Literature / From the New World
aka: Shin Sekai Yori

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A millennium from now, in Japan, there exists a utopia. Saki Watanabe lives in an idyllic village barred from the outside world. Her world is ruled by the people who possess the "gods' power" of psychokinesis. After finally obtaining her own powers, Saki enters the Zenjin Academy to train along with five other children: Satoru Asahina, Maria Akizuki, Mamoru Itou, Shun Aonuma, and Reiko Amano.

Not all is as it seems, however. In this utopian village, strange rumors about a monstrous cat that abducts children circulate, and students are said to disappear from the academy. The world and its history are much darker than they appear and humanity is on the verge of collapse.

From the New World (新世界より Shin Sekai Yori) is a Japanese science fiction novel by Yūsuke Kishi. It was adapted into a 25-episode anime television series by A-1 Pictures that aired from September 2012 to March 2013. The anime has been picked up for streaming and home video release in North America by Sentai Filmworks, and is available on Crunchyroll as well. There is also a manga adaptation that was serialized in Kodansha's "Bessatsu Shounen Magazine" from May 2012 until June 2014 and is now licensed by Vertical. The manga differs considerably from both the anime and the original novel in plot and characterization.

It is unknown if/when the original novel will be translated. Meanwhile, an English fan-translation (completed in 2016) can be found here.


The book/anime provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Subverted. It's set up to look like the kids are on their own against uncaring/evil elders. Turns out the adults really are doing their best for them under the horrible circumstances.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The adults who see behind the masquerade are always afraid of a child becoming an ogre and killing the entire town.
    • Saki's mother worries Saki will be ordered killed by the Education Committee until Saki's Power finally manifests. She lost one child already.
    • Mamoru's father is clearly worried sick when Mamoru disappears from home without a trace.
  • After the End: Takes place in the distant future, after a long decline of humankind.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: There is one with reconstructing society as its purpose.
  • And I Must Scream: This is Squealer/Yakomaru's punishment for his deeds, until Saki decides to put him out of his misery.
  • And Man Grew Proud: Psychokinesis is not the power of the gods. It's inherent in every human. Also, ogres and karma demons aren't monsters of legend. Karma demons are people who lose control of their Power, whereas ogres are people with Power whose Power Limiter doesn't work.
  • Anyone Can Die: Not even those belonging to Group One are safe from being offed at any time.
    • The third story arc takes this trope to a whole new level. Important characters such as Maria, Mamoru, and Tomiko all kick the bucket. And that's before getting into the complete destruction of Kamisu 66...
    • Averted for Saki and Satoru in the novel given that Saki is telling the story and mentions talking with Satoru.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Using Power to kill another human triggers agonizing, 100% lethal feedback.
  • Appeal to Force: The mobile library terminal has a lot of protocols in place to control its use. It is also smart enough to know that bypassing said protocols is preferable to being psychically torn apart by Saki and friends.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Saki, Satoru, and Niimi find a monster rat who just lost an arm.
  • Artistic License Ė Biology: The novel states that annual virginity checks are performed on female students, despite the fact that most virginity tests are inconclusive and rely entirely on the hymen for evidence, which can be torn a number of ways (and could possibly not be torn at all during sex).
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Ogres, apparently due to a disorder related to Power.
    • Koufuu Hino, one of the greatest users of Power in Kamisu 66, is easily amongst the most bloodthirsty characters in the story. He takes absolute glee in the prospect of destroying half the monster rat population in the region, and enjoys the idea of torturing them and forcing them to fight each other during their attack on the town.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The boy who becomes a karma demon in episode 2 looks a lot like Satoru.. but it turns out Shun is the one who becomes one.
  • Babies Ever After: One of the final scenes shows Satoru embracing a pregnant Saki 10 years after the end of the war.
  • Bee People: Like naked mole rats, the monster rats have a single, large queen that handles all the breeding in the nest and acts as the colony's leader.
  • Beware the Superman:
    • In the past ages, the psychics who ruled the slave empires were generally monstrous tyrants. One emperor "sacrificed" the first hundred humans to stop applauding his ascension, essentially For the Evulz.
    • This is largely the justification for the pseudo-religious social engineering in Kamisu 66. The story treats humanity as an inherently violent species, which only gets worse due to how easily PK users can use it for violence. They are considered so dangerous that, after the fall of the slave empires & raider groups, the remaining PK group decided to genetically alter themselves to make killing humans impossible.
