「新世界より」 (Shin Sekai Yori)
“From the New World”

How do you end a show that went to the places Shin Sekai Yori did? A couple of episodes back, I started pondering this question, but up until the moment before I watched this last episode, I still didn’t have a clue what kind of a world it would eventually bring out characters to, or whether the final outcome would adhere to the themes and characterizations in the story. Having watched this final episode now, I find myself wondering why the conclusion to the series feels strangely predictable, but by no means is it any lesser than the alternatives they could have brought out.

Coming off the mixed feelings I had about the two Noitamina endings to this season, there are two things I am immediately grateful for in this conclusion. The first is that in being adapted from a full proper novel, Shin Sekai Yori had a definitive ending to its story. Of course, I lament the fact that there remains so much potential story in Shin Sekai Yori’s world just waiting to be explored, but in this era dominated by incomplete adaptations and sequel hooks, (coughcoughpsychopasscoughcough) it’s ridiculously fresh to find a series definitively concluding on a particular note, after telling the story it needed to tell. The second, of course, is that the series didn’t rush headfirst into its conclusion. I personally didn’t think any less of it, but some might find the fiend’s death too rushed, maybe a little less bombastic or epic than it should’ve been when it ended in the opening minutes of the episode. Regardless it is thanks to that we got something arguably better in exchange, something I all too rarely see in a show when it’s one of the most important things an ending should get right: a proper conclusion to the story. Where every major character, dead or alive, is conclusively addressed in the aftermath of the failed invasion. Too many times I’ve seen a show puts its climax right at the very last moment, and as a result ends up a rushed, disappointing affair (coughcoughroboticnotescoughcough) that only offer brief glimpses into the aftermath of its characters, which is why I’m really grateful for Shin Sekai Yori using its final episode to give us proper conclusions on the remainder of its characters.

In the end though, Shin Sekai Yori remains as unrelentingly nihilistic and cynical as it started out, which for some reason I always felt might’ve ended up being the case. Humanity has averted its most dire catastrophe yet, and the village will eventually rebuild itself, but by no means does the story want us to think humans have changed for the better. More than that, the show outright vilifies the remainder of the village’s humans as they mock and demean Squealer in his hearing. Even if the queerat is hardly a saint, the display was easily the cruellest in the show; stripped naked as the animal he is perceived to be, his intellect demeaned and mocked, the hearing being made a farce of, and being subject to a torturous fate worse than death. The actions of the villager are downright disgusting, and highlights just how little really has changed in human nature over the millennium since the fall of the old civilizations, and over the course of the series. That the queerats are really non-pk humans after all (finally confirmation of that on-off theory!) only deepens this feeling of humans already having gone beyond redemption in their actions. Really, who are the animals, and who are the humans in the end? You could make a case for both sides, and no one ends up on the moral high ground. If anything, the ending somewhat of an anti-climax; with the eradication of the queerats, that rift between the remainder of both species only grows larger that ever, and both sides end up worse for wear.

But finally, the show leaves us with something new: Hope for any kind of change, even if minuscule. Humanity has been characterised by tragedy and loss, abhorrence in their actions, but in Saki and Satoru, we see small steps of a new direction. “There are things more important than the rules”, muses Saki, as she burns the miserable lump of living flesh that was Squealer out of pity. To me, its more likely the statement implies there are more important things than survival, the traits that separate humans from animals, the aspects that give us our humanity, and this is embodied in Saki’s actions to spare Squealer his fate, as well as in repaying the debt to Kiromaru and saving his colony from eradication.

The new life conceived by Saki and Satoru, now wedded, becomes symbolical of this new hope. For this first time there is something undeniably positive in the outlook of story, even amidst the bleakness surrounding the characters. And as we find, within the story that has just been recounted to us is a small prayer for a better future. It’s incredibly fitting then, from a symbolic and emotive standpoint, that Dvorak is the one to play this show out, as the piece by now is synonymous with loss and tragedy in the show, but at the same time the end of the day and the possibilities of the unknown future. As we’re treated to a haunting final sequence of the time where the children were in the prime of their innocence, a time now lost to the unforgiving world, the show leaves us with one final statement: “The power of imagination is what changes everything.” A testament to the tale we’ve just been told, and the new hopes Saki and Satoru are left with. Because when humans can’t imagine anything beyond survival, when humans can’t imagine a better way of life, how can it ever be attained?


Final Impression:

Once again it’s finale time for the season, and I confess, I had a lot of trepidation going into the final write up for Shin Sekai Yori. For one, this is the first double-cour series I’ve fully covered, and after some 6 months it being a constant part of my life, only now do I realise how hard it is to have to finally close the book on a show I’ve grown to really connect with. And how hard it is to actually close the book itself. Which brings me to my other point, that when a series as dense as Shin Sekai Yori ends, my thoughts end up a dazed mess. I haven’t the faintest where I should be starting from, not even as I’m typing this. There’s so much to discuss about that I feel anything I end up writing would be a disservice to what this wonderful show actually brought out.

In which case, I feel inclined to restraint myself. First of all, the philosophy in the show is perhaps better left to the discussions in comment boxes and forums; framed in the ambiguous ethicality of the humans and their coexistence with the queerats, we saw existential ponderings of our humanity and base instincts, explorations of social paradigms and conventionality, even (brief) challenges to our preconceptions on the highly personal topic of sexuality. There’s no lack to what Shin Sekai Yori brought to the table, and similarly so of the many opinions it provoked. Trying to summarize the entirety of that intellectual experience would then be doing the show a true disservice. Rather, letting the audience explore its numerous themes by themselves seems the better alternative, as the show had so challenge us. As I’ve said at the start, this is a show that goes places, and it reaches quite a few that’s been going unchallenged in anime for far too long. For the intellectually curious, you could certainly do worse than Shin Sekai Yori.

Instead, I really just want to talk about show did right by me, and the first on that checklist is that it tell a fantastic, compelling story. Which, surprising as it may be, doesn’t come quite as often as I would like it to. Much of the credit really should go to novelist Kishi Yusuke here, who realized this tragically beautiful tale about the human nature that provokes not just intellectually, but emotionally in equal amounts. This is a story of some very human characters in a very inhuman time, and as we chart their life journeys over the span of 14 years, as we watch the group suffer through the loss of members and the tragedy brought about by their world, it gets intensely dramatic. I’ve talk at length about this before, but this is also a show that breaths believability into its setting in a way few show actually do so, where the heft of a millennium in time (and not just during the Tokyo climax) can actually be felt throughout the presentation of this familiar yet alien world. It’s here where the intricacies of Kishi Yusuke’s novel shows; details about it’s history, environment and society, both implicit and explicit, really helped flesh out this setting that he’s built. As a storyteller, Kishi Yusuke’s a genius at keeping the story completely unpredictable while never quite making it too far-fetched; solid exposition and foreshadowing, and a remarkable awareness of the plot direction makes the story stay true to its vision as his spins his tale of a world gone wrong.

But really, equal credit should go to director Ishihama Masashi here, who in his breakout directorial role here got skyrocketed to my list of “to-watch” directors. Don’t discount the efforts of his team simply because this was an adaptation; contrary to the popular opinion, I often feel adaptations are far greater a challenge to produce for than an original screenplay. The way I see it, greater constraints are placed when translating a story between two different mediums as opposed to a story crafted specifically for the medium. Kishi Yusuke’s sci-fi epic at 3 volumes long, with its world and themes and characters and all its little literary details, was far from simple to adapt into a 24 episodes series, the same way it still boggles the mind as to how the game of thrones was condensed into 12, or the way the Lord of the Rings was cut into 3 feature lengths. What to keep in, what excess to trim, and what to do in order to adhere to the vision of the story? It can’t have been an easy task asked of Masashi’s team, especially given the fact that they were working on a skeleton budget –and I’ll get to this shortly– but still he rose to the challenge magnificently. Shin Sekai Yori wasn’t afraid to experiment and break away from conventional storytelling paradigms to tell its full breadth of its scope, and damned if it actually cared whether people could follow it. I’ve wrote at length before, that the show’s direction is at once its greatest strength and weakness, and I still stand by that. Shin Sekai Yori can often take on a wild, erratic direction in an attempt to get its as many of its points across, and more often than I liked, these were lost on me and -as I suspect- many others. At the same time, it’s because the direction ended up being so unique that made Shin Sekai Yori as compelling a watch as it was; explicit and implicit details often intertwine in unexpected ways –such was the case when we first found out about the mindwiping– and a barrage of foreshadowing and misdirection kept up that air of ambiguity till the very end of the show.

