Looks like Super Serial’s back for the time being, but never doubt my ability to not finish what I start. Today’s feature is the first episode of Shin Sekai Yori, the anime adaptation of a novel by Yusuke Kishi. It opens with some horrible things, goes on to do some mysterious things, and ends with a sad thing all set to striking imagery.
While I’m not quite sure exactly what I saw, the episode basically shows our protagonist, Saki Watanabe (who is of course a schoolgirl), going to a school for gifted individuals. She doesn’t become an X-Man but I gather that she’s there to learn how to use these telekinetic powers that the students have for some reason. Meanwhile she shows some anxiety about being the last person in her elementary school class to move on to the new school, and there’s something about a trickster cat spirit or whatever that, uh, eats children? There are a few plot threads being spun here that are of course really one plot threat – it’s just that I’m not sure exactly what the hell’s going on at any particular moment.
The general WTF-ness of the episode doesn’t bother me, though, as this is only the first episode. What struck me most is, unsurprisingly, the horrific events of the opening – provided without context – and a flash forward to 1000 years later. I want to see how those events relate to what goes on in the present (which is the future, but looks a lot like the past). The actual episode is mysterious, but in a way that incorporates some slice of life stylings and a school setting. In fact much of it is standard school drama stuff, but there are some key shifts in tone throughout that lend a vaguely threatening atmosphere to the story.
Now that I think about it, you really don’t see much of anything in this episode. And yet it feels like a lot happened, in the same way it can be exhausting getting yourself acclimated to a foreign country or environment. On the relative scale of first episode quality, I’d say this is pretty good. I like this approach over the irrelevant-but-exciting side story approach, or the introduce-the-characters-then-sudden-cliffhanger method. I like being enticed with what I might find out later.