    • Finally, it turns out that the Kamisu 66 is a slave empire in its own right, and has genetically engineered nonpsychic humans into monster rats to ensure the psychic "gods'" power over them. Nonpsychic throwbacks among the "human" caste are killed, as are psychics who don't live up to the requirements of Kamisu 66's society. The Death of Shame and the Society of Love are a means of preventing fratricidal warfare among psychics.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Squealer is defeated, order is restored, and Saki and Satoru start a family and are trying to change things for the better. However, there is still the constant threat of ogres and karma demons, as well as the grim implications of Satoru raising impure cats. To make matters worse, many, many monster rat colonies have apparently been destroyed, with some being spared (including the Giant Hornets) only due to Saki's intervention. Furthermore, Squealer's motivations, as well as his trial, leave the audience wondering just who the villain really was. Still, Saki and Satoru are hopeful for the future.
  • Breather Episode: Largely averted. Although it could be said that events themselves move slowly, especially in the beginning, despite there being so much going on all the timenote —because of the constant deluge of Break the Cutie in the midst of these events, and because of a large part of the series overall focuses on the children's perception of the world shattering (i.e., the first two arcs), there's nary a moment truly given to the audience to breathe up to that point. In comparison, it's as Saki grows older that we're treated to Breather Moments, a particularly apparent one being Saki's flashback to her childhood with Maria in episode 16. These moments are usually harshly utilized to instigate sudden Mood Whiplash, though, like during the festival two episodes, and another Time Skip, later.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Happens to the five main characters after they question the false minoshiro. A priest named Rijin seals their Power. Saki figures out how to unseal Satoru's power while they're on the run and the rest implement their method when they get home.
  • Call-Back: Shun asks the false minoshiro what happened to the non-PK users from 500 years ago. The interface doesn't know the answer but the audience discovers it near the end. Their genes were spliced with naked mole rat DNA, creating the monster rats.
  • The Chessmaster: Saki speculates that Yakomaru anticipated his enemies' response to each of many steps of his successful attack on Kamisu 66.
  • Chibi: TV Asahi's character and term definition show is hosted by chibi-versions of Saki and Squealer. You can view it here and here.
  • Child Eater: The trickster cat/impure cat.
  • City in a Bottle: Saki's town is enclosed by a barrier that is supposed to prevent demons and monsters from finding them, and children are forbidden from wandering outside the barrier without an adult. However, there is some contact between towns, as well as cooperation in dealing with renegades like Mamoru.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The setting of the story. Within the village's barrier, life is seemingly idyllic, peaceful, and filled with natural beauty. But many horrors lurk outside the barrier and the underbelly of the Zenjin Academy and the village itself is... shady to say the least.
    • It's later revealed that the world as it was before the era the story takes place in was a lot worse to live in.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Kiroumaru and the Giant Hornets might win the battle Saki witnesses in Episode 17, but ultimately Yakomaru's armies make quick work of the Giant Hornet colony due to their "secret weapon"...
    • In Episode 21, Shisei gets utterly destroyed by Yakomaru's ogre, no thanks to Shisei's subconscious PK leakage—the ogre quickly uses it to his advantage and eventually snaps his opponent in two.
  • Days of Future Past: Not in the modern world, but before then, the Slave Dynasties were basically Heian-era Japan with Ax-Crazy psychokinetic rulers.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: First, Shun ends his relationship with Satoru, then dies before he can either rekindle it or start a relationship with Saki, whom he admits he's always loved. Saki reciprocates Shun's feelings, but is best friends with and engaged in a relationship with Maria, who eventually picks Mamoru over Saki, though she is still deeply in love with the latter...and then Maria and Mamoru die, clearing the way permanently for Satoru and Saki.
  • Defiled Forever:
  • Deranged Animation:
    • Episode 5 is made of this and QUALITY. In a Fridge Brilliance, it's because the world as familiar to the kids is crumbling upon the revelation of its true, disturbing nature.
    • The opening sequence of episode 6 where a human boy inexplicably turns into a false minoshiro also counts.
    • The Nightmare Sequence from episode 16 features some truly hideous hybrid monsters from the dark depths of human subconscious, animated in a most terrifying art style.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Both ending themes in the show are sung by cast members: the first, by Saki's VA Rise Taneda, and the second by Maria's VA Kana Hanazawa.
  • Doomed Hometown: The combination of Yakomaru's overwhelming army and his ogre allow him to sack Kamisu 66 in Episode 20.
  • Doorstopper: The original novel is about 1,000 pages in total. Because of its sheer length, it is split into more than one book (two or three volumes, depending on which edition you're looking at). The fan-translated English version still qualifies, though it's about half the size of the original at nearly 500 pages.
