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Headscratchers / From the New World

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  • If psychological programming theoretically prevents human-on-human violence, and powers could be psychologically ‘sealed’ away, why not program all the kids to have a set expiration date for how long they can tolerate being in the outside world before getting an overwhelming need to return to a village?
  • The humans created the monster rats so they could kill them without suffering the Death of Shame, why not program the rats with sleeper agents who would randomly sabotage their operations?
  • The translation on Crunchyroll referred to both Trickster Cats and Impure Cats. Are these two different things or did the translation team forget which term they were going with?
    • "Trickster cat" is the term used by kids in the stories/rumors they tell. Though those kids don't know it for sure, the creature exists and is officially called an impure cat. A character using both terms is referring to the same creature in different contexts; e.g., an adult Saki might use the term "trickster cat" when talking about the cats in the context of her childhood experiences.
  • Who rescued Mamoru from the Cat in the school?
    • It’s implied he killed it without looking back. Like he heard the noise, but since he recognized it, and didn’t look back, it couldn’t stun him. Then killed it by forming a vortex in that general area.
  • I still don't understand - how come Akki and Gouma can exist, when a Power Limiter as strong as a Death Feedback exists? Won't the Akki/Gouma die themselves the moment they killed a person? I understand how this worked with Yakomaru's Akki, but what about K and the Gouma girl?
    • Basically, Akkis are what happens when Death Feedback fails. Akkis don't have Death Feedback, that's what makes them so dangerous. Yakomaru's Akki was not a true Akki, because he/she does have Death Feedback, it just activated under a different condition due to him/her believing him/herself to be a Bakenezumi. And Goumas are just people who can't control their power. They don't mean to cause havoc and chaos, they just can't stop it. If the Death Feedback doesn't activate for them, it's because they do not blame themselves for any deaths their power causes. It's an accident, not murder.
      • If an Akki is defined as someone whose Death Feedback doesn't work, then what about people whose Death Feedback doesn't work but DON'T feel an urge to destroy and kill everything in their path? Are they still an Akki then?
      • Yes, it's entirely possible that anybody could be an Akki and never know it. After all, how could you test the Death Feedback?
      • All explanations on the "Akki" matter completely fit psychopathy description. That being said, psychopaths are not particularly destructive, they just aren't feeling themselves "on the same level" as other humans (in extreme cases, they simply view other humans as automations with a complex behavior, i.e. something decidedly NOT like a "living person", like themselves). That's the primary cause why Death Feedback aren't affecting them. As for their destructiveness, it's simply a function of one's brain capacity. A clever psychopath will likely understand the fact that in some cases he must rely on others, must have a place to live, food to eat, and so on, and the extent of his actions will be somewhat limited by that reasoning.
      • Strange, the novel seems to define an Akki as someone who doesn't have attack inhibition or death feedback. Even K was said to be someone who was born without the death feedback, and not someone whose psychopathic tendencies broke through the feedback. If that's the case, then does it mean that everyone who existed with PK before scientists implemented this genetic conditioning is an Akki? What does the false minoshiro mean by saying that Akki and Gouma exist even before that?
      • Death Feedback is tested in the Sanctuary of Purity: Saki was tested by the monk who told her she is hurting him and she felt that heart attack. The novel seems to have a very dark view on human beings: virtually everyone has the compulsion to kill if they could, that's why both Death Feedback and Attack Inhibition were implemented.
  • Speaking of Yakomaru's Akki, why didn't Shisei just pull a Heroic Sacrifice and just kill her with his Cantus and let Death Feedback claim him, instead of just letting the Akki kill him and continue her rampage anyway?
    • The conditioning and training of children prevents them from even seriously considering aggressive actions towards other humans, it's not like Death Feedback is an isolated kill switch that activates only on some specific conditions. It's more like an additional hormone- or neurotransmitter-activated CNS functionality, and thus it affects ALL human behavior related to aggressiveness towards other humans.
    • Shisei can't do that because of the attack suppression gene that was added at the same time as the death feedback.
  • How come the monster rats come in so many different shapes? Last time I checked, naked mole rats are usually differentiated mainly by size (the ovulating female being larger than the rest).
    • Their designers felt like being creative about it?
    • Or maybe just the fact that the monster rats are actually humans with naked mole rat genes implanted within them.
    • Although it's not directly stated in the anime, the Bakenezumi queens are capable of mutating their offspring in the womb for specific purposes, implying that they may have some latent psychic abilities manifesting, as well.
  • How exactly were the mole rats being repressed? So far the only times the psychic users would intervene is if they started attacking any psychic users (which is impossible, as one could easily demolish an entire colony).
    • Both the leaders claim in the past the colonies would be destroyed by the government on a whim and it is implied they are called upon for slave labor and to use in combat. Also, consider that they are non-psychic humans who were forcibly modified just so that they could be killed more easily. Since, up until this, most humans were not born with the potential to develop powers, less than 1% even, it would be roughly equivalent to, say... the U.S. government declaring that anyone not in the top tax bracket no longer had any legal rights and were now the property of the wealthy.
