Shun. He disappears about halfway through. It’s quite dramatic and Saki’s emotions are hilarious.

IT’S TIME… for Shin Sekai Yori, from the new world.

Shin Sekai Yori is a great series from the fall season that ended recently. It is easily the second best show of the season, next to Psychopass, which I FINAL JUDGEMENTED (that is a thing now) ‘yesterday’.

The story is centered on Saki and Satoru, two young people growing up with psychic powers while everyone else (that’s human) has them and runs the chance of turning into a powerful sociopath who kills as a matter of nature. The civilization is served by ‘Queer Rats’ a subhuman race based on mole rats. The government is a theocracy/bureaucracy of sorts that is essentially wholly based on keeping kids from going crazy with their psychic powers and keeping the Queer rats managed. Over all, the series is quite well put together, with one minor flaw.

While the animation quality is quite high, there is one issue that arises quite often. Very few of the characters, but especially Saki, ever show the proper emotions. This even much of a complaint in the last four episodes or so. It took me out of the world in a rocket ship. I’d be watching a dramatic scene and they’d have a close up of saki’s face and it’s like dang, girl. You a board of wood. Or she’s crying really funny-like looking off to the distance. I get that they had a different art director for most of those episodes (which I think is stupid for a long series, but not so much for a 12 episode series), but I wonder about their quality. Except for the dude/ettes that did the last ‘arc’. They were pretty decent.

Now back to the good stuff. The animation is actually quite good. The fight scenes and the demonstrations of their psychic powers, cantus, are some of the best I’ve seen. The plot is alright to good. The story is very skilful and the characters are of the highest quality. The five main characters (before about ep. 12) Mamoru, Maria, Saki, Shun and Satoru.

The world is the true gem of the show. The serious amount of thought that was put into it is entirely of the highest quality. At no point did I say, that action made no sense (for any length of time. I forget sometimes) and violates my belief of what the world is. That’s something special. The design they put into the characters and their dress and mannerisms are highly developed. Indeed, I was pulled into the world and through out it all I was there for the ride.

The final arc, which I’ll call civil war, is a true climax. The stakes have been raised slowly and Yakomaru has made his moves. Then there is the visit to Tokyo. I won’t mention anything else, but the final scene before the tension drops significantly is Yakomaru’s words. “WE’RE HUMANS”. Think about that, he’s defying that he is anything less because he and the Queer Rats are equal to humans who use them as slave labor because of their intelligence. Saki herself pities the Queer Rats through out the series, and rarely does anything to harm a non-aggressive member of the species. The reveal, at the end of it, is quite shocking, but like all good reveals, you could see it coming a mile away, but are surprised when it happens.

Another lack of the series is a lack of strong characters outside of the ‘main four’ Yakomaru, Kiroumaru, Saki and Satoru. There’s also the older woman I forget the name of, who’s been around about 300 years, but she’s essentially a mentor character in everyway. As an older, dominating woman, she’s actually quite low on my scale (not a bad thing, just sort of hard to enjoy) of dominant older woman characters. I’ve seen a lot of them. Otherwise I can count characters I remember on one hand. Mamoru, that red head chick, Shun and her two parents. Ten characters I can remember with detail. WAIT. Shisei two-pupils! 11! woo! Alright, the point I was getting at is that people are often introduced, given characters and forgotten about. That’s a bit off putting for me. Maria and Saki. Most pointless romance ever. Never comes to anything but some false character development.

One last thing negative about it is all the homosexuality in your face. While I understand that a manufactured society can do what it wants and it’s always popular (rarely good) to add bisexuality, it actually detracts from the story and events in Shin Sekai. There is no point between the attraction of Satoru to Shun or the attraction of red-haired girl to Saki. It doesn’t lead anywhere and slows down the story immensely. While I get the need of a breather between the forest arc and the ‘escape’ arc, it’s not useful. Like a character trait tacked on. Does it really matter whether a free living character, who ends up marrying a female in the end, is gay or not? Does it matter that this character is developed to be a complex thing, but is also gay? What does it add? Does it detract? People need to start asking about this sort of thing in literature and anime, or else people will get stuck up their own butts about this, and any dialogue will be stifled. I also thought Mamoru was a girl for the longest time.

There’s a great reason why this show takes second place for the fall season. It’s not as good as Psycho-pass at nearly all points. The animation for Psycho-pass was not as beautiful as Shin Sekai, but it was serviceable and always spot on. The characters in Psycho-pass were… INTENSE to say the least. Makishima and Yakomaru are quite similar, but while I felt, to my core, Makishima’s affect on the plot and characters, Yakomaru was much more hands off, tension sent to the managers of the civilization than any one person. They needed a ‘Police Chief’ (as in Psycho Pass) who drives the story on the side of good and then is really a part of the grand reveal. Music wise, the ops for Psycho Pass were better. That is all (except for the last to ending songs for Shin, those were really good). The philosophy and ideas in Psycho Pass are stronger, the ideals are stronger and even the world is somehow better developed.

That’s the thing about Shin. For all it’s awesomeness, it’s overshadowed by my memory of Psycho Pass. I’ll forget a lot of it quite soon, but that does not mean it’s bad, there’s just better stuff out there. Would I buy Shin Sekai? Only if I had bought Psycho Pass first. Would I recommend it over Psycho Pass? Only to certain individuals.