  • Dream Sequence: In the novel/anime, Saki has dreams of a faceless boy telling her not to try to help Maria and Mamoru and that they need to die. In the manga, one chapter begins with Saki dreaming about Maria and Reiko when they were all younger.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Shun confesses his love to Saki right before he sends her out of the blast radius of his imminent psychic meltdown. The manga also has a scene where Sho and Haruka, two original characters, declare their love for each other during Haruka's last moments before she dies.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Saki and Satoru end up marrying and having a family. Saki ensured that more than just the Giant Hornets were spared after the monster rats were eliminated and knows enough to try to change things for the better. However, a lot of people died in order for them to reach this point.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: With the exception of Satoru, Saki, and Inui, every remotely significant human character from Kamisu 66 has died by the end of the summer festival attack. Tokyo dumps another round of this trope on the party, killing Inui, Kiromaru, and Maria's child; Saki eventually performs a Mercy Kill on Yakomaru. Saki and Satoru are the only named characters who survive the whole bloodbath of a story.
  • Everyone Is a Super: Deconstructed. In a world where every human has the power of psychokinesis, extreme measures have been taken to hold some semblance of civilization together.
  • Everyone Is Bi: According to the library, sexual acts are used as stress relief and deepening of intimacy. The original example were bonobos. It's a society that depends on Distracted by the Sexy to continue existing.
    • However, there are also very strict social rules regarding sex: heterosexual sex is all but forbidden until early adulthood. As such, homosexual relationships are the norm for children until they are adolescents. They can still have romantic feelings for members of the opposite sex, though.
  • Extranormal Institute: The Zenjin Academy, where the students are taught to master their ability.
  • The Extremist Was Right:
    • The tyrannical nature of society is based on one question: What do we do to keep another ogre or karma demon from manifesting? The answer is necessarily horrifying.
    • Yakomaru's treatment as an insane radical also obscures his perfectly valid point (backed by Kiroumaru) about the inhumane treatment of the monster rats. Additionally, his claim that the monster rats are human is laughed off by the jury but eventually proven true by Saki and Satoru.
  • Failsafe Failure: Death Feedback is intended to keep humans from killing each other, but all it seems to serve is to prevent humans from being able to defend themselves against ogres.
  • Fake Memories: After a child is "disposed of," the other children's memories are modified so they don't remember the person in question ever existing, and sometimes to remember another child in his or her place.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: In-universe, the textbooks that the students read in the Zenjin Academy teach their aesops through very dark and depressing means, usually ending in the horrible death of the main character and sacrificing oneself for the greater good.
  • Fantastic Racism: The humans hold the monster rats in extremely low regard, refusing to believe that they are of equal intelligence. The moment they get more advanced weaponry, are brainwashed with propaganda involving messiahs sent from Heaven, and have an ogre on their side, they decide to Kill All Humans.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: What the Ethics Committee sentences Squealer to after the monster rats' rebellion fails. They use their Power to make all the nerves in his body send extreme pain signals indefinitely, and force him to regenerate every time so he cannot die. The image of the throbbing, red mass in the museum that he has become drives home the horrific cruelty of his "Eternal Hell."
  • Foregone Conclusion: From the narration of older Saki we know that she and Satoru will survive to adulthood, but also that something terrible will happen with Maria.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Since an older Saki is narrating the events of the story, she drops some hints about what will happen in the future, such as her musing that countless people could have been saved if Maria had never been born.
    • Shun is the one who reads the karma demon story for the class early in the series. He turns into one, in the end.
    • For that matter, Maria is the one who reads the ogre story. She is directly involved in the rise of an ogre-like threat to the human population.
    • As if the above wasn't bad enough, in episode 15 we learn that, after Squealer overthrew the queen, he lobotomized her and kept her solely for breeding offspring. This is incredibly terrifying, especially if you keep Tomiko's warnings and Saki's fears in mind.
    • The order of arrangement in the promotional poster of the anime could be considered an early subtle one for those who haven't been or aren't able to read the novels. Driven home by the visually darker, day's-end-(end-of-youth)emphasizing 14-year-old version of the earlier promotional image.
  • From the Latin "Intro Ducere": In episode 25 Saki and Satoru are discussing the monster rats' origin, erroneously interpreting a similarity between naked mole rats' scientific name (heterocephalus glaber) and human beings' scientific name (homo sapiens). Although Greek element "hetero" (meaning different or other) in heterocephalus is the opposite of Greek element "homos" (meaning same), this element is not the one used in "homo sapiens", which comes from Latin element "homo" (meaning human).
  • Gender Flip: Maria's and Mamoru's child is a boy in the original novels. The anime adaptation, however, turns the character in question into a girl, as revealed in the series finale. The character is a boy in the manga, so it may be a flubbed line that no one caught.
  • Genre Blind: The human leadership don't seem to realize that the monster rats being led by Squealer are someday going to revolt against them, given how they've ousted their queens and are quickly developing into an advanced, democratized, industrial society. Only Saki, Satoru, and Tomiko seem to have an inkling of what might happen.
  • Genre Deconstruction: A horrific examination of the concept of superpowers. Everyone with the Power is a walking nuclear weapon, every human being in their society has the Power, and the series thoroughly explores the absolutely terrifying measures that humanity has had to take to survive this development.
