Because of the constantly declining birth rates over many decades, human civilization is all but extinct. With only a few humans remaining, they survive in this post-apocalyptic world with what was left behind by the previous generations. Earth is now dominated by fairies, tiny creatures with extremely advanced technology, an obsession with candy, and a complete disregard for human safety.
A young girl who has just finished her studies returns to her hometown and is designated as an official United Nations arbitrator. Her duty is to serve as a link between mankind and fairies, reassuring each side that both races can live together peacefully. She imagines this task will be easy enough, but controlling the disasters created by the oblivious fairies in their pursuit of candy will require a lot more effort than she initially believes.
To learn and evolve is a natural process of human nature. But after countless mistakes, does this growth still hold any meaning? What then, if the consequences are so severe that amending the situation becomes impossible?
For Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, this is answered through a colorful world where humanity is on the verge of extinction, succeeded by a race of silly, mass-producing fairies bearing a constant grin. Adorable and amusing as they are, these little creatures are anything but auspicious. Repeating tragedy in situations of utter insanity, the fairies exist as a personification of humanity's follies, neatly told through a clever story of satire
Ah, our poor protagonist, as interacting with these frightening creatures serves as her occupation. For the nameless "Watashi", being pulled into their world of games and magic is little more than a daily occurrence. Time loops, loaves of bread committing suicide by ripping themselves in half, skinned birds raining in on a church, and faceless chickens smoking cigars while quacking in the language of nonsense— all are something to be passed off with a sigh and a dry remark by the protagonist. In this world, there is no such thing as strange. Such words ring true time and time again.
But make no mistake, this is not an anime that is strange simply for the sake of being strange. All of this gives way for plenty of witty humor between the madness that occurs. Rather than being a traditional comedy and telling the jokes through the characters' interaction with each other, much of this comes instead from the situations and the setting. It's not about a character screaming your ears to death or bopping the other over the head when they say something stupid, but about the allusions to society and the absurdity of the situation. Far too few comedy anime attempt to break from the mold of Manzai and puns, which makes Jinrui all the more refreshing of an experience.
As a satire, it's no surprise that Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita focuses itself as a social-commentary of sorts. There's a surprising amount of depth here when one really pays attention. It's cynical in tone and content, though it never feels like the viewer is being preached to and lectured. An episode may focus on consumerism, another on humanity's overconsumption of resources, the manga industry or sociocultural evolution. Moreover, the viewer can simply choose to disregard this and enjoy it for the comedy value alone if they prefer. It can be a surreal comedy, a cynical social critique, or some amalgamation of the two. Therein lies the beauty of Jinrui's subtle depth.
A comedy wouldn't be much entertaining without a clever character dynamic, though, and Jinrui does not disappoint in this regard. Watashi is easily one of the most unique protagonists we have had in an anime for quite some time. Nowhere is she defined by cute, idealized traits, by fanservice or through tropes and archetypes. She is her own character; her own person. Her internal thoughts and dry, cynical dialogue with the other characters are an important force in the social critique and comedy, which often contrast and amplify the ridiculousness of the situation. It is deadpan humor at its finest.
Several other colorful and eccentric characters also mark the cast of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita. Watashi's grandfather, often referred to simply as "Doc", serves as the authority figure of the series and plays an important role in Watashi's past and beginnings as a Mediator. The silent "Assistant", armed with his camera, also tags along with Watashi for the first half of the series.
And then, of course, are the fairies.
It wouldn't be much of an exaggeration to say that the fairies are the most exciting character in the series, if one would define them as a single entity. Seeing the fairies do inconceivable things out of the blue is nothing short of hilarious, and their attempts to behave as humans do and mimic their mistakes also makes them just as much endearing as they are unpredictable. One episode involves a handful of fairies and Watashi stranded on an island, with the fairies near-instantly multiplying themselves and building from sticks to a candy kingdom with Watashi revered as some sort of god. You never really know what the heck to expect from them.
