Shin Sekai Yori: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Edition

Clearly, this is not a simple camping trip, silly!

Oh Fall, why do you have added so many shows that are at least worth checking out? As I have a rule of following up with at least three episodes of everything released, my backlog has been increasing with an alarming speed. Anyhow, I am back with the coverage of two episodes of Shin Sekai Yori and wow, it has sure been keeping up with its creepiness since the first episode. Don’t expect blow by blow coverage from me for this, rather speculation and highlights.

Nice mustache, pops!

Time for Chronology

From episode one, we have been seeing mini episodes of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! with some shitty camera angles; though, I have to agree that the graininess of it all always emphasizes its eerie effectiveness. From what I can gather, the years countdown is from the day of massacre we saw in the first episode. Humanity evolved with the realization of their Juryoku and of course, good and bad went out of whack. The selective burning we saw in episode two by Emperor of Delight was before the assassination of Emperor of Light (see a trend here of emperors?). Seems like after the awakening of Juryoku in humans, a king of Anarchy disguised as Monarchy was introduced and maintained by the people in power. However, there must have been an opposition of this system leading to the fall of that system and formation of Ethics Committee (the supposed decision-makers of current time). Of course, a lot of information is missing from the middle but the current time is four hundred and thirty years after that scene and seems a lot peaceful, however micro-managed.

One thing that caught my attention is the Holy Cherry Blossom Empire, same cherry blossom motif was used in flashbacks and even decorated the stationary used by Saki’s father, while he taught her about Bakenezumis. Seems like this symbol has outgrown all kinds of tests of time but is it a symbol of freedom or slavery is still to be revealed. I have a bad feeling that what was done openly five hundred or so years ago–killing less talented people in broad daylight just because they were useless in clapping–is happening under close doors now with disappearances. Whatever the case maybe, seems like we will be seeing more of it.

You can run, but you can’t hide from the Nekodamashi

Creepy Lesson Part 2 & 3

I swear Sage Academy is all about teaching kids how to commit suicide. From the first lesson of cutting the bridge and falling to a horrible death to prevent fiends enter their village to actually drowning oneself after realizing own excessive pride and accumulating bad karma… I’m sure even in AAA sessions, no one talk about killing themselves rather getting out of the bad situation. However, it seems for this peaceful yet secluded town, any behaviour that is not ‘appropriate’ in their definition needs to be cut before it buds even an inch further. Children are told too many scary stories from evil Minoshiros to Blowdogs causing their deaths. Protective much?

Adult Secrets, No Really

Almost all of the adults we encounter have evil shut-eye going for them and while they always smile, they are keeping tabs on each and every kid like hawks. Slow performance and cheating in Ball Tournament causes the Disappearance of Haru–Reiko and Manabu (an actual silhouette of nekodamashi followed the latter). Because they didn’t fit in their cosy little world and though Reiko simply didn’t have skill, Manabu had too much of it, they were removed without any of their relatives/acquaintances batting an eyelash. This close monitoring and almost killing of emotions, reminds me of Equilibrium where feelings were illegal. Makes my heart ache to see Saki not bond with her mother at all; though, I hope she finds some semblance of it with Shun, with whom she shares a deep connection.

 Gotta give Shun props for reminding me the star-filled Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari with his flatting trick

I liked the flashback version of Saki’s father than the current one, who seems too burdened with responsibilities. At least through him we know that there are still people rebelling in secret. Also, about Bakenezumi existence and how they literally worship humans because of their Juryoku powers–clearly spurned by fear. They help in construction, which I read as slavery because they are literally numbered like cattle. As they can speak and be helpful, they should not be oppressed by humans at all. Will they rebel too just liked humans did before them? I guess, we will find out more about them soon too.

Exciting Summer Camp

I’m amazed at the over-protective adults in allowing the kids to actually canoe outside their town and experience the foliage. I thought they would be watched by adults but finally a loophole of thinking that they would be too scared to do anything out of the ordinary. Truthfully, group one didn’t do much except for going a bit farther but their discoveries of new creatures, temple and a walking-talking library will definitely be ground-breaking. Imagine the technology that can build a robot that can hypnotize people? That’s some awesome tech. This literally gives ground to my previous theory on the kids being brainwashed in suppressing their Juryoku strength with that exorcism ceremony at temple. They have it all still  (proven by Manabu), they just think they don’t.

