From the New World is an award winning sci-fi novel penned by writer Yusuke Kishi. The book’s popularity has seen it get adapted into a twenty-five episode anime series and a collection of mangas. The second volume of the comic, which I am covering today, was recently released in the UK courtesy of publisher VERTICAL, who is selling it via Amazon and other good retailers for around seven pounds.
The book’s story, which takes place in the far distant future, is based in the town of Kamisu. The plot follows the exploits of five teenagers who are attending classes that will teach them how to harness their emerging telekinetic powers. Although initially presented as a utopian society, one cannot help but sense that something is amiss with the Kamisu populace. Urban legends warn youngsters that a malevolent feline will snatch away anyone who fails to meet the expectations of their tutors. Whether this is a fabricated bogeyman tale or not is impossible to collaborate as struggling students have a habit of disappearing without a trace. Mysteriously whenever a kid goes AWOL no one seems to be able to recall them ever existing in the first place.
Volume two follows on directly from the events of the first book, which saw the quintet of youngsters disobey their elders by setting off upstream for a spot of camping beyond the confines of Kamisu’s holy barrier. After an encounter with some hostile wildlife the group is forced to abandon their boat and become stranded in the region’s inhospitable woods. Thankfully they are found by a colony of friendly humanoid rodents who offer them shelter, but things take a turn for the worst when a rival clan of Morph Rats decides to raid the settlement. The budding telepaths are once again forced to flee for their lives, which eventually results in one of them overexerting their powers beyond what is safely recommended. This catches the attention of Kamisu’s adults who dispatch a team to the scene. The subsequent cover-up offers some fascinating insights into the conspiracy permeating this new world’s culture.
My rating for volume two of From the New World is three stars. It’s not bad, but after reading this latest instalment I am left scratching my head as to why this series is being showered with so many plaudits. The story thus far comes across as fairly standard science fiction, which leads me to believe that some of the narrative’s depth must have been sacrificed in the transition from novel to manga. The character designs for example look like something you would find in a high school slice of life show rather than a dark sci-fi tale. The unnecessary fan service also feels out of place, given the tone of the plot, although its not as bad as the needless lesbian sex scene found in volume one.
Not all the artwork is overly cutesy though. The Morph Rats are suitably hideous and I would not recommend dining whilst reading the latter chapters as they feature grossly deformed creatures. Thus far I would say that From the New World is adequate reading material, but I will reserve my full judgement until I experience the whole thing in its entirety. The story’s secrets have me intrigued and there is plenty of potential for it to impress me once I hit the concluding chapters. I suspect my impression of the comic will ultimately lie with how well they execute the mystery’s revelations.