I have been back to anime binging again. Funny, I don’t like reading YA literature, but I really don’t mind watching anime, which is very much YA at its core. The winter season has some fascinating anime out there. from Psycho Pass (retake on Minority Report) to K (A trippy HS student may or not have committed murder), to Zetsuen no Tempest (exciting adventure show, characters quote Hamlet often) then finally the golden show this season Shin Sekai Yori.
The last anime is a paradise of visuals and deep themes. The world is a futuristic dystopia where everyone has evolved psychokinetic powers. How do you control the bad eggs? The society came up with some ruthless ways to make sure children conform to a basic code of ethics. They encoded a death feedback loop that shuts a person down if they tried to kill someone. Then the world has a subservient species of sentient queer rats who do the killing for humans.Children who don’t take to instruction are pulled out of school, never to be seen again. Those are barely able to sustain their powers are also culled. The students read macabre fairy tales in which the fundamental lesson is conform and control your powers, or else.
Of course the children don’t know what is happening. They are just having fun learning how to control their psychokinetic powers. And the show cleverly, doesn’t tell you things outright. Slowly, as you watch the children interact in school and with their parents, do you realize the true horror of what is going on..
You want the truth to be exposed and everyone to fight for freedom. However, you soon learn that they had perfectly good and valid reasons for ruthlessly enforcing conformity. It takes only one bad egg with a phenomenal amount of power to kill scores of people. Apparently bad eggs have been ubiquitous in their past history, so their society evolved in response to the history of genocide by psychopaths.
If you’ve never watched anime before, I’d urge you to give this a try. The show doesn’t resort to weird humor or hysterical emotions that are usually done in anime to diffuse heavy moments. And the visuals, the visuals are a feast. And the soundtrack, that is one powerful soundtrack.