There isn't much in the way of characterization until the later episodes, though, which incidentally is also when the story takes off and develops. Each episode typically goes back further in time, with the last two episodes highlighting Watashi's experiences during her elementary school days. There's a very clear distinctness in this short story arc, notably resulting from the comedy being pushed aside and serious themes such as isolation and bullying playing a principal role. Rather than a bizarre environment typical of the series, the viewer is presented with something more realistic, albeit with a slightly macabre twist (mostly resulting from the insanity of her yandere roommate). These final two episodes succeed not only in detailing Watashi's past, but also in fleshing out her personality through her experiences in a different environment. It's not often that you find a main character in a comedy anime that has development and substance, but then Jinrui has never really been a series that's satisfied with mere uniformity.
Speaking of uniformity, though, it's a little unfortunate that the quality of the anime isn't always consistent. A few of the episodes, while still decent, are much weaker than the rest and vastly oversimplify the topic or theme that they are trying to comment on. It occasionally bites off a bit more than it can chew, which is disappointing given that most of the episodes have already demonstrated that it's fully capable. The last two episodes are also incredibly incongruous with the tone and theme of the anime, and though it fleshes out Watashi's character considerably, one can't help but wonder if it was all that necessary. Considering that her presence in the previous episodes was as a reactionary element to the bizarre situations, making the change into an empathetic and developed character seems very odd. No doubt she could have been developed instead through the quirky dialogue rather than a superfluous flashback.
The visuals also aren't going to leave anybody in awe, but they deserve a special mention for the vibrant art style and colorful palette. It's rare for an anime to deviate from conventions and focus on their visual appeal (aside from perhaps the cuteness of the characters), but here is a case where Jinrui again succeeds in doing something to stand out from the crowd. It's unique and pleasant to look at, notably accentuating the surreal world and creating a contrast between the playful appearance and cynical tone.
Jinrui is certainly one of the most refreshing and unique series that anime has seen in quite some time. In a year that hasn't seen much originality or hard-hitting series, the bizarre world of Jinrui is a very appealing experience. This is not an anime to simply be enjoyed and forgotten over the months, but is something that will no doubt linger in the minds of most for quite some time. Not necessarily for the insanity that occurs (though that is certainly a part of it), but for providing a genuinely witty comedy that brilliantly satirizes human society in an intelligent manner. It has more substance and depth than many of the more serious titles out there, though carefully remaining subtle with its themes. For a comedy anime, this is an admirable feat indeed.
Then again, I guess not everybody is going to enjoy the refined art of birds raining from the sky and mobster chickens cursing about fornication.
~Multilangual review, English & Español: Humanity has Declined~
Humanity Has Declined is sure an interesting title for an anime, I bet it happened before, you know, suddenly our creativity starts to run to it's fullest in order to guess what's the anime's storyline, the possibilities are infinite, after all, imagination has no borders, it's like being under a spell which allows us to imagine complete different scenarios where we're able to push our ideals, characters personalities, story developments, plot twists, in few words, everything we'd like to see, but the spell isn't eternal, everything cease when we're forced to open our eyes, yes, we wake up
in that precise moment when we've obtained freedom from ignorance, guys... we've just watched the first episode, our once infinite possibilities are drastically reduced, prepare to say goodbye to our ideals, Reality knocked at our door, now we've to choose between two remaining scenarios ahead us: "pleased" or "disappointed", the spell is broken.
In my case, still under the effect of such spell, I did imagine a lot of possibilities for this anime, I swear, it turned to be completely different from any possible scenario I could come up with and once the spell was broken, the result was unbelievable and unexpected, I was "pleased" unexpectedly wonderfully and gladly pleased I must add!, I just couldn't believe this anime turned out to be one of the most refreshing, hilarious and, above all, original piece of animation I've seen. Presenting with bizarre tunes a mature theme such as "the end of humankind" and adding those spicy ingredients that only intelligent shows can handle, Satire and Irony, it manages to develop an incredible and unique flow of events succeeding completely in the difficult task of entertaining the viewer using a brilliant comedy whiteout recurring to obscenity, vulgarity, clichés or fanservice.
