First Impression: From The New World (Shinsekai Yori)
A future where people seem to be living in the past. A seemingly lack of technology in the outside world but an advanced system of genetic engineering that dictates the limits of all humans from the inside. Amazing kinetic powers that are a blessing to some but a curse for most. From the New World is filled with contradiction that can be inspected and appreciated.
From the New World is all about censorship. Children in this world are never told that they possess kinetic powers until those powers awaken within them. They receive some knowledge about their surroundings through their school, but only enough to know what to be careful of. They never learn the history or current state of their country and they are always on the lookout to avoid meeting the dangerous demons that reside in the outside world that surrounds them. In a sense they have reverted back to a historical period when men and women worshipped nature and didn’t have much of an advantage over other carnivores in the food chain. But as the series progresses five children (Shu, Maria, Satoru, Mamoru and Saki) eventually learns that advanced technologies do exist in their world and that they have been genetically altered to prevent themselves from killing each other or abusing their kinetic powers. This genetic engineering is the solution scientists have found to reduce bloodshed among humans.
When watching this series I had an unnerving feeling that something went amiss along the lines of history. Children are clearly being filtered, and those who are below the norm eventually disappear. The people have achieved a level of genetic engineering that allows them to engineer their food and nature, but they are contained within sectors separated by holy barriers. Who or what is containing them? And what is the true reason they are raised in such cruel and meticulous ways? Are those people being oppressed in the present? Or maybe they have been oppressed in the past and have now all but adapted to this way of life despite the oppressor not being around any longer to monitor them?
The real issue that makes the world of From the New World a dystopia is the lack of information. Our modern culture is overflowing with information. Understanding and utilizing that information give us the power to control ourselves and influence others. But in the beginning of this anime series the children’s lack of information about their world is so severe they do not even understand they are living in a dystopian world. The burst of their blissful informational ignorance bubble by a strange “information animal” from the past is what makes them realize for the first time that they know too little and desperately need to learn more. If not for their meeting with the fake Minoshiro the children wouldn’t even have known that knowledge, and not obedience, is the key to their future survival.
As you can see From the New World is definitely shaping up to be one of the more intellectually pleasing series we have this season. Although it may not have the best looks or the smoothest animation out there it has a macabre charm to it that makes it alarmingly alluring.