  • Glass Cannon: Every human being in the series has the destructive potential of a nuke, if not more, thanks to their PK ability, but can be killed by a single bullet as easily as any normal person.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The audience don't see the monk Rijin gibbed by the blowdog. The kids aren't so lucky.
    • The audience is also spared the undoubtedly gruesome image of the doctor's head being blown off by K after the man injects the little demon with enough poison to kill him.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Yakomaru's rebellion. On one hand, it is clear that the humans view the monster rats as barely sapient lifeforms who cannot possibly compare to them, presenting themselves as gods to the monster rats. They are also completely willing to exterminate entire colonies that are perceived as hostile (or in any way a threat), many of which have thousandsnote  of individuals, as little more than pests. On the other hand, it's clear that Yakomaru has been planning this for years, and his motivations are questionable at best. He is also outright genocidal towards humanity, and he has no problem sending his men to die in more than one Suicide Attack. He also slaughters other colonies that do not ally with him.
  • Grotesque Cute: Monster rats are ugly, small, anthropoid creatures that worship humans with psychokinesis as gods.
  • Heroic R.R.O.D.: When Satoru has completely overstrained his power fighting the Earth Spider Clan, and finally contains a pair of Balloon Dog explosions, he collapses in exhaustion. Given that he's just spent two episodes fighting a war single-handedly, it's understandable.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • A doctor 245 years in the past gave an ogre a fatal drug injection, knowing he'd die for it.
    • Niimi is sent to sound the emergency broadcast telling people to evacuate the towns because an ogre is attacking. He stays in the town hall to keep the broadcast going rather than escape, himself.
    • Saki's parents burn all of the books containing classified information so that Yakomaru can't use it, despite knowing Yakomaru's forces will find them because of the smoke.
    • Kiroumaru lets himself be killed by the ogre in order to trigger the ogre's Death Feedback.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The Board of Education orders Mamoru's death for rather flimsy reasons, which causes him to run away with Maria. This leads to Maria giving birth to a child. After presumably killing them both, Squealer then raises that child to be a weapon against humanity, making a revolt possible. This rebellion gets Hiromi (the head of the Board of Education) killed.
    • As kids, Saki and Satoru save the Robber Fly colony from extinction while trying to get back to their friends. Two years later two of these friends, Maria and Mamoru, run away and take shelter with the growing Robber Fly colony...who kill both of them and use their child to all but flatten Saki and Satoru's entire society.
  • Hotter and Sexier:
    • The manga adaptation, which is only loosely based on the novel, has much more fanservice-y clothing designs for the girls and a number of gratuitious ecchi scenes between Saki and Maria (with Reiko joining in as well in the first chapter and in a dream sequence). It also completely erases the canon homosexual relationship between Satoru and Shun.
    • Inverted when you consider the anime is Lighter and Softer than the original novel, which depicted sex scenes fairly graphically. In the novel there's mention of oral sex between two boys and Saki mentions that at the age of 12 she already had experience sexually pleasuring another girl (in a scene where she's trying to figure out how to pleasure Satoru, no less). That being said, it's not done for the sake of fanservice, and is described in an almost clinical manner.
  • Humans Are Bastards: A major theme of the story. Humans are presented as an extremely violent species, often using oppression and cruelty to get their way, or for no reason at all. They're even worse with PK, if only due to how easy Power makes everything. As such, Kamisu 66 is centered around controlling their violent impulses, as human nature alone can destroy the world again.
    • In the novel it's very heavily implied that the two creatures mankind is most afraid of, ogres and karma demons, are the result of a kind of genetic/evolutionary backlash against suppressing violent instincts - the emergence of ogres and karma demons turns out to be tied to traumatic events their parents experienced, by the way of unconscious, minor power leakage that influences genetics.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: One thousand years from the present, everyone develops psychokinetic power when they reach adolescence.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Monster rats take the baby monster rats of defeated colonies to be slaves after they defeat rival colones in battle. Not only do they not stop doing this, they then start raising human children as their ogre units. Yet preaching that they deserve equality.
    • On the opposite side, the humans act outraged that monster rats killed their friends and family, yet they have absolutely no qualm to eradicate entire monster rat colonies at the slightest hints of threat, and freely execute monster rats for trivial "insults".
  • Imagination-Based Superpower: Psychokinesis can be used to effect whatever result the user visualizes.
  • Inherent in the System: Humans Are the Real Monsters, with the power of gods. Much of the horror of the series comes from the fact that the Crapsaccharine World revealed to the children really is the best that its rulers can come up with.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Saki tries to confess her love to Shun, but he interrupts her with a goodbye and walks away. He's about to go off to die alone, and hearing a confession from the girl he loves would make that a lot harder.