As the title suggests, this anime is set in a post-apocalyptic world, after a millenarian history, humans has lost it's primacy, sadly we meet a bad end, and small creatures called 'Fairies' have taken over. In this new world where humans and fairies coexist, the story follows a nameless girl from one of the few human village remaining, she acts as one of the many 'mediator' and her job is to deeper into the crazy and bizarre fairy ecosystem in order to get in contact with them. "A simple and easy task" you may say... Oh hell it isn't! dealing with these fairies is anything but easy, in a job when even the smallest development turns out into a flow of bizarre events, where chickens can talk, plan to take over the world, everything while smoking cigars.. ah don't forget that your hair turns out to be alive and 'his' favorite weapon is a knife, in a situation like that I bet everyone would feel, at least, a bit uneasy, or to quit immediately... but our protagonist is a quite particular girl, and the scenarios we get when this girl and the fairies are together are abnormally hilarious.
The reality shown in this anime isn't exactly a mirror of our reality, even so it's meant in a way we can see a reflection of our own, naturally, always in bizarre tones and that's thanks to our protagonist, she's a pool of satirical comments and criticism, nothing is able to escape her "rage" (if we could call it so), it's directed towards everything, the society she lives, human behavior, fairies, historical development and, sometimes, even herself. So through a spiral of comments, a critical and satirical view of the world is available to the viewers, one of the anime's main characteristics, and it's best feature. The story telling isn't presented as the typical linear setting, it neither follow a certain plot; we have different arcs, composed of 1 or 2 episodes each, following a certain case involving the mediator and the fairies
A large cast of characters isn't between the features, but that's not a problem. Our main heroine is truly one-girl show, and we also have the fairies, which we can categorize as a single entity so we don't need really anyone else, they alone are capable of developing a whole anime by themselves, truly impressive don't you think?. I dare to say if there were another protagonist, he/she would be completely overshadowed by our mediator, however there is a really interesting group of minor characters appearing in each arc worth to remember and appreciate.
Let's go to meet them:
From one hand we have a human girl, a mediator between humans and fairies, our protagonist. A first impression of her would be that of a nice and kind girl but she isn't really what appears, don't let her fool you!, actually she's the type of person we could call "a fox disguised as a sheep", and I'll tell you why: selfish, plotter, cynical and sarcastic are the best adjectives to describe her. She finds literally a pain in the ass her job as a mediator, specially when she discovers that being a "politician" isn't less difficult than the jobs there're nowadays, farming/hunting jobs, anyway while she always complains about her situation she manages to do her job quite efficiently, even if she would rather have zero contact with fairies as possible, and that's not because she dislikes them, but it's just that each time they're involved, the situation escalates quickly into a bizarre mess she needs to deal by herself. She has a very pessimistic view of the world, and I wouldn't blame her neither, this leads her sarcastic and cynical comments about the events and the series development. Somehow each episode lead us to find another "dark side" of her personality, which usually shows up when she's in a pinch. Oh.. contrary to her personality, she loves to make sweets, specially to manipulate the fairies or order to seek for some of their help in cases.
From the other hand we have the fairies, the new "humans", they're presented as little small dwarf like creatures, which supposedly, are possessors of an incredible knowledge and intelligence, and we could completely find a confirm of this from the gadgets they produce, which are actually fantasy borderline rather than futuristic, but their behavior could lead us to think otherwise, actually...shock turn!, they're easily manipulated by the mediator with only the help of sweets, they've such a sweet tooth which leads them to do anything in order to get some. Usually it’s the fairies fault of each problem that surface in the series and that the mediator needs to deal with, they usually have an easy-going and shiny personality but this can quickly change to a down earth mood when they aren't having fun, showing a quite pessimistic view of life which leads them to express dark and edgy comments, comparable to our protagonist's ones. When I said that we can categorize them as a single entity I meant that there's no really an embodiment of individual personality for each fairy, sometimes they don't even have names, aside from the ones the girl keep as pets in her house and even she eventually forgets.