  • How can Yakomaru's plan to raise an army of Akki and take over Eurasia etc work? He can create one Akki, yes, but if he raised a whole bunch of Akki together, won't they just grow up with human death feedback and be useless? Either that, or they won't grow up with human death feedback, and kill each other (the other Akki) instead?
    • Raise them all the same way as he did the first one. Teach them all to believe themselves and each other to be Bakenezumi, and they won't be able to kill one another without the Death Feedback going off. If the first one seeing her reflection didn't convince her she was human, neither would several of them seeing each other.
  • Can't the Akki look at her own hands/legs and realize that she's human?
    • Despite her age, she still appears to have an infantile personality. She's also obviously quite unhinged and prone to emotional outbursts, demonstrated when she saw her reflection in the mirror. It's pretty obvious she was raised specifically as a weapon against Power users, not even allowed the time to socialize with others, even other monster rats. Yakomaru may have isolated and conditioned her since birth to regard herself as a fellow monster rat.
    • She must be aware that not all queerats looks the same. Kiroumaru and Yakomaru/Squealer don't look alike at all, not to mention foot soldiers.
    • The queens can mutate their offspring in the womb to have just about any appearance, so that wouldn't indicate anything. In particular, in the novel part of the attack on the town is monster rats that were mutated to look almost like humans, so she would look pretty similar to them, anyway.
  • Why didn't it work for the Board to send all the Tainted Cats after Maria and Mamoru's daughter?
    • Probably because she was being protected by Yakomaru's soldiers, to prevent their most precious weapon from being killed unceremoniously. Also, the Akki had been developing her powers far earlier than the other children, so she would have made short work of them. Additionally, since the Akki grew up among monster rats since her birth, the cats would have a harder time differentiating her smell from any other common monster rat.
    • Saki's parents' Heroic Sacrifice were facing sure death by coming back and destroying dangerous documents from the Library and releasing Tainted Cats to at least try to lessen Akki's destruction.
  • How did the Akki wipe out the Giant Hornet army without activating its Death Feedback?
    • She didn't. She only disarmed them.
  • What the hell was that light that came out of the eyes of Koufuu Hino when he died? It was never even mentioned.
  • Ok, it has been established that children who show signs of smugness, violence or disregard for rules are quietly disposed of. But what exactly is the reason for offing perfectly compliant and polite children, whose only "fault" is lack of talent in Cantus? Mamoru, Reiko and Saki's sister are fine examples here. Whom exactly do they endanger?
    • They are believed to be dangerous because they can't control their Cantus and have the possibility of becoming Karmic Demons, like Shun does.
    • Saki's sister showed signs of astigmatism/nearsightedness, which would make her dangerous because cantus works through visualizing the desired effect, so she would have trouble using her power properly. Reiko's problem was lack of control as above. Mamoru was a different problem. It's not that his power was uncontrollable (he was a weakling but able to control it), but his emotions - he wasn't trusted to fit in with the system as an adult.
  • The Scientists' social engineering doesn't make sense. Problem: an upper class of psychic people murders too many people. Solution: turn non-psychics into naked mole rats who can still be murdered, then set up a society for the elites where over 15% of children get brutally murdered, 100% of children need to be hypnotised and have their memories erased to have a semblance of a normal childhood despite their teachers murdering their friends, which isn't capable of protecting against the main threat to the current order, namely anyone who wants to kill people, and which commits regular genocide on the common people. Both the upper and lower class would have been better off if they had changed nothing. (Unless Akki preferentially target humans over non-humans, in which case the genocides committed by humans might be slightly less frequent than those committed by Akki, making the lower class slightly better off than before). For the psychic upper class, a society without death feedback seems to be little different from modern-day states where civilians can easily acquire guns. The formation of an Akki would be like the proverbial robbery of a gun store in Texas. Some people might be killed taking down the Akki, but at least you wouldn't have to declare the entire village doomed or send tigers to kill 15% of your children. Sure, an Akki against non-psychics would be like a 'fox in the henhouse', but as long as each of them kills less than 100,000 people before the psychic police take it down, it's still less deadly to the lower class than the current societal setup. While I do have the benefit of hindsight, the scientists must at one point have thought "hey, you know those psychotic mass murderers who kill indiscriminately? Let's make it so nobody can kill them!". Seriously, the Empire of the Cherry Blossom was probably better to live in.
    • The scientists probably thought that the death feedback would instantly kill an Akki should they kill their first victim, maybe at the second. They couldn't know that the now called Akki would be the rare (?) instance of a human being born WITHOUT the death feedback implemented in their psyche.
    • Also, we've seen what happens when every psychic has the potential power to wipe out a nation single-handedly. It's not "robbing a gun store in Texas," it's Somalia with nuclear weapons. Obviously, the village network may eventually fall in its own time, but for the upper class (look, the psychics as a whole simply don't care about the lower)
  • I just have a hard time believing that the Monster Rat invasion was remotely possible. Satoru was 12 when he single handedly killed thousands of Earth Spiders. Why is everyone else in town so bad at deflecting arrows and counter-attacking?