Fact is, Masashi and his team were short-changed, and it shows in the inconsistencies in animation and varying production values. But it doesn’t change the fact that its presentation is one Shin Sekai Yori’s strongest suits. If animation wouldn’t work, the team would show mastery over other aspects of the cinematography: artistic direction, audio mixing, camerawork, among others. I cannot emphasize enough how important it’s been to this show, and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have felt quite as strongly had the cinematography not been so effective in conveying the show’s palpable atmosphere. We talk about tension and fear, of tragedy and loss in the show, but without the beautiful, sometimes terrifying imagery –really, kudos to those unsung artists– and the amazing score to punctuate those key moments, Shin Sekai Yori would’ve been so much lesser. Masashi and his team’s contribution to the work cannot go amiss in crediting the realization of Shin Sekai Yori’s world. Case in point: What was the last show you remember where a piece of music could become as symbolic and iconic as Dvorak’s New World Symphony was here?

And of course, rounding out the holy trinity are the voice actors themselves. The main cast was populated with typical big names, with fan-favourites like HanaKana rocking the solid performance you’d expect. But really, as I’m sure anyone would agree, the queerats were the real stars. You just can’t go without crediting Namikawa Daisuke – who comes from roles like Fate/Zero’s naive Waver to chillingly deliver the show’s standout performance as Squealer – and Hirata Hiroaki – breaking away from his lovable joe typecast and showing similarly amazing range here as the majestic and noble Kiromaru. Fresh faced Taneda Risa, the most unnatural of choices out of the entire cast, also proves her chops amidst these stars by bringing a weak and flawed Saki through an emotional maturation process into adulthood.


It’s always hardest to put the final line on a wrap-up. What to say to sum up the experience that was Shin Sekai Yori? I could say it is the most creative, provocative and compelling piece of work I’ve seen in the medium for a long time, but that’s 3 buzz words too many already. I could say that ranks among the Tatami Galaxies, the Dennou Coils and Ghost in the Shells, those shows that had the perfect blend of complexity and depth in their themes, those shows that were impeccable in the presentation of their creative vision. But that’s just describing my own taste in shows, and besides, I bet a number of you never watched a single one I mentioned.

Why is closing the book so damn hard?

Screw objectivity then. I love this show. I love its incredibly flawed cast of characters. I love the world it has so amazingly realized, a future vision of our world that is indescribably beautiful, and yet completely horrifying at the same time. I love how it constantly made me ponder, think and question this vision. And I love those damn queerats. Hell, I love Squealer, for all his ambition, twistedness, and flaws. There’s quite simply nothing like Shin Sekai Yori that I’ve ever seen in the medium, and it’s been a long time since I felt so strongly this way. It’s the shows like this, the show that pushes the limits of creativity in anime to deliver something truly fresh, that resound with me long after they end. It’s this experience that made me start on animes, when I first saw the extents of the medium’s creative power in Spirited Away, and it’s for experiences like what Shin Sekai Yori delivered that I continue to watch them.

Author’s Notes

Sorry folks! Normally, I’d pull an overnighter and get the entire post out in one go, but I’ve got work in the morning. Rather than waiting for the final impressions to be done, I’m putting up the post with the episode review first, so knock yourselves out with the ending discussions. Check back at the same time in the next two days for an updated episode review and a proper final impression! Final Impressions are up! And thanks to all you readers for following my ramblings these past 6 months! SSY’s been one of the most amazing shows I’ve had the fortune to watch and blog, and its a blast writing the posts and reading all your insightful comments!


    1. I second this! tho the series was slow to building it was well worth the investment!
      After watching such a thrilling show for the past 6 months I’m now wondering if their will be anything that can fill the void anytime soon T^T

      1. Game of Thrones may not be as subtly beautiful as Shinsekai Yori, but it’s certainly just as consistent a story. It’s high fantasy, though you don’t really get that feeling until (I think) book 3, since the first two books and seasons are primarily a huge game of politics over who gets the throne. Hence the name, Game of Thrones. It’s like musical chairs but so, so, so much more brutal.

        I’d recommend it and please do consider the 3rd season that’s airing this coming Sunday.

      2. If there one thing GoT is similar to SSY in, it’s intensity. GoT is a unforgivingly brutal show, with a constant feeling of fatalism to it – pretty sure most season 1 watchers would attest to that.

        But hey, since we’re on the topic of live-actions anyway; if you wanted something as subtle and provocative, as wondrous and terrifying, as beautifully sublime as SSY was, one show springs almost immediately to my mind.

        Doctor Who.

        You know it’s a big deal when you have Neil friggin’ Gaiman writing episodes for it. And, hey, coincidentally enough, Series 7 part 2 starts this weekend as well.

    2. Actually I been wondering about that, how does that actually work? SSY came out in 2012, and while it wasn’t listed in the Best Of Anime, cause it wasn’t completed until now, if it does get nominated, will it be for animes that came out in 2012 and were awarded in 2013? And if it does does the completion year mark the anime or the the start of the anime?

      1. @Solara: The date the last episode aired, so this series will be one of of the top contenders for best of 2013. Hopefully, there’ll be some competition in the following months in contrast to last year where Fate Zero was the heavy favorite and won unsurprisingly, since there was no real competition. Maybe Uchuu Kyoudaia?

      2. @boingman
        Ah, thanks for the clear up! I rather pass up on talking about last yrs Best Anime, and which animes deserve what, even that post is still going on debate. -Shivers- I’ll just stay positive in hopes that it’ll get at least a mention in any category.

        The way I see it, as long as it gets out there, the more chances it’ll have to be experience. <;

    3. I deserves marathoning! I can’t believe it actually had a true ending. I really did thought all except Saki was going to die but I’ll gladly take this over that terrible premonition. I was honestly prepared for a shitstorm after MrPsychoPassShit.

  1. https://randomc.net/image/Shin%20Sekai%20Yori/Shin%20Sekai%20Yori%20-%2025%20-%20Large%2014.jpg
    Take my revolution~

    Anything and everything that I wanted to say about this series and in every episode has already been stated, dissected and debated to pieces. So I’ll just sum it up, I love the series. It was certainly an experience that I won’t soon forget. With each passing episode that demanded your attention and succeed at an impressive low budget animation, the staff knew when to use their resources to make each episode utterly amazing to the viewer. This is one of those few shows that reduce their cast greatly by over 95% gradually as the series went on. It was upsetting to see characters that we grew attach to wither away but that’s what made it special to me. SSY wanted to tell a story and it delivered. I just hope it gets a honorable mention as one of the best series 2012 offered.

  2. At first I thought the show just represented a dystopia, but now I consider the story just one of horror. The one truly noble character turning out to be Kiroumaru. Even Saki looked down the the creatures her forbears had reduced humanity to. I had made a comment before that, though they looked human, the PKers were no longer human. Now I think they are the true monsters. Even worse, without even being Karma Demons they continually warp the world around them, keeping only there own villages “pure” and eugenically weeding out anyone who might be an “old style” human. Since the bakenezumi are actually modified humans, either the PKers have found a way to block the ability in them or I could see at some time there would be some bakenezumi who will develop that capability. Maybe there will be an accounting for the PKers atrocities someday. Gad, this was a depressing show no matter how well it was done.

    1. You know… more than a depressing show, I think it is an account of what could happen. I mean it is not like humanity hasn’t done something similar already. Look at Hittler and the Nazis… as long as some races of humans believe they are “superior”, they won’t fill any guilty or remorse what so ever to toy, study, and kill their own kind… and that’s something only humans as part of the kingdom “Animalia” are capable of (besides rodents that can eat their own offspring if there is lack of nutrients or when under stress)…

      I think the show did a pretty good job of accounting for a future where the “bad ones” win the war… I found it extremely interesting and had some many philosophical and ethical points that can be discussed. From, what defines a human… and where does a new species begin… with so many genetic studies with stem cells and the creation of chimeras (http://discovermagazine.com/2013/april/1-more-than-two-parents) when are we going to get to the point that we are going to create our own new species??? I think this was a great show and I enjoyed pretty much. Yes, I wasn’t a happy story… but life isn’t always happy…

    2. Overall, I’ve gotta agree with you. SSY, in spite of whatever modicum of hope one might gleam at the very end, was rather depressing.

      Much in the same way as Tomodachi however – in spite of the fact that they’re obviously two very different shows – I feel as if I’ve just watched an exceedingly long prologue; as if the real story hasn’t even started yet.

      …I mean, like Enzo said, the sheer amount of potential that’s just waiting to be exploited here is almost sickening.

      From near the very beginning, I kept waiting and waiting for the moment when someone would stand up and realize just how distorted and sick their way of life is. And it wasn’t as though the children didn’t get it on some level… they just never went out of their way to do much of anything about it, and the war against the queerrats at the end sort of pushed that possibility off to the side.

      To be clear, I’m not condemning SSY as a series. I do think, for what it was trying to accomplish, it did very well. I just can’t help the nagging feeling that the real conflict just never got its chance to shine.

      Ryan Ashlight
      1. Oh, don’t be mistaken – I’m fairly certain, given how the story goes out of the way to show us through our viewer proxies, the main characters, everything that is horrifying and distorted (to our current sensibilities, at least) about their way of life that Saki and Satoru are perfectly aware of the contradictions and cruelties inherent in their current society. In fact, given their positions, experiences, and comparative lack of mental conditioning, they’re probably more so than most.