Other characters worth mentioning are Doc, the protagonist's grandpa, one of the village's leaders, he has a really easy-going personality but it's also strict when the girl is goofing around whiteout doing her job. Assistant-kun, a boy who rarely speaks but surprisingly the mediator understands him only by looking at his face, he also express himself by sketching things in his block notes when looking at him isn't enough. Y, yes.. her name is a letter, or at least that's how she presents herself, she's an old school friend, responsible of bringing to life again the Yaoi genre in this post-apocalyptic world... damn. There're some more but I won't mention, you'll have to meet them by yourselves my dear readers, it's a whole experience, however even if they're really minor characters their appearance add a unique aura to the show, honorary mention should be dedicated to Bleeding Loaf, a character appeared in episode 01, after seeing that I knew this show was going to be great, believe me when I say this... it's hilarious.
Already thought this show couldn't get weirder?, let me tell you a pair of things more about it, hope you won't mind. The whole atmosphere is filled by a really colorful pastel landscape and art, there're present some particulars that add a really unique touch to the entire scenery, such as the lack of technology that can be seen in the village, the surreal buildings architecture by the fairies, people's costumes, the logic behind the fairies gadgets, a result that's quite pleasant to admire, things that I appreciated very much. The animation was very consistent through the series, even those lively "action" scenes were done quite nice, super eye candy animation isn't one of its strong points, it doesn't fit with the design anyway. OSTs aren't that spectacular neither, but they didn't feel off scene never, rather forgettable actually, but this show doesn't rely too much on the background musics, but If we really have to say, there's one that could be crafted into our minds, maybe forever, it’s the Ave Maria of the flying chickens, that scene is almost unforgettable (Episode 02), I swear, it'll crafted into your mind.
Also there's a particular odd characteristic, this anime doesn't present a chronological storyline. I watched it the first time in the broadcasting and a second time in chronological order, overall the experience is the same, there's a two episodes arc that features our mediator when she was in school, if we watch that arc as our beginning or as a flash back, it doesn't change very much the experience, the anime's crazy and bizarre aura allows us that. People could find it amusing and interesting, something that add an extra uniqueness to the show, but there are also people who enjoy more a chronological order, so I'll leave the chronological order here, hoping that maybe someone find this handful, watch it as wherever you feel to.
This was a truly amazing ride, I enjoyed every episode of it, the series strong point is surely its protagonist, in my personal opinion the best female character I've met, she's still my 1st in my Top and I doubt someone will steal her place. Just try to visualize everything said in this review and let run your imagination to it's fullest, because that would be the closest thing that you'll be experiencing in this anime and, probably, won't be enough to anticipate the events on going through the series, I guarantee it.
Humanity Has Declined es sin duda un título interesante para un anime, apuesto que ha sucedido antes, seguramente sabes, al improviso nuestra creatividad toma vuelo libremente para intentar adivinar de que se tratará la historia, las posibilidades son infinitas, después de todo, la imaginación no conoce límites, es como sí estuviéramos bajo un hechizo el cual nos permite imaginar escenarios completamente distintos dentro los cuales somos capaces de empujar nuestros ideales, la personalidades de los personajes, el desarrollo de la trama, los plot twists, en pocas palabras, todo lo que nos gustaría ver, aún así el hechizo no es eterno, todo termina cuando somos obligados a abrir los ojos, sí, despertamos en ese preciso momento cuando nos liberamos de la ignorancia, chicos... acabamos de ver el primer episodio, lo que eran una vez nuestras infinitas posibilidades se redujeron drásticamente, prepárense a decirle adiós a nuestros ideales, la Realidad nos tocó la puerta, ahora tenemos que escoger entre los dos escenarios que quedan adelante nuestro: "satisfecho" o "decepcionado", el hechizo se ha roto.
En mi caso, estando todavía bajo el efecto de tal hechizo, pude imaginar una infinidad de posibilidades para este anime, lo puedo jurar, esto se reveló ser algo completamente diferente a los escenarios que había llegado a concluir, al romperse el hechizo, increíble e inesperado fue el resultado, estuve "satisfecho", inesperadamente magníficamente satisfecho tengo que agregar!, este anime resultó ser una de las más refrescantes, geniales y sobretodo, originales piezas de animación que he visto. Presentando con tonos bizarros un tema maduro como lo es "la fin de la humanidad", es capaz de dar vida a una serie única de eventos, imposibles siquiera de imaginar, y al mismo tiempo agregando aquellos ingredientes que sólo las series inteligentes pueden manejar, Sátira e Ironía, realizando la difícil misión de entretener al espectador con una brillante comedia sin recurrir a la vulgaridad, clichés o fanservice.