Another revelation was of the evolution of species. Just look at how many we have witnessed from episode one. Sometimes I wonder if the year is right (too far into the future?) or it was actually due to the change in fabric of earth and humans acquiring Juryoku? Design wise, I’m really in awe of every new creature that gets revealed; I’ve seen some really fugly bakenezumi art too so look forward to it, peeps~

Seriously, these episodes have taken me deep into the storyline. Though, I still haven’t really warmed up to the characters yet due to the disjointed feeling towards time shifts but still, overall I do look forward to Saki’s narration of her teen years and how group one has been discovering one thing after another. Their most precious find has been the moving library, recording tons of data that would boggle their minds I’m sure. The way most of them were OTLing in preview proves the fact that it would be ground-breaking. I’m rather curious about the people in authority and the existence of Nekodamashi. Downside, they could actually be illusionary familiars that adults send for spying over the bad eggs among them.

The flashbacks have kept me on toes about the generation that was once massacred by the people in power. If the current race of humans possess Juryoku, then what happened to normal humans who didn’t? Were they killed off to the extent of making them extinct? What is the purpose of so many different species? What happened in the last 1000 years that the world is so changed? Making them depend on natural resources is good but what happened to the technology and why it was regressed rather than progressing? You can see I have a lot of questions and I’m literally smack in the middle with group one in finding out more.

Preview was pretty clear on what to expect; I just hope we get actual answers than more questions. Though, out of whatever transpired, I am still pondering about what Saki said about Maria being a premature baby and how if she wasn’t born into this world, then untold numbers could have been spared… So, what do you think readers? Got some more theories and speculations to share with me? Let’s hear it! Ja ne~

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25 Responses to “Shin Sekai Yori: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Edition”

  1. Highway says:

    I’ve really been enjoying the writing and presentation of this show. The historical vignette at the beginning is doing a good job giving us the background information in small chunks, with the three we’ve seen so far being the rise of the PK’s, the unopposed rule and depravity of the PK’s, and the fall of the Empire of the PK’s. And we know that it wasn’t too long after the Emperor of Delight and that capriciously cruel ‘entertainment’ at his ascension that the fall finally came (70 years later when the Emperor of Merciful Light was killed). I hope they continue to fill in the gaps between the past and the ‘present’, even as we start to realize that the whole story is being told historically, via the knowing voiceover that is presumably fully grown Saki.

    The other interesting part that the first two episodes used was the parable setting up the remainder of the show. The first episode’s talking about the sanctity of the barrier, which is mostly in thought, and the second talking about the dangers of self-satisfaction and hubris. That’s what the downfall of Manubu was, not the strength of his juryoku. It was that he was willing to break the one of the most sacred rules in order to win. It’s unlikely he was stronger than Shun (who has his own problems of hubris).

    The two best qualities of the show are that it is 1) having us learn things the same way the main characters are: as they discover them. There are small expository bits, mostly to fill us in on things that they kids obviously know (like about minoshiros and bakenezumi), but other than that, we are learning by seeing what they learn. I find it to be excellent storytelling, and it leads to the second great quality of the show: it makes us ask questions. Even if the children aren’t asking the questions we are.

    I think I understand why they are so aggressive in culling their society, but my biggest question is “What happens to these culls?” I really don’t believe that they are just outright killing children. How could a society stand that? How would that come about even? For instance, they say Saki is the last from the Harmony School to go to Sage Academy, even though she says there are still many more children there. I find it hard to believe they are just murdering those children, as there would be revolt. But Saki’s parents are certainly afraid of ‘losing’ Saki, like they lost their other, unnamed child. Where do they go? This is a fairly stable society (although its long-term stability is a huge question, given the aggressiveness of the culling), so there’s got to be something going on.

