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Shin Sekai Yori – 13

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「再会」 (Saikai)
“Reunion”

I’m never one to judge a show solely based on looks; the story, the characters, the music are all integral to the experience, and to my absolute delight Shin Sekai Yori has been tackling these fronts with a great deal of success every week. Especially its score, I don’t think it’s been brought up much how amazing it has been, and really shines at accentuating the peaks and subtleties of the show. But let’s be honest here: this is a visual medium, and the shoddy animation quality seriously detracted from my enjoyment of this episode. The search for Mamoru’s roughly takes up half of the episode’s length, and by all accounts the story succeeded in conveying the tension of the situation, as the children pursues his fresh trail beyond the holy barrier and into the snowy peaks. As they come upon the ambiguous signs – like the queerat footprints and the hidden sled – left in the wake of his tracks, his fate grows ever more uncertain, and that palpable tension Shin Sekai Yori so effectively conveys – one of the show’s greatest strengths – grows alongside. Sadly for all the good the story, music and atmosphere does, there’s an equal number of inconsistent proportions, unchanging expressions and (disappointingly) one of the worst cases of non-sakuga I’ve seen this season. The only saving grace is the consistently spectacular artistic direction; kudos to those unsung background/enviroment artists. But seriously, just look at some of that ridiculously rigid skiing. As much as I love the show these glaring animation flaws really takes a person out of the engrossing experience Shin Sekai Yori has achieved with its presentation. I’m aware the animation quality of the show has been swinging between amazingly good and bad, and this is definitely one of the team’s “off” weeks, but somehow this episode’s poor job stood out to me even more so than usual.

Putting all that aside, this wasn’t really a bad episode. Shin Sekai Yori has never delivered a below-average episode in my books, and for all my complains about the animation it damn sure ain’t gonna stop that trend. As I’ve mentioned the search for Mamoru, especially given the deadly premonitions the show has been making for its characters, was an engrossingly tense affair as the kids – especially a hysterical Maria – contend with their growing fears and leaves us audience to contemplate Mamoru’s fate in light of the information that has been revealed.

But Mamoru’s actual reasons for escaping – that he was being hunted by the nekodamishis – does put to question what Tomiko had withheld about their activities. It was clear what Tomiko told Saki – while convincingly the truth – wasn’t the entirety of it, and there are still many blanks drawn about the excessive paranoia of the Board of Education and which exact triggers will prompt action from these organisations. Simple speculation and the circumstantial evidence points at the personality assessments: Tomiko remarked how the karma demons shared traits of intellect and kindness illustrated by Izumi and Shun, and the Board of Education seems to have been disposing people of particular characteristics. For example, those showing dissent or are rebellious in nature like Manabu back during the competition. But then, what about those with below-average juryoku abilities, like Mamoru and Reiko? The Board of Education is implementing a blunt hammer strategy in its activities no doubt, but the actual reasons for disposal are vague. Fiends and Karma Demon countermeasures seem to be the priority, but they’re also seem to be taking some drastic measures to keep secrets in check. And in fact seem to be pushing the kids into potentially turning fiend, whether it’s Mamoru through his growing fear or the foreshadowed Maria, who has been steadily shown to be highly protective of the boy and might just lose it if something happened to him.

I’m also wary of the queerat that rescued Mamoru. His actions were well-intentioned no doubt, as it had plenty of chances to dispose of Mamoru already, and partly because the show went out of its way to iterate that they were his saviors as well. Recall Tomiko’s words about how the queerats were used as tools of the Board and makes it suspicious as to whether or not this is another ploy by the Board, or if the queerat is just waiting for orders. It’s easy to point these out, but then remember how Squealer and Kiromaru seemed to have acted in defiance of their orders from the Board. The queerats aren’t any less human in thinking and clearly have their own agendas at work to make them take some seemingly incomprehensible actions; take for instance, what was this particular queerat doing all up there alone in the peaks? Shin Sekai Yori has brilliantly established an heavy air of ambiguity surrounding these mysterious creatures, and I believe the story definitely has a plan in mind that this is building towards.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Hate to be the bearer of bad news during the festivities, but because of the annual New Year celebrations, Shin Sekai Yori will be taking a break this week and will return after the New Year on 5th January.

 

Preview

Shin Sekai Yori   13   Preview 01 Shin Sekai Yori   13   Preview 02 Shin Sekai Yori   13   Preview 03
December 26, 2012 at 12:55 am
27 comments »
  • December 26, 2012 at 1:16 amdimasok

    It was really hilarious seeing Maria jump like a bunny when everyone else was skiing! Other than that, great episode! Always mysterious and tense!