  • Just in Time: Tomiko arrives just in time to save Saki from being sentenced to death by the Education Committee.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Downplayed. Children with Power are responsible for many of the atrocities that occurred when PK first appeared, and even Group One can be callous towards others, such as threatening to rip the false minoshiro or almost leaving a drowning monster rat.
  • Kill 'em All: In the end of the series, Satoru and Saki are the only named characters to avert a brutal demise.
  • Killed Off for Real: At the end of the story, Shun, his pet dog Subaru, Rijin, Maria, Mamoru, Hino, Hiromi, Fujita, Reiko, Shisei, Niimi, Saki's parents, Kiroumaru, Squealer/Yakomaru, Tomiko, Inui, and Maria and Mamoru's nameless child are all dead.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade:
    • Downplayed in the case of Saki's group. They "only" have their PK sealed. Possibly thanks to Tomiko's intervention.
    • Subverted: It's heavily implied that the Education Committee would have killed Saki for revealing how much she knows during her interrogation, if not for Tomiko's intervention.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Spectacularly averted, with a whole wardrobe of beautifully detailed outfits for each character in the anime.
  • Lobotomy: The monster rats perform a botched lobotomy on the Robber Fly queen, and presumably the queens of the colonies that allied with the Robber Flies. Squealer claims they did it because the queen was suffering from mental illness, as well as because they felt their rights as sentient beings weren't being respected, but in practice it's mainly to organize a coup. This procedure changes the monster rat queens from occasionally violent, tyrannical despots to mindless baby-factories which are treated as livestock. Regardless of rationale, Saki and Satoru are reasonably freaked-out by this revelation, especially since the queen is the monster rats' own mother.
  • Love Confession: The class duty pairing ceremony, due to the administration's emphasis on boy-girl pairs, is considered an implicit confession of whom everyone likes.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Mamoru has a crush on Maria, who likes Saki, who loves Shun but dates Maria; meanwhile, Shun reciprocates Saki's love but is going out with Satoru, who also loves Shun. Collapses when Shun dies in the second arc; Maria and Mamoru run off into the wilderness whereas Satoru and Saki end up marrying by the end of the series. Plus, Saki remarks in the novel that despite her longstanding crush on Shun, her strong bond with Satoru makes him the person that she is most comfortable to be with. And when she sees Shun and Satoru together, she isn't sure of whom she is actually jealous of.
  • The Masquerade: Most people are brainwashed from childhood to believe the world works a certain way, but a select few know the truth.
  • Mercy Kill: Saki to Squealer in the last episode, to end his horrific And I Must Scream punishment.
  • Mind over Matter: Everyone can use psychokinesis starting from adolescence.
  • More Than Mind Control: The people of Kamisu 66 are subtly brainwashed since childhood by the Board of Education and the Ethics Committee to ensure the stability of their society and prevent lethal breakouts of uncontrolled psychic power. The average member of the society would be paralyzed with fear by the very idea of crossing the Sacred Barrier without permission, for example.
  • Mr. Exposition: The false minoshiro's purpose is to tell the main characters (and the audience, by extension) the backstory of the setting they live in.
  • Mundane Utility: People mostly use their PK abilities for extremely simple tasks, such as picking weeds or writing on a blackboard. Pretty simple stuff for a Power that has the potential to destroy continents.
  • Nightmare Face:
    • Shun in Episode 8.
    • K.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Saki sees a nightmare in episode 16, featuring a disturbing sequence of bizzare monstrosities and a boy with pointy ears who tells her to let Maria die.
  • No Heterosexual Sex Allowed: It appears that although heterosexual crushes are perfectly commonplace, teenagers are expected not to act on them, and teens who don't take a same-sex partner are seen as strange. Only after a ceremonial pairing for schoolwork are they allowed to pursue a heterosexual relationship, and most of the homosexual ones are apparently quickly dropped.
    • In the novel Saki explains that intimate homosexual relationships are encouraged in adolescents, with only platonic relationships being approved for those of the opposite sex until a certain age. Heterosexual sexual intercourse between adolescents, if discovered, would warrant expulsion of the individuals. It makes sense when you consider their society is one that promotes using sex as a form of stress relief even among children and also is highly regulatory of said children; it wouldn't be prudent for 12-year-old kids to already be having kids of their own.
    • Actually, to be really specific, contact between people of different sex is still permitted. The only thing that's truly forbidden is penetrative intercourse between a boy and a girl.
    • In the novel, schools are stated to go so far as to perform annual virginity checks on female students. If failed, the girl "disappears." The double standard exists presumably because there's no way to check male students.
  • Not So Different: The current society is not so different from the previous slave empires. The current society mutated humans without Power into monster rats so they can easily control them without suffering from Death Feedback.