Como el título sugiere, este anime está ambientado en un mundo post-apocalíptico, después de una milenaria historia, los humanos perdieron su primacía, tristemente nos encontramos con un mal final, y así fue que pequeñas criaturas llamadas "Hadas" tomaron el control de la sociedad. En este nuevo mundo donde humanos y hadas coexisten, protagonista de la historia es una chica, cuyo nombre nunca viene revelado, proveniente da uno de los pocos pueblos qué quedan, ella actúa como uno de los tantos "mediadores" y su trabajo consiste en adentrarse en el loco y bizarro ecosistema de la hadas y así encontrar un modo de entrar en contacto con ellos. "Una simple y fácil tarea" podrías decir... pero joder no!, tratar con estas hadas es cualquier cosa menos fácil, en un trabajo donde hasta el más pequeño desarrollo puede desbordar en una serie de bizarros eventos, donde los pollos pueden hablar, tratar de conquistar el mundo, todo mientras fuman cigarros.. ah sin olvidar que tu cabello cobre vida y 'su' arma favorita es un cuchillo, apuesto al tratar con una situación así, todos al menos se sentirían un poco incómodos, o renunciarían inmediatamente... pero nuestra protagonista es una chica bastante particular, y los escenarios que se obtienen cuando esta chica y las hadas están juntos son anormalmente hilarantes.
La realidad presentada es este anime no es exactamente el espejo de la nuestra, aún así está hecha en un modo en que podamos verle el reflejo, naturalmente, siempre bajo tonos bizarros y eso es gracias a nuestra protagonista, ella es una piscina de comentarios satíricos y criticismo, nada ni nadie puede escapar de su "Ira" (si así la podríamos llamar), está dirigida hacia todo en general, la sociedad donde vive, el comportamiento humano, las hadas, los desarrollos históricos y, a veces, hasta ella misma. Así que a través de está espiral de comentarios, una visión crítica y satírica es accesible al espectador, una de las características de este anime, la mejor de todas. La narración no presenta el típico estilo linear, no sigue siquiera un hilo de trama, la serie está dividida en arcos, compuestos de 1 o 2 episodios, cada vez presentando un caso que envuelven al mediador y a las hadas.
Un largo cast de personajes no es uno de sus puntos fuertes, pero no es tampoco un problema. Nuestra chica es toda una "one-girl show", también tenemos las hadas, las cuales podríamos catalogar como una única entidad, y de verdad no necesitamos de alguien más, ellos solos son capaces de desarrollar un anime entero, de verdad impresionante ¿no crees?. Al haber habido otro protagonista, estoy dispuesto a decir que este estaría constantemente bajo la sombra de la mediadora, de todos modos hay una grupo de personajes menores en cada arco que valen la pena recordar y apreciar.
¡Vamos a conocerlos!
De una mano tenemos a una chica humana, una mediadora entre humanos y hadas, nuestra protagonista. Bajo una primera impresión podría dar la imagen de ser una chica gentil y bondadosa pero de verdad no es lo que aparenta, ¡no dejes que te engañe!, en realidad podríamos calificar a esta chica como un lobo disfrazado de oveja, y les diré porque: egoísta, manipuladora, cínica y sarcástica son los mejores adjetivos para describirla. Ella encuentra su vocación como mediador algo fastidioso, especialmente cuando descubre que ser un diplomático no es menos fatiga comparándolo con otros trabajos que se encuentran actualmente, agricultura & caza, aún lamentándose siempre de su situación logra siempre hacer su trabajo de manera bastante eficiente, pero en lo posible, no quisiera tener muchos encuentros con las hadas, y esto no es porque las desprecie, sólo que cada vez están que involucradas en algo la situación degenera en un caos total que le toca resolver. Poseedora de una visión bastante pesimista del mundo, y yo no la culparía tampoco, la guía a expresar sus comentarios cínicos y sarcásticos sobre los eventos y el desarrollo de la serie. De algún modo cada episodio nos deja ver un lado oscuro de su personalidad, el cual usualmente se manifiesta cuando se encuentra en problemas. Ah.. en modo opuesto a su personalidad, ella adora hacer dulces, especialmente para conseguir la ayuda de las hadas en los varios casos que se presentan.
