I wanted to get Shin Sekai Yori’s finale episode out of the way first.  Kotoura-san episode 11 may or may not be reviewed by tomorrow depending on how well I feel (I’m siiiiiiiiick).  I may just end up doing that in a double review with episode 12 sometime next week.

Anyway, this is the last episode of Shin Sekai Yori so there are obviously MAJOR SPOILERS!

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Summary:

Kiroumaru agrees to dress up as a human, and runs head-on towards the Fiend.  When he gets killed by the Fiend, he reveals himself to be a Goblinrat, activating the death feedback loop in the child and killing them in the process.  After the death of the Fiend, the humans seem to have regained the upper hand once again, and Yakomaru is subsequently captured and punished.

The last legs of humanity…

Rest in peace Maria’s child; we hardly knew ye.

However, Saki feels that this is a hollow victory.  When questioned, Yakomaru–or rather, Squealer as he prefers to be called; says that he was only doing this for the sake of his kind.  After Squealer’s trial (where his punishment is being forced to endure pain and suffering for eternity without being given the chance of death), Saki learns a horrible secret from Satoru.  When Satoru was researching Goblinrat genes, he found that they had the same number of chromosomes that humans have.  Essentially, they are humans—or were humans rather.  It turns out that the Goblinrats were created long ago by fusing naked mole rat genes with the human genome.  And the humans in question were those who were born without Canti.

Yakomaru’s/Squealer’s prison cell.

Sakisadface.jpg

Yeah, this episode pretty much cements that humans can be real dicks sometimes.

After learning this, Saki gives Squealer a mercy-killing.  Now that she is the head of the Ethics Committee and head of the Exospecies Committee, Saki strives to protect the remaining Goblinrats despite all that has happened.  Although the process is slow, it appears that Saki will be able to mend the relationship between the humans and the Goblinrats, for the sake of both races.

I guess I kinda knew that they’d tie the knot after the rest of the main cast got killed, but it’s still nice that the series straight-up confirms it.

My Opinion:

I thought this episode was a nice conclusion to the series, though I can see some people being disappointed.  I was expecting a big showdown with the Fiend (who it turns out is actually a girl all along), but the Fiend literally gets killed within the first five minutes of the episode.  Then the rest of the episode deals with Saki trying to pick up the pieces of her village/the human race.

I actually prefer this ending.  Sure Shin Sekai Yori could have ended with a huge fight and the main characters winning, but then we wouldn’t know what happened in the aftermath.  In this episode, Yakomaru/Squealer tells Saki what we already knew all along: he didn’t want to be slaves to the humans anymore, feeling that he should have been their equal instead.  And after Satoru’s discovery, it’d be hard not to agree.  In the end, both “races” are human—it’s just that one has psychic powers while the other does not.

While the focus of Shin Sekai Yori is on Saki and the other Canti-using humans, in the end it seems the focus of the story was really on the Goblinrats’ struggle all along.  Which explains why so many of the episodes centered on Goblinrat life and warfare.  In a way, it’s kind of ingenious.  I knew that the Goblinrats would always play a huge role in this series (and it did in the end), but that just makes the ending twist all the more powerful.  The revelation that the Goblinrats were modified humans was shocking though not entirely unexpected.  I suppose that the real monsters in this story were in actuality the “new” humans; those like Saki who have psychic powers.

I guess from the beginning, the hints were pretty clear that this new “humanity” was far from being “humane.”  They were a society that regularly culled their children if they didn’t measure up to standard.  Not to mention the bloody history of how their new society came to be.  Also, their treatment of the Goblinrat colonies was horrible.  Sure, the Goblinrats didn’t LOOK human.  But they had sentience.  Is simply looking like a monster despite possessing human level-intelligence enough to see them as “less than human”?  In the end, Saki and Satoru may have been the only two to realize that this way of thinking is very, very wrong.

Despite having a very definite conclusion, the ending is still ultimately left open-ended.  Saki is trying her best as the new head of the Ethics Committee, but can she really change humanity?  Just before the episode ends, we’re left with a message written by Saki that basically says “Can we really change?  You already know the answer.”  Although that statement could be taken both ways, I choose to be optimistic about it and think that, yes; humanity really did change for the better.

Overall, this is a somewhat quiet ending for such long-running series.  But I suppose that’s the most fitting way that Shin Sekai Yori could have ended, and it’s a very satisfying and emotional one at that.

Out of five for this episode:

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Overall Thoughts:

Although I wasn’t planning to take this on initially, I’m really glad I did.  Shin Sekai Yori is a lovely series, both story-wise and animation-wise.  Although the animation sadly does dip in the later episodes (especially the second half…), it’s still a great treat for the eyes.  Scenes and backgrounds are very rarely bland or look like they’ve just been thrown together for the sake of it.  Everything is teeming with symbolism, including the lighting, which Shin Sekai Yori excels at.

Shin Sekai Yori also excels in characterization.  None of the characters feel like they’ve been lifted from anime clichés.  They all have their own nuances that make them seem real.  Saki’s characterization is one I believe deserves a special mention.  She manages to be both strong and weak at the same time.  She’s weak in that she’s not the best Canti user in her village, but she proves herself to be very strong emotionally; among many other things.

Shin Sekai Yori is one of the best paced anime I’ve seen in a long time.  The series moves at just the right pace, which is incredibly hard to achieve in an anime with a limited number of episodes.  There’s no filler episodes ever—every single episode serves a purpose.  This series also manages to make long, drawn-out conversations between the characters interesting.

Ultimately though, Shin Sekai Yori is not a very action-based series, nor was it ever meant to be.  It’s much more philosophical, questioning our ethics towards “lower beings” along with society as a whole.  There are themes explored here that are sometimes very deeply disturbing, reflecting the evils of the human race.  If you’re just looking for a mindless, fun anime, then you should avoid this series at all costs.  But for anyone who’s looking for a more mature anime, then you should definitely check this out.

Out of five for the series as a whole:

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And so, Saki’s story finally comes to an end…