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From the New World: Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 7, 2014 by  



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“From the New World: Collection 1” is a fascinating series and a series that looks very good in HD but for me, the first half was more about character development and setting up what appears to be a more deeper, action-packed and possibly emotional second half.  And I’m looking forward to it.

Image courtesy of © 2012 Yuske Kishi – KODANSHA. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: From the New World: Collection 1

DURATION: 325 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 16×9, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14 VD

Release Date: April 15, 2014

Original Creator: Yusuke Kishi

Director: Masashi Ishihama

Series Composition: Masashi Sogo

Music by Shiego Komori

Character Design: YORI

Art Director: Saho Yamane

Director of Photography: Haruhi Goto

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayumu Murase/Clint Bickham as Shun Aonuma (14 years old)

Haruka Kudou/Blake Shepard as Mamoru Itō (12 years old)

Kana Hanazawa/Monica Rial as Maria Akitsuki (12-14 years old)

Kanako Toujô/Greg Ayres as Satoru Asahina (12 years old)

Mai Toudou/Clint Beckham as Shun Aonuma (12 years old)

Motoki Takagi/Blake Shepard as Mamoru Itō (14 years old)

Risa Taneda/Emily Neves as Saki Watanabe (12-26 years old)

Yuuki Kaji/Greg Ayres as Satoru Asahina (14-26 years old)

Born into a world a thousand years in our future, Saki and her friends Satoru, Maria, Mamoru and Shun have lived their entire lives in what seems to be a perfect utopia. Not only is their small, idyllic community overflowing with clean rushing water and abundant green foliage, but almost all technology has been rendered irrelevant by the magical power of “Juryoku,” the psychic ability to materialize anything one desires. But when Saki discovers a long-lost artifact from the past, the facade of their world is shattered and the cracks that split the foundation of their reality threaten to swallow them whole!

Faced with a bloody secret history of how their world really came to be and thrust into a nightmarish new paradigm, Saki and her companions are confronted with dangers they never knew existed and a series of choices that may change the fate of every intelligent creature on the planet – human and otherwise!

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From award wining author Yusuke Kishi comes the anime “Shin Sekai Yori” (From the New World), based on the 29th Nihon SF Taisho Award winning novel published back in 2008.

Produced by A-1 Pictures and airing in Japan from September 2012 through March 2013, the first half of the anime series was released in North America in April 2014.

“From the New World” is set in Japan and we are first introduced to a phenomenon that had taken place in Japan in 2011 when people have developed psychokinetic powers and many people have died and destruction has hit the world.

Fastforward a thousand years later and the story, still set in Japan, revolves around six friends: Saki, Satoru, Maria, Mamoru, Shun and Reiko.

The six have grown up in Kamisu’s 66th district where the area is gorgeous with plants and water.  And the six have the power of telekensis which they deem as “god’s power”.

The main characters of “From the New World” are:

  • Saki – The main female protagonist.  Saki has had her fair share of arguments with Satoru and is currently in a relationship with Maria, despite having intense feelings for Sun. After several incidents in her home town, she wants to investigate it even more.
  • Satoru – The main male protagonist.  Always arguing with Saki and is very intelligent and observant.  He is in a relationship with Shun.
  • Maria – The most popular girl in school and is the girlfriend of Saki.  She has the power of levitation.
  • Shun – The most intelligent member of the group and is able to adapt to his surroundings.  Dating Satoru.
  • Mamoru – The person least likely to get involved and has a crush on Maria.
  • Reiko – Not very good in class and utilizing her power.

One day, as the six friends of Group 1 are at summer camp, they tell scary stories, from Balloon Dogs to a strange creature known as “False Minoshiro”.  And as the six go to look for one, they manage to find and capture a Minoshiro.  The creature is able to communicate with them and tells them the story of their world and how, a thousand years ago, a monk killed a False Minoshiro and their powers were sealed away and were taken to an area to be judged.

Suddenly, the group are attacked by Monster Rats and a Balloon Dog.  But the Monster Rats capture the six students.

Will they be able to escape?  Find out in “From the New World: Collection 1”.

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VIDEO:

“From the New World: Collection 1” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  Picture quality features gorgeous backgrounds and lush scenery, while character designs for the humans are not super-detailed but work well with the overall animation.  Nothing too busy.  If anything, my issue with animation are the way the character designs were for the monster rats, which didn’t look too menacing to me.

I didn’t notice any major banding issues or artifacts during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“From the New World: Collection 1” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  Both soundtracks are crystal clear through the front channels and one not having any major impact more than the other in terms of dynamic range.   Both soundtracks are done well but felt the Japanese version had the edge in terms of emotional impact but that is subjective to the viewer.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“From the New World: Collection 1″ comes with the following special features:

  • Japanese Promos
  • Clean Closing Animation

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If there is one thing positive to say about Yusuke Kishi’s “From the New World”, it’s progressive, non-banal and for an anime series, it’s story is creative enough to separate itself from many other anime series and thus anyone looking for something fresh and new will be entertained by this anime series.

But with that being said, the first half is merely a setup for what appears to be an exciting second half.  If anything, the first half introduces us to the characters and tries to establish the relationships in the series, from Saki and Maria, Satoru and Shun.  And while both are in female to female and male to male relationships, it’s an open take of showing Saki being in love with Shun and going with the flow.

So, you have this relationship/drama element but of course, as these six teenagers discover the truth about their utopia and of course, flashing forward two years to show what has happened with the teenagers since their discovery.

While the novel may have pulled off the animal-based characters with much better efficacy, I admit that the character designs of the monster rats made the series a bit too cartoony and not too offensive looking but I suppose that is subjective to the viewer.  I found myself wanting to focus more on the human characters and less on the monster rats, which this first half did a lot of.

But the overall acting for both the Japanese and English dub were done well.  A-1 Pictures did a great job with overall animation and background art is lush and beautiful, especially in HD.  The lossless soundtrack on both soundtracks are DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and dialogue is crystal clear.  Special features are limited to Japanese promos and the clean closing animation.

Overall, “From the New World: Collection 1” is a fascinating series and a series that looks very good in HD but for me, the first half was more about character development and setting up what appears to be a more deeper, action-packed and possibly emotional second half.  And I’m looking forward to it.

 

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