En la otra mano tenemos a las hadas, los nuevos humanos, criaturas del aspecto de mini duendes, las cuales, supuestamente, son posesores de un inmensa Inteligencia y Conocimiento, hecho que podríamos encontrar confirma viendo los objetos que producen, que rozan la Ciencia Ficción en vez de Futurístico, pero la forma de comportarse nos deja una primera impresión bastante diferente.. ¡giro inesperado de eventos! las hadas son fácilmente manipulables si hay dulces de por medio, son tan golosas que harían de todo por obtenerlos. Por lo general, todo problema que surge a lo largo de la serie, y que la mediadora tiene que lidiar, es culpa de las hadas, que usualmente tienen una personalidad buena onda y alegre, cosa que puede cambiar repentinamente de forma drástica si no se están divirtiendo, pasando a tener un humor sombrío, el cual las lleva a tener una visión bastante pesimista de la Vida, con tendencias a expresar comentarios edgy y macabros, comparables a los de la Protagonista. Cuando dije que podríamos considerarlos como una única entidad me refería a que no hay una personificación individual definida por cada hada, no tienen siquiera nombres, a excepción de los que la mediadora mantiene en su casa y que ella eventualmente olvida. (también los hace dormir en una caja a compartimientos separados para que no se reproduzcan, el uso del agua no tiene nada que ver).
Entre los otros personajes que valen la pena mencionar están: Doc, el abuelo de la protagonista, uno de los jefes del pueblo, tiene una personalidad bastante buena onda que, pero cambia rápidamente cuando se da cuenta que la chica está vagueando sin hacer su trabajo. Asistente-kun, un chico que a malas penas emite un sonido para hablar, la cosa no le crea algún problema de comunicación pues el hecho sorprendente es que la mediadora es capaz de entenderlo casi telepáticamente, y cuando ese no es el caso, lleva consigo un cuaderno, en el cual dibuja para hacerse entender mejor. Y, sí.. su nombre es una letra, o al menos es así como se presenta, ella es una vieja amiga, responsable de revivir el género del Yaoi en este mundo postapocalíptico.. joder. Se encuentran más personajes pero no los incluiré, tienen que conocerlos ustedes mismos mis queridos lectores, es toda una experiencia, de todos modos, aunque sí son personajes menores, sus apariencias le dan un aire místico al show, una mención honorífica debería ser dedicada a la Hogaza de Pan Sangrienta, un personaje del Episodio 01, después de ver eso supe que este anime iba a ser genial, créanme cuando digo esto... es hilarante.
¿Pensaste ya que esto no se podía meter más raro?, deja que te diga un par de cosas más sobre esta serie, espero no te importe. La entera atmósfera está llena de muy coloridos paisajes de tonalidad pastel, son presentes algunos particulares que agregan un toque de verdad único al entero escenario, cómo la falta de tecnología que se pueden ver en el pueblo, la arquitectura surrealista de los bizarros edificios de las hadas, el vestuario de las personas, la lógica detrás de los objetos marca "Hada", todo esto da un resultado de verdad placentero, cosas que pude apreciar bastante. La Animación es muy consistente a lo largo de la serie, aún pasando por las escenas de "acción", estuvieron bien hechas, animación súper "eye candy" no es uno de sus puntos fuertes, no pega siquiera con el estilo de la serie de todos modos. Las OSTs tampoco son tan espectaculares, nunca se sintieron fuera de lugar, eso sí, pero podemos decir que este anime no se apoya mucho en la música de fondo, pero algo memorable hubo.. y eso fue el Ave María de los pollos voladores, es casi inolvidable esa escena (Episodio 02), lo juro, se queda impregnada en nuestras mentes.