        However, consider this. First, this is the only way of life they have ever known; they have no real outside frame of reference, or if they do it is only fragments from old documents. Second – what would denouncing said way of life achieve? It isn’t like, as the story also shows, said way of life isn’t logical, as much as it is cold-blooded and a path of least resistance – and while it is easy to decry, putting something else into place is far more difficult. And third, which is in many ways an extension of the previous point – in a society of super-powered psychics, any failed revolution – perhaps any revolution period – might very well spell the end of everything. The very same (and not unreasonable) fear which spawned much of their society in the first place.

        With the above in consideration, then – is it any wonder that the only solution Saki and Satoru – the only solution the writer himself can come to – is to leave a hint of gradual change in the future, with arguably the real spark of hope being hints towards the re-ignition of the human spirit? To the morally indignant and revolutionary-minded, of course, this isn’t going to be enough – but, as I would have argued in a Psycho-Pass post, revolutions rarely enact any true change at all. And I would think less of Saki and Satoru had they chosen to move towards a revolution of denunciation that would likely spell the end of all they held dear.

      2. @Corin:

        >] “First, this is the only way of life they have ever known; they have no real outside frame of reference, or if they do it is only fragments from old documents.”

        So what? Simply because it’s the only life they’ve ever known doesn’t render them incapable of realizing its problems and inconsistencies. In fact, they do realize this upon learning about the past civilization.

        In fact, that is precisely why the village conditioned all of the other children so as to keep them under constant surveillance, because they understood the risk of their rebelling if they were allowed to think too freely for themselves.

        >] “Second – what would denouncing said way of life achieve? It isn’t like, as the story also shows, said way of life isn’t logical, as much as it is cold-blooded and a path of least resistance – and while it is easy to decry, putting something else into place is far more difficult.”

        It achieves conflict, fighting and the potential for change, which is an inevitable consequence of continued human existence. The village’s status quo is an untenable one, and and a naive one at that; and their continued efforts will either end in an eventual overthrow of their society or utter destruction… which, ironically, is almost what happened.

        >] “And third, which is in many ways an extension of the previous point – in a society of super-powered psychics, any failed revolution – perhaps any revolution period – might very well spell the end of everything. The very same (and not unreasonable) fear which spawned much of their society in the first place.”

        This is exactly the point I was trying to make in my previous response, so thank you for allowing me to elaborate further.

        By way of a revolution, whether ending in success or failure, it becomes painfully obvious that the status quo the village tries to maintain doesn’t work. It’s a stopgap measure at best, and I for one would’ve very much liked to have seen the children rise up to lead that revolution rather than suffer and die by the proverbial hands of that which they call home.

        >] “And I would think less of Saki and Satoru had they chosen to move towards a revolution of denunciation that would likely spell the end of all they held dear.”

        Saki lost Shun, Maria, Mamoru, her sister, both of her parents as well as however many of her fellow villagers.

        Satoru lost his friends too, as well as his grandmother.

        …Gotta tell you, revolution and at least a chance of bringing about real change – and a better story, IMHO – sounds a lot better than the alternative of, when all’s said and done, not really having been able to protect anything.

        Ryan Ashlight
      3. …it seems to me that the central pillar you cling to in these arguments appears to be that the only way to bring change is through fire and revolution. If this is the case, then I think we can only agree to disagree.

        I don’t think we can argue that Saki does not want change. But attempting to bring about such change through breeding a revolution that not just could, but very probably would, destroy their entire people seems a lot like burning a forest to spite a tree. It’s a highly romantic concept, to be true – like, for example, Gundam Wing’s ‘war to end all wars’, like Code Geass’ Zero Requiem, it’s a very pleasant and stirring idea that resonates strongly in fiction. But even in Gundam Wing, it made a point of the widespread destruction that plan caused, and the Endless Waltz OVA arguably showed that the war in and of itself didn’t change all that much.

        Would Shin Sekai Yori have been a ‘better story’ if it subscribed to this conceit? I don’t believe so. It asks questions with the intent of provoking thought into real answers, not to assuage said questions with a nice-sounding, but ultimately wrong, answer.

      4. @Corin:

        >] “you cling to in these arguments appears to be that the only way to bring change is through fire and revolution.”

        It would seem some clarification is needed, so bear with me for a moment.

        The word “revolution” carries a certain negative connotation with it – war being high up on the proverbial list – and so I don’t think it suits my particular view very well. Fighting and conflict would be better.

        With respect to SSY, it’s the idea that suppressing the human instinct to fight that leads me to believe that their dream of a society will eventually be overthrown or taken over by ‘revolution.’

        It’s a dream within a dream to believe that they can continue to live like that. And while, as Enzo already stated, there’s loads of potential that has yet to be exploited, I do believe what we did see gives weight to my belief.

        Whether they want it or not, conflict will inevitably come to their world; and the more they try to put it off and suppress the population, the worse the result is going to be.

        All that being said, I find it hard to believe Saki isn’t smart enough to realize this. And yet… she seems perfectly content to let the status quo continue and let a small flicker of hope burn for a possibility that she herself doesn’t feel she should take the proverbial reigns on.

        >] “It asks questions with the intent of provoking thought into real answers, not to assuage said questions with a nice-sounding, but ultimately wrong, answer.”

        It certainly can’t be as wrong as a society that believes it can suppress the human instinct to fight and create a virtual paraise on Earth.

        Ryan Ashlight
  3. Sadly by this point and time the Queerats are not truly human. Their ancestors were human till they were mutated into Queerats, then they became a mostly infertile race that depends on Queens to survive. I wasn’t a ally of Squealer even though I hated human society as a whole more, I did feel pity for him when they did exactly what Tomiko promised she’d do if she was alive.

    I found some of his argument to be absurd, cause humans have treated their fellow human slaves badly and in some places they were considered less than human. Death was a mercy compared to other fates some slaves had. The fact that we can be that cruel to our own shows we can be the same to others. Saki’s actions concerning colonies was a bit more hopeful than I anticipated. I expected only Kiromaru’s colony to be spared, but she ensured that several colonies were spared at a point where most humans wanted them all wiped out. The fact that she can learn how to live long like Tomiko gives hope that she can change how that society works over time, since change takes time and you can’t force it or it’ll end badly.

  4. Fuck humanity!

    Ok, I am calm down now. Honestly, I never fond of the methods the village employed to maintain their survival. One could argue the threat of a fiend leaves them no choice. However, they turn their own human fellow into queerats is the last straw. Correct me if am wrong, the cantus user is the one that causes all the killings and tragedy in the first place. Yet, the cantus users want to be able to keep their cantus, and maintain their status above the non cantus users. You cant have the cake and eat it too!

  5. I can’t believe it’s been 6 months. I absolutely love this show, and I am very content with the ending. After watching the ending to psycho pass and hearing about robotics notes ending I was a little on edge to be honest. I thoroughly enjoyed this anime, and loved reading your reviews every week!

  6. So that ending was really bitter sweet… XD
    its almost like they went through all that just to end back up where they started in a sense.
    I mean all we see here in the end is the same cycle of super/well bred humans once again killing and oppressing the lesser ones. Just like with RL when this kinda crap did/does happen it makes you wonder who the hell are you supposed to cheer for! as much as I loved saki and her friends, I cant help but feel bad for Squealer and he’s fellow humans. :/

    Anyway Loved the series 8.5/10 form me
    PS did the novel end the same way? or was some of this anime original I wonder

  7. Well, I’ll just get a small bit of what I wrote on my blog:

    Everything wraps up incredibly nicely. From the high tension that has been moved from the last episode all the way until the very end, the pacing is phenomenal. It started off tense, moved into hopeless problems and then converted all those problems into hope for the future. It’s not cheesy, but it may be predictable. Nonetheless, the execution is absolutely spot-on. I also have to credit the soundtrack a lot in this anime. Since Shun’s death, I have been marveled at what the greatness that has been the soundtrack. A-1 Pictures also uses them in the right spots as well which is also critical to the effect that the music has given me.

    Shin Sekai Yori has always been somewhat elusive in its approach. It gave us questions to ponder and imagine with the tension and atmosphere that may be the most notable attributes of the anime as a whole. It didn’t spoon-feed us with information, and the information bomb served gave more questions than answers. But anyways, more than anything else, whatever else it has given me is all triumphed by the feeling that a great series leaves me when I’m done with it. A mix of sadness, satisfaction, excitement and the need for me to either sleep incredibly late or wake up 6 hours after sleeping to watch this anime.

    Definitely a great watch and would recommend it to almost anyone.

  8. This series is an amazing piece of work. I can’t believe Shun’s question from waaaay back resounds so heavily into this ending. Saki reminiscing about meeting Squealer was a poignant reminder of how much the role of enemies seem to cycle around. Satoru playing with the absurdly adorable tainted kittens was also immensely ironic in how they were such objects of fear in the beginning. Lastly, I’m still super depressed over Maria and Satoru’s fate and now the fate of their child…

    Maybe the series is trying to end on a hopeful future note. However, I personally cannot see a fruitful future or anything that prevents history from repeating.

