Shinsekai Yori Review

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First of all, right of the bat, let me declare that Shinsekai Yori is an exceptional anime. But now that it is said, let us boil down to something less energetic than that.

In spite of it’s rating in MAL, Shinsekai Yori left a really weak taste in my mouth. And this is from someone who was so forgiving towards Fairy Tail. But we’ll get to that in due time. Before all that let us explore a bit of the anime first.

Shinsekai Yori ( From the New World ), is an interesting piece of work. It follows a really unorthodox timeline.

It all starts when humans discover the power of psychokinesis. In a very realistic scenario, that overturns the whole world, changing the balance in power. And the massive change that entailed the sequence of events brought the world in the current state. A place where humans have stripped off a lot of the exuberance of their technological advancement and live together in small villages, leading an near-medieval lifestyle. The anime lacks philosophical strengths, and does not ask many questions. But on the other hand, it does an impeccable job of depiction—of an apparently tumultuous society sewn together by fragile strings dripped in blood. And for the questions that it does ask, those are very deep.

Everything has a proper time and order to it. And the order must be maintained at all costs, even if it at the cost of lives of children. This is the situation that we see unfolding before us as we follow the 12 years old Saki Watanabe through the labyrinths of a society that she thought was familiar to her. In the midst of the mysteries of why tainted cats, children disappear one after the other from Saki’s schools, which—in the light of the psychokinetic powers that humans hold—is conveniently named to be the Sage academy. And between the mysteries of the child-abducting Tainted Cats, Karma Demons and Fiends this unfamiliar, primitive-like universe slowly solidifies.

Saki and her friends, Satoru, Maria and Shun are caught between a crossfire of the old and the new. The blood soaked past which humanity had left behind and the fragile present which seem immoral and ruthless. But there is a natural progression to this sequence. It was never forced, and it quietly slid into a perfect fit amidst the choices and actions of our characters. Speaking of characters, they are all highly multidimensional; coloured in all colours of grey—a perfect human. The humanity of these humans who had transcended are revealed readily when they talk, laugh, joke and even remain silent. And in the midst of it, we steadily become familiar to humans as we know them. And indeed, we can immediately perceive that they are nothing but children in a cruel and ruthless world. The fear of the children when they are chased, their happiness when they are saved, their shock when they are enlightened and their pain when they are separated are depicted in an alluring performance. We see our protagonists slowly grow over a timespan of nearly 14 years, and such a fast pace really creates the necessary trot needed to unravel the gravity of the situation that was unfolding.

That is not to say that the humans have not changed at all over the span of a thousand years. Indeed, the new world had brought new changes. And in the future human interaction is alien to the present more often that not. Homosexuality had a prominent depiction as well as underage sexual interactions. But these are not just thrown in randomly in the fray. There had been deep scientific explanations behind every form of change that occur in the show. And the growth of the humans also sped up the evolution of the world. Never were humans so prominently dominant in the food chain. And so the whole world adapted to it. We see other intelligent, sentient species like the Queerats. But they strictly act as slaves to humanity—that humanity which had lost the ability to harm itself through genetic modifications, a much needed progression. But like every double edged sword, we will see how even this minuscule, apparently benevolent change will be enough to nearly wipe them out. In the end, one thing in firmly conclusive—every power, no matter how great, falls before intelligence, cunning and collaboration.

One aspect of the story which really piqued my interest were the plot setting and the plot twists. This show has the most unthinkable plot twists ever, challenging even veterans in their guesses. But the more interesting thing was perhaps the setting, which depicted a sort of veiled dystopia. This anime is really an interesting take on the dystopian genre, where order is maintained at the cost of blood and peace is fragile. It’s really educational to note how a dominant society can indeed be so threatened by their own strengths. Truly, Shinsekai Yori is a completely inventive take on the genre, and I present the attempt with lavish accolades, placing it with the likes of 1984, 2030 and 334 .


On the topic of the animation, everything about this anime is unorthodox. The animation is interesting, but, it may not suit everyone’s taste. For starters, it’s very colorful and saturated with excessive amount of magenta. The character designs are, again unconventional. It is anime all right, but the facts like the eyes have a pupil far too small and hairs are drawn as waves rather than strands may raise a few eyebrows. But there are some aspects which do not fail to amaze. Mostly the dynamic scenes, including a breathtaking depiction of Saki hurled through the sky.

The rocks had a very realistic texture shading. I believe that some aspects of the anime was computer drawn rather than being drawn on the douga. I present one example below.

About the music, it didn’t stand out. OST’s were not so prominent, and that did the show more good than harm. I was never a fan of OST’s, hardly noticing them, if at all. The opening and the ending songs were generic. Some may like it. One aspect that I really liked was the impacting part where the episode number and the title were given.

Usually presented at the end, they were deeply instrumental in creating an atmosphere and captivating the attention of the watchers, as well as instigating their craving for the next episode. I do not know why, but it reminded me of Mushishi. I found the setting to be very similar. Yet again, I cannot explain why.

As the conclusion, let me elaborate on why I thought Shinsekai Yori to have a weak taste. People may differ in their opinions, but at the end of the day, I found Shinsekai Yori to be impact-less on my visions. Don’t get me wrong, I never said it was bad. Far from it. It was absolutely brilliant. The only thing I’m fidgety about is its ratings on MAL. It is not below 100, good; it is below 500, good. All of the sub 100 anime that I’d watched had somehow or other been impacted by worldly outlook by great extents. In this case, I’m afraid, I must admit that after the show ended, I failed to feel that awe in me. When it was finally over, the only feeling that I had was that I had seen something good, and now that it was over, life returned to normal. Shinsekai Yori engrossed me while it was ongoing, but as soon as it was over, other than the plot twists, no aspect of it remained in my reflections.

Obviously one should not judge it so, and let themselves be their own judge. So, watch it and reply in the comments about what you think about it.



Daniel Defoy

Daniel is a part of our core writing force. (May it be with you.) His writing is in-depth, engaging, and opinion-based. Anyone who reads his smart words is left thinking or arguing. Btw, if we publish his articles without breaking his paragraphs down into smaller chunks, Nihonden will soon be an academic journal of sorts.