Sometimes, lectures aren’t that bad. When a lecture repeats the same thing over and over, we get the latest episode of Zetsuen no Tempest. You have to tell me something interesting, but you also have to avoid repeating yourself. So why do I not mind listening to the devil’s minoshiro go on and on about Shinsekai Yori‘s fictional history? First, it’s partly due to my desire of always wanting to see how the future will turn out. As a result, these “what if” stories fascinate me even if I don’t think Shinsekai Yori‘s scenario is particularly realistic (assuming the emergence of psychic users). But more importantly, I can tolerate this lecture because it covers a whole range of topics, from the rise of the first PK users to the slave-owning Holy Cherry Blossom Empire.
Anyway, people read this blog and assume I hate any instance of world-building. That isn’t true whatsoever. Like anything else, I just think that the act of world-building has to be interesting and purposeful. A show doesn’t get an automatic pass just by virtue of the fact that it is world-building. The narrative still has to be advanced in an interesting, thoughtful way. I would not say that this was true for much of last week’s episode. And no, last week’s episode did not make this week’s episode more enjoyable, so let’s not waste each other’s time by even suggesting it.
• When the talking library rebuffs them, the kids’ first instinct is to hack the organic-looking creature apart. One of the them even suggest skinning it. Yeesh. I personally feel bad about having to kill anything larger than a bug, but who knows what values society will have in a thousand years. It is rather strange, however, that the library requires you to be at least 18 years of age in order to access its memory banks. I suppose any fitting library probably stores a wealth of information on a myriad of adult topics, but I’ve never seen a public library prevent kids from entering the grown-up section (I hesitate to say “adult section” because that phrasing would seem to carry a sordid connotation).
• The devil’s minoshiro seems to have enough intelligence to improvise. Sensing that the kids might do harm to it, the library quickly waives the requirement for any sort of documentation on the kids’ part. This would suggest that the devil’s minoshiro isn’t merely an intelligent program with a set amount of algorithms, but an actual AI that can learn and adapt to the situation. On the one hand, it has been a thousand years. On the other hand, society hasn’t exactly been trending forward the entire time. Furthermore, this suggests that the devil’s minoshiro somehow values its own life.
• A search for a “Raman-Klogius syndrome” yielded nothing, so it’s probably made up for the anime’s narrative. I’d say the same for the “Hashimoto-Appelbaum syndrome.” I’m not complaining or anything. It’s fiction; you’re supposed to make shit up. The “Fox in the Henhouse” syndrome got me some dubious articles on stuff that wouldn’t seem all that related to Shinsekai Yori. Granted, I didn’t spend a lot of time researching any of the terms or anything.
• Welp, the thought of rape had escaped my consciousness for a good week, but Shinsekai Yori brought it right back to the forefront. In other words, the first thing a Japanese psychic user did was break into people’s homes and rape women. Of all the destructive things he could’ve done, he decided to rape. Again, this isn’t really a complaint on my part. I just think it’s sort of morbidly amusing now. Before you misinterpret that previous sentence, I’m sure you guys have heard this crude joke before: “Rape — it’s like saying ‘Hello!’ in Japan!” We shouldn’t unfairly stereotype an entire nation, right? Well geez, what’s with all the rape in all my anime series?
• I do think it’s somewhat unnecessary to show us shots of the brutalized women, blurry or not. What do we get out of it? Why not just have the camera focus on the kids’ faces as they listen to the gruesome history lesson?
• Bizarre: one of the kids can’t even imagine a human being killing another fellow human being. I guess the concept of murder has always been kept away from these kids? Then again, they had no problems threatening the devil’s minoshiro.
• You’ll notice that I keep referring to the kids as merely ‘kids’ because besides Saki, I have a hard time really telling any of the others apart. I’m sure someone’s going to be a smartass and tell me to pay attention because it’s not hard to identify them! No, it’s not that it’s hard. It’s that I don’t really care that much.
• So when the ‘ancient civilization’ rightfully arrested the psychic rapist, the other PK users started to act out. What’s up with that?
• Also, stress made the PK users’ powers evolve even faster. They must have been very powerful when you consider that they only made up .3% of the world’s population. It isn’t likely that every single PK users acted out, yet the world, with all its militaries and weaponry, couldn’t keep the renegade PK users under control.
• So over the past thousand years, some of the people without PK abilities reverted back to hunter-gatherer tribes. Why was this necessary? Could they not have run away far enough that their enemies would no longer pursue them? If the world’s population had decreased to such an extent, I’d have to imagine that there were vast pockets of uninhabited land out there where a small community could’ve sustained itself outside the watchful eye of these horrible slave-owning empires.
• Apparently, an heir assumed the throne by murdering the previous emperor. Why did the slave-owning empires rely on such a barbaric tradition? Why couldn’t the heir just wait until the emperor died? Did the PK powers continue to evolve at such a speed that each generation was stronger than the last? If so, what prevented the emperor from eliminating his or her heir to avoid ever having to give up the throne?
It’s just strange to me that everyone became so bloodthirsty just because they had some awesome psychic powers. Sure, the elitist PK users probably regarded non-PK-users as nothing more than fodder to do their bidding, but why would they treat each other so poorly? Then again, this is all information gathered by a third-party, a group of scientists who weren’t likely keen on the idea of civilization giving way to these slave-owning empires. As a result, we have to consider that there might be some bias at hand here, because the alternative is that the author was lazy and thus decided to paint the PK users with broad strokes.
• Something doesn’t add up. According to the library, the scientists are responsible for all these current safeguards against any possible emergence of a renegade PK user. But if this is so, why do the adults now refer the libraries as dangerous demons? Hell, they seem more like fundamentalists than scientists. The villagers and the scientists thus can’t be one and the same… unless they decided to abandon their pursuit of knowledge some long time ago.
• If a “death feedback” has been put in place to prevent PK users from harming other people, why is the village still so draconian?
• So the punishment for breaking the rules is harsh in order to prevent a single renegade PK user from appearing. After all, we learned from the second episode that should two Cantus ever clash, [s]pace would warp, creating a highly dangerous environment.” Essentially, one bad egg would endanger the entire village. Still, the process of filtering out these kids has to be flawed. I just continue to think back to Amano Reiko. We never saw her break any rules. She was just a bad PK user. But for the sake of the argument, let’s just assume that she had broken a rule and this is why she disappeared. Breaking a mere rule, however, doesn’t necessarily mean she’d pose a danger to anyone. Reiko seemed like a shy, meek girl. And again, she was bad at the PK stuff. Why would she go renegade and attack anyone?
• So what was up with the Death-like specter and Saki’s ominous words: “Didn’t they look like humans from afar?” Did some humans evolve into queerats? Is this the reason why the monk continues to suffer from the “death feedback?”