Shinsekai Yori

It’s been a long time since I watched this series, but it still stands out as an amazing, intelligent, thought-provoking, and entertaining work of sci-fi, on par with Dennou Coil, Planetes, Kaiba, and Psycho-Pass. Shinsekai Yori (From the New World) is adapted from a novel that tied with Dennou Coil for the 2008 Nihon SF Taisho Award (the Japanese SF Grand Prize) and won the Yamada Futarou award. Some will recognise the latter is named after the author of the Ninpouchou series (among other novels) – the most famous being Kouga Ninpouchou, adapted into the fantastic Basilisk. The huge popularity of these novels was no doubt instrumental to the modern image of supernatural ninja. Anyway, if you enjoyed Dennou Coil, Kaiba, and Psycho-Pass, you will almost certainly love Shinsekai Yori.

After a confusing, violent prologue that lays down future history, Shinsekai Yori follows a group of children in a strange fantastic world of mysterious creatures and supernatural powers. The storyline and setting unfold over several years and the entire series, as the characters find out about the world and society they live in, and become embroiled in conspiracy, conflict, and moral dilemmas.

The characters are nuanced, the storyline intriguing and dark, and the revelations are clever. Like the best Japanese sci-fi (Kaiba, Dennou Coil, Planetes), it tells both a personal story as well as a larger story. If you’re into sci-fi, I strongly recommend Shinsekai Yori.

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