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No matter what problems I had Shin Sekai Yori, they seem quite small after a wonderful finale.
It only feels right that after its six month run, Shin Sekai Yori would end with such a great episode. Say what you will about the episodes in between - I've said a few words myself - but the final episode at least nailed it. Everything from story to animation was executed just right.
If there's one thing I absolutely must applaud the series for, is that it still had some tricks left for the final episode. Squealers capture served as the final thought-provoking event of the series and later aided a big reveal that goes back to the infamous episode four. Usually it would be so simple to mess up the ending by introducing a vital piece of information in the last episode, however for Shin Sekai Yori it was the perfect fit. The final piece of the puzzle, so to speak, that ties together the entire story by answering a question that might not have been asked.
That narrative choice was really something else. Not only did stand out from the other contents of the episode, it also managed to give us the last bit of closure for the series. With all questions answered, the next logical step was to give the tragedy a silver lining happy ending. Again under normal circumstances, it would have seemed an obvious choice but in Shin Sekai Yori's case, it was the right choice. All that tragedy made the happy ending a nice consolation prize after all the pain and suffering our last two survivors had gone through. Taking into account how many episodes focused on the suffering Saki went through, I'd say she at least deserved a somewhat happy end.
Really, I have no complaints. This episode just did everything right. Even Squealer's death felt so appropriate. And so ends the lovely sci-fi horror that us kept us company (and confused) for quite some time now. Shin Sekai Yori will be missed.
Shin Sekai Yori (Mini) Series Review
Now that the series is over, I have to wonder how I would watch a second time. From what my memory tells me, there are parts of the series you want to watch in succession and others that benefited from the suspense of waiting for next week.
Whilst great Shin Sekai Yori didn't manage to escape without flaws. The biggest problem with the series had been the pacing and content of some of the episodes. At times you'd get the feeling they were stretching out the story for as long as they could to fill up the remaining episodes. Ideally, I'd have liked for the series to be a little shorter and streamline some of the episodes to eliminate the feeling of boredom I experienced on occasions.
Ignoring pacing issues, originality was never a problem. With such an interesting plot, the series was one of the more original and gripping story driven anime of both seasons it aired in. Paying attention was definitely key and because of that, I'll be re-watching some episodes to pick up on all the hints that were dropped. Also the sheer atmosphere was phenomenal and really made the anime something special. You couldn't help but get sucked into the story, even when it got a little confusing.
Whether it makes my top 10 for the year is still unknown, but I think it has a good shot.