    • December 26, 2012 at 3:28 pmFrog

      If you change one letter in ‘Maria’ you get ‘Mario’.

  • December 26, 2012 at 1:41 amDop

    To be fair I don’t think they were skiing as we know it, but using their powers to control their sliding motion across the snow, in the same way as Maria’s hops can be put down to flying taking up too much concentration for her to actually look for Mamoru at the same time.

    After all we definitely see them sliding UP a steep slope.

    • December 26, 2012 at 1:51 amAsobi

      Of course, I get that they were psy-skiing.

      But I don’t think a single character drawing moving across the screen like it was some flash animation is considered good animation. (and yes some of the scenes did look that bad)

      • December 26, 2012 at 9:45 amcreaothceann

        Why would you need impressive animation when the plot doesn’t call for it?

      • December 26, 2012 at 12:57 pmFreddeh

        The skiing ‘animation’ really smacks as nit-picky, like you’re just looking for things that are wrong with the show. Personally, as a skiier, I noticed it wasn’t like regular skiing, but that is VERY easily explained by the fact that they can use psionics/PK. Not because of poor animation quality. I won’t say the animation is the best, but using the skiing in this episode really isn’t the way to go about complaining about it imo.

        If anything the hopping by Maria bugged me more animation-wise, but it was too cute to truly detract from the experience XD.

      • December 26, 2012 at 10:28 pmAsobi

        Ah, the good old “Do Visuals Matter?” debate. Quite frankly, it’s one that’s been done to death already and I’m not keen on starting another here. I believe I made my case in the post on why I didn’t like the poor animation: It takes me out of the experience. If the quality dips matters little to you that’s great! But I’m a person who places a great deal of stock in the animation quality and sees it as (or part of) the essence of anime, and poor animation quality can seriously hamper my enjoyment of a show.

        And my reason for choosing to mention the skiing of all things? Yes, there were moments it looked fine, which I tried to pick for the screencaps, but those were also some of the most glaring moments where you could clearly pick out the animation/drawing flaws. Unnatural angles in movement and against backgrounds, no snow tracks left in their wake, oddly drawn body proportions, among others. Is it nit picking? Maybe so, but that’s how badly it seemed to have affected me, that I couldn’t stop noticing throughout. But don’t think as if I’m looking for faults in this show. Also, perhaps my “flash animation” statement was over-generalizing. If I’m to describe it better, there’s an “off” quality throughout this episode that it couldn’t quite shake off.

  • December 26, 2012 at 2:17 amRaccoonGoon

    I suppose I’m in the minority, but I really don’t notice animation quality dips unless they’re pointed out to me or are particularly egregious. I understand they’re there and that they really detract from the experience for some people, but the overall art style and direction stand out to me more than things like animation consistency or flow.

    Honestly, I consider myself lucky in that regard since I’m generally able to enjoy an otherwise great show like this without being too distracted by animation flaws.

  • December 26, 2012 at 2:20 amDango_Warrior

    I wish A-1 would increase the budget for this show even a little. But that probably won’t happen :(

    • December 26, 2012 at 8:07 pmR

      That’s my hope since SAO ended, but SAO also had Aniplex backing it…

  • December 26, 2012 at 4:01 amjhpace1

    I thought the animation was decent this episode.

    Great episode. Just the right amount of tension and relief on finding Mamoru. The child was not really allowed to prepare for leaving civilization, the assault of a killer Cat from the Education Board made escape necessary. Then there’s the question of the queer-rat in the same location.

    I’m wondering if this is a power ploy from the Board of Education. If too many of their own children were in Saki’s class, then the teachers might try to cull all other children in favor of their own. We still have secrets not told, even after Tomiko of the Ethics Board confided in Saki.

    Here’s the control triangle: the priests, who hypnotize and instill morals in the children, the teachers, who train and judge the children, as well as sending the ‘Cats after them, and the Ethics Board, who are concerned with the whole community. Right now the Board of Education is more active at maintaining control compared to the other two groups. Almost as if the teachers are afraid that after the children turn 17, they will have lost the measures to control them.

    Episode 14 might show us the puppetmaster behind the Board of Education. At this point, as one of the children I wouldn’t care – I’d be killing them all in self-defense if I could. It’s quite simple: if the teachers are killing the children, then the teachers must be stopped at all costs.

  • December 26, 2012 at 4:05 amCybersteel

    I want to see adult Saki

  • December 26, 2012 at 5:20 amJiCi

    “Hate to be the bearer of bad news during the festivities, but because of the annual New Year celebrations, Shin Sekai Yori will be taking a break this week and will return after the New Year on 5th January.”