    1. In light of what happened to Maria and Mamoru, and particularly their ill-fated child, I’m honestly still trying to come to terms with the fact that Saki just seemed to… accept it and move on.

      Now, to be clear, I get that that’s a focal point of her character. When she was talking with Tomiko, we learned then about her ability to basically move on from just about anything… but, seriously, that was her best friend for goodness’ sake.

      When did she show even the slightest hint of anger towards the society that played such a pivotal role in her friend’s fate?

      It was near the same with Shun as well. It’s not as though I believe that Saki is a sociopath or anything like that. I do honestly believe she cares about her friends… but it’s just that it always ends up where she seems to internalize her feelings to a degree, viewing them almost objectively; as if she’s just an observer.

      When thought of it like this, it comes to me as no great surprise that Saki simply isn’t suited to being a great harbinger of change. She seems more suited to being an instrument to keep the status quo.

      Ryan Ashlight
      1. …that’s unfair, I think. Regarding Saki’s apparent emotional distance – realize that the narration throughout this entire story has been from the perspective of a pregnant Saki after the final timeskip. Of course it’s going to sound like it’s from an observer. In addition, at the point of this last arc, it’s already been some 12? 14? years after Maria has left. I dare you to say that you’d still be as emotionally attached to someone after 12-14 years of not seeing them – especially when said person could have been said to have abandoned you in the first place.

        As far as being angry at the society that ‘played such a role in her best friend’s fate’… I think I already made my point in my reply to you above, but in addition that doesn’t seem factually accurate in the first place. Mamoru may have been led to flee from the village by Hiromi’s paranoia, but Maria chose to go with him – and it was Squealer who eventually had them both killed. Who are you going to place the blame on there? It seems to lie fairly equally in all directions. And the village leadership at the time is uniformly dead – Hiromi, Shisei, Koufuu, Tomiko, even the Head Priest and the monks – are all quite deceased. A system isn’t going to care if you rage at it – the only way to beat a system is to attempt to change it.

      2. @Corin:

        >] “Of course it’s going to sound like it’s from an observer. In addition, at the point of this last arc, it’s already been some 12? 14? years after Maria has left.”

        With all due respect, you’re being a tad unfair here by focusing solely on Future Saki’s narration and what not.

        What about when Maria and Mamoru had just left? Where was Saki’s anger then? Where was the desire to do something to try and change the system that led her best friend to run away?

        >] “I dare you to say that you’d still be as emotionally attached to someone after 12-14 years of not seeing them – especially when said person could have been said to have abandoned you in the first place.”

        I’ll do you one better than that.

        I was, for all intents and purposes, abandoned by someone important to me. And though a part of me will absolutely never forgive that, I still miss them very much. And I assure you that this feeling of mine; if it hasn’t wavered by now, it isn’t likely to do so.

        >] “A system isn’t going to care if you rage at it – the only way to beat a system is to attempt to change it.”

        It isn’t about senselessly raging at the system. That’s not what I was getting at.

        You are correct when you say that the only way to beat a system is to change it, but where’s Saki’s desire to do that? Where’s her intitiative? Where’s the plan?

        Ryan Ashlight
      3. @Ryan Ashlight:

        Fair enough on the attachment issue. I must confess I obviously haven’t had an attachment of similar depth. However, as you yourself say, there is some part of you that will never forgive that – and, while the immediate timeskip following the discovery of Maria and Mamoru’s final escape precluded the depiction of any reaction at all, I daresay that any initial anger would have been pointed towards Maria and maybe even Mamoru rather than at the village. In fact, at that point, Saki’s previous conversation with Tomiko should have been a sufficient expression of her dissatisfaction with the village’s actions – a dissatisfaction which Tomiko palliated quite adroitly indeed.

        As for Saki’s desire for change – I would say that her actions in mercy-killing Squealer and in saving a number of bakenezumi colonies do show a desire for change, as do her words to Satoru in the end. As for her ‘plan’… well. I’ll say that any such plan, frankly, is no longer in the scope of this story, and would even distract from the story’s central messages. Does it perhaps feel unsatisfying because there aren’t enough answers? Perhaps. But many great literary works pose questions and not answers. The point of such works is to make us think on the questions – and I think Shin Sekai Yori and Psycho Pass this season both did that admirably.

      4. @Corin:

        >] “In fact, at that point, Saki’s previous conversation with Tomiko should have been a sufficient expression of her dissatisfaction with the village’s actions – a dissatisfaction which Tomiko palliated quite adroitly indeed.”

        So that’s the extent of Saki’s feelings for her best friend/lover and childhood friend? A bit of venting and suddenly she comes to terms with it?

        If Saki had truly felt that she wanted change in the system to at least make sure that what happened to Maria and Mamoru wouldn’t happen to anyone else, you would think she would’ve immediately jumped on Tomiko’s proposal to succeed her.

        Is that what happened? Well no, not really. She was hesitant, reluctant even. Once again she internalized her feelings as an almost subjective matter and seemed instead to focus on getting the status quo of her life back in order.

        >] “As for Saki’s desire for change – I would say that her actions in mercy-killing Squealer and in saving a number of bakenezumi colonies do show a desire for change, as do her words to Satoru in the end.”

        And what change was that, exactly? How are things, really, any different from how they were at the beginning of the story?

        Ryan Ashlight
  9. Good ending. Would have been too sugarcoated if the “fiend” had survived, considering that heroic Kiroumaru died.
    Instead of Satoru.

    Great series. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, namely pacing issues (episode 5 being the worst offender iirc), annoying novel readers who bemoaned the lack of SakixSatoru, some animation choices that not everybody agreed to and lack of budget. Those were far outweighed by a suspenseful story with a great sense of adding horror elements. And Squealer is a magnificent villain.

    1. I wish I read the novel beforehand. I accidentally jumped on the Shun boat too soon, which distracted me from the overall greatness of the show. Of course, I don’t know what my impressions would be if I didn’t, but it certainly tugged many strings when my favorite character didn’t get much spotlight, even though he was a major key to the plot. Still, it was an awesome series.

  10. Dude I loved it!!! My only complaint, with hopes of understanding if you object; is that the music to the first few episodes was so apropos to the story line that the change in ending theme felt like a betrayal, and if I were to hear it play for the final episode along with the animation it would’ve made the reflections from this episode even more poignant. *hit* me if I’m wrong

      1. The 1st and 2nd ED are actually sold together. 1st ED = track 1. 2nd ED = track 2. I actually think the 2nd ED also fits the show. But Wareta Ringo is definitely one of my all time favorite EDs.

  11. All I have to say is… Did anyone else think the cats were absolutely adorbs and want to take one home too?

    Haha, actually I will also say that this is one of the most profound anime I’ve ever seen in my life. The artistry and storytelling were amazing and I find myself having a hard time thinking of any other animated show that rivals it. The way that Shin Sekai Yori keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time reminds me The Following which is airing now on Fox. Different subject matter, but similar twists and turns and intensity in the plot. Amazingly enough, I’m not sad at all to see it over. The ending was fitting and greatly satisfying. Wow… It’s been a wild ride.

  12. Amazing show. There were definitely some issues with it, but I think watching it in one go as if it were one long feature film helps quite a bit. Even so, the story is so strongly presented that this will leave an impression on me forever. I haven’t been so satisfied with a show’s conclusion since Madoka Magica. I expected Psycho-Pass to get my “best of” 2013 flag, but I highly suspect SSY will get it if nothing else steps up to the plate.

    Seriously teared up during Dvorak’s symphony during the epilogue, especially because it sounds like Shun is about to take Saki to the afterlife or something.

  13. I can’t even describe how in awe I am of this series!!! This was probably one of the best and most satisfying anime endings I have ever had the pleasure of watching. Seriously, WHY IS THIS SO UNDERRATED!! It’s amazing! From the excellent seiyuu work, captivating story, engaging characters to that eerie, yet breathtaking art and phenomenal music, that set up the otherworldly mood…I’ve rarely been so glad to be an anime fan!
    And the ending, OH the ending! If I had to nitpick at something, it would be that the humans got off way too easy. A few episodes ago I was raging at Squealer for his underhand and uncompromising methods and his despicable, backstabbing and power hungry personality. They had him echo one of the lines from episode 3 here: “We could have changed history”, and you have to wonder if there is really that much difference between him and those revolutionaries, who brought down the Holy Cherry Blossom Empire… My heart was bleeding for him the entire episode. As Saki said, he was a liar and a traitor, but ironically everything he said in the trial was the truth. He wasn’t afraid to stand up to his oppressors and sacrifice everything for a better future. Nor did he seem to regret his decisions or fear the consequences, which by the way had me recoiling with horror. In the end he and Kiroumaru(who went out like a BOSS!!) turned out to be the two most human characters in the story.

    1. I wouldn’t say underrated, it’s just not very popular.Most people watching anime don’t have the time or the energy to get into a show with a deep and serious story – not that there’s anything wrong with it.

