New World Chaos: The 3 Biggest Twists From Shin Sekai Yori
There are certain shows where there exists a clear divide between right and wrong. They take the guess work out for the viewer by presenting a static protagonist and a static antagonist, and let the story develop from there from places where you can see around the corner. On the other hand, there are those where the viewer is not given the same courtesy. Shin Sekai Yori, or From the New World, fits that bill. As soon as you thought you knew the answers, Shin Sekai Yori changed the questions.
**Warning: Contains Spoilers**
Shin Sekai Yori was a dystopian sci-fi anime based on the Best-Selling Japanese novel of the same name. The series centered around Saki Watanabe and her group of four friends at school in a seemingly utopian town in Kamisu’s 66th district, roughly a thousand years into the future. All five children possess their own forms of special telekinetic powers. Those powers are also possessed by the leaders of the world and throughout the series, those powers prove themselves to be a gift, as well as a curse.
In the same world exists creatures known as Monster Rats that live among themselves in sub-colonies outside of the area where the humans live. To the Monster Rats, humans with the telekinetic powers are seen as god-like and seemingly highly revered. The Sub-colonies of the creatures are all separate and have their own sense of governing, but have affiliations and divisions amongst themselves that prove problematic at times.
Certain events take place throw the original balance of the exposition out of whack, creating differences for the worse. The original quintet dwindles, the hero worship between Humans and Monster Rats sours, and the skeletons of the utopia inhabited by Saki and friends are revealed as the town to be another product of a gilded age.
For most viewers, this series existed on the outside edge of the realm of predictability, before jumping into the realm of “seriously, what just happened.” Every aspect of the series had their moments of surprises. Whether it’s the life, love, or war, there wasn’t much that one could honestly have seen coming with great certainty. Shin Sekai Yori was mildly popular, but overall unheralded to in the grand scale of the anime community. In fact, I never saw a link or advertisement for it, but rather heard about it from a good friend. But that lack of notoriety was not for a lack of compelling nature. There’s are a few different twist that occur in the show that should prove it to be well-worth your time.
And those are (Major Spoilers Ahead)…
3. Same Love
In most cases, the romantic connections of a story story is one of the most predictable aspects of it. This is not quite the case in Shin Sekai Yori. The first signs of romantic entanglement arise when Saki, Satoru, Maria, Mamoru, and Shun are all 12 years old on a summer camping trip. While the group takes their boats to the water in what turns out to be quite the experience, Saki and shun spark up a bit of an infatuation for each other. From the boat ride, to meeting a False Minoshiro, to their harrowing encounter with the Monster Rats, they seemed to grow closer.
Fast forward two years after the incident. The group still appears together in school, but there’s been a change. Saki still shows interest in Shun, but the feeling is not reciprocated as Shun seems more interested in hanging around Satoru than acknowledging her. Later on, Saki sees Shun momentarily alone in a field, before hiding behind a tree when she sees Satoru soon to follow. While the two roughhousing was not a surprising sight, the passionate kiss that the two boys shared certainly caught Saki and much of the audience off guard. Not only this, later on it appears that Saki and Maria had become lovers as well. What a difference a couple of years make.
2. Queen Dethroned
During the group’s ever eventful summer camping trip, they met a Monster Rat named Squealer. He was a cowardly, yet harmless creature that was grateful to have been saved by the five friends. In the midst of showing them his appreciation, they got a slight tour of his Robber Fly colony. During this they say the queen monster rat who, as based on the way Squealer described it, was growing old, angry and insane. This seemed to be a problem the Robber Fly colony was going to have to adjust to as every colony had a queen and she was responsible for the continued reproduction of their people.
The same amount of time passed between the initial event and the twist again, as two years later Saki and Satoru have found themselves in the company of Monster Rats once again. This time, it’s to search for Maria and Mamoru, who had fled the town for a multitude of reasons that could only be explained by watching the series. If Saki could not return them within three days, The Board of Education was going to have Maria and Mamoru destroyed. During the search, gets knocked unconscious and comes to in the familiar setting of the Robber Fly colony with Squealer. This time, seeing the queen solicited a much different reaction. In the time between the first and second visits, the queen had become a gruesome sight to behold, as a result of being lobotomized and reduced to a baby factory with a vacant look with a hint of shock. Squealer justifies this as being the best thing for the colony that the queen would be happy to know of her purpose. That message may not have been completely delivered over the strong sense of horror that this scene conveyed.