    Huh, I think we’re pretty much accustomed by now to episode delays during holidays.
    Just sayin’ ^_^

  • December 26, 2012 at 5:36 amQiesamuel

    I don’t know why but Maria’s voice sounds different in this episode.

  • December 26, 2012 at 8:06 amEmD

    Looks like Mamoru’s going to die drowning in pussy.

    Question is, will it be from Maria or from his teacher?

  • December 26, 2012 at 8:14 amYuu

    I’am more interested in the rumours that the Nekodamashi appear at least one time as if scouting before killing.

    The Nokodamashi’s first appearance was before Saki, and shortly after she awakened her powers.

    I think the Board of Education is using them as a “push” for under performing students to “awaken” their powers. Using a combination of fear caused by the rumours, and the fact that they are not suppressed is a indication, and immediate danger.

    That’s why they appear at least one time before killing.

    As for why eliminate under average students, is pretty oblivious, jealousy.

    Why cant I do better? > Why is he/she better? > If only he/she was not here…

  • December 26, 2012 at 8:14 ambear

    I think the reason they kill the children is that they have no choice. Weak control of Cantus does not mean that it is not present. In fact, it seems as if all humans have it and it’s always in danger of leaking out through the subconscious. Hence the training. Those without the ability to control it become Karma Demons. Once they’ve lost control, stopping them is almost impossible since their subconscious will protect them from attack. That’s already been shown. They live in a terrible world.

    • December 27, 2012 at 11:19 amjhpace1

      Wait, you’re saying that those with weak Cantus need to be threatened with Copycats, just in case their subconscious learns how to use Cantus better and they turn into Karma Demons? That’s removing responsibility from those who set the Copycats on the children in the first place.

      Also, I’m wondering if these Pretend Cats have any special powers to speak of. At first, I thought they would have hypnotic attacks like the False Mashinio, in order to keep the children from having a defense. But now we’ve seen two Cats killed and another “sucked away” or somesuch with PK. So a child with strong PK and a rational mind should not have any trouble with Cats.

      If someone told “Behave, or the Boogeyman will get you”, and I saw a Boogeyman, I’d pretty much make the place Ground Zero to get rid of the creature.

  • December 26, 2012 at 9:23 amstardust

    i totally agree with how the board and the queerats may still have some sort of connection. back when saki and satoru got stuck in the war between the 2 queerat colonies, squealer was helping them the whole time, but every time they would try to take another route, they got caught up in the fight again. even tough in the end everything turned out to be just fine, it still always struck me as odd how kiromaru and his troops hunted the kids down in a sense but then kindly brought them back on the right path. and when kiromaru told the kids not tell anyone that they helped them also always confused me as well. i just hope that the next coming episode will have a lot of answers with regards to the relations between the queerats and the board

  • December 26, 2012 at 9:56 amAki-Chan

    That girl/woman in the preview picture(the thrid one), the one with the short hair…isn’t she “Hiromi” or someone from the board of education Tomiko mentioned … ?

    • December 26, 2012 at 11:36 amAnonymous

      Yeah, she is. The long-haired woman appeared back in the ninth episode, when she and another administrator released a nekodamashi.

  • December 26, 2012 at 2:10 pmHimari

    Maria kept looking like Grimace in this ep:

    http://randomc.net/image/Shin%20Sekai%20Yori/Shin%20Sekai%20Yori%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2011.jpg

    Even more when she was flying. Guess this was a bad animation week.

  • December 26, 2012 at 2:29 pmHimari

    Also, who got rid of the killer cat? It just sort of got sucked up and it didn’t seem like Mamoru was doing it. Was someone else helping him. I think I missed something…

    • December 27, 2012 at 11:21 amjhpace1

      Presumably Mamoru used spontaneous fire the first time to scare the Cat away, then used a whirlwind(?) to throw it away the second time.

      If I had PK and saw a Cat, said creature would either be in Low Earth Orbit or in 1,000 pieces by the time I got through with it.

  • December 26, 2012 at 9:23 pmEntrav

    Great suspense as usual but just slower this time around. Should be interesting to see what happens with the leaders of the various groups.

  • December 27, 2012 at 10:01 pmFuu

    Shin Sekai Yori and AKB0048 (which I didn’t think I would make it through one episode let alone awaiting season 2!) are the two most underrated shows this year.

  • January 29, 2013 at 8:31 pmSara

    I personally LOOOOOOOVE this anime I think the story is amazing I personally dont care about the shoty animation. I just watched the 17th episode OMG AMAZING! I won’t spoil anything
    *cough* watch out for queerrats *cough* *cough*