Disclaimer: Right now, my mind has been “shaken” from what I have just watched. This is some seriously deep stuff ladies and gentlemen. I have to admit upfront that this might be slightly difficult to write about, so if something doesn’t make sense, it is probably just my inability to convey my thoughts across. Not kidding, it took me awhile to figure out what in the world was going on.
Honestly, if I were to watch this with no knowledge about the background or without having read the synopsis, I would be totally lost. Since I managed to get an inkling of what is going on, I’m going to explain several portions to give you a better idea of what happened if you are as initially lost as I was. I might be inaccurate though since this is my own interpretation. Be warned!
What in the burning depths of hell just happened?
- What I think this is about: Most likely a flashback on what originally occurred in the past, prior to the start of this series.
Next, the scene shifted to a bunch of a bunch of monks performing a ritual on main character Watanabe Saki (Taneda Risa) who is seen waking up in the middle of the night while objects around the house started flying around.
- What I think this is about: That very act (in the house), is most likely the first time Saki’s “power” has awakened, which is supposedly late for her age (which is why her parents are relieved). The ritual is presumably to allow her to gain control over said “powers”.
- Afterwards, the setting returns to the more familiarized and more often used “school” setting, with a twist. Welcome to
Xavier’s school for gifted youngsters Waki Academy(actually I have no idea what their school is called), where students with psychic powers are trained.
- What I think this is about: Rather straightforward, this is the point where the episode started to make sense. I’m intrigued about the era it was set in though, it almost seemed as if this is set in like a post-apocalyptic world, which looks to be it when I crossed-checked with the synopsis.
Finally, the story shifts to the main characters mentioning the legend of the “Faze Cat” where it “takes away” students who are deemed unable to graduate. Saki is seen to have overheard her parents being concerned about her, albeit in a hysterical manner, despite their calm appearance at the dinner table.
- What I think this is about: Saki mentioned that she has seen the “Faze Cat” to her parents, which in turn worried them because they all knew that she was a late bloomer and it does not bode well for her having seen such a sight. With the episode stating towards the end that Amano Reiko (the girl who is shown to have weak psychic powers) disappeared from the school a few days later, it sets up the premise for the next episode – Will Saki be next?
When the very first episode makes you scratch your head while making you try to piece the puzzle together, you know that you have a complex show on your hands. As aforementioned, I wouldn’t be surprised if people got lost especially in the first few minutes of this episode. In hindsight, I believe it was purposely done that way – to get viewers rattled and on the edge of their seats, in which it achieved for my case.
Having no knowledge on the source material, I can’t say that I know where this series is heading towards, but this sort of sci-fi/supernatural/mystery premise is one that isn’t seen all that often in this time and age of anime. Why? Because such a pilot episode is a double-edged sword. It either hooks viewers or turn them off, in a sense that there is hardly a middle ground for people to say: “Oh I’m on the fence about this one, I’ll take the wait-and-see approach”. That is a bold stance to take, as a series would normally introduce the characters and settings slowly so that the viewers don’t get overwhelmed. In Shin Sekai’s case – we’re thrown headfirst into a flashback where people were dying with no rhyme or reason.
Couple of points that make this series “difficult” to get into:
- I have not memorized who the main characters are, since I was suddenly introduced to the five of them without much development on them, yet. It is a pet peeve of mine, but I dislike having to figure out who is who, especially if the series doesn’t introduce their characters in a proper manner.
- Without actually having read the synopsis, I wouldn’t know what the larger picture is about, which I won’t mention for those who wish to be “pleasantly surprised”
- The visual appearance of this series – I’m can’t put this one into words very well, but Shin Sekai looks very different from the norm. If I had to use a single word to describe it, I would say that it looks rather “classic “. It isn’t very enticing yet at the same time I guess it is refreshing for a change from the usual. The variety of animation techniques employed though did really stand out, overall quality is actually quite stellar (from the screen caps at least).
Make no mistake though, there is a reason why I have a prior feeling that this is a potential sleeper this season, episode 1 was enough to confirm that notion. From just this episode alone, I can glimpse that there is a lot of potential as to where this series is headed towards. The key lies in how they are going to execute just that, the artwork and character design might not be the most appealing on first sight, but on closer inspection it does have “Q U A L I T Y” written all over it.
To wrap affairs up, I wasn’t expecting Shin Sekai to quite turn out like this, never ever. I think that subsequent episodes might not get any easier to understand (which in turn makes it harder to blog about), or at least until the point where grand scheme of things is revealed, eventually. This will be a rough, but potentially rewarding ride, if you’re able to weather all the bumpiness in between.
- Confuzzled? Have some yuri (and some HanaKana) to lighten up.
- Giant grubs, welcome to the future of mankind.
- Shin Sekai reminded me of that “whole new world” song from Aladdin..