    • They attacked when the town was unprepared, in the middle of the night, and throwing a festival. They used new technology the people of Kamisu 66 did not understand. After that, the Messiah was largely responsible. After people found out that, people were too scared to fight back. Indeed, after the Messiah was killed, they did go on to slaughter the Robber Fly colony. And a bunch of unrelated colonies.
  • Why does Saki get so much praise for being strong? She does a lot of crying and screwing up because of her emotions. I mean, I get how she's better Maria and Matoru. And we don't see a lot of the other kids, so I guess you can say they're worse. But Satoru just seems so much better under pressure than Saki does. Why not pick him?
    • Because they wouldn't be able to cope with the decisions the head of the Ethics Committee would have to make. Satoru may be better under combat pressure, but that doesn't mean he can handle long term trauma better. Its noted that Saki, out of all the group, was the one who handled the information about the False Minoshiro the best. Everyone else was under stress for much longer. Saki isn't a warrior. That doesn't mean she wouldn't be good for the politics of Kamisu 66.
    • Also, Saki has the knack for fixing things through ESP, which will help her develop the telomere-repair visualization.
    • It's specifically mentioned in the letters from Maria and her mother that yes, Saki is somewhat easy to emotionally hurt, but she has a remarkable capacity to not break under the strain and to cope with trauma. Tomiko tells her about the personality index, a measure of mental stability, on which Saki has possibly the highest score ever seen in the village.
  • The idea of using bonobos as a way of making the people inherently calmer and less aggressive is flawed. Yes, bonobos resolve disputes through sex and are generally calm among each other, this is true. But we've seen through study that they are extremely aggressive and warlike to groups not seen as part of their own. Bonobos hunt in war parties, both male and female, and make intelligent surgical strikes against neighboring colonies of monkeys and chimpanzees (and chimps are generally known as one of the most aggressive apes). They kill mercilessly and even take prisoners of war. So, it doesn't seem right that putting bonobo mental conditioning in us would fix our aggressive tendencies, and you can't blame it on the time the novel was published, because we already knew this about bonobos at that point.
    • Forget bonobos, what makes writers believe wolves have a way to avoid killing their own kind?! Wolves are opportunistic eaters, that don't shy away from cannibalism. Sure, they are nice to their pack, but their pack is essentially family. It feels like writers didn't do their research, and used whatever justification. They could at least say that they engineered some kind of super-mirror neuron that connect to their parallel nervous system, causing organ failure and not base this on animals at all.
  • If heterosexual relationships before the age of seventeen are so strongly discouraged, why do they have co-ed schools? The kids are encouraged to use homosexual sex as a pressure-release valve, of sorts, without being completely conditioned against heterosexuality (since otherwise they wouldn't procreate once they came of age). If they want to prevent the kids from experimenting with heterosexual sex as well, it would make more sense for the leaders of this society to simply limit interactions between boys and girls, and keep them in separate schools (like stricter societies have done for centuries). It almost seems like they want to work in lots of yuri fanservice, while keeping things status-quo in the end.
    • They may have wanted to avoid discomfort with the opposite sex. Also, it creates another layer of social conditioning to use as a tripwire - Mamoru's failure to participate in the Society of Love was Single-Target Sexuality rather than simple heterosexuality, and that level of obsession is part of what marked him as a likely weak link.
  • Why did the scientists feel the need to impose both attack inhibition AND death feedback? Both aren't foolproof, but they contradict each other as fallbacks - it is the attack inhibition of those around them that makes Fiends so unstoppable. If there was only death feedback and no attack inhibition, most would still be deterred from killing, but it allows the possibility of people sacrificing themselves to kill fiends in true emergencies.
  • I don't get why "From The New World" is the title. The premise is that Saki is writing this all down as a warning to future generations never to let these events repeat themselves. But in that case shouldn't it be called From The OLD World? Or TO The New World?
    • The premise is that Saki's writing a letter to the people of the distant future from a time she hopes is the start of a new world, as she intends to change the society of her town.
  • Tomiko is Satoru's grandmother, yet the oldest she'd likely be able to bear children would have been over fifty years ago when she was between 200-210. We know that her aging speed is roughly 1/4th normal (assuming a straight line from birth - if her age only slowed in her twenties or thirties when she learned the technique, then she'd have hit menopause earlier). This is all assuming that menopause is slowed by her immortality technique. So, how does the math work?
    • She's not literally his grandmother. It may have been skipped over in the anime, but in the novel she tells Saki she's nine generations apart from Satoru. He has 1/512 of her DNA.
  • How was death feedback/attack inhibition instilled in humans? I assume it's genetic because people seem to be be born with it. But most people would not be willing to allow their genes to be altered to effectively make themselves defenseless and would fight against it. Someone without death feedback would easily be unstoppable to any group that advocates for it.

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