From the New World (Shin Sekai yori) – 02

With Amano Reiko struck from the class list as “missing”, studies continue in Apotheosis class for Saki & co, specifically the “ball-carrying tournament” in which classes pit their powers against one another without directly affecting each others’ powers or ball, but by manipulating clay “dolls” to move the balls, attack and defend. Class 1 defeats Class 5 in the first round. Class 2 beats Class 3 when an “accident” occurs, and the final between 2 and 1 ends the same way, with an “accident” and a draw. The Class 2 member then disappears, and the class prepares for a summer camping trip. Saki helps out a bugrat and earns their thanks and reverance.

Three things are certain after two episodes of “From the New World”: the cold opens are very strange (this time jumping five centuries into the future and a cursed power-wielding, murderous emperor), the present day is just as strange with its odd customs and creatures, and the soundtrack is absolutely top-notch, adding richness and weight to the proceedings – not bad for only the composer’s third series. Also, the characters all seem to be in the dark all the time – both literally and figuratively.

The episode is dominated by a fairly innocuous game that the students take very seriously, and indeed, the final outcome leads to the second kid being spirited away who knows where by who knows what. But we can’t help but wonder if all this training and competition and talk of “seeds of sin” is really just history repeating itself. That that kid’s game is a sterilized model for the wonders and horrors their powers can cause. The taxi kid from last week ultimately used his powers to kill people, as did the emperor in the future. Here in the middle, in this quaint little village, what are these powers being honed for…and is it all worth it?

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

P.S. Those bugrats were creepy. We’d stay away from them…