1. Know Your Enemy
This one doesn’t occur in an instance, but was rather systematically built up since before the setting of the beginning of the series. Fast forward twelve years into the future to see that the former group of five had been cut to just two. Saki is now 26 years-old and now works for the Department of Mutant Management when she gets a visit from her old friend Satoru, whom she had lost contact with. He informs her of a Monster Rat attack that seems to have been related to the battle between the two factions that the colonies had broken up into. One led by the leader of the Giant Hornets colony, Kiroumaru, and the other led by the leader of the Robber Fly colony, Yakomaru, who is formerly known as Squealer. This sparks a war between colonies that soon becomes a war against humans led by Yakomaru, who was able to easily defeat Kiroumaru’s clan with his secret weapon. That weapon turns out to be an ogre, a human child raised by Monster Rats with immense and uncontrolled power. Yakomaru becomes a real threat to mankind, until Saki, Satoru, and Kiroumaru devise a successful plan to defeat the ogre, rendering the creature formerly known as Squealer powerless.
As the result of every war in modern history, the losing party must be held accountable for the casualties. Apparently, this will be no different in the next millenium. While Yakomaru is being held trial to answer for the horrific acts against humanity for which he was responsible for, he flips the script by claiming humanity forced his hand. While this claim seems ridiculous at first, the evidence says otherwise. When asked what he is during the trial, Yakomaru, who has demotes himself back to the name Squealer, vehemently screams, “I am human,” which is met by laughter from the board. After Yakomaru is sentenced to “Eternal Hell”, which is constant torture without the fortune to die, Saki is told by Satoru that the Monster Rats are in fact humans, who were injected with mole DNA to prevent them to being a threat to those with the power, and being able to kill while avoiding the Death of Shame, dying from killing one’s own people. Saki meets this news with shock, and decides that Squealer has had enough and puts him out of his misery. While the identity of the true villain is up to the opinion of the viewer.
Shin Sekai Yori was a roller coaster of action and emotion that proves itself to be worth every minute spent watching it. If you’re thinking that there’s nothing else to be seen after reading this, then you’d be pleasantly surprised to know that there’s still tons of surprises that weren’t mentioned in this article. So if you haven’t you’re not turned off by knowing the ending, I highly suggest giving it a watch.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
This is a lovely series but I wish it would had been longer. It covered a large scale in the 25 episodes. Some of the time jumps were sudden.
Totally agree. A lot must have went on during the time skips, especially the 12 year gap, that could have made for an interesting story. It definitely would’ve been nice to see more.
Thanks for reading!
I liked the Shinto elements in the story and the peaceful life in the villages with the lovely architecture. The last revelation was excellent, in showing who was the real agressor all the time. To be honest I found the Bakenezumi so disguisting that I couldn’t like them even after this.
I found myself feeling similar after the end. I couldn’t feel pity for Yakomaru after the way he manipulated his way into being a threat to humanity
To me it is definitely the anime of the year. I seldom come across an anime that is so enticing and philosophical at the same time. I think 25 episodes is actually a good length considering that it was adopted from a novel and the flow wasn’t disrupted that much.
A great look at one the underrated gems of a series.
I tried to watch the first episode but it came across as really generic fantasy mumbo jumbo to me. I assume it must get better though as its been getting good reviews from those who have seen the whole thing. When does the series start to pick up?
The start is slow but it gets good at the story develops.
The ending HAUNTS me to this day. It brings tears to my eyes; you can see examples of this kind of dilemma throughout history. Squealer was definitely power hungry, and his actions were disgusting, but; I could relate. Dear god, I could understand why he would be the way he is. Why the monster rats were the way they were and how easy it is to become so twisted under such oppressive circumstances. Even if their life was one of peace, when complying with their ‘Gods’, it isn’t the same as freedom. Not one bit. It’s so easy to snap under that pressure and when one does it just gives the oppressor the chance to turn around and say ‘AHA, GOT YOU!! This is why we must enforce such measures’.
But the anime allows both sides the chance to demonstrate why they chose to make such extreme decisions. One of the best anime I’ve ever seen.
This was a great review, without giving to many of the spoilers away, just enough to get prospective viewers a taste of what’s to come.