Está también un pequeño particular, este anime no presenta una trama de forma cronológica. Yo lo vi la primera vez en el orden de emisión y la segunda en orden cronológico, teniendo todo en cuenta, la experiencia no cambia, hay dos episodios que se enfocan en nuestra mediadora en su periodo estudiantil, si fuéramos a ver ese arco como nuestro comienzo o como un flash back, la verdad no cambia mucho, la extraña y bizarra aura del anime nos permite eso. Hay gente que puede encontrarlo interesante, algo que le da un extra de originalidad a la serie, hay también gente que disfruta mejor de un orden cronológico, es por eso que dejaré el orden cronológico aquí, esperando que le pueda servir a alguien, véanlo como más les plazca.
Esto fue de verdad un viaje estupendo, disfrute cada episodio, ¿el punto fuerte de la serie? seguramente su protagonista, en mi opinión personal se trata del mejor personaje femenino que he encontrado, esta en 1era posición en mi Top y dudo que alguien le robe el puesto. Traten de visualizar todo lo que se ha dicho en esta reseña y dejen correr a full motor vuestra imaginación, será lo más cercano que experimentarán en este anime, y probablemente no es suficiente para anticipar los eventos que se desarrollan a lo largo de la serie, se los puedo garantizar.
Based on the title, the average individual would probably conjure projections of some bleak and black post-apocalyptic world. Based on the show's artwork, the average individual would conjure preconceptions of some bright and fuzzy fantasy setting. It's really neither, and yet it's kind of both, and that's one of the things that makes Humanity has Declined both refreshing and intriguing.
Produced by AIC, Humanity has Declined was adapted from a light novel series of the same name by Tanaka Romeo. Direction was handled by Kishi Seiji, Script, by Makoto Uezu. Character designs, original and anime, respectively, were drawn up by Sunaho Tobe and Kyuuta Sakai. As
the title suggests, humanity is on the decline. The best years of its existence behind it, as evidenced by the towering, overgrown, crumbling concrete infrastructures, the return to simpler, more old-world edifices for inhabitance, and the anachronistic technological spottiness of goods and services that seem to become increasingly regressive by the day, mankind as we know it fades closer to obscurity and closer still to extinction, though, surprisingly enough, its members don't seem to mind all that much. Replacing humans as the apex species of the planet are... well, fairies, tiny humanoid beings characterized by ever present smiles, squeaky voices, cute costumes, insatiable appetites for sugar and fun, childish blatancies for vocalizing morbid absurdisms, and penchants for creating surreal and fantastical scenarios that happen to defy the laws of physics. The last characterization being one of understandable concern, the United Nations Conciliatory Council (UNCC) has established positions of mediators to interact with the local fairy communities, for purposes of beneficence. So enters Watashi, translated from Japanese to English as “I,” so known because of her tendency to address herself as such in her sentences, since no one character actually refers to each other by their names, except that one episode with the anthropomorphic satellites, and that other episode where she ended up giving labels to a few fairies, though, through some ridiculous turn of events, triggered the destruction of an entire metropolis...
...yeah. The show has roughly three major narrative appeals, and by far the one with the most spectacle is the seemingly random, over-the-top insanity. A walking, talking loaf of red carrot juice bread committing suicide. Headless, fowlnecked, cigar-smoking chickens taking over the world. Defeathered poultry crashing into stained-glass churches to the tune of Ave Maria. A manga renaissance ushered by the revival of yaoi doujinshi. Time paradogs. A giant cat having it out against a giant squid, both of which are made of sentient jelly. Fairies saying the darndest things with the darndest expressions, and the list of absurdities pile on, though, as Episode 4 observed, the implementation of this form of constant spectacle gets gimmicky and tiring after a while without something balance it in between, and, honestly, there isn't enough in the series anyway to sustain interest purely by its own merits, as evidenced by the boredom of spectacle sponges in the audience.