    And we’re definitely going to be finding out more. This show is so much fun to blog. :)

    • Yippy says:

      First of all, what’s a PK? I’ve been hearing about it all over the place and I’ve still no idea what it means…

      Anyway, I really have to agree with you on the storytelling aspect. I didn’t really notice it, so thanks for pointing that out. =) Still, I’m more a fan of shows that lay out a foundation or basic premise before adding in twists à la Madoka Magica.

      • Highway says:

        PK is shorthand for PsychoKinesis / PsychoKinetic (usually not capitalized, just did that to point out the connection). It’s a general term for the ability to move things with mind power only. They’re using it to describe the people with that ability.

    • Kyokai says:

      @ Highway, we are definitely resonating well in terms of theories for sure! I agree with most of your reasoning and the suspense is heightened because of us finding the same things as the kids. I really do like how things are moving forward and can’t wait to find what the hell happened from the robot. I’m sure whatever we will find out, it would be shocking.

  2. Overcooled says:

    Ahh, I really like this show so far~

    The theme of people dying or sacrificing themselves if they do something wrong is really ominous. But now that you mention it, killing off all the children who misbehave or can’t contribute to society seems a bit harsh. I wonder if the increase in species means they take all the bad kids and turn them into bakenezumi and other weird things or something. There was the story of that one kid turning into a Karma Demon, so maybe it’s possible? Gah, everything is so mysterious right now!

    The show hasn’t been very scary so far, but it’s definitely laying down the foundation for a great mystery. So many little secrets! We really only know as much as the kids do…

    • Kyokai says:

      Here here! Starting from expecting nothing, this one surely turned out as a surprise.

      About the children, the theory of them turning into new specie is an interesting one (it can even happen as we have seen recently in Fringe but in there it was more of special selection). I still think they are capable to kill them because remember that Emperor who just ended lives out of amusement over clapping? That was pretty cruel. Right now, I’m open to anything really.

      I hope it gets really scary and creepy because I would like it even more. The purpose of keeping us on pins and needles to find out more just like the kids was a really good move. :3

      • D-LaN says:

        Wait WHT!? Fringe did it?? Time to go get the DVDs lol. (I think I stopped at S2….)

        • Kyokai says:

          In season four Show ▼

          And don’t stop on S2! Things get really good on four, three was the weakest season I think.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    These kids don’t realize the things they are discussing are things that should not be discussed from the beginning. The ghost stories are being taken way too lightly so all that’s needed is a few deaths to make them believe a few. I’m curious to see how many others are true. The area looks like a potential demon hotspot.

    • Kyokai says:

      I think some of them do notice the weird disappearances but as they have been kept on a tight leash since the beginning of their childhood, is the reason they don’t ask too many questions. I mean, Saki did mention that there were more kids when she left her old school but no one seemed surprised or even asked questions on what happened to them. These stories are just a way to keep the kids scared.

      I’ll agree with you on the demon hotspot. I’m sure not all of the evolved species are as cute as Minoshiros.

  4. Yippy says:

    I think the culture and technology regressed because of a combination of anarchy and arrogance. Without a stable and supportive environment, science and culture tends to leap backwards. Also, with telekinetic powers, why would they think about advancing other sciences? They would look down upon such ‘ungifted’ skills.

    Speaking about culture, I wonder how other nations in that world are doing? Have they turned back into rural societies thanks to the telekinetic awakening, or are they still holding out with modern tech? Do the latter nations even have telekinetic people? I do wonder…

    Anyway, when Saki accused the walking server of confusing her with terms like ‘petabyte’, I really gave a big smile. It’s really surreal and funny to see a descendant of the modern tech-head call ‘petabyte’ confusing. XD

    • Highway says:

      That’s the big question, isn’t it. It’s been brought up that it can be asked “What is the purpose of the barrier? Is it to keep the demons and fiends out? Or is it really to keep these kids and this society in?”

      I truly doubt that only Japan was affected by this PK power, and would have an empire of 500 years based on rule by those with PK without the rest of the world having the same kind of troubles.

