Twelve Days of Anime Part 10: Surprised by Horror

Saki attacked by an Impure Cat in Shinseaki Yori, Shin Sekai Yori, From the New WorldShinsekai Yori is probably the best show I saw in 2013 that was also produced in 2013 (the best anime I saw this year period was Turn A Gundam).  Since I like it so much, I have tried to recommend it to other fans who missed it.  Most of the time my elevator pitch for an anime will include the genres to which it belongs.  One day I was thinking about this sort of thing, and it hit me that I hardly ever, if ever at all, classify an anime by one genre alone.  For the sake of the blog I may do that, but when I’m talking to friends I tend to  describe an anime’s genre classification the way I might describe a meal: one main dish plus three sides.  I do think that most anime do belong to a “main” genre which dictates their structural blueprints (even the subversive shows, because their blueprints work off of those of the genre they are subverting), but there are also elements of other genres present within the show.

I would describe Shinsekai Yori as a dystopian supernatural fantasy which is very political and also contains strong horror elements.  Those last three words are ones I never thought I would write about an anime.  Most of the horror I’ve observed in the medium is an exercise in “HEY LOOK AT THIS!  LOOK AT THIS GROSS THING!  LOOK!  LOOK, ISN’T IT GROSS?!”  However, Shinsekai Yori is remarkably effective in delivering non-cheap horror by way of an ever-present sense of dread.  From very early on, the viewer is aware of dark secrets lurking beneath the surface of everything.  As Saki and the others slowly worked out the mysteries of their society and marched closer to the ugly truth, I simultaneously wanted and did not want them to continue.  Part of me wanted to know, but part of me was also disturbed by each revelation and just wanted those kids to stop meddling.

For me, this was a totally unique experience in the anime medium, so not only is Shinseaki Yori my favorite new show of 2013, it is also my favorite horror anime period.

Twelve Days of Anime Part 10: Surprised by Horror

On the Use of Sex in the Dystopian Society of Shinsekai Yori

Maria and Saki in Shinsekai Yori, From the New World

Shinsekai Yori stands out, not only as an anime series, but as a piece of dystopian fiction.  The aspect of it that initially struck me was how its society used the sexual intercourse of its individuals to benefit itself as a collective.  This has been done before in dystopian writing, but the manner in which it is done in Shinsekai Yori is unique (or at least rare).  Here, I discuss the use of sex in Shinseaki Yori by comparing it to its uses in the dystopian societies of Plato’s Republic and Huxley’s Brave New World.  Then, I offer some concluding remarks on the use of sex in dystopias in general.

Suggested Soundtrack for Reading – Young Galaxy “The Angels Are Surely Weeping”

Continue reading “On the Use of Sex in the Dystopian Society of Shinsekai Yori”

On the Use of Sex in the Dystopian Society of Shinsekai Yori

Kiroumaru and Squealer: A Tyrant’s Noble Pride

A-1 Pictures and Ishihama Masashi’s anime Shin Sekai Yori (or From the New World) has been a fascinating ride, with numerous ethical questions and a fascinatingly different story. One of the many things I’ve found interesting about the show is the portrayal of the two main Monster Rats, Kiroumaru and Squealer. Needless to say, this post will contain spoilers. Image

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Kiroumaru and Squealer: A Tyrant’s Noble Pride