  • Number of the Beast: Kamisu 66. Becomes increasingly appropriate as the various horrible things they do to monster rats and their own children are brought to light. Not to mention their Playing with Fire abilities.
  • Offing the Offspring: The adults don't want to, but there's no other way to stop the kids from potentially turning into Omnicidal Maniacs.
  • Off-Model: For episodes 5 and 10 the producers brought in Shigeyasu Yamauchi (Casshern Sins) as a guest director and allow him to do everything his way. This included a radical reinterpretation of the character designs.
  • Passing the Torch: After receiving serious injuries from the monster rat attack, Tomiko realizes that she's not going to last long against Yakomaru, let alone his ogre. Because of this, she gives her position to Saki in Episode 20.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Buddhism that teaches the characters their mantras and control of their powers actually includes hypnosis and mantras that are used to seal people's powers where necessary.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: Subverted. The humans initially appear this way, but they are only like this due to extensive genetic and social conditioning. They cannot attack somebody without their own Power attacking their own bodies, for example. This pacifism also does not apply at all to the monster rats, whom the humans regard as mere animals that can be exterminated in the hundreds of thousands.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Every human being in the world! An elaborate system of control is in place to keep people from destroying the society by accident or on a whim. Renegades who fail to follow the social norms are treated with the same degree of seriousness as armed nuclear weapons, and for good reason.
  • Physical God: Humanity is able to wield unlimited power, and humans are treated as gods by lesser creatures (specifically, the monster rats).
  • Power Incontinence/Superpower Meltdown: Karma demons are the sufferers of a mental disorder that makes them unable to properly control their power and begin to subconsciously warp everything around them, with devastating effects. Their abilities grow even stronger over time and cause even more damage. Shun develops the condition and accidentally kills his parents, destroys his village, twists the landscape, and eventually secludes himself in an alternate world to record what happened to him. Eventually he dies due to an especially powerful power outburst.
  • Power Limiter: The human genome has been modified to include barriers on attacking and killing other humans. The society is so devoid of aggression that the kids are completely baffled at any mention or display of it.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • The reason why the committee gets rid of some children is to avoid them becoming karma demons or ogres, as has happened before. Indeed, Yakomaru's war against humans is only possible thanks to Mamoru and Maria defying the committee.
    • Zigzagged at the end of the summer camp arc. Satoru realizes that General Kiroumaru might receive orders from the Ethics Committee to disappear him and Saki, prompting him to make a break for it in the middle of the night. He's right...except that Kiroumaru has no intention of following their orders, and helps them return to civilization.
  • Pull the Thread: When giving someone as smart as Saki Fake Memories, it's a good idea to make sure that the new memories are airtight. Otherwise, her subconscious will give her a hint, and she'll start digging until everything unravels completely.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Arguably the Big Bad has this motivation against humanity.
  • Rat Men: The monster rats are rat-faced humanoids, implied to have been genetically altered or subconsciously evolved from normal humans using the psychokinetic powers common in the setting.
  • Reality Warper: "Power" can do just about anything. In the hands of a karma demon, it does do just about anything; transforming bodies into crystals, mutating people and creatures, and transmuting poisons into harmless chemicals are some of the tamer manifestations of Power Incontinence.
  • Red Herring: Given what happens to Shun and the fact he read the story about the karma demon, one would assume that Maria, being the one to read about the ogre, would eventually turn into one. She is revealed to be dead in Episode 18.
    • She did, however, give birth to a son (a daughter in the anime) who would become an ogre. Saki was right: if Maria hadn't been born, she wouldn't have been the mother of the near-apocalypse.
  • Remember the New Guy: In the anime. After Shun dies, Ryou from Group 2 is introduced as a member of Group 1 as though he had always been part of their circle of friends. Downplayed in the original novel, where Ryou is at least mentioned as a member of Group 2 before this happens.
  • Replacement Love Interest:
    • Ryou is suddenly a member of Group 1 and Saki's (and Satoru's former) Love Interest an episode after Shun dies, literally replacing Shun in everyone's mind. Except not really. Shun has been erased, with Ryou retconned into his former position, but neither Saki nor Satoru are actually interested in Ryou like they were with Shun.
    • In the novel, when Saki and Satoru end up making love after failing to retrieve Maria and Mamoru after they ran away from the village, Saki makes the realization that Satoru is probably thinking of Shun while doing it, and muses that she's thinking the same, as well.
  • The Reveal:
    • The false minoshiro reveals what happened in the thousand years between the present and the story's setting.
    • Shun reveals the nature of karma demons to Saki, and thus the audience.
    • Tomiko Asahina reveals more of what's under The Masquerade.