      • Kyokai says:

        The empire of cherry blossom really seemed dubious. The flashbacks that we have been seeing definitely looks like Japan but as you guys said, it can actually be a reflection of what has been happening throughout the world.

        With the rise of PKs, something really did break in the fabric of society. Though, I don’t think the tech was discarded altogether. Remember we saw self cleaning boards in schools? Also, advance tech was used in the farms we glimpsed to most probably take care of cattle and such. I think tech still exists but under close doors and by grade of a citizen because you just can’t have stuff like internet anymore for everyone to share what’s going down in your town. From the Global village (world), different countries/cities became disjointed with only people in power still connected. That is what I think happened but we’ll see what the robot says.

        PS: Please stop damaging public property announcement by the robot made me remember the cleaning robots from K (who even fight with each other in spare time). I would like to think there are more robots like the ones kids found scuttling around, oblivious to the adults.

        • Yippy says:

          @Kyokai: Seems like so. I wouldn’t put it past the elites to hoard technology.

          The walking libraries do seem like the janitor-bots, but they are far more important and mysterious, I think. You have to wonder why they would let these potentially troublemaking machines roam free. Perhaps this was a last-ditch resort by opponents of the government?

      • Yippy says:

        I think the barrier served the first purpose initially before degrading into the second one. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.

        True, the world superpower(s) then would have a word or two to say about a maniacal dictator in the helm of a strategically-located nation.

  5. skylion says:

    Two word review: Mind Blown.

  6. D-LaN says:

    What is the nearest english equivalent to Minoshiro?? Just curious.

    Same opinion as skylion.

    I saw a comment tht says the weird plant like thing tht appear after the Beaked Snake is it eggs…. Is it true??

    Also calling it now, s**t gonna go down down around next episode…

    • Highway says:

      Minoshiro: I was wondering about that. I can’t find any real convincing root for the Mino part (I’m guessing the ‘shiro’ is from ‘white’). I’m making a wild-ass guess that it’s something related to ‘white bull’ or ‘white minotaur’

      The only other wild-ass guess I have is that it’s something related to ‘minoshirokin’ (身代金) which has the meaning of ‘ransom’, with ‘kin’ being generally the ‘money’ part of that construction, so drop that and you might have the connotation of being held against your will, which is what seems to happen when people encounter a minoshiro.

      These are completely wild-ass guesses from a very amateur student of Japanese.

    • Kyokai says:

      According to commie, it translates to White Slug (check their subs of episode one and you’ll find out). The first time we ever see them is in episode one during a flashback in a flashback of Saki’s previous group with Reiko, playing hookie in field in the outskirts of their town. Good work on guessing though, Highway, at least you can get this much, while I can only wish to understand/speak Japanese better.

      And no, the Demon’s plant doesn’t have anything to do with haycatcher’s eggs, which were the one we first saw in episode three when the canoes stopped to sight-see. I think it was the same eggs that made that bullet-fire sound or something similar to it.

      Shit is definitely going down next episode. I can’t WAIT!

      • Highway says:

        I was reading the tl notes from UTW’s release and according to him, the egg does explode (when they hit it with the paddle), and becomes that sharp edged, poo covered fan-shaped thing. Basically an anti-predator thing, and he said it *was* the Haythatcher that was the beaky snake.

        He also explained Satoru throwing up (from overuse of Cantus) which was something I didn’t get.

        • Kyokai says:

          Oooh, I missed that Demon’s claw connection after that egg bursting scene. Thanks for highlighting that.

          Also, I’m curious if Satoru did throw up from overusing Juryoku or was it just him getting icked out by the egg event?

        • D-LaN says:

          Thk for the info, Kyokai and Highway.

          So all those eggs it fake?? Or does Beak Snake egg turn into DAT when it crack?

          The Minoshiroes face look like a seahorse lol.

          • Highway says:

            Guessing again, I’d think the Haythatcher might lay a mixture of real and fake eggs. The possibility of fake eggs that blow up in your stomach and kill you would be enough to learn the predators that you don’t mess with the nest. Of course, some would probably figure out how to tell the difference, cause that’s what life does.

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