ANIME & MANGA - Article
14:13 - 7th June 2013, by NEO Staff

From the New World

One thousand years ago, something changed. Humanity evolved, with dangerous new abilities that plunged us into a new Dark Age that lasted for centuries. However, all that pain and horror is in the past of the world depicted in the brilliant new science fiction series From the New World - or is it?

Saki Watanabe has only ever known the idyllic life provided for her in the confines of her village, never moving beyond the Holy Barrier. It's not safe to do so, either - in the millennium since our time, wildlife has mutated into strange and dangerous new forms. Even more unusual are the semi-sentient species that have appeared, such as the Queerats that perform menial labour for humans. Yet as Saki enters her teen years, the time for shelter comes to an end. Now, she must become an official adult and have her 'cursed power' activated: psychokinesis, the ability to move objects with one's mind.

Mutant powers, societal upheaval, generational divides, politics, even slavery - the themes explored by From the New World are deep enough that you'd be forgiven for thinking it's an entry in the much-lauded noitaminA block, where 'grown up' anime typically lives. It's not - it airs on TV Asahi - but its involved and complex narrative is a result of its origins, adapted from a novel by author Yuusuke Kishi. One of Japan's top writers of genre fiction, Kishi won the Japan Horror Story Grand Prize in 1997 for his book The Black House, and From the New World itself won the Japan SF Grand Prize in 2008, tied with Dennou Coil.

Much like last year's Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this is a series that waits several episodes before delivering its gut punch, but from that point, you can't look away. See for yourself with the series' simulcast on, then pray for a Blu-ray release in the UK soon!
This is an extract of a longer feature which originally appeared in NEO 105.

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