      1. Well, ultimately this is entertainment, you can’t ask people to watch something they don’t like or feel comfortable with watching – that kind of defeats the point of having entertainment.

  14. I love how the cats aren’t born in high heels. I guess they really DO put them on when they’re going to hunt children, like I joked 10 episodes ago.

    Great ending, morally ambiguous and not necessarily happy, but hopeful. Very glad I picked it up.

    SakixSatoru end, as expected.

    1. How much you want to bet cats were normal human females in the past, because as we know queerats were all normal human (males), as they don’t have any females, only one queen per colony so they can keep growing. Whoever manipulated their genes and made them into hybrids thousands of years ago was one hell of a twisted fuck. Turning males in to queerats and females into impure cats.

      1. “… Females into impure cats.”

        That line is certainly volumnious. I didn’t thought ofit that way. Neither did I know that the queerat colony is full of males.

        This truly sends shivers down my spine. In retrospect, SSY’s horror truly is about humanity itsekf and how we percieve others who do not fit the catalogue of marginality

  15. I wouldn’t be so quick to call “Best Anime” as 2013 is just starting.

    Having said that, it really was a joy to watch something that defied the norms and whose story combined both plot, character and context through which a beautiful, sad, and sublimely accurate depiction of the human condition, and what’s more was it succeeded in its endeavor gives me hope that the art form of “anime” is alive and well.

    I will concede that there were issues with the production that could have been better. I understand completely why the production level were not consistent across the series, and as should everyone. When you’ve got a story that revolved around “the (d- or r-)evolution of man, his creations, and his desires” and feature, very blatantly, some very shocking (from a Japanese perspective) aspects like homosexuality, genocide, DNA alteration, (VERY) underage sex, etc., you’re taking a gamble. The Japanese are by-and-large traditional, and to be blatantly confronted with the failings of a “society who refuses to change” and the “mire of conservatism” reminds me of what Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarms, another great story, central theme was: “EVOLVE or DIE”. Change is inevitable, you either go with the flow or be downtrodden by it.

    But, what’s great about the show was it didn’t just dwell with “change”! It actually delved deeper into the notions of self and existence, power and responsibility, pain and grief, and life and death, good and evil. Is the “self” more important than the society it is in? Does having power entail restraint? Should the needs of the many be put ahead of the needs of the few? Does the ends justify the means? Do “animals” have rights? What does it mean to be human?

    The beautiful thing is, these questions and many more like them, were addressed in the show, but were never truly answered. Shin Sekai Yori opened a window into the realm of critical thinking and allows its viewers the liberty to think for themselves, because it is only through thinking FOR YOURSELF can one truly attain what it is you seek.

    All I’ve got to say is MARVELOUS, simply MARVELOUS!

    Shin Sekai Yori, BANZAIIIIIIIIII!

  16. In the previous episode all I could think about was how much Squealer deserves to die and how stupid the queerats are and how humanity should just wipe them off the face of the earth. Now I feel that the queerats really do deserve to be treated better and it’s understandable for them to want to fight against humanity. Any show which can bring that much change in perspective deserves to be called one of the best anime if not the best.

  17. It was among the best ending I’ve seen but fuck … what the hell is this feeling? I can’t decide if I’m happy, sad, angry or scared. Huh… on the plus side, Saki survive, Satoru as well, maybe even Shun if you can even call him alive. Maybe they were the drops needed for the world to change.


  18. The epilogue really increased my enjoyment of the overall series. It was a truly amazing ending that really made the journey all the more memorable and unique.

    Throughout watching this, I had mixed expectations and reactions but the overall package made me realize that I probably wouldn’t come across another anime like it.

    By the end of this episode I felt so many emotions:

    Sadness for Kiromaru’s sacrifice, a bit of pity for Squealer who I hated, a bit of disgust at humanity who I rooted for, shock at the origin of queerats, and happy for the life Saki and Satoru managed to find for themselves along with their ‘to be born’ child.

    While I can’t say it’s perfect, it definitely is a series I’ll remember.

  19. Calling it the best anime of 2013? It’s too early to tell. One of the best? Probably. But so far, of all the ongoing and ending anime, this one surely has the best visual effects. The storytelling is really good as if I’m actually reading a book. Though, I’m not quite really sold to the overall story itself as I feel somewhat lacking. It’s probably more on to me since I’m already a veteran in anime. For one thing, I feel that they should have done more upon the issue on who’s much more humane whether it’s the pk/cantus user or the queerats/former non-pk user, so I can have more sympathy towards the queerats like what Shiki (a 2010 horror vampire anime) has done on the treatment of the humans to the vampires towards its ending (especially the additional ova). Although such is the case, I can’t really blame the anime itself since it’s probably because of the scope of the budget and the episode constraint in adapting a pretty big light novel. Nevertheless, it’s still a recommended anime that I can share with my friends or those who will just start watching anime.

  20. As much as I liked the Psycho-Pass ending – apparently one of the few who did, as I may write about at length when the post for that show goes up – Shin Sekai Yori definitely had the stronger ending, and was the stronger series in general, showing its award-winning novel roots. This ending, at the least, is definitely more viscerally satisfying – given that in this case, the author arguably takes a stronger stand on what the solution is, despite the generally similar agreement on the process required to get there.

    This show, like its source material, was an exercise in the envisioning of a dystopian future where humans, having surpassed ‘human’ limitations, began to slowly – gradually – quietly lose bits and pieces of what made them human, in a series of compromises and the selection of a host of the best of horrible choices. This, played against their society’s distorted mirror – creatures who lost the shape of humanity, but who preserve all the best and worst elements of human nature. On a certain level, you can even perceive the human v. bakenezumi divide as one of the logical v. emotional – for what are the villages’ actions if not always premised on the safest and least risky paths, and what are the bakenezumi, with their wars, ambitions, politics, and willingness to challenge impossible odds if not a visceral package of everything we associate with ‘humanity’?

    That being said, not everything really worked with this ending. I have no issue with the ‘revelations’ in this episode – that I attribute to the roots in the original novel, as it is obviously meant to be a coda, the final perspective shift. The final flashbacks, however, didn’t quite work for me – I get what they were trying to do there, but the chosen lines were perhaps not the best for evoking any kind of reaction.

    1. Clearly off topic, and I’m not looking to shift the focus way from the finale of SSY, but I’d like to say that it’s good to see someone else who liked the way PP ended. I’m interested to know your thoughts on the ending, and I look forward to an engaging time of discussion and sharing of final impressions in the near future!

    2. I think I’m one of the few that actually liked the ending of Psycho-Pass, I even teared up when I heard the ED come up. But yet again I always get emotional towards the finale of any show, it’s always an emotional ride for me, and SSY was no different. I am curious to see the response viewers will have if when they’ll put up the reviews for the final 2 episodes. I expect mix criticism.

  21. Having more budget would’ve made the anime more awesome.
    It’s a shame A1 pictures prioritized SAO than the this one that is heading in to masterpiece-territory. They’re pros, so it can’t be helped — They would pump more money to an anime that most likely give them more money (SAO)

  22. Only a few animes have left so much impact to me — Aria, Legend of Galactic Heroes, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Gungrave, Gankutsuou, Fantastic Children, Cowboy Bebop, Rose of Versailles, Ayakashi Ayashi , Ghost in the Shell, and etc. Shit, there actually a lot. Point is… Shinsekai Yori is one of them

    1. what the staff did was actually very impressive since they were obviously on a very low budget. A-1 probably predicted this would sell only 600 copies per volume (which is a verrryy low even for anime), which is why this project had a very low budget.

  23. My only question is “If Saki already knew that Queerats is actually humans, so why could she kill Squealer in the end?”

    Other than that, this anime is really awesome. Definitely in my top 3 anime all the time.

  24. I’m really satisfied with this ending and how A-1 went about with this last episode. It leaves a melancholic impression yet the conclusion of the story was bittersweet. I’m relieved that Saki and Satoru survive and end up together, but I can’t help but feel sorry for Squealer even though he the villain. I mean, if you view things from his perspective, he does have good intentions for his people and the humans are the clear villains.
    The artistry in this adaption has never failed to impress me and the soundtrack flowed well with the atmosphere. An issue I’m sure most people came across is with the tight budget and the average animation, though the many other aspects as well as the compelling story makes up for it. SSY is a definite contender for AOTY for me.