    • Satoru reveals at the end that monster rats are descended from normal humans who were spliced with naked mole rat DNA.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: During the Time Skip the monster rats start getting ideas about democratic process instead of the tyranny of the queens, and proto-nation states that extend beyond the limits of individual nests. They seek to accomplish this by lobotomizing the queens, effectively reducing them into mindless birthing machines, and violently persecuting the nests that refuse to go along.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The impure cat kittens Satoru is raising in the final episode. Especially ironic and Hilarious in Hindsight, given that the monsters were once sent to hunt Saki and Mamoru.
  • Rope Bridge: In the story of the man who gathered herbs in the forbidden ground, he ends up cutting it so that the Slender Man-like monster chasing him fall to the ravine —along with him — and preventing it from destroying his village. Foreshadowing, definitely.
  • Sanity Slippage: Shun is seen having a major case of this in Episode 8, foreshadowing his transformation into a karma demon.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • The idyllic landscape of Kamisu Town 66.
    • Episode 16 showcases this with the snowladen landscape contrasting vivid blue (and later pink) skies throughout just outside the barrier.
  • Schizo Tech: The monster rats use stone-tipped arrows...and machines that store and release poison gas.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Unintentionally. The reason that Saki and friends aren't cat food after their first unauthorized adventure is because Tomiko vetoes the order to have them killed.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The basement of the school is not a storage area. It is actually the kennel for the impure cats.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: If the Education Committee hadn't decided to eliminate Mamoru, he wouldn't have run for it and become a threat to Kamisu 66.
  • Self-Referential Humor: In part I chapter 2 of the novel, Saki remembers that in her primary school days, her friend Satoru used to make scary stories to make his friends freak out: "At this time, I admired Satoru for his oratory skills. If there were ever a job for making scary stories, he would be the first to be picked for it. Though of course, I canít think of any society that would have such a dumb job."
  • Sex Is Good: Intimate physical contact relieves stress, stemming the power-madness, and tendency toward such behavior is encouraged and has become part of everyday life. Modeled after bonobos.
  • Shout-Out: To Animal Farm: This is not the first time a character called "Squealer" has been involved in a plan to install a new world order.
  • Shrine Maiden: The uniform of the main characters has this motif. For all purpose, they are Shrine Maiden and Kannushi, power of the gods and all.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Shun has one in Episode 8.
    • K has one in Episode 12.
  • Smug Super: Defied in the most disturbing way. The moment a child with PK shows even the slightest hint of smugness, he or she is dealt with. Permanently. One example is when a student cheats at a telekinetic game by pushing the ball when players are only allowed to push clay wedges around its base - violating safety regulations.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The opening of the first episode is psychokinetic kids exploding heads to The New World Symphony's Second Movement.
  • Space Amish / Enforced Technology Levels: Though not in space, the people of Kamisu 66 follow a simple lifestyle and although they have plenty of understanding of modern technology, including the ability to generate electricity with waterwheels, they actively avoid the use of technological contraptions in favour of their innate PK powers. Flashbacks imply that they used to be more lenient with technology but changed their minds about it for some reason.
  • Spoiler Opening:
    • The ending animation foreshadows Shun's death.
    • What's more, Mamoru and Maria are seen wearing masks in the ending, just like the one Shun wears before he kills himself.
  • Suicide Attack: Yakomaru sends his soldiers to use this tactic when his army attacks Kamisu 66.
  • Suicide by Cop: A monster rat lunges at Saki and Satoru so that they'll kill him in self-defense. He has valuable information he doesn't want them to torture out of him, and he doesn't have a weapon to kill himself with.
  • Take Over the World: Yakomaru's ultimate goal, as revealed in episode 21, is nothing less than to turn all human infants he captures into ogres, and use them to wipe out all humans from the face of the Earth.
  • Technical Pacifist: Humans cannot kill humans, due to both conditioning and genetics. This does not stop them from using trained and engineered Attack Animals to murder their children.
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night:
    • Trickster cats are allegedly mythical monsters that steal away children who don't develop their Power. It is an urban legend among children, and their existence is usually denied by the adults. However, there are numerous hints that there is some truth to the stories. Indeed, Saki's mother knows them to actually exist, calling them impure cats.
    • It's one of the methods the scientists use to prevent those with PK from destroying society.
  • Time Skip: The story follows Saki and the others through three timeskips.
  • Titled After the Song: The anime shares its English name with Dvořák's Symphony No. 9. This could be passed off as coincidence if not for the frequent use of the "Goin' Home" theme from the symphony's 2nd Movement ("Largo") throughout the show.
  • Title-Only Opening: A rare anime example of this. Even so, quite a few of the opening title cards are creative and set the right tone for their respective episodes.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Saki realizes that the reason Yakomaru's ogre doesn't experience attack inhibition or death feedback like other humans is that s/he doesn't know that s/he is a human. His/her attack inhibition and death feedback function against monster rats instead, since s/he was raised by them.
