First Impressions: Shinsekai Yori and Confronting the Past

We humans can use cursed powers. But it is only a meager power, so you have to cherish it.

Hey guys, I think something fishy is going on in Shinsekai Yori. Psychics killing people in Tokyo? Kids disappearing? Shadow cats? Wacky space men chasing little boys? Why, I think this anime might be a little…strange!

Don’t leave now, this party is just getting started!

GET ON THE DANCE FLOOR.

Shinsekai Yori does pique my interest, in a world set 1000 years into the future where all previous human achievements seem to have been purposely wiped out, one has to wonder how does the war between psychics and non-psychics result to this? Why is it that the world has been purged of its technological and scientific accomplishments and yet the principle of systematic segregation remains (as hinted by the disappearing children)? Why have we retained Buddhism as a religion? Who was the smartass who kept that Dvorak record?! The new world is awfully young, and we see that in this episode. This is a small group of people who seem to have purposely isolated themselves but for what?

This world fascinates me, it’s the one thing that keeps me invested even when these twelve year old children speak of the most mundane things and naturally lack the complexity of adult characters. Whenever a long panning shot is made, give us a tour of this small yet mysterious village, my mind starts to wonder about the attacks shown earlier in this episode. It makes me want to believe that there’s social commentary here, something about how in 1000 years, our descendants will be more than willing to shun away our bloody past and never speak of it to our children allowing us never to carry the burden of the past.

Shinsekai Yori has a strong collection of ideas behind it, but I find the over all direction weak. The series tries too hard to disorient you, and while appreciate the director’s efforts to experiment with various angles and styles– the truth is that these things don’t come together very well. Anime is a visual medium and I’m all for experimentation, but while trying different things never forget consistency. Mind Game was extremely all over the place, but it has an easily recognizable style you could easily pin down it was done by Yuasa.

It also doesn’t help that the episode opens with this painful blurry out of focus effect that imitates hand held cameras. I had to look away from the screen because it hurt my eyes and it seems like Scamp suffered through the same thing. I don’t know about you guys, but this is the first time I’ve ever had to go through something like that and I was watching The Prince of Tennis movie last night that features GIANT BLUE BALLS O’ LIGHT.

FUCK YOU PRODUCTION I.G.

These characters don’t appeal to me either, there’s just nothing about these kids that make them stand out from the vast amounts of child protagonists we’ve already had.

Whichs leads me to ask, what was this episode succeed on establishing? You can say that this show needed to do its setup and world building before it could jump into the meat of the story but this first episode accomplished very little in the span of 23 minutes.

No related content found.

6 Comments

  1. Something to keep in mind about this show is that supposedly, the novel takes place over three periods in the lives of the main characters: 12, 14 and 24 years of age. So while I agree with you that right now the cast are generally uninteresting, I think there’s enough potential for growth that I’m not too worried. The series has been confirmed for 25 episodes as well, so there’s that!

    As for everything else: I honestly liked the visuals a lot, thought they were daring and fairly consistent and really dug a lot of the worldbuilding. There isn’t the visual consistency of a Yuasa anime or its equivalent, but for mainstream, non-auteur production I think it’s honestly pretty great. The pacing of this episode was a bit odd, to be fair, and it lacked the fire that’s marked immediately great shows for me (Dennou Coil, Penguindrum, etc.) But I think there’s potential there, and there’s a verve and enthusiasm in the direction that strikes me as promising. I’m not sure of the staff know what they’re doing, but this looks to be a fun ride at the very least! (says the person who said this about Guilty Crown, C, Symphogear…)

    By the way, the GET ON THE DANCE FLOOR caption made me crack up. Probably the best one I’ve seen since the one set to “Himari…I have obtained true light!”

    • I’ll have to stick around and see how much the series is going to improve from here. I’m not doubting the potential of Shinsekai Yori, but the first episode hasn’t quite made any promises either. Fate/Zero was tough to get into but I did eventually end up liking it for what it was. I have a tendency to be harsh on first episodes in general unless I’m greatly impressed so we’ll have to see for the next few weeks if Shinsekai Yori can prove me wrong.

      (says the person who said this about Guilty Crown, C, Symphogear…)
      http://i.imgur.com/enpOb.gif You almost had me believing you Wendeego, ALMOST.

      By the way, the GET ON THE DANCE FLOOR caption made me crack up. Probably the best one I’ve seen since the one set to “Himari…I have obtained true light!”
      Anime gives me an excuse to be witty!

  2. I think you’ve got to give it a fair shot before you start ripping it apart like that. Admittedly, the pacing was a bit off and not a lot happened, but I believe it’s all about building up a mystery. The fact that it has you asking so many question shows it has at least succeeded in that respect.

    Either way, it has plenty of time to build, and I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt even after a rough pilot episode. Barring some unforeseen failure, this looks like it’ll be interesting enough, and I can’t wait for the next episode.

    • The fact that it has you asking so many question shows it has at least succeeded in that respect.
      I won’t deny this, I want to see what happens and I want to discover this strange world. I still have to say that the directing is not very impressive and while it’s true that it’s building up to a mystery, the way it’s done leaves much to be desired. I’d love to be proven wrong in the next few episodes though, it looks like the kind of story that requires some time before it gets the ball rolling.

  3. Ah, I loved this episode. Loved the art and music. I’m also really into these kinds of imaginative settings though, so if that doesn’t catch your attention then there won’t be much to really interest you at this point. With this extensive of a world to lay out for the audience, it will take time for the story to develop its characters and jump into the main plot. Perhaps it won’t lead to anything earth-shattering, but I’m willing to wait and see! :>

    • it will take time for the story to develop its characters and jump into the main plot.

      I just want it to do it in an interesting way though. I mean, at least throw something at my direction that will make me care. But people seem to like it so maybe I’m just not convinced at all.

Leave a Reply

© 2017 Hachimitsu

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: