The lives of individuals are meaningless before the greater cause.
In the twenty-first episode of From the New World we are treated to the continuation of what is likely the series’ denouement. We are also informed of the central tenet of the queerat rebellion; a belief that not only motivates the queerats to take up arms against the human villages, but also the resolve to sacrifice both themselves and one another.
To paraphrase a queerat infantryman, they no longer wish to be ruled by tyrannic false gods.
Although bestowed with a god-like power, the humans of From the New World are most certainly not gods. To add to this, and whilst we do not know if they originally claimed godhood or not, we do know that they do not discourage the queerats in thinking them so. Ergo, we can comfortably agree with the charge of false godhood.
What then of the other charge, that of tyranny? Again, we find plentiful evidence that the humans are absolute rulers from a queerat perspective. The humans created and have since bred queerats; they use them for manual labour, they administer the lives and trials of the queerat populous, and they are happy to dispose of the occasional troublesome queerat colony, or indeed colonies, when deemed necessary.
Through modern eyes, tyranny is a bad thing – an outmoded form of governance to be eradicated at every opportunity. Should we, therefore, succumb to the very modern urge and support the queerat rebellion irrespective of how ominously it is painted by the series?
I would argue otherwise.
The fifteenth episode of the currently airing From The New World continues Saki and Satoru’s quest to find their friends, and return with them to the human settlement before their deadline falls, and the hounds released.
The series itself has prompted a smattering of praise, speculation, and attention from across the anisphere. Indeed, with recent revelations, one might wish to spill yet more ink on a range of topics; from Mamoru and Maria’s inevitable demise, to the limits of the humans’ abilities. In the following, I intend to spill my ink on the topic of the societies shown—that of the queerat society in particular.
I had finished my sweet and was the sole remaining passenger in the restaurant carriage, when he passed me the package. It was a relatively bulky plain brown envelope. Intrigued, I glanced up at the waiter who was now placing a cup of coffee before me. Noticing his lapel pin, I quickly realised the nature of his business.
The Pink-Haired Princess of Dog Days
Airing in 2012’s summer season for thirteen episodes, Dog Days’ (pronounced [dɒɡ deɪz dɑːʃ]) is the sequel to 2011’s fantasy action/adventure series, Dog Days. It follows the adventures of a young boy in a fantasy world, later accompanied by his cousin and childhood friend.
Both series are relatively mediocre, with uneven plots, one dimensional characters, and concerts that make for a poor man’s idolm@ster. Yet that the original was popular enough to warrant a sequel, suggests it very much a guilty pleasure.
‘A voice, fleeting, to the sky, the top of the sky, that’ll someday vanish…’
Hidamari Sketch is primarily known for both its relaxed nature and Ume Aoki’s distinctive style. The series started out as a 4-koma, featured in the magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat, aimed at the seinen demographic, and could arguably be considered emblematic of the format’s light comedic air. Yet, as I have waxed lyrical on before, not all 4-koma need amount to soothing fluff.
At a glance, the series might appear to be an example of an ensemble cast, especially if one first approaches the series via the anachronistically-ordered anime. Yet, as one soon realises, the series is essentially a coming of age story centred about the character Yuno, and so we follow our curiously-shaped-hair-clip-wearing heroine on her journey through her final three years of school.
For the first three volumes we become accustomed to the cast and, aside from a story about a visiting stray cat, all seems happy and carefree. In the fourth volume, however, a slight shadow is cast. A hint of things yet to come.
'Someday, I'd like to paint a picture that looks as if the sky has been cut out.'
The humble 4-koma: a style of manga featuring four panels aligned vertically; otherwise known as yonkoma or four panel manga. Most examples are found acting as a complement to series, an extra bonus awaiting those who acquire the bound volumes. Look no further than Hayate the Combat Butler, Genshiken, or The World God Only Knows for plentiful examples. They are also found in Japanese newspapers and magazines, akin to our own political cartoons. They are short, sweet, and relatively ubiquitous.
Yet, some manga use the format for the series itself. Again copious examples may be found, some of which have anime adaptations. Hidamari Sketch, K-On, Lucky Star, and the recently adapted Kill Me Baby, are just a few examples. All are generally light series, never straying too far from a slice of life and mostly including comedic elements. Indeed, the style itself is effectively defined by light, airy comedies.
Yet, there are always exceptions to a rule, and it is these exceptions that I find affecting.