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The Nihon Review Forum

December 12, 2017, 10:25:41 PM
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Author Topic: Shinsekai Yori (From a New World)  (Read 39473 times)

Offline SQA

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Re: Shinsekai Yori (From a New World)
« Reply #210 on: August 11, 2017, 05:08:09 AM »
This is an absolutely massive necro, but we got to chatting about the Japanese take on Utopian/Dystopian takes in the Centaur no Nayami thread, which got me thinking about this series again.

It finally clicked what the allegory for the series is: modern Japanese society. It also explains the Hard Gay Turn that happened, as it was important thematically, not logically. It explains all of the duality that was used in the series, as it's seemingly not-modern technology inside a much more modern future. All of the best & brightest get eaten up by the "power" that everyone has, leaving only the bland to burn up their lives with meaningless work. (Saki is a somewhat bland if resilient character, which is why she survives.) For survival, all honor & nobility has been removed from the culture, with the people in power mocking those they see as ugly & beneath them.

Rather than being a Dystopian vision, as a forward projection, it's actually a critique of the current Japanese culture. While a common approach with some Dystopian fiction, it was a lot more subtle in SSY.

Offline TypicalIdiotFan

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Re: Shinsekai Yori (From a New World)
« Reply #211 on: August 12, 2017, 11:51:58 PM »
I enjoyed reading through this discussion thread again and WHERE THE **** DID EVERYBODY GO!?
I'm just like you, only smarterô.

Offline SQA

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Re: Shinsekai Yori (From a New World)
« Reply #212 on: August 13, 2017, 03:29:59 AM »
I enjoyed reading through this discussion thread again and WHERE THE **** DID EVERYBODY GO!?

I want to say that "cute girls doing cute things" broke everyone, but I think the assumption is that watching a lot of Anime requires a life situation that affords the time. People move on, but long-form discussion has been going away across the internet. This also isn't the easiest place to find.

As to SSY, it was sort of hilarious when I was doing some work and it hit me what the actual allegory of the series was. I really hadn't thought about SSY much since it ended, but bringing it back up put it on my mind. At least I finally answered that question. And it makes the depth of the darkness of the series even greater, if that was possible.

Offline Pebble

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Re: Shinsekai Yori (From a New World)
« Reply #213 on: August 13, 2017, 08:01:53 AM »
and WHERE THE **** DID EVERYBODY GO!?

I've just been marinating some chicken. For the past 3 months.

For me its that this season is a bit rubbish. More specifically CR's pickups are rubbish and all the shows I would have watched were picked up by the corporate slimeballs at Amazon.
About the only simulcast I'm watching is Sakura Quest and that does'nt really leave one with much to talk about. What I've been waiting for the past few months is Kujisuna which starts airing in the winter season. Presumably.


It finally clicked what the allegory for the series is: modern Japanese society. It also explains the Hard Gay Turn that happened, as it was important thematically, not logically.
I love the idea because it explains the duality (which is a tool to encourage the reader to contrast the SSY society with some older time), but I don't follow why the hard gay turn was thematically relevant. Was it mirroring some trend towards homosexuality in modern Japan? If so then this would be the first I've heard of it.
In fact I cant really think of what real life thing to correspond with many of the elements in the show.

All of the best & brightest get eaten up by the "power" that everyone has,
This seems to be a nod towards government and/or corporate corruption, or at least I would guess that since bureaucracy and corporations are the principal medium of power in places like Japan.

leaving only the bland to burn up their lives with meaningless work. (Saki is a somewhat bland if resilient character, which is why she survives.)
Yes, but is this supposed to be pointing towards some kind of brain drain? Its not like the bright'uns in Japan are just dying off.
It should be some kind of systemic critique of Japan. SSY's society fears the potential of certain individuals (the real brightest) so they are forced to shift the definition of brightness by inserting religious/dogmatic elements into the educational curriculum (e.g. the story about the boy sacrificing himself to keep the ogre out of the village). The religious/spiritual element is the mechanism of this normative shift, because it is primarily in religion that we equate piety with genius (e.g. some Abrahamic prophets, buddha's disciples, etc). Conversely modern society equates individualistic ethics with genius.
Shun, and karma demons, had a weird problem. They were describes as hiding within themselves, concealing their true thoughts, and not opening up for society to inspect. With the story of the karma demon boy, the karma demon is assumed to internally mock everything, but that was NOT the case for Shun, who was mostly just a bit too curious. It follows that the thing SSY's society really feared about karma demons was that they could not be psychologically monitored. They were too private.
Again, I don't really know what to correspond this with, unless Japanese society is big on publicizing one's thoughts. That's actually a bit of a universal with most societies now that social networking sites exist. People feel the need to expel their inner thoughts to society in a way which I remember I did not before things like facebook became huge.

For survival, all honor & nobility has been removed from the culture, with the people in power mocking those they see as ugly & beneath them.
I think this is probably the tightest and neatest part of the analogy.

Offline Kiniest

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Re: Shinsekai Yori (From a New World)
« Reply #214 on: August 13, 2017, 12:23:48 PM »
I'm still around, I've just been way too busy to watch anime or comment with you guys. Finishing even my favorite anime of a given season has begun to prove a challenge. I might pick up Made in Abyss here in a little bit, though - if I do, I could try contributing a little to the conversation.
harvey beaks is the best anime

Offline SQA

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Re: Shinsekai Yori (From a New World)
« Reply #215 on: August 13, 2017, 07:52:42 PM »
@Pebble

The Logic vs Thematic issue about the Hard Gay Turn isn't about a push to normalize homosexuality in Japan. (It's there, obviously, as you can thank Western influence agents for that, but it's also existed for a long time as well.) My original critique of the move was it went against all of the logic of the world that we had seen, constructed to that point. For a society that puts "social peace" above all other considerations, pushing pubescent children into fruitless relationships doesn't make any sense. It doesn't remove problems (which is what Future Puritans would do), but drastically heightens them.

However, from an allegorical perspective, it's a shot at all of the Youth Culture. Even the Anime itself. There's arguments for layered critiques of the entire Japanese education system in the first chapter, as they're outright exterminating children that either don't play by the rules or can't keep up, so moving into the next phase of the central character's lives would be looking at the focus of the Youth Culture and teenage years in Japan. Useless relationships that end in futility, causing strife and stress. Sound like high school? It does to me.

Plus, we need to compare the fates of the 5 central characters. Saki + Satoru are somewhat bland if hearty characters; Shun is the genius; Mamoru runs from the destruction to be thrust upon him and Maria's altruism/rebelliousness assures both still die. There's a contrasting fate between the 3 directions. Shun is eaten up by all of the understanding he acquires, somewhat Icarus-like, he flies too close to the Sun. Mamoru made it to his teenage years, but he's judged too weak for "proper" society, thus he flees. Maria, the most popular girl in class, wouldn't normally get wrapped up with Mamoru in a logical analysis, but it works thematically. That she would become pregnant as a teenager furthers the contrast.  Which is that Saki & Satoru do get married, but they're in their 30s before they have any children.

In Shun's case, you're going to run into the "Saving Face" aspects of Japanese society. That's an entire philosophical discussion on its own, but, generally, the only "safe space" for most Japanese is in their own head. Yet, you are still Japanese and much is expected of you. There's a few ways you can take Shun's storyline, and I'm not offering a definitive explanation, as there likely isn't. There's always tradeoffs in every allegory to still make a narrative work. But, as a general understanding, Japan is monstrously conformative. So we get 3 paths: Can't keep up, too good and "bland but survives".  Our central cast highlights the very real aspects of much of Japan for those growing up there.
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