  25. To be honest, this was the only episode I didn’t enjoy or feel intrigued by. Everything that was brought up just seemed sort of obvious or moot. The queerats used to be humans? Thank you for the confirmation, but this has been suspected by the audience for over a dozen episodes. Aki is a girl? This changes nothing. Asking Kiromauru to die seemed rather hypocritical considering she wouldn’t let Satoru sacrifice himself for the greater good, but I guess the more heroic “no sacrifices” mentality couldn’t be afforded. It still gave the impression that Kiro was more disposable than Satoru. One more thing, enough with Maria and Shun. Saki has been largely useless compared to Satoru/Kiro/Tomiko/Inui for the past few episodes, so her giving the credit to Shun, who turned out to be a convenient voice in her head, was disappointing, because I really wanted to like her. Sometimes all the Maria and and Shun visions made me feel bad for Satoru, since he was pretty much dating a girl who was well on her way to becoming SSY’s Ophelia (trope, not character), then he didn’t even hug her when she broke down, and I would have been screaming if I didn’t feel so dang apathetic. Despite all this, I’d still recommend this series to anyone who is tired of run of the mill anime

    1. Kiromaru had to die because he is a bakenezumi and if the Aki had killed him she would die because the feedback (as happened). If Satoru went instead him, his death would have been pointless because the Aki doesn’t see the humans as her, so she would survive and she would kill Saki.
      (sorry for my english)

      1. With all due respect, my point remains unchanged. Saki refused to sacrifice Satoru, even though the Psycho Buster would have worked. The voice in her head tells her to sacrifice a bakenezumi and she tells him, but she’s hardly morally conflicted about it. It wasn’t about Death feedback or the Aki, but rather its a nod towards her own hypocrisy. She grew in a society where bakenezumi were inferior and expendable, and although she’s making steps towards changing, I believe her willingness to sacrifice Kiro without thinking of alternatives is a pretty good sign that she’s not so different from the other people in her village

    2. I agree with your statement that Saki is a hypocrite but that does not make her ‘evil’ or a bad character. I know this sounds like a cheap excuse, but Saki’s choice made her a more human, and not some invincible idealistic hero.

      Having said that, I feel rather annoyed with Saki. Granted, I’m a huge Satoru/Saki fan ever since the man went Rambo all those episodes back, but I pity Satoru since the ending made it seem (to me) that Saki only chose him because her two previous loves were already dead.

      1. That’s pretty much how I view their relationship as an anime-exclusive viewer. I’m more in the Maria/Saki camp, so with that and the lack of real intimacy due to how messed up they both were post-Shun and Maria, Satoru/Saki is pretty much “pair the spares” to me. Still, I like to think they end up happy and at peace with each other.

      2. I lean more towards Saki/Shun myself, but I felt a bit sorry for Satoru in the end.

        It’s not even so much that he was a ‘leftover,’ – which I guess he was, all things considered – but that he never really came into his own as a character. In retrospect, he almost feels like a tool to me.

        Shun, Maria and even Mamoru exerted a level of individuality that made them feel alive to me. Saki is a bit of an odd case in this respect, but I definitely can’t say the same for Satoru.

        I mean… put it this way. If Satoru had been killed at the very end, would anyone really have been all that shocked by it? Or even cared all that much? Kinda doubt it.

        Ryan Ashlight
      3. That’s the fault of the anime and not the source material itself; In the adult arc Saki and satoru were just a fake couple pretty much filling the emptiness of losing their loved ones and they knew that (a point which the anime decides to completely overlook) but throughout the years they actually started to feel something for each other until the events of the festival where they start to realize that these small romantic feelings they have for each other are a lot greater than they thought. It’s when they are escaping from the aki by boat when Saki actually confesses to Satoru and says that she is in love with him but has been hesistant to actually finalize their relationship because she wants to remember shun and get over Maria before she can give her all to him otherwise it wouldnt be fair, to which Satoru says he feels the same way (he was just as hung up as Saki was but since we as the audience see the story from her perspective, it looks like Satoru was not as reluctant to be in a relationship as she was). Eventually all that emotion culminates to her destroying the psychobuster (and i think that scene lost a good amount of its impact primarily because of that).

        So yeah, if it wasnt for the anime’s lack of fleshing out Saki and Satoru’s conflicting relationship in the adult arc, then it wouldnt have seemed that they got together because they were the only ones left; they grew to fall in love with each other. Considering this shows other flaws, not properly fleshing out character interactions is one that really bothered me; a show can have a weak plot, but if it has amazing and powerful character interactions, the show will still be memorable to me; I didnt like that; that and certain flaws with the story dynamic and pacing made this just a great series for me instead of a masterpiece

  26. This series creeped me out and engrossed me like no other ;_; true horror at some parts. Who needs ghosts and gore when you have Shinsekai Yori.

    I was pretty much like D: D: D: when we found out that stuff about queerats. And I’m sorry for doubting you, Kiroumaru!! You were always my favourite character!!!

    Idk what to say, really. It was just a really, really interesting ride. A “new world”, precisely (and I did appreciate how they tried to tie in some themes from the New World Symphony). I probably won’t rewatch for my sanity’s sake, but this show is definitely one you have to watch at least once. I’m so happy Saki and Satoru have each other, at least…

    /FRAGMENTED THOUGHTS END. now onto psycho-pass!

  27. Wow, Kiroumaru and Squealer just stole the show for me. Their personalities and methods were a perfect contrast, and yet they were working towards a similar goal.

    Kiroumaru’s sacrifice reminded me of a samurai giving his life for his lord and clan.

    As for Squealer, I think one of the most powerful moments of the entire series was when he proclaimed “We are human!” during his trial, which was met only with laughter. He’s probably known the truth behind his species’ origin for a while now.

  28. Shin Sekai Yori. A brilliant piece of work. This show would most likely go down as one of the top few of this year, and a very influential one at that.

    This show has been profound in its literary portrayal, and watching this feels like watching a movie trilogy, instead of a 25-episode series. Also, with its distinct artistic style and great artistic direction, it shows how powerful animation can be in invoking feelings.

    Being a novel adaptation, and an award-winning one at that, I kinda expected the story to be great. To me, the novel would be like the kind of award-winning literature that I would never bother to read unless a teacher or professor forced me to. So I’m glad that an anime was made, and genuinely, this plot is thoroughly well-crafted. Apart from some plot-holes in the final time, this show created a vast world which stands on its own, and uses an excellent blend of scientific jargon along with the more traditional terms for people to grasp with. A thoroughly gripping storyline, and a very brutal one at that, seeing that many characters have perished. Even the characters who end up in the main art still get wiped off before this show reaches the halfway line (Shun’s death is heartbreaking).

    It is very difficult to end a magnificent story, and failure could cost it a lot of points, but Shin Sekai Yori has managed to resolve this whole issue well, although it was slightly rushed, the ending was satisfying.

    I didn’t follow the show, but rather went at it at one go, and I might have missed out on speculation (and reading spoilers) but the suspense after every episode still almost killed me. The episodes were very coherent together, and it didn’t feel like there were any filler material.

    The artistic direction was fantastic, and the music was right to the spot. Especially the remix of Dvorak’s From the New World. I just admire that piece of music, and it was brilliantly used, especially in the final episode, to conclude this amazing series.

    Overall, Shin Sekai Yori is a world-beating series, and although the content is strongly objectionable (yes it is!) this is a great series, whether for anime fans, or for those who want entertainment and a thoroughly gripping plot.

    Thanks for the great writing and analysis of every episode! Hope to see more high quality series and high quality writing from the writers!

  29. It’s been a long while since I give a standing ovation to an anime.

    Asobi’s done a fine job covering this bleak and unpredictable show. Another standing ovation for Asobi please.

    I won’t say much how I feel since it’s been covered by Asobi and ardent fans’ comments. But I must say, right from the start, I had an unsettled feeling about the true nature of humanity. The last show that game me this feeling was Jinrui

  30. The show was plagued with budget and directing issues and while most of the credit goes to the original novel, it ended on a far stronger note than how it began. Something that’s quite rare for anime.

  31. A great ending for a great series
    The deaths of Kiroumaru and Squealer make me sad. The two of them were easily my favourite characters of Shin Sekai Yori.

    I think you misunderstood the ending of Psycho-pass a bit though. It was not necessarily a sequel hook, just a perfect example of the Book Ends trope.

  32. A very ironic series. Basically what I got out of it was –

    the more things change, the more things stay the same.

    Saki and Satoru are institutional survivors in a world of terribly harsh rules (a society that thinks
    nothing of killing its own children so that they [probably] don’t grow into monsters), and at first,
    their idealistic desire to change its workings are frustrated by their ignorance of how to change it without
    repeating the fatal consequences suffered in their society’s past. The path of their gradual numb
    acceptance of these cold facts; the adventures they experienced and trials they overcame along the way,
    is what the story was really about, IMHO.

    Everything that happened to the both of them was to show us their indoctrination into this “New World,”
    their gradual acceptance of these rules, and their learning how to survive, live, and fit in their world.

    More than anything else, I thought their wedding signified the final acceptance of these things.
    Their reluctance to wed up to that point was the small hope that things could change (weighted more
    towards Saki because it seems that Satoru came on-board sooner). When they finally accept that they
    are a part of, and will willingly participate in the rules of their society (even if it means that they may
    have to endure the “sacrifice” of one or more of their future children for their own society’s sake), that
    was the last personal hurtle to overcome to become fully indoctrinated members of their culture.

    A compelling idea. IMHO, I think the story telling did a good job with it. I think it could have been better,
    though I’m at a loss for how…

  33. When Saki went to see Squealer I had thought that maybe she had decided to give him the apology he wanted before killing him but it’s nice to see that if nothing else she did save the queerats from extinction.

    Honestly while it wasn’t an extremely happy one this was definitely a beautiful and fitting ending. I doubt I’ll be forgetting this anime anytime soon, something I can’t say for many other anime regardless of how entertaining they are.

  34. So, the ending of Shinsekai Yori strangely coincides with Psycho Pass….

    …that there are some systems that you cannot fight against…

    …yet underneath there lies a layer of hope for a better future….

    chitose yagami
  35. It takes guts to explore the depths of human depravity. It takes talent to turn this exploration into one of the best written stories I’ve ever digested. When Kiromarou stated that humans give up too easily, he wasn’t stating that we wave the white flag faster than French on a battlefield. That statement highlighted human nature from the past, to the present, and into the future. We don’t give up and quit. We give up and take the easiest route out rather than focusing on a proper solution to the conflicts, from trivial to incredibly severe. To put it in other words, we flip the kill switch rather than seeing the conflict come to a proper end. Case in point, the PKers and the queerats. Rather than working together to defend each other, PKers just took the easy route and genetically modified each other to prevent any conflict, and then kill off anyone deemed to be a threat. Of course, then you have the issue of the queerats. Rather than entering into a mutual destruction relationship, or better yet work for a relationship that would better each other, they turned the non-pkers into queerats.

    Simply put, if we don’t like someone we take their humanity away from them. It’s a terrible and way too easy action to take, and yet that’s what happens all too often today. What the ending gives, however, is hope. I like that. It’s not a generic perfect ending where every conflict is solved and everyone comes back to life and yadda yadda yadda. This is how you conclude a story. Conflicts more often than not will not have a perfect resolution. This was a realistic end to such an incredible story.

  36. It’s funny how important perspective is.
    We all root for the “heroes” of SSY to exterminate the “evil” Queerats. That’s because the perspective of the show is based around the humans.
    I could imagine this whole show being totally different if it was based around our “heroes” the Queerats, who stand up against the oppressive human Gods, and think of a plan to overthrow them and make a name for themselves.

    That is what I think makes this show so great, it makes you think about both sides of the coin. At first I thought of Squealer and his gang as evil punks…but think about their side. All their life, oppressed, psuedo-tortured and exterminated without a thought from the Gods. Isn’t that sort of underdog situation what we root for in an Anime? We root for the people at the bottom, and we root for their hope to overcome oppression.

    At the end of the series, do we still know who was right and who was wrong? Who was truly evil in this series? Who was truly good?

    Loved this series and how much it made me think, how it made me so involved and wanting to know more about their world. SSY is definitely top 5, if not top 3 for me. So well done.

    ….and RIP Falsse Minoshiro.

    Enker Blues
    1. I think if they behaved more humane in terms of being shown caring for each other or working together on something other than war I would have felt differently. But maybe that’s because we’re seeing from the perspective of Saki and the other villagers?, Kiromaru is a window into the better nature of queerats that the audience doesn’t see. But we really do mostly see Queerats behaving as badly as (or worse than) humans so I never rooted for them.

      Only non-Kiromaru queerat I felt any sympathy for was Squonk who was kind of kawaii.

    2. ….and RIP Falsse Minoshiro.

      being False Minoshiro is suffering.

      Guhh, destroying one of these cute critters is the equivalent of burning terabytes and library’s worth of history and information! And that is just unforgivable!

      I hated Rijin for burning the first one, and Saki for sacrificing the second. I can understand it was the heat of the moment, but fuckkk! Doesn’t make it any easier to accept 😛

  37. SSY is seriously underrated. Its thought provoking , intelligent and the ending was just perfection.
    I feel really badly for the fiend – like Saki said , I am sure that if she had been raised human she’d have been a lovely child(if she had been named , I’d imagine she’d be called “Mirai” , which means “future” I dunno why but it fits , somehow ) .
    And Saki and Satoru got married ^^That’s cute.
    Only thing I wish they would have done is to show a flashback of Yoshimi (Saki’s sister) in the epilogue. It would have been nice to see what she looked like when alive. But that little detail doesn’t affect my overall opinion of the series .
    I hope there will be anime that are just as good in the rest of the year .

    1. D’aww! ‘Mirai’ really is a fitting name for Maria and Mamoru’s kid. It’s gender-neutral, so it could swing either way, and it represents the future that his/her parents never had. Plus it begins with M too lol ^_^

  38. There are still one thing than I can’t understand, the death feedback are setting when a human with psychic powers are born, yes ?
    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. No. The death feedback is something that is genetic and is based around causing death if they kill someone of the same species. The whole ‘seal’ thing is another additional form of control that can be used to limit PK users.

  39. How bad must storytelling in anime be if SSY is proclaimed a masterpiece?

    Having made my contrary comment, this has been a good – no, it was a great show to watch. It was refreshing to see a series with clear direction, even if this is only because it was the adaptation of a substantial novel. The adaptation (barring the constant presence of the creators’ favourites Maria & Shun) was handled pragmatically and got the main points across well, while not detracting from the fantastic atmosphere created by the way the world was selectively presented through the story. The scene where Saki & Satoru were hiding from the not-fiend (Ep 19 I think it was) will definitely be a standout moment in this year’s anime.

    However, the ending wasn’t all that. The way molerats = muggles was only addressed in this episode reeks of cheap heat for Cantus users (given the bleak and cynical tone of the series was already well established, was this really needed?), and Saki’s eventual solution is curiously hypocritical. Truth be told, Saki has annoyed me from start to end in this arc; thankfully she has always been around someone (or some apparition in the case of Shun) who was ready to push her in the right direction. I didn’t mind the “quick” death of the not-fiend, but the ending narration did feel a little too long and somewhat pointless.

    AOTY? Hahaha, not a chance (Fate/Zero & Jinrui last year, Uchuu Kyoudai this year so far). But SSY deserves to be watched as an example of how to tell a story well.

    (N.B. Whoever compared PP and SSY endings above should get a cookie. That’s a comparison I never thought of)

    J Jay
    1. Uchuu Kyoudai lost all momentum after Mutta was accepted as an Astronaut-in-training. You cant deny that, or the fact that the supporting cast is pretty bland, Kenji and Nitta in particular. There’s hardly any gas left in the tank even if they’re trying to refuel it now. It was a great show, but as of now it’s just decent.

      You’re entitled to your opinion of course, but if you try to compare SSY and Spacebros and objectively (and not subjectively), SSY is a clear winner, all categories

  40. Two things that have occurred to me after some thought and reading the comments here. The priest in episode 4 had death feedback happen when he was killing queerrats and the children thought it might be because they looked like humans from a distance. The more likely answer was that as a priest he knew that they were actually modified humans. Actually, the slaver empire didn’t go away, they just modified the slaves to no longer appear human.

    The second thought was that Saki is truly a child of her society. No matter her hope to change it, she and Satoru were raising tainted cats and we know what the only use was for them.

    Thinking about those facts just adds to my horror at the PKers society.

  41. wow, talking about being a bro…they should build a fucking statue of kiromarou to commemorate his heroic sacrifice for the ‘humans’…

    but really, the whole revelation about queerats originally being humans isn’t all that much to take in, everything’s sort of laid out after the first false minoshiro encounter, again Saki with the sheer astonishment as if she’s seen a unicorn or some shit…

    squealer pretty much defines anti-hero…

    as for the epilogue, yeah they can dream or hope all they want, but the ‘humans’ won’t change, or rather its too darn late for anything to be done…

    the series just screams privilege, doesn’t it…you’re either born a cantus user who’s too blind to see anything beyond the veil, or a queerat who’s gonna struggle to be human once again till death to no avail…

    1. ^ this. I pretty much agree with everything you just stated.

      However, SSY is a reflection upon our society now and in the past. There will always be the “privileged” and “unprivileged.” In order for one class to live well or have the upper hand, another class must coincidentally suffer and be at a disadvantage. One’s triumph is always at the cost of another’s defeat.

  42. this show as a whole was pretty good, i can imagine that the novel would be a better representation of things as often i felt the characters were behaving in a completely unrealistic manner. perhaps their reasons for doing so (why not just have one person sacrifice themselves to kill the fiend? or even several. if the whole point was compromise through harsh marginalization of human life, then the sacrifice of a few would most certainly be in line with their thinking) are explained better in the novel.

    overall saki was a disappointing protagonist, in anything i thought she was an all-too human incapable of really protecting herself, thereby completely relying on those around her (often times resulting in their deaths: inu, kiro, their entire ad-hoc group when the fiend appeared, etc).

    kiro was definitely a very interesting character, far more so than squealer. and of course, shun was a delight for the few episodes he was present.

    all in all very enjoyable, but definitely not on psych-pass’ level as an anime though.

    so very odd
    1. Couldn’t agree more.
      I like how the show made us hate Squealer in the every episodes then turn him into a hero of humanity at the very last episode.

