I went from humanity declining to humanity actually in a new world. And this one gets a bit darker and bloodier.
Shinsekai Yori didn’t fail to flaunt the supernatural side right from the beginning. Introduced to what is assumed to be a split between two different kinds of people, those with powers and those without, the outcome is obvious when crooked smiles and killing sprees are all said and done. But what is done is done, and now there are groups of people who live to harness this new power. After all of the pilot, a third of which devoted to a purifying ritual and the other two-thirds to exposition and legends, I could safely say that much of the premise is up in the air, in complete secrecy. And boy, isn’t that engaging because there are quite a few terms that I’d like to discover as we progress. At least we know that Watanabe Saki (Taneda Risa — this seiyuu is growing on me fast) is in the club just by a hair and that she knows that not only are her friends keeping secrets from her but also her parents. And, that a Copycat is far different from a Tainted Cat.
Transitioning right into episode two, Reiko is gone and that ties right into the rumors of the gravestone room, and confirms Saki’s suspicions that kids, particularly those with lesser skills to hone the psychic abilities or those who break rules, disappear and are never heard from again. This puts a bit of a scare not only in her but in me as well, because this new world is hiding something and it’s only a matter of time before these children find out what it is. If I saw anything from the second episode, it is that these bakenezumi (UTW translated it as “queerats”) are more than meets the eyes.
The cool thing so far, though, is that these psychic abilities are shown frequently, even in little competitions. But the more I see them, the more I want to know: how do these powers change the way these new humans live and interact, and more importantly, why are some of the kids who either lack power or discipline vanish? The second episode tried to explore the vanishing kids chapter but so conveniently, memories are hazy even as they faintly recall that something has happened.
Naturally, because it’s adapted from a light novel, the pacing is dictated by necessary exposition. As we find out, Saki’s older self — this assumes that she survives all kinds of trials that’s been hinted at in the early going — tells the story and recalls some of the events that she may have overlooked or misremembered as a youngster. It wouldn’t be a problem if the first two episodes have been faithful to the source material but I’m scratching my head a little as to whether certain parts have been glossed over. I just feel like Manabu’s vanishing was such convenience, even if it was meant to explain that rules are not to be broken. Even for a completed two volume series, it might take a bit more to unveil just how far the anime adaptation will go. (It might also be in my best interest to at least check out the novels’ summaries just in case, albeit spoilers abound.)
The cast is diverse enough to warrant attention. Aonuma Shun (Toudou Mai, Murase Ayumu) is especially an enigma to me because of how composed he is and how he was referred to as a referee in the opening scene of episode one. Asahina Satoru (Kaji Yuki, Tojo Kanako) should provide lots of boyish tenacity and tension, perhaps looking to indirectly grab Saki’s attention for himself versus Shun’s cool and collected facade. Akizuki Maria (Hanazawa Kana) and Itou Mamoru (Kudou Haruka, Takagi Motoki) anchor out the gang of five well with their different personalities, though it seems like Maria would be getting a bigger role in the coming episode(s). If the ED continues to be inklings to who is getting a featured episode, then everyone should have a turn before they are all on the cusp of vanishing and surviving until they become teens/adults. And why not? The ED sequences are quite telling of each character, or at least, of Maria so far.
So far, I feel engaged. I feel new to this world and I’m curious about the powers they’re forced to learn, master and craft; I’m especially interested in this war that’s been mentioned in previews and how that affects Saki’s awareness. She already knows that she probably had other siblings that vanished and consequently lost memories of in the process. Shinsekai Yori would be a fantastic series as long as explanations are evened out with the showing of the powers and plot developments, which I expect A-1 Pictures to do well and consistently. If there is anyone out there who has read the novels, do comment on what to expect and whether the anime will adapt well to how the story is structured. Otherwise, it will be just me and my anime instincts as I cover this series.
GO Rating: 3.5/5
Continue to Watch? - Yes.
Continue to Review? - Yes.