Oh wow! I am filled with goosebumps and my heart is beating. I am excited and sad to see this wonderful anime end. Absolutely amazing! If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend it..
The story is set about a thousand years into the future, post a war that changed humanity forever. The war was between humans and PC – a strong telekinetic group of people who multiplied under adversity and learned how to dominate the weaker species.
The story happens in a village and we follow the life of Saki (“Youngest child”) from puberty into adulthood.
As the story slowly begins to gather pace, this seemingly utopic community begins to expose the dark secret it harbors.
When Saki goes with her four friends on a school field trip they encounter a strange creature (a fake minoshiro) and begin to discover the true history of how their society came into existence and the lengths to which it’s gone to keep their lives as peaceful and ordered as possible.
Struggling to come to terms with what they subsequently learn they rebel against the status-quo and set off on a life-threatening journey of discovery which unbeknownst to them may turn out to actually save those they hold dear.
“We have to change our way of thinking if we plan to change the future” – Saki
The show is based on the novel of the same name by the critically acclaimed and best-selling writer Yusuke Kishi (The Crimson Labyrinth). It slowly unfolds, twists and turns over a melancholic backdrop with an eerie ‘someone is watching me’ feel given off by its slow then somewhat hurried pace. I was immediately drawn in, hours ticked by like minutes as I marathoned the show, finding myself drawn ever deeper into it.
The anime reminded me of one of my favourite shows, Now and Then, Here and There (Ima, soko ni iru boku) and although it is set in the distant future, society seems to have turned back to simpler times and ways of living. As with other Japanese anime, the show does push the boundaries, dipping into darker waters which can prove uncomfortable to watch. I was a bit shocked to see gay couples emerging in episode 8 and I quickly went over my initial shock figuring out the truth of this society – they are free to love whomever they want and how they want as long as they don’t do any harm.
I couldn’t help but empathise with the characters in the show and their struggles. Having said that, some characters did appear almost one dimensional with a frustrating lack of development. Plus they disappear quite quickly out of the scene. The entire show is played out within this small corner of Japan, leaving you to wonder how the rest of the country and other cities fare. Personally I prefer this concentrated approach and having not read the novel, the story was presented nicely.
“Sometimes, the truth is the cruelest thing of all” – Maria
It’s hard to put a label on this anime. It can be classed as a horror but I personally wouldn’t label it as such. This dark, supernatural drama is woven and kept together by strong psychological themes. Good intentions can have profoundly negative consequences and that’s one of this stories main messages. Plus – if you have intelligent beings and you use them, are they your slaves?
I think if you look at the show again from the perspective of the queer rats, you might see the show as a rise to arms, a story of uprising to bring down the gods themselves, and Squealer is a new Spartacus in that sense.
If you look at the story of Shun you can see the loneliness and the isolation he lives in. The increase of his power that doomed him was unpredictable and I cried a little when he said that they had given him poison pills to take and he took them all the moment he got home. He did not want to become a monster but he still did…
From The New World had one of the most satisfying endings to a show I’ve ever seen and that is usually one of the most challenging aspects for an anime to get right. It’s a beautiful and masterful piece of work by Ishihama Masashi who also worked on the dark show Speed Grapher and should be on your list if you haven’t had the pleasure to watch it.
PS: My favourite character was Shun followed closely by the captain of the Giant Hornets colony.