      His final words are the best : “No sins will left unpunished!”.

  43. Can’t say I’m happy about the end of the series. It’s for the same reason that I root for the Sentinels in the X-Men or root against Harry Potter. They deserve their comeuppance, but never get it.

  44. I think the ending was brilliant. The only other way it could have ended (according to me) is the entire annihilation of the villages. I was actually hoping for that early in the first season, when I began to realise just how fucked up their civilization was, and that the holy barrier is not so much protecting them from the outside world but the other way around. I was hoping Saki, Shun, Satoru, Maria and Mamoru to escape, even up to the point where Mamoru and Maria tried to escape alone and I was still hoping. They didn’t however. Instead the creators chose a different route that went to even further depths of horror and despair and I fucking loved it. I loved it all.

    It was the best anime for 2012, but is only eligible for the award this year. I think it’s going to win it either way, because I don’t foresee any such greatness in a long time, but I would enjoy being wrong.

  45. One final thought and that is how we are conditioned to root for (or at least be sympathetic too) those you look like us or an idealized us. Even though we know by the end what the bakenezumi are and how they have been treated, it is still hard to identify with them emotionally. Our empathy still goes towards Saki. Consider the movie Avatar and imagine if the Pandorans looked like queerrats instead the tall and noble looking creatures we see. I doubt if the movie would have done any box office at all. Now try to imagine SSY with the exact same story and the PKers and queerrats character designs reversed or the queerrats made to look cute or handsome. Still have the same feelings about them as you did before the truth about them is revealed? Humans do have a built in set of prejudices.

  46. Some thoughts:

    1)The finale was an awesome twist. Literally dehumanizing non-PK users feels just like what our world does to people who don’t fit into the privileged class’s paradigm. Not to get too political, but certain countries thrive off of this, in the name of peace and civil rights for “all.” Is it about survival, or is it just mankind’s conceited belief that we must sacrifice others in order to protect the greater good?

    2)I get the feeling that once villagers realize that the Queerrats are human, death feedback will kick back in if they try to harm them. From my memory, the monk who saved Group 1 during the camping trip felt ill when he killed the Queerats. And I think Saki’s parents knew the truth because her dad dropped hints early on about ‘people quietly rebelling.’ Anyone else feel that way?

    3)I was surprised at the level of anxiety I felt for these characters. The village’s crisis was just plain scary. I was impressed at how the show built suspense.

    4)I’m SO glad Satoru didn’t die. Seriously.

    Thanks for the awesome coverage, Asobi! Looking forward to your final impressions.

    Tama Tama
  47. The show might have inspired a group of cult following but boy, did it flop big time commercially (only ~550 shipped), even the likes of Uchuu Kyoudai and Robotics;Notes fared better. Niche projects like SSY that is basically DOA commercially is something other anime studios are increasingly averting these days, and A1 pictures deserves props for its willingness to take on such a risk.

    Frau Kojiro
  48. I have to leave a comment, SSY left an impact on me that few media (anime, books, movies, tv) has ever had before. I agree that there was alot of potential left behind, not just in the overall environment and world that SSY created but in the characters themselves. I really liked kiromaru and felt he was the most honest (besides saki) about his feelings and his motives, im sad he had to die but that was part of the story.

    I really want to read the novel now since people have mentioned it has more emotional depth and fleshed out story than the anime. However this series has left such a dramatic impact one me that words cannot express. The philosophical themes, the dystopia, the cruely and kindness of human beings whether pk users or not, the power of individuality and creativity and imagination and stubbornness helps us look introspectively at our own nature and society and history and our future.

    The story and the timeframs really showed the growth of the characters, even the ones we lost, and just how much impact on saki they really had, and what led her to becoming the character that narrates the story for us. It was her story to tell, not just becuase she survived but like tomiko she evolved and changed and wished to bring new ideals into her society so she can see it grow and hopefully fulfill some of the wishes the people that were sacrificed hoped to achieve (queerat and human).

    Again so much potential in the story, i wish even though i know its futility that somehow someone can take the novel or the anime and do something more with it, but stranger things have happened. Despite conflicting feelings with how the show ending; whether u were rooting for one pairing or another or the queerats or the humans or whether u were just left wanting more and angry or depressed. Even if the show has given you nightmares and made you into a nihilist or a cynic, this journey has been one that i am sure will leave as much of an over-reaching lasting effect on you as it did for me.

    Remember “The power of imagination is what changes everything” for better for for worse. 🙂

  49. The fact that such a show can leave such an impression on people to the point of discussing even the smallest things, is the reason why this show is amazing in more ways than one.
    I just want to throw my money in the air and just give these guys the credit they deserve.
    Loved every bit of this show… and its definitely right up there on my top anime list.
    Such rarity of a show to have so much impact. Love it~

  50. I don’t know if peopel would still read through this, but I stopped watching Shin Sekai Yori at episode 18 because I knew whatever came next, I didn’t want to spend weeks waiting, I wanted to know asap, mainly because i’m very easy to lure into a cycle of suspicion. I cried from episode 19 to 25 nonstop 🙂 Mainly because of Shun, mainly because of Maria and Mamoru, and the girl from the begning that no one rememerbs, for the thought of losing Satoru, and for the queer rats that never got their humanity declared.

    To be honest I can’t post anything because I’m still crying and it is sad, very. Cheers, M. Maybe when I can really post something smart I’ll try agian, I have become so attached to this anime that I hate myself. This is the first anime that I watched with some scenes I didn’t like, but I did not regret watching it. Thanks for your review, looks like my bed sheets are going to be my tissues for the night.

  51. I’m going to be very disappointed if either Shinsekai Yori or Psycho-Pass don’t at least make it into the recommendations for best of 2013. I know there’s a whole year of seasons left ahead, but honestly there haven’t been many shows in the last decade that have been as thought provoking and thrilling as Shinsekai Yori or Psycho-Pass.

    In a lot of ways, the two shows are incredibly similar (the main character in both shows is a heroine who is noted in-canon for being quite capable of overcoming psychological trauma, for example). While I was initially worried about how both series would turn out, Psycho-Pass ended up being very solid and reminded me a whole lot of GitS:SAC. Shinsekai Yori was also very thrilling and tied up all the loose ends very well.

    There’s still more stories to tell in both universes (and the animation got choppy for both in some cases) but these shows are prime examples of anime done right. Moreover, it’s quite rare to see two shows as good as these air in the same season.

    At any rate, I’m glad I watched both.

  52. This anime was amazing. Every time i think about SSY my hear strings are pulled. Even though i hated how they just killed off three of the main characters that is also how they made the watcher more connected with the show. The saddest part i would have to say is when we found out Maria and Mamoru were killed and had their children taken from them. Even though i knew the queerrats did what they had to i just can’t stop hating them for doing that to Maria and Mamoru. Anyway great anime and to those people who watch The Game of Thrones read the books.

  53. Its not pretty clear Maria is dead, or mamoru, i don’t have time to expalin this now, but maybe latter i will write this, only now what i can say, is it, there is no way for squeeler to find them, even sqounk didn’t know where they go, and even if he know, he wasnt from squeeler colony, so squeeler could force sqounk to answer only after atack on sqounk colony, so this is enough time for MM to escape, and considering Maria skill for fly, maybe she can even fly not just jump, we saw it in class room, so they have enough time to escapy really far, and dont leave any traces, so squeeler coudnt have a chance to find them, i have my own theory, how they find child, and why humans think its MM bones, but i will tell it later.

  54. loved how Saki said Squealer when she was little! one of the best, if not the best animes I’ve ever seen. Hope the novel is translated into English someday. absolutely amazing

  55. It took me a few days to finish the show (real Life, right?) but I am honestly glad that I didn’t let the first 2 episodes discourage me !!! It is such a good anime!
    The last few episodes have been full of tension and honestly, I could feel my heart beat with fear whenever Saki and Satoru were chased !!

    brilliant conclusion and, in as much as I truly disliked Squealer for being so sneaky and fake and twisted, it is that very nature that makes him the most human character out there in terms of villains. and I mean, is he really a villain? he’s on par with the Joker (Heathe Ledger’s rendition): completely crazy but a crazy person with a true purpose.

    so, thank you, Asobi, for the many posts on this show!

  56. Definitely a really awesome and magnificent anime, though I wasn’t happy with Squealer tortured like that. That was…”inhumane”.
    But, doing so made this anime a message to every human watching it. Don’t become a human like those in the anime.

    Also, I want to say, I really hate Satoru. He was also just a racist, not any more human than those who tortured Squealer or killed children in fear of them becoming a fiend. You could hear him several times ignoring facts just to calm his conscience. The only humane human here was Saki, who at least thought about things instead of taking them for granted.

  57. this has got to be the first post colonial themed anime i’v watched the content is highly allegorical but thematically it sticks to all the contents of a post colonial novel, the humans adopting the imperial, colonialist discourse


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *