13 CommentsTwelve Days / By Scamp /

12 Days of Anime #7: My name is Squealer

[UTW]_Shinsekai_Yori_-_25_[h264-720p][F280761E].mkv_snapshot_11.01_[2013.12.18_17.41.16]I’m not sure if there’s ever been an anime where my opinion of it raised so drastically with its ending than the one for From the New World. I never particularly liked the human characters in the show. Saki was a pretty boring lead character who mostly just reacted to everything from child to adult. In the earlier arcs I joked that my favourite character was Squealer. He had an agenda, was a bit shifty, but also had some personality and intelligence and acted according to his own morals rather than just react to things. The more the show went on though, the more true that silly little joke of mine came true.

A lot of people viewed the queerats as the villains and automatically distrusted Squealer, which is fair enough. When he appeared later on in the show as Yakimaru the leader of this whole village, he came across as a bit shifty and dangerously intelligent. But I found myself on the side of Squealer. Most other people found him and the queerats distasteful and ugly and wanted to see the humans succeed, probably because you’re all racists or something. But not me because I’m not racist. Unlike you, you bunch of racists. He was leading this downtrodden society in an act of rebellion against vastly superior opposition in a single do-or-die attempt to free his people from what were effectively gods. The humans considered them as closer to pests that should be monitored. Yeah sure Squealer’s methods of fighting back involved the deaths of a few hundred humans but nothing close to the several million deaths caused and will continue to be caused by human oppression.

In the end it turned out I was totally right. What I figured was just me going for a highly selective reading of From the New World purely because I disliked the human characters turned out to be exactly what the whole story was about. With the final episode it turned this creepy naked mole rat crossed with a human into the most courageous and heroic idol. Stripped of anything that would resemble a personality or his attempts at civilisation and thrown in front of a court, not to be put to trial but simply to pass judgement like the gods they were to him, Squealer offered his purest act of rebellion. He angrily dismissed the name humans had given him for his own less glamorous title and declared in front of these humans that he was a human too.

[UTW]_Shinsekai_Yori_-_25_[h264-720p][F280761E].mkv_snapshot_11.23_[2013.12.18_17.41.48]Psychics had crossed the non-psychic humans with the ugliest animal around so they wouldn’t feel bad about killing them, effectively stripping them of their humanity. But standing in front of that congregation completely naked and with the entire auditorium laughing at him, after having led his entire species to an ultimately failed attempt to rebel against the gods that oppressed them for millennia, Squealer was the most human of the lot.

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  1. Posted December 19, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Count this one as liking Squealer more than the main characters too. I’ve been marathoning this show for the past day or so, and it’s a bit of a slog having to sit and watch boring psychic teenagers be boring and psychic. Even the gayness that made people drop the show turned out to be boring. Squealer though, he’s a wild card.

    Plus, being played by Waver doesn’t hurt.

  2. AG
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    It helps that he was quite the mastermind too while weaseling his way to the top. Squealer was one of the most interesting anime character of this year let alone the show.

    Also, Squealer did some pretty questionable things to his own colony IIRC (eg: with the queerat queen) so I wouldn’t be so quick to put him as anymore moral than the others.

  3. Shikamaru
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    The ending was great but the revelation that rats like Squeler are people was weak. In one of the early episodes the priest is killing them and getting that “death feedback” thus already confirming that they are or were people at some point. The kids even mention this but then they all just forget all about it and it’s supposed to be a huge shock when it’s revealed. Weak.

  4. Nagisa33
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t fond of the humans and I disliked how even the protagonists kept the status quo. My favorite part in this show was when the duo stealthy avoided the super powered psychic girl or when they were exploring the city ruins. The ruins reminded me of Dante’s Inferno, the deeper you got the more terrible the challenges became.

  5. gedata
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Screw those Cantus dicks, I mean, Eternal Hell? Come on now

  6. Posted December 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    While I agree Shinsekai Yori is a Good Anime, you are still wrong for most of this post.

  7. Posted December 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    It warms my heart to see all this Squealer solidarity cropping up in the 12 days posts. His courage and conviction is an inspiration to us all!

  8. TheVoid
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t like either the rodents or the brainwashed psychic meatbags, but I will praise the rodent Squealer for trying so hard. Even if he failed due to his attempt to wipe out another colony, but couldn’t kill the one member who could disrupt his plans.

  9. Mormegil
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Such a great scene. Haunting, really. I’ll never forget it.

    Squealer did a lot of horrible things himself, though.

  10. Posted December 20, 2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Welp, I’ve spoiled myself and now have no reason to watch this now (which I also did not know existed until this article). From what I researched I didn’t really miss much though.

    • Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      I don’t know what sort of research you’ve done, because you’re missing out on a lot. There’s a reason this show is currently #3 on the poll on the sidebar.

      • Posted December 21, 2013 at 12:32 am | Permalink

        The sort of lazy lack-of-sleep research that for some reason I felt was warranted for a post. After reading much more on it I am disappointed in myself for missing this, as it would have been a very though-provoking experience. Oh well.

  11. Posted December 21, 2013 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    I would be reluctant to call Squealer a hero or label him as morally superior to the psychics. True, he was struggling for the freedom of his people, a noble prospect; however, it is important to recall that he set up a system that enslaved the Queerrat queens, doing to them what the psychic “gods” did to the Queerat race as a whole. He was manipulative, playing people like pawns. He sacrificed many of his own people, and slaughtered other Queerrat tribes…not to mention perpetrating the slaughter of many innocent psychic children.

    I love Squealer, and I think he’s an awesome character. He’s also a villainous character, though.

    I didn’t really see either side of the conflict as superior. Both societies had flawed, dehumanizing ideas at their foundations, and both contained deeply flawed individuals.

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