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…
1000 years from the present day, in a tranquil and isolated village, Wantanabe Saki begins Apotheosis class in which to master her newly-bestowed “cursed powers” of telekinesis, or juryoku. She recieved her “blessing” late, causing her and her parents to worry because of a mysterious rumor of a “Faze Cat” that takes underachieving children away. The unconfident weak link in Saki’s group, Amano Reiko, suddenly disappears.
This table and tone-setting first episode does not unfold strictly linearly, starting in more-or-less the present day we recognize, in which a troubled-looking young man blows out the door of the taxi he’s in with his mind, then sets to work ‘popping’ everyone around him with deadly telekinesis. Jump forward a millenium, and society has – depending on your opinion – progressed or regressed. Technology is almost nonexistent; the land is lush and untouched by industry; villages are modest; no one can leave their boundaries; and everyone develops telekinetic skills.
We don’t see (not yet at least) what exactly people do with these powers – normal scenes like dinner are presented without any juryoku, which is limited to training in the classroom – but considering all the talk about Akki and Faze Cats and other supernatural baddies – some of which may be taking the less-talented telekinesists away to their doom – it would seem these cursed powers are a necessity for survival in this new age. Wantanabe Saki is mindful of this as we watch most of this episode from her perspective, dotted with foreboding moments of her past that inform her present. It’s a neat, cerebral, and very cool presentation. Combined with above-par animation, deep colors, a slick, moody soundtrack, and cool wardrobe, this series didn’t waste any time showing promise.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameo: Our horrid little person-exploding boy arrives at his destination in a green-and-yellow Toyota Comfort taxi.