  • Tomato Surprise: In the final episode, Saki and Satoru learn that the monster rats are actually descended from humans who were forcefully mutated.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Except it doesn't stop with the town, going all the way to humanity itself.
  • Twitchy Eye: In the anime everyone in the group, Ryou included, develops this after Shun's death. Whenever they bring up topics relating to their recently falsified memories, their right eyes begin to twitch. (In the novel, only Saki mentions experiencing it.)
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • In-universe: Satoru thinks that the monster rats are becoming too human for comfort in Episode 15.
    • Also in-universe: During the climactic attack, the monster rats use mutants shaped like humans to increase the chaos. According to Saki, they look human from a distance, but are eerie and off-putting up close.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: One of the very interesting things about Shinsekai Yori is that the characters' clothing change frequently, unlike most anime. Their hairstyles also change after timeskips.
  • Un-person: Society seems to be structured so that people who "disappear" are forgotten and never spoken of. More specifically, people who disappear under the rules of the Ethics Committee get erased from the memories of people around them, including Reiko, Saki's older sister and Shun.
  • Unreliable Narrator: In the novel, Saki warns the reader early on that she could be one of these; although she tries to tell her story as truthfully as she can, she admits that some facts may still be distorted as a result of her own unconscious self-justification, and also because the memory-altering she experienced throughout her life means she can't be sure if what she remembers is accurate or not (she brings up that she and Satoru have conflicting memories on certain events).
  • The Unreveal: In the anime: where the mutants, used by Earth Spider colony and later Yakomaru's forces come from. In the last episode, there are some taxidermied specimens on display in the museum commemorating the monster rat-human war, but the viewers are never shown any information about them.
    • In the novel it's explained that they're created by the queen applying modifications to their offspring while they are inside her body. (The queen of the Earth Spider colony was a mutant, herself.) At the end Saki theorizes that this may be evidence for them having low-level Power.
  • Used to Be More Social: Shun distances himself from his closest friends and even moves out of his hometown because he's turning into a karma demon.
  • Weirdness Censor: Saki and her class don't seem to be too concerned that several students have gone missing and never returned. It turns out that the adults are intentionally altering the children's memories of students who have been removed in order to phase them out of any past recollections and to quell any ensuing panic that may occur if one's classmates disappeared.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Ethics & Education Committees, which will use any means necessary to prevent the creation of ogres and karma demons, even if it means covertly "removing" any child that shows even the slightest hint of instability.
  • Wham Episode: With so many game-changing twists, this series earned its own page.
  • Wham Line:
    • After telling her mother about seeing a trickster cat, Saki overhears her parents. She catches her mother saying, "I don't want to lose any more children!"
    • This exchange between Tomiko and Saki in Episode 14:
      Tomiko Asahina: What age do I look like to you?
      Saki Watanabe: (beat) About 67.
      Tomiko Asahina: That's an amusing guess. You got the last two digits right. I'm 267 years old.
    • As if Episode 18 isn't whammy enough, Maria appears. After more or less recapping her reasons for leaving Kamisu 66, she drops this bomb:
      Maria Akizuki: I loved Saki. But I couldn't leave Mamoru and I could no longer live in that town anyway. And, well, we can't have kids since we're both girls.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never learn what happens to those two women who stay behind in the hospital when an ogre is pursuing Saki and Satoru's Dwindling Party. Saki and Satoru plan to send someone from the town to fetch them, but things have gotten a little out of hand by the time they get back, so the issue never really comes up.
    • After Saki and Satoru give the ogre the slip, they notice the ogre going in another direction, which, with Saki visualizing the hospital entrance and making a half-second face of realization, implies that the ogre went back to kill them.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Kamisu 66 only gives full human rights to indviduals who are over 17 years old, whereas children under it can be disposed of for any reason. The ogres and karma demons are perceived as inhuman monsters in spite of their very human origins. The monster rats are classified as animals in spite of their human-level intelligence and the Robber Fly colony's industrialized society because they don't have any psychic powers. Also, the monster rats are secretly descended from non-psychic humans with naked mole rat DNA spliced in.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Considering how quickly Saki and Satoru begin hallucinating after being trapped in the dark (it happens again to Saki later), people in this society are more prone to both visual and auditory hallucination. And, oh yeah, don't forget about people would suddenly become ogres if they weren't killed before they can snap, or in the case of the victims' loved ones, robbed of their memories of the victim.
  • You Did Everything You Could: Satoru says this to Saki after Maria and Mamoru's defection becomes clear.
  • Zigzag Paper Tassel: These are ubiquitous, indicating sacred or forbidden places/items.
    • They're part of the social engineering, meant to make people localize their subconscious fears and power leakage away from any inhabited area.

Alternative Title(s): Shin Sekai Yori

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/FromTheNewWorld?from=Literature.ShinSekaiYori