10 CommentsShinsekai Yori / By Inushinde /

Shinsekai Yori Episode 3: Like Stand By Me, But With Glowing Tentacled Horse Library Things

What is there to say about an episode of a show that exists purely as a transition between creating the setting and putting the main story into action? What can I possibly elaborate on beyond the fact that science apparently went bonkers a long while after non-psychic civilization collapsed, and this long-lost knowledge is interpreted as a sort of ill omen? Well, the cold opening looked pretty fucking cool, for one, relying on starker colors and a cartoonier format than the episode itself, making me hope that each proceeding episode will try a new visual direction in the first few minutes. It thankfully ditched the dreadful blurrycam in favor of more dynamic animation that didn’t make me think my glasses broke, and that’s easily a step in the right direction.

Oh wait, there is more than that. Watching this episode should have brought to mind other anime series, and indeed it did. The setup of Dennou Coil, where kids discover a dark secret related with technology that’s long fallen into disuse, and the ever-grimdark atmosphere of Another, create a dark setting that grows more compelling the longer that the series goes on. It’s hardly original, but it’s doing a fantastic job at the horror aesthetic that the latter series couldn’t hope to match in a thousand years. What this episode did best was use the format of the last two weeks and twist it around, so one kid actually didn’t disappear after either behaving like a total dickwit or being wholly incompetent at psychic stuff. I for one was expecting one of the kids to disappear to craft false tension, but nothing of the sort happened. In that regard, it’s certainly doing a much better job at maintaining and building an oppressive atmosphere than Another horror anime of note.

I wish I could say more, but this is basically Stand By Me with an expository device in the form of a glowing hypnotism horse library thing rather than a dead body, and with approximately 95% less of your daily dosage of murderous teenagers. The characters remain indistinct A-1 Pictures clones, the phantom cat subplot’s kind of languished in favor of deeper content, and again, that cold opening was pretty fucking cool. It’s a slow boil that will likely stay slow for a number of episodes, but I’m cool with that since it seems to have some semblance of direction. Here’s hoping the next episode has meatier content and even less blurrycam, so I actually have something to fucking say that isn’t “Ooo, the colors!”

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  1. Billish
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    The kids were more anoying in this episode than in the previous ones. I was hoping the shiny horse-slug-rat would eat the obnoxious kid and craft real tension.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      I was hoping so too, but I guess we can’t have everything in life. If it’s any comfort, kids should be kicking the shit out of each other with psychic powers in a few episodes!

  2. Posted October 18, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    What I love about Shinsekai Yori is that time flies so fast when I watch it; it’s over before I know it. It might just be a technique (lack of OP/endcard looking like midcards) and it might be “poor direction” in another perspective but I think an anime can’t get a better praise with “time flies when I watch it” and with that, Shinsekai Yori is damn fine anime.

  3. Posted October 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I can’t take that walking library seriously because when I look at it head on, I’m reminded of Arseface from Preacher.

    And, yeah, that cold open is pretty awesome. Really dug the art style.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      If it means progress toward losing the blurrycam, I’m all for it.

  4. Posted October 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    They’re like pokeymanz, man, but with more realism!

    I’ve always been fascinated by grotesque nature documentaries, and the way giant land crabs and hypnotic glostick ponies and sniveling rat-people are presented with an air of the mysterious and unexplored pushes all the right buttons.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I will admit, I would enjoy this just as much if it was nothing more than a showcase of every weird creature imaginable.

  5. Posted October 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    This has a classic Hollywood horror feel to it. First, it gives a setting that seems creepy, with some hints as to what might happen later on. Consider the off-putting, murderous officials to be like the off-putting, toothless yokels in many American horror films. Then it retreats into a cute, fun setting with psychic games and camping trips – the Americans would use boobs here. Next up should come the initial shock as we find out what will be tormenting our protagonists, also perhaps a cat leaping into the frame. Kudos on the Stand By Me comparison.

  6. Sarif
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    You really need to get over compairing this anime to Another. The first episode had little to do with Another (much more like No.6 or Toward the Terra), and the episodes since are not even compairable in the slghtest. It is time to admit you were wrong and let the compairison go. Dennou Coil is a much better compairison, but Noein is even closer.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Another and Shinsekai employ similar animation, build mood in a similar fashion, and involve kids trying to figure out why people around them act so strangely. The resemblances are superficial, but they are definitely there. While I agree that I should at least lay off the constant mentions, they’re not completely irrelevant.

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