Shinsekai yori (From the New World) Explained!

Set a thousand years in the future, Shinsekai Yori envisions a reality where humanity has declined leaving only an astonishingly small percentage of survivors. Mankind’s remnants all possess the psychic ability of telekinesis, which is simultaneously considered a curse and a gift from the gods. Following a group of five children on the cusp of adolescence, From the New World chronicles the cast's growth into discerning adults driven by a desire to understand this world's true history. The five children, especially Saki and Satoru, became entangled in a conflict involving humanity and a subservient race similar to mole-rats. Will the former persevere? Or, will the latter's rebellion spark a new age?

-- Spoilers Ahead! --

Dawn of a New Race

2011 coincided with the discovery of psychokinesis. While the earliest practitioner could only move a plastic ball with her brain, scientist quickly began to experiment to discern this ability's latent potential. Ultimately, researchers determined that approximately 0.3% of the world's population possessed this skill. As always tends to be the case when something alien is discovered, normal folks greeted these super-powered humans with open arms, instigating a period of great economic and scientific growth for everyone involved.

Just kidding. Everything went to hell extremely quickly. Psychics presented a threat to the current social order; consequently, many masked their abilities to avoid discrimination and hate crimes. The public's fears turned to pure rage following the arrival of Boy A, a criminal who adopted his psychic powers to steal, rape, and murder. Many users faced abuse from normies, although certain members of the former opted to follow in Boy A's footsteps.

Fall of an Old World

Civil wars between psychics and ordinary folks broke out across the globe, with governments actively seeking to eliminate the former. Although initially successful, this highly stressful environment proved ideal to foster the development of the minority's abilities. Rather than unhinging locks and moving plastic balls, psychics suddenly could defeat armies with a single thought. Unable to counter this newfound threat, modern civilization collapsed, causing history to revert to the dark ages.

Over the span of a few years, a once-thriving race found itself on the brink of annihilation. By this point, ordinary humans were literally powerless to challenge psychics in any shape or form. As a result, a new world formed controlled by this small albeit powerful minority.

Power Corrupts

From the New World's present-day society exists in a fragile state of peace founded on an absence of information stemming from centuries of systematic manipulation. Each and every psychic is a nuclear bomb, so every facet of life is intended to impose a state of artificial satisfaction. Why take such extraordinary measures? Well, mankind endured a 500-year period were psychics ruled as slave owners and civilization regressed back to the dark ages.

If lucky enough to avoid capture, normal humans formed tribes and reverted back to hunters. Those psychics without a kingdom to enslave mainly spent their days pillaging helpless victims. Out of the public view, scientists sought to restore any knowledge lost from humanity's glory days.

With normies posing no threat, psychics gradually began to exterminate each other. Slave Empires eventually wiped themselves out, as each new ruler rose to the position by eliminating their predecessors.

A Scientific Intervention

Tired of witnessing humankind engage in metaphorical cannibalism, scientists finally elected to seize control. Rather than using the position to obtain power, this group sought to redirect humanity away from its doomed path. Accomplishing this task entailed imposing limitations on the behavior of psychics, as civilization is unsustainable if anyone could kill an entire village in a matter of seconds. Various methods were explored in search of a solution, but education and medication proved insufficient.

Ultimately, scientists realized the only viable answer is to swap humanity's natural inclination for violence with love. Using a breed of chimpanzees as inspiration, a society formed promoting human contact, sexual freedom, and intimacy. Despite being a step in the right direction, a single psychic still possessed the ability to essentially wipe out everyone with a single thought. Is humanity destined for extinction?

Rise of a New World

Desperate situations call for desperate measures. Humanity's impending extermination proved more than enough to justify engaging in DNA experimentation. Ultimately, scientists landed on a theory called "Death Feedback," which essentially means people lose the ability to harm one another. If someone attempts to attack another human, the body responds by shutting down vital organs. Ideally, this meant telekinesis could only be used to further mankind's development.

Unfortunately, this solution came with a massive flaw. Death Feedback does not differentiate between psychic and physical attacks. Consequently, the chosen ones—who are easily society's dominant group—would no longer be able to defend themselves against normal humans. As Death Feedback is activated by turning the user's own psychokinesis against themselves, the treatment does not work on the rest of the populace.

DNA experimentation presented a grim solution. Death Feedback only triggers when a human is attacked, therefore, psychics should be fine if normies are not recognized as humans. That is nothing a touch of mole-rat DNA cannot accomplish.

Final Thoughts

From the New World’s lore is almost more fascinating than the actual storyline. Information and history are presented as weapons to be manipulated as necessary. Do not be fooled by the world’s beauty, Shinsekai Yori is set in a hellscape!

Shinsekai-Yori-Akizuki-Maria-capture-700x394 Shinsekai yori (From the New World) Explained!


Author: Mark Sammut

Born and raised on a small island in the Mediterranean, my life goal is to experience as many different ways of life as possible. Since time and money are in short supply, anime and film provide the best opportunity to experience far away cultures and worlds. When I'm not watching the latest episode of Gintama, or wondering what series to watch next, you can find me in the corner of the closest coffee shop; writing away on my aging laptop.

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