From the New World thrives on ideas.
What They Say:
Still reeling from the deaths of her friends and the revelations of the Ethics Committee’s machinations, Saki returns to the village expecting the worst. However, what she’s learned so far barely touches on the edges of an even faster conspiracy. As she discovers the fate the committee intends for her personally, she realizes that her own mind is being turned against her. With her memories of Shun fading, she and Satoru find themselves in a race to find Maria and Mamoru before the committee condemns them to destruction. But the clock is turning against them in more ways than one, as the smoldering conflicts between the rat colonies threatens to erupt into open warfare. As pivotal pieces in a deadly endgame designed to wipe an entire species from the face of the planet, it’s not going to be enough for Saki and Satoru to merely survive. To lead the best laid plans of both rats and men astray, they’ll have to uncover the final secrets to two hidden worlds and turn them against their makers in FROM THE NEW WORLD – COLLECTION TWO!
The audio is a little worse than the video here. It sounds a bit dull and the dub’s sound has to be jacked up a lot to be able to be heard well. The music seemingly comes in clearly, though.
I got a new TV, a 47” LG (details below). It’s pretty great, but it reveals the poor quality of DVDs. On the 24”, I was maybe convinced that they might look alright. From the same distance, the DVD on a 47” does not look as good. The video certainly gets the job done, but there’s some left to be desired. Most noticeably, line work is grainy.
Packaging is standard stuff. Mine came with two of the pegs that hold the discs in broken (one for two out of the three discs), so watch out for that. The discs and one of the images on the back have that same different-from-the-anime artwork on it, which is neat.
The menu is also Sentai standard. At this point, I’m fairly sure they just do the same basic menu for everything. Which is fine, the menu is completely functional. Don’t know why you’d need to change it. It’s awful that they only play the ending on a 15 second loop though. Play that whole thing!
Clean closing like always and some promos for the show that was already purchased are the only extras here. So there could obviously be more.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I thought the reason I wasn’t a huge fan of From the New World when it was airing was because of the transitions between when they were 12, 14, and 26. It’s true that the 14 to 26 transition is a little awkward—Maria and Mamoru are suddenly gone from the story completely and we cut to years later with seemingly no repercussions. Both Saki and Satoru have protection from his grandmother, Tomiko. Mamoru will easily fall to the same fate as Reiko though and Maria can’t watch him go alone.
Their story is a tragedy. Maria loves Saki more, but has a much different and stronger love for Mamoru. It’s a familial love that can’t be broken by love between lovers. It’s a weird combination that where protecting someone you love is a stronger bond than loving itself.
There’s a strange moment, though, where Maria says, “I suppose two girls couldn’t start a family together anyway.” The book came out in 2008, but more contemporarily, it’s a little backward thinking. Oh well. I digress.
My real problem came to light upon this rewatch. The monster rats, who serve as the main antagonists throughout the entire series it seems, are absent. They played pivotal roles in almost every arc but are nowhere to be found. I don’t need them to be a constant presence, but I feel like there’s simply not enough, especially when the climax revolves so much around them.
I will give From the New World this though: The plot does revolve so much around them. For five or six episodes, Saki, Satoru, and those that are around them are in disarray because of the monster rats. They are the entire reason that the plot continues on. They’re just not around.
More weird is that their figurehead, Squealer—or Yakomaru—is absent. He doesn’t appear for longer than the monster rats in general. It’s not even made directly apparent that he’s the leader for the longest time. Who else could it be, but even a closer hint.
It’s a tragedy. The monster rats’ arc is the most interesting in the entire series and the reason why I gave it another chance at all. They began as creatures that, at their introduction, could barely even speak (only because we had yet to be introduced to one who could). They turned into revolutionaries.
Utopian stories are interesting because they, by definition, cannot have conflict. So conflict must always be created either between those that made the utopia or from without. In From the New World’s case, both of them happen with the Ethics Committee and the monster rats. It’s also interesting because the main characters embrace, somewhat, the utopia that’s been created. At the end of the show, the status quo is almost completely unchanged. The utopia isn’t broken for a new and improved world. It’s reinforced, perhaps better.
From the New World seems more like an amalgamation of ideas rather than a cohesive show. They had two conflicts and one is never really solved. The Ethics Committee seems to hold a strong hand over everything still and that’s not going to change any time soon. And now Saki is on the committee that’s ruling over everyone, complacent to just make a better world for her child but nothing more.
The revolutionaries, the monster rats, are the ones that are pushed down, subservient—if even existent—yet again. Kiroumaru accepts his sacrifice so readily for the sake of the “gods” when he could just as easily rip their throats out. Squealer, perhaps the most interesting character in the lot, is the one doing something (albeit going about it the wrong way) and he ends up in the worst possible situation; Saki shows her compassion in that final scene between them. The monster rats could have been dealt with better, though. They could have been what made the people realize what a shitty place they live in. Alas, they are just thrown to the wayside after their usefulness has passed despite Squealer’s declaration at the end being perhaps the best moment in the show.
After the first half of From the New World, I felt like I was either really dumb the first time I watched it or forgetting something that I really disliked. Upon watching this second half, I can understand my prior confusion. The show didn’t set my world on fire and it still doesn’t. The first half thrives in its focus on the internal conflict between humans. The second half meanders by adding in conflict both monster rats v. monster rats and monster rats v. humans. There needs to be a little more focus to make that work, or at least have that spread out over the entire 25 episodes. There are a lot of ideas I love and want to explore in From the New World, but they’re not completely there for the show to be 100 percent satisfactory.
English 2.0, Japanese 2.0, Japanese promos, Clean closing animation
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B-
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: C
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: D
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 12th, 2014
Running Time: 300 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
PS3, LG 47LB5800 47” 1080p LED TV