The 12 Days of Christmas – Day 11: Discovering Humanity in the Most Unlikely Places

12days_Shinsekai_Yori

Shinsekai Yori was many things but one thing it wasn’t was a lightweight, fluff piece. Rarely do I see science fiction in a visual format, anime or otherwise, that can match the best of it’s print brethren. Shinsekai Yori was just such a work. After feeding the viewers a constant stream of secrets, reveals, and reversals-of-fortune, I was ready for a simple, straight forward final episode where the bad guys would get theirs and the good guys would heal their wounds and look forward to a better tomorrow. That was not to be; silly me, I’d forgotten I was watching Shinsekai Yori.

Before our villain, a member of the race known as Queerats – an intelligent but inferior animal race – would meet his demise as punishment for his heinous crimes, the last item the humans wanted to know was why he had done the evil deeds he’d done. His answer was not what I expected. He answered that he was human like them and he had done what he did to throw off the slavery and oppression his race of humanity faced. The human judge and bystanders scoffed at his erroneous belief; but, my brain began turning.

We hadn’t learned what happened to the non-magic wielding humans during the course of the series, so, it wasn’t an entirely impossible assertion. Later in the episode, our remaining two main characters couldn’t get those words out of their minds and looked for information to disprove the idea that Queerats were humans as well. They discovered that Queerats were originally humans that had enough naked mole rat DNA sliced in so they no longer looked human and could be controlled and killed, even with the absolute inability of magic wielding humans to kill other humans with their magic.

Oh snap!

Suddenly, the Queerat uprising as lead by Squealer took on a completely different character. It was still not possible to wipe Squealer’s sins away; however, his intentions now looked a lot more noble then the anything found in “human” society and it could be argued that Squealer had very few options to free his strand of humanity from the all-powerful magic wielding humans that treated the Queerats as property.

I really commend the original author. To completely upend the story at the last moment like this, in such a flawlessly smooth manner, took real skill. I couldn’t believe it but I fell even more for Shinsekai Yori as a result.

This moment, where Squealer asserts his humanity, stayed with me and kept making me think about all the humans today that are cut off from being considered part of humanity, in part, because they cannot do what Squealer did and remind people of their innate humanity. So, for it’s emotional impact, philosophical component, and complete game-changer twist to one of the best anime series of 2013, I’m picking this moment for today.

So, to pick up from yesterday:

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: discovering humanity in the most unlikely places.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: winning the Animusic Tournament Bracket Contest.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: someone who understands me.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the best thing Bones ever did.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: pearls from amongst the swine.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the freedom to go with the flow.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: anime to get buzzed from.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: that final musical montage.
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: discovered gems of the Animusic Tournament.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the Time of Eve Kickstarter.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: that publicity picture.

Tune in tomorrow to see what’s next.

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One thought on “The 12 Days of Christmas – Day 11: Discovering Humanity in the Most Unlikely Places”

  1. Skipped most of this because I have yet to finish the anime:

    But a lot of the concept of “buta” or pigs, what we might call zombies that were once human but no longer are (High School of the Dead), concerns what it means to be human. Why we give some populations human rights, but disallow it to other populations.

    Those who pay attention to modern Western politics are making similar choices now.

    Like

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