Time for a quick anime rant. It’s about my one of my top five favorite anime ever: Shin Sekai Yori or From the New World. Some people really don’t like the very last scene. I’m not talking about the way Saki and Satoru settle into the human society despite its many moral flaws. If you want to learn more about that, I have another post on Why the Humans Don’t Rebel (including Satoru and Saki). Later on, I may also discuss the possibility that the two of them did implement changes. I’m not going to talk about is the truth of the Monster Rats much, either. I think fans all agree that the reveal was excellently done but terrible in nature, with horrible implications.
What I’m actually talking about is the very last scene in episode 25. After showing Saki and Satoru hopeful about their first child, the scene moves a poster on the wall, the words on which are usually taken to mean, “The power of imagination changes everything.” The phrase for the power of imagination can also be translated as the “power of ideas” or “power of conceptualization.”
Some people were aggravated by the poster because it seemed to be such a cliché, and it seemed to promote a feel-good theme in a grim show. But really, that’s not the point. The words on the poster are meant to be literal. The “power of imagination” refers to Cantus. Remember, Cantus is a form of psychic ability, and when using it, visualizations in the mind’s eye are important. Cantus Power is endless because the possibilities of what the mind can imagine are endless. The quote restates the power of the tyrannical humans. It’s an unsettling and impactful reminder that Cantus users are capable of changing anything they wish.
Since I have time to kill, I think I’ll touch on the subject of whether Saki and Satoru made any changes. The fans are split on the interpretation of the ending episode. Was Kamisu 66 society modified for the better? Did Saki implement changes or not? Many people believe there haven’t been significant alterations, especially since Satoru is seen playing with Impure Cats, which are used to kill children.
Saki knew that revolutionizing the systems in Kamisu 66 and freeing the Monster Rats would lead to great conflict and bloodshed. Since the mood is so peaceful in the last scenes, it’s doubtful she undertook such drastic actions. Then again, in that scene, Saki looks like she’s in her mid-thirties. It may have been as long as a decade since the Monster Rat Rebellion. A lot can change in ten years, and then go back to being orderly.
I believe it’s safe to assume that the village changed, but only slowly, bit by bit. Child-killing might still be going on. Still, Saki saved the remaining Monster Rat colonies from being culled, and assured the survival of Kiroumaru’s mother. Saki probably gave full autonomy to these Monster Rats, and stopped using them for labor. Although, that last bit is only my notional opinion. Speaking of speculation, how do you think Cantus society could potentially change?
Offered subsequently are a few ways to address problems with Kamisu 66 and its dealings with Monster Rats. Also, killing probelmatic children would no longer be necessary if the solutions in the ensuing paragraphs worked.
1. Use Gene Therapy, Psych Care, and Technology to Prevent Fiends
First, village leaders improve technology and psychological care, while allowing genetic research. Then, children with sociopathic tendencies are placed in intensive behavioral therapy. Fiends are prevented by rendering inactive the gene that suddenly mutates to produce Fox In The Henhouse Syndrome (AKA Fiends). Cantus is used to do this if technology cannot. Safe abortions are optional, giving mothers the choice to terminate a fetus that is genetically predisposed to being a Fiend or Karma Demon. Also, good mental care is used to prevent Hashimoto-Applebaum Syndrome (AKA Karma Demons) in young children who fit the personality criteria of Karmic Demons. With these methods combined, the killing of live children and teenagers would stop.
2. Use Cantus to Mutate the Appearance of Fiends and Karma Demons
In contrast to the focus on preventing Fiends, another option is to deal with them as they arise. Of course, this means people may be killed before the Fiend is dealt with, but that might be more ethical than continuing child-killing and brainwashing. Humans could use Cantus to mutate Fiends into not looking human anymore. They would prepare by psychologically conditioning everyone to believe Fiends are not human. Villagers would be taught how to rapidly mutate a creature’s appearance without killing it or causing pain. If even one villager succeeds in altering its appearance, then the inhuman-looking Fiend can be simply killed by any other villager.
3. Develop Medication to Halt Death of Shame Reaction
A second possibility for dealing with Fiends and Karma Demons as they arise is to develop either a drug or a Cantus trick that prevents or stops the physical effects of Death Feedback temporarily. This trick would only be taught, or the drug would only be administered, when a Fiend appeared. Sure, it’s a bit strange that in nearly 300 years, nobody in Kamisu 66 has thought this up. Maybe they thought of it, but all their efforts failed. Well, “The Power of Imagination can change everything.” Someone might yet find the way to use Cantus to stop the Death of Shame.
4. Modify Monster Rats so They Have Cantus (And Death Feedback)
Next is a truly radical idea. What if humans gathered all the Monster Rats and changed their genomes to allow them to use Cantus? (Technology would first be needed to identify the exact gene markers associated with Cantus ability.) Of course, humans would simultaneously need to add the Death Feedback effect to Monster Rats, thus evening the playing field for everybody. Related to that is the idea of leaving Monster Rats as they are, and instead removing Cantus and Death of Shame from the next generation of humans. Improved weapons and defense measures would be needed to boost the survival chances of said generation.
None of these measures would guarantee peace; they all still involve killing, and with the last two ideas, genetics might change, but human nature would not. Monster Rats and humans would simply be equals again. War could easily destroy the world once more. However, these are still ways to stop current cruel and unethical practices affecting humans and Monster Rats. With any of these solutions, there might be unethical experimentation, altering people or Monster Rats against their will, or letting victims die while trying to improve the future.
There is no perfect society, and moving to a different but slightly less flawed society would mean major upheaval, sacrifices, and bloodshed. That’s why, according to most viewers of Shin Sekai Yori, it’s probable that no radical changes were made at all. Kamisu 66 carried on much the same as it had before, and Saki carried on Tomiko’s work as the “evil” Head of the Ethics Committee. Yeah, humanity in Shin Sekai Yori sucks. The end. 😛