I just finished this series, and to be honest..I found the entire series entertaining and watched it in two days. Even the start that some said were slow, I actually found its pacing nicely done. Altho looking back after finishing the series..I could see how if restarted, it would appear much slower compared to the intense story at the end. But as a first time watch, I found it fascinating. I do have questions though…and if someone comes along that could answer them: that would be wonderful. Thus I say: *SPOILERS* ——for those who haven’t watched and are considering, you may not want to read what I have to say or the questions following——
For those who can answer me, Im still left with some confusion. For one, why the sudden change in attraction for the characters? With the romantic boat ride under the stars and hand touching…it appeared that the romance had a direction…but upon returning and fast forwarding a few years, they were no longer such. If Marie suddenly loved our main character..why did she later leave her for a man, and then have child with him? I was happy for the guy, seeing as he had a crush on her since the beginning, but it didn’t add up. And it was clear that shune loved saki, and vise versa..he calls it out to her and she says it plain as day to the man she decides to marry in the end..but then why does he hook up with a guy? I figured Saki dated Marie at the start only to even the score a bit, since Shune seemed to be having all the fun with love…not to say that she didn’t love Marie, but it seemed like she was fighting her attraction to them both..but I still don’t get it. When they returned from their camping trip, and had their minds altered…did it cause them to forget the attractions they felt on their camping trip? Is that why it changed so dramatically? Maybe the memories that were deep inside shone through but not enough to break their current minds thoughts? Idk what do you guys think? And what happened to Maria and her new guy at the end? After their child killed herself..it never explained….how did sqeeler even acquire their child? Had they died in a raid while their baby was taken from them like the people in their towns nursery? Did they live? And if they lived, why not come and fight for their child alongside their friends? It may have ripped them to shreds, but what if their maternal love could have changed their baby…she may not have had to die. Altho, the scene left me awestruck …even though I understood what was about to happen…watching it was a whole other level. Leaves you a bit stunned. And what of Saki’s siblings? Of course they didn’t make it and they were forced to rely on the youngest of kin….but had they failed their tests in class? Had they become a demon? And the demon boy whom saki loved…why did he not turn into a full demon? He remained human enough until the very end, unlike the demons from the past that they showed brutally murdering humans in the very beginning. I understand that he locked himself in some sort of twisted space to conceal his powers, but if he had become truly a demon…Wouldnt he just have started killing everyone and escaping his prison he locked himself in? Instead of blowing himself up in all of his power? Idk, there is just some confusion. Wonderful series…deep meanings, surprises at every turn…I just wish a bit more was explained.
Traci, based on the anime, I’ll try and respond to the questions that I can. (p.s. paragraphing your questions would have been nice!)
I’m not sure if you read the novel, hence the confusion on your end from following the story. However, I felt that the anime did a very good job of explaining your questions, though maybe with the exception of your first query.
—MAJOR spoilers ahead—
1. Maria took off with Mamoru and escaped the village because (as she explained in her farewell letter to Saki), Mamoru would not have been able to survive on his own. However, she felt that Saki was strong and in that respect, Mamoru needed Maria’s help to survive more than Saki did. Hence, Maria and Mamoru eloped together and eventually they had their own child. What’s a man and a woman to do, all alone in the wilderness, with no entertainment amirite? :p
2. Squealer and his army slayed Maria and Mamoru, stealing their child (the messiah) and grooming her to help them fight against the humans. That’s why Maria and Mamoru cannot come to their child’s aid. Because they’re dead as doorknobs.
3. Saki’s siblings didn’t do well in school and were removed/eliminated. Reckon they had turned into karma demons or ogres/fiends, they would’ve made history. On a related note, Tomiko-sama (head of the ethics committee) could recall all instances of fiends and the most recent case had happened too long ago to have been Saki’s siblings.
4. Shun was a karma demon, not a fiend. He didn’t have the intention to kill anyone. As a karma demon, his cantus was leaking from his subconscious, which he couldn’t help; but he left the main village in an attempt to mitigate the negative effect it had on living things anyway (you can see how it physically warped Subaru, his dog, who followed him til the end). He wasn’t a fiend like Maria’s child was, who had a purposeful intent of murdering people.
4: But Maria’s child was never a fiend either. the other twist was that the shame of death, never worked on the child because the child was raised by the rats and believed she herself was a rat. The shame of death only works if the cactus human believes they killed someone of their own kind.
Morrigon, thank you 🙂 I haven’t read the novel although I would like to eventually..and the clarity is good. I had suspicions about things but I wasn’t for sure about it all, hense all the questions lol. Big help!!
I have just read the novel yesterday and that’s so fu king aaa i dont know how to describe it ,what the minoshiro told in the anime is only 3/4 from the original
Anyway thanks for the review
Sorry english is not my first language, i hope you can understand what am i saying :’)
There certainly are themes of a nostalgia for school, adventure and futurism.