... consistent. Some episodes, especially the ones right in the middle of the series, isn't exactly up to par with what I've seen on earlier ones. Characters' eyes would sometimes find themselves in weird locations, and sometimes body proportions were a bit off.
But! I still give this category a high score. The series's greatest weakness is also one of its strengths. With the way it was animated, it really felt like you're viewing something From the New World. If the character animation wasn't consistent, the background art was. In almost every episode, there is at least one "wow" scene that makes you pause and just admire how beautiful it is. From landscapes to villages, each background is unique.
The animation would sometimes change to fit the overall mood of an episode. It is manipulated in a way that light-hearted feelings would change to one full of darkness and uncertainty. Childishness would be replaced with the thought of being mature. And with the way the story goes, it happens quite often.
Of course, there's also the design of the different types of "animals" present throughout the series. They really took the time to accurately depict the different characteristics of each specie, each embodying their own role. The queerats, earth-dwellers, look like earth-dwelling moles. The minoshiro, mystical and untangible, has been depicted as such.
Let me take this time to applaud Daisuke Namikawa for his amazing work as Squera. You would think that voicing a mole-like character would bring your dogs barking, but in this case, it was surprisingly good. It may sound weird, but his almost nasally voice fit Squera's character perfectly.
Shin Sekai doesn't have an OP, but the ED songs are enough to get me to listen every time. Background music almost always fit the mood of a scene.
Ah, woe is me. One cannot talk about the characters without spoiling a little. But! Try I shall, for the characters deserve the highest amount of praise one can give.
There is, however, a special character that deserve the highest amount of praise more than anyone else.
Saki, Saki, Saki.
I loved her development throughout the series. Troubles would throw themselves at the main cast, but she remained headstrong and resilient. One might call her stubborn. Another might say she just keeps her ground. Either way, Saki might be the most interesting female lead I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and seeing her grow and become more mature, dealing with all sorts of otherwordly problems and how she reacts to them, it was an amazing experience.
Shun, with his calm demeanor; Satoru and Maria, both special to Saki in their own way; even Mamoru and his cowardice--Everyone played a part in helping the story move towards its goal. Each character had their own specific role. Even side-characters that I have forgotten at some point contribute to how the story plays out in its grand scheme.
Imaginative and thought-provoking, I've never watched (or read) anything quite like this. I just wish I could do it more justice - hence why I wrote this review. Stories like this should not be overlooked.
Also, would like to share this with you guys:
Remember, Squera is moe.
Image credit to BokuSatchii.
Shinsekai Yori really surprised me by developing some pretty heavy themes throughout the last two seasons. If you're a sci-fi fan, read on.
Story: Set in a utopian/dystopian future (depending which species you belong to, I suppose), it is about a girl named Saki growing up, being confronted with problems of her society's own creation, and then piecing together the truth of her people's history while solving the various issues that crop up. The issues start small and ramp up, and the foreshadowing and doomsy, creepy vibe seeps into every nook and cranny of the story as it progresses.
The storyline is notably complex--which I actually thought was its main downfall. The first few episodes lacked what I like to call "signs of a coherent narrative" (ie a clear objective for the main character) and I very nearly dropped it around episode 4. That's my biggest criticism though, and if you stick with it long enough for the plot pieces to start falling into place, it's very rewarding.
Animation & Sound: I have no complaints here, but then, I favor pretty art over gritty art. I did think, though, that making everything pretty enhanced the sense of utopian peace love and happiness--so that when the darker parts came out, it enhanced the sense that they'd really tried to sweep all forms of badness under the rug and failed. Music was great.
Characters: I thought they were a little weak. Saki isn't overly complex, just your basic do-gooder. Nothing that happens to her is actually of her own personal making, which weakens her development. None of the other characters were particularly remarkable, but they weren't bad either. Just kind of average.
In the end, Shinsekai Yori is not for anyone with a short attention span. It offers some very heavy themes, almost hard to watch at times, and doesn't shy away from any topic. It is a very thought-provoking watch, and well worth your time.
Watching this anime was a blast. The show itself is a biography of the MC, Saki, which wasnt obvious in the beginning. I was a bit bummed when the time leaped on at first, but it turned out good. The animation is very inconsistent, while mostly average, it can dip down to almost disturbingly bad. It felt as if there were a few filler episodes in the middle parts of this 25ep story, as the pacing slowed down and I felt a bit like I wanted to stop watching, but pulling through with it paid off. Past the middle, the show catches wind like a typhoon was going on.
The story is very well written, except for the creeping in the middle, and the characters are not generic. They develop, most have their own personalities (this part could've been better) and they are easily relateable. They all feel like real people, even when the events in the story seem almost inhuman at times. Soundwise, kind of average as the rat voices were a bit disturbing at times. In total, a great show but not quite at the top because of the filler episodes at the middle. It's easy to get hooked on this if you pass the filler parts, and it pays off in the end. Honorable mentions go towards the writing and the execution on presenting the world. Recommended!
This is a pretty amazing anime, it starts off slow with a very intricate story. As the anime develops the characters and their situation things start to intensify. More great things to come i am sure, each new episode shatters my expectations and keeps me glued to the screen.
I generalized this review to contain no spoilers for those who haven’t watched but are curious. However, you don’t need to read my review for me to tell you to go watch this anime right now. Just go.
Yes. This is what stories are supposed to be about. They are supposed to dig deep into the crevices of the world, exploring topics that are sensitive to human nature and will never stop being discussed. The stories that make you think and make you want to talk about things that mean something are the best. The setting and circumstances of this anime’s world are genius. It takes a few episodes for the story to pick up because at first, reflecting the main characters’ cluelessness, the viewer isn’t sure what’s going on even though many things seem suspicious and mysterious. By the time you realize what you’re in the middle of, you’re wallowing in so much brilliance that you can’t crawl out until everything is finished. This anime picks up quickly after the initial journey, swooping you into a world that might just be insane. It is a wonderful experience. I don’t usually watch many episodes in a single day, but I just about marathoned the second half of this anime because I physically could not stop watching.
Vibe: Animation + Sound [9.5/10]
Erratic, but perfect. At times things are solemn and dark, with drab colors and simple animation. Then the next episode may be filled with flashes of vibrant dreams or visions, crazy animations of forces and beings dancing across the screen. The animation and colors change with what is necessary to translate the current message, which works perfectly with the disorientation of most of the characters. I often don’t pay much attention to music, but during the last few episodes I instinctually had chills run up my arms during some of the intense pieces of sound. That is rare. The vibe of the anime says a lot and paying attention to it helps you stay in tune with what the characters are experiencing.
The characters are somewhat secondary to the story. They play an important part and they’re pretty fleshed out, but a few of them could easily be replaced with somewhat similar people and the anime wouldn’t take a hit. The story drives the characters and they play their parts. That doesn’t mean they are only props, but the progression of circumstances is mostly the thing that shapes them rather than their individual personalities and decisions. This process works well for this anime, given what it was going for. I still found an attachment to the characters, especially our main girl Saki.
This was a great ride. I was not expecting such brilliance when I first began watching and I was continually surprised by each turn of events. In the beginning it seemed a little slow and I wasn’t quite sure where things were going, but it paid off to be patient and let the anime take its path. I enjoyed this story thoroughly, my fascination only increasing with every episode. Even at the very end, I took a big breath, smiled, and thought about how great the whole series had been. It activated my brain and raised some deep questions about life, some of which I still don’t have a concrete answer for. Watch it, no matter who you are or what you like. I feel like this piece of work is universally Good.