Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Shin Sekai Yori (From the New World) - Episode 2

Despite the highly suspicious disappearance of one of their number, the under-achiever Reiko, at the end of its opening episode, everything carries on as normal for the kids of the Unified Class within episode two of Shin Sekai Yori, albeit not before a brief aside featuring the "crowning" of a new Emporer 500 years from now; an Emporer who is as crazy as he is floaty, it seems.

With that out of the way, we see the Unified Class learning how to use their powers and craft via an inter-group "Carryball" tournament, a game which involves rolling a stone ball into the opposition's "goal" using so-called Pushers, Attackers and Defenders to either score a goal when it's your turn to attack or defend your goal when you're on defence.  With each team given a single crack at scoring a goal and with the fastest time winning, a mixture of ability and smart tactics are required to win the day.

Although the group of children we're following make it to the final, and look to have sealed victory thanks to a sneaky but not-quite cheating tactic by hiding their goal, their opponents ultimately manage to draw thanks to one of their number outright cheating by committing the cardinal sin or using their powers directly on the ball - a foul which he seemingly manages to sidestep by claiming it was an accident.  But has he really escaped without punishment in this seemingly harsh world that's being hidden from its students?  It's of no matter (for now at least), as our attention turns to another part of this new world - it's so called Rat Monsters, slaves to the humans who are kept well away from those who have not displayed their powers but who are treated with little respect by most of those with them.  More specifically, our groups of children witness what looks to be a fatal accident for one particular Rat Monster, before Saki decides to break the rules and use her powers without permission to save it - a seemingly sensible idea that could have major repercussions further down the line given what we know about this world.

I have to admit, I'm struggling somewhat to immerse myself in the world presented by Shin Sekai Yori at present - although I appreciate what the show is trying to do as it builds up a picture of its scenario and despite some of its efforts to that end being really rather cool (who doesn't want to play a game of Carryball now?), there's an indefinable something that's missing to make me really care about what's going on.  Given that the characters which have "disappeared" have been minor and barely fleshed out, I can't be drawn into that aspect of the story, while the main characters are yet to grab me in any discernible way.  It's still early days, of course, and there's a huge amount of scope for this series to do great things - I just hope we start to see such developments before I lose interest entirely.

No comments: