If you watched the "first volume" all those months ago, you should really re-watch the first volume as this show is really complex with a lot going on and you might've forgotten some important things. I know that was the case for me at least and so I had to freshen the ink (so to speak) before I watched this for review... Or it could be that my memory was just bad that day but oh well.
The story in this volume was done really well as the plot is interesting and draws you in quickly and will keep you in your seat. I like the hybrid style of mixing in fantasy with science fiction as it blended in very well but there were a few scenes where the two genres didn't blend in all that well. The blend is used in a way that makes this show seem down to Earth but even though there were fantasy elements as this show makes it seem like it can happen in the distant future... Well most of the things in this show seem possible at least.
This half of the show is very dark and really captures that disturbing feeling of being caught in a war as this is also a "war" show. Another great thing about the storytelling is that nearly everything that happens in this half of the series means something and you will not find many moments that waste story progression time nor will you find lame plot twists. It was also nice to see the seeds that were planted in the first half of the series come to fruition in this half and it will surprise and satisfy you at the same time.
One complaint I have about this show is that I found the first few episodes in this volume to be a bit flashback heavy and while it is okay to have a flashback every now and then, I found that it got in the way of the story progression. Those flashbacks I speak of are ones that reference the first volume but there were flashbacks that happen after those few episodes that did help with the story as they detail the past of how the "Monster Rat" race came to be. Despite my complaint, I don't hate the flashback scenes but they did slow down the episodes they appeared in... Or they seemed to do so at least.
Characters in this show could've easily been very generic but that is far from the case due to the writing of this series being very good. Both the human characters and the monster characters were equally done as well as each other and you will like them all. Seeing as you will like them all as you will have some emotional connections to them all and what I like about them is that none of them are perfect as you'll will get mad, sad, or happy when either character does something you like or dislike giving this show a warm sense of realism that doesn't clash with the fantasy element.
This is also one of the few shows where it makes me want to check out the original source material but sadly I haven't been able to find it in English. A reason why is that this show ended with some things being unresolved and unanswered and I was hoping that the original book has those answers. I'm also just interested to read the differences between the original "2008" novel and this series in general and as a side-note I also feel the same about the "No.6 (2003 - 2011)" book series (I did review the "anime adaptation" a while ago also). That's actually not a bad idea for a future review but I can't say if it'll happen or not.
Artwork in this show has a strong and beautiful look that really suits the sci-fi/sci-fa theme of the show. All characters were designed really well and I especially enjoyed the fantasy creatures as they had that mysterious look that'll make you interested in them. Backgrounds in this show looked very beautiful with nice detailing that will impress you. Animation in this show is good but you will get the occasional scene where the mouth movement is a bit rough but nothing too bad overall.
The Japanese dub was pretty good as the voices worked with the characters well and the acting itself was also good and helped you get immersed into the universe of this show. This release does have an English dub for those who aren't fans of watching anime with the Japanese dub with English subtitles. The soundtrack was used very well in this show as it helped build up atmosphere and plus it sounded really good.
There is a very small special feature section included on this release that includes: Text-less version of the closing credit sequence, and television ads that aired in Japan. The text-less credits were alright as it did have some nice visuals and nice music but nothing you'll watch over and over again. I was disappointed with the Japanese promos as they were the exact same ads that were on the first volume of this series. The ads themselves weren't bad though as they were interesting to watch but it would've been nice to see something new though.
Overall this was a very strong volume and a really solid series to boot. This series might not look like it'll be your thing if you are judging it by it's cover but don't be afraid to give it a watch as it is a well done show. Strong viewing.
Title: From the New World, Part Two
Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Animation/Anime, Drama, Sci-fi, Fantasy, War, Horror/Supernatural
Running Time: 288 Minutes (12 Episodes)
Distributor: Hanabee Entertainment
Rating: MA15+ (Strong supernatural themes, animated violence)