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Old 2014-02-06, 04:59   Link #16
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Idaho
Age: 26
Since this is a hot topic right now, I want to take the time to give a more in-depth idea of my opinions and observations for Shin Sekai Yori.

Shin Sekai Yori is one of those ideas that starts out very promising. You have your indoctrinated society seemingly alone in the world coming to realize all of the lies they were raised on. What we're given is something really compelling and interesting, this idea that their society will destroy them for realizing the truth. Instead their fear of this governs them whenever it's convenient and causes turmoil. The first time around it makes sense, but then it's recycled to force an off-screen plot point later on.

What made Shin Sekai Yori interesting for me when it all started off was that idea that they were realizing the truth about their society and themselves. The psychology, and the tricks used to keep their people indoctrinated. The writer(s) created this implication that they were in a dystopia-like world and that these characters had awakened to this reality. Then this setup is discarded in favor of something different.
Spoiler for A very, very lengthy look at the major plot points of Shin Sekai Yori:

For all of my criticism, Shin Sekai Yori did do a lot of things right. Part of the quality of an anime is in its presentation, and SSY did this well. I can drone on about the numerous holes and failings in the written material, but an anime is the sum of its parts. It's still a great show to watch.

While I do think that Saki is a very flat character in development terms, I do like that she was at least flat in a way that made her accepting of the needs of this society. The fact that she was willing to acknowledge for any period of time that there was a greater good that meant the loss of human life places her high above many characters. If her character had served a greater purpose than the almighty plot, she would have been fantastic! It didn't happen though.

Squealer, too, is a very plot-device-esque character who does most of his work off screen. In the early stages of his character there was a lot of promise with him becoming more and more non-verbally skeptical of the humans, followed by him clearly manipulating them. After those initial periods, though, his character becomes an off-screen device to provide a face to the queerat rebellion, which is doomed to fail even if it succeeds.

In the end, the only people in Shin Sekai Yori who are right are the people who are running the human civilization. This makes it all the more annoying when Saki flipflops against them at the end, despite nearly being killed by the things they fought to prevent from happening. The one concession I give is that they could have been nicer to the queerats, and that is the only concession I can give.

As far as the musical and artistic presentation goes, there was a lot of great stuff here. Some really nice establishing shots are used as well as artistic ones. The background music does a decent job of setting the scenes as well. The animation isn't perfect, but it's at the level where you would expect it to be at.

The one thing that really held SSY back in my eyes is the writing. No matter how I look at it, the writing ended up contradicting its own setup in the end, and that's a pretty glaring issue. It seemed to me that the events presented in SSY made a great case for their society to stay its course for the most part, but the ending declared otherwise.

Overall, I think it's a great show. It wasn't perfect though. On a scale, for MAL purposes, I gave it an 8/10.
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