What they didn't appreciate was that all of this insanity, and much of the content in between, has purpose. This purpose, and the second major narrative appeal of this show, is social satire. This show makes satirical jabs at humanity, from the systems people organize themselves under, to the attitudes and beliefs that people adopt, framing them in such manners where they are laid bare, taken to their natural extremes, and then cut up and re-expose in such ridiculous fashions that, in the midst of the frivolity and joviality, it begs the question as to why they exist and place so much importance in real life. And often in the show, what is being made fun of can lead into inquiries of issues that are sore and festering, social commentary, in other words, from the origin of mandatory noise flashes from video recorders and camera phones, the outlandish conclusions of factory tours, and the pervasiveness of risque BL entertainment, to the dangers of religion, the excesses of corporatism, and the stagnancy of civilization. This affects more than just the numerical count of the human population. The show's called Humanity has Declined, not Humanity has Fallen, with reason. Without being self-righteous, this show points out and criticizes that in fiction and real life that has made us less human. It does so not only by means of caricatures. It does so by personifying our most ruinous traits into these tiny, humanoid beings, handing them supernatural powers as tools, and framing their actions not only as entertainment to enjoy, but case studies to examine. However, like Mawaru Penguindrum is like with much of its symbolism, much of the social satire, especially when its more indirect and subtle, can easily fly over the heads of the less than observant, and even the observant may have a hard time grasping everything without repeated watches. Episodes and mini arcs being what they are, the social satire also has the tendency to overgeneralize...
...which leaves the third appeal for, well, last: Watashi, the observer, the commentator, and the character. Through her eyes, we see the over-the-top insanity and social satire in a thoughtfully amusing way, one that cuts right into the heart of the matter. Never before since Kyon from the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya have we a main protagonist with as deadpan and dry a wit as hers. Where spectacle is absent and satire is no where to be found, she compensates with her sarcastic internal reactionary monologues, sarcastic external reactionary quips, and her hilariously... wait for it... sarcastic facial and bodily expressions. And yet, like Kyon, she's more than than a one-way medium. She's more than this passive observer and pretentious commentator. She's not immune to humanity's shadows. Adopting a controlled, motherly role in line with her responsibilities as a mediator, one she executes with expressions of duty and grace, she has her own wishes apart from that of a mediator, her own desires, her own reservations, her own issues, and they are able to break through, both in her cynicism and beyond. Despite her extraordinary level of intelligence and perceptibility, her self-centered tendencies toward pride and sloth gets in her way of bettering the situation she's in. But despite that, she's also made decisions and taken actions beyond the call of duty that she very well knows would worm her into more trouble. Ones she intuitively believed were right, and would be loathe to flounder on, more so than her disdain for idiots and exertion. Ones of which are due to past and maybe even presently lingering insecurities.
No discussion of this show is complete without an analysis of this show's visuals, which, harkening back to the introductory paragraph, is far from being the grimdark end of the world scenario we might imagine the show would take place in judging solely from the title. The light, fluffy, impressionistic pastel backdrops and character designs contrasts somewhat sharply with the stiltedly jaded humor and serious subject matter of the content. Juxtaposed with each other, it creates a uniquely refreshing, but clearly dissonant atmosphere, an aura that is deliberately meant to put the audience at enough unease to make us stop and think about the subtext behind what we are watching.
The series has its asides apart from those previously mentioned. While the issues and concepts utilized throughout show are presented in often humorous, yet nevertheless clever ways, there are snags to be mended in regards to when comedy transitions into drama, an unfortunately bad habit of Director Seiji's works, if Angel Beats is any indicator. Were you to isolate the two, he can direct dramatic scenes rather evocatively relative to his comedic ones. He just has a hard time leading into them; comedy turns into drama quite abruptly, without much in the way of a dramatic foundation. Anyone with a macro-oriented mind would find the turn about jarring. The characters fail to be fully sympathizable because we have little to no cue beforehand to take them with a modicum of maturity. The Fairies' Homecoming, the arc where this error is most egregious, coupled with The Fairies' Time Management, partly due to its more round about content and the anime community's unwillingness to let the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's (2009) Endless Eight go, results in a disparity of engagement between the first third and the last third of the show. On that note, Humanity has Declined, just like the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006), features its episodes chronologically out of order. However, where the latter had it done because of pacing issues, the former's reason is more questionable, and it doesn't have the novelty of freshness on its side like the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise had in its inception on TV. Perhaps it makes for a better hook? But at the cost of a disjointed plot and characterizations? A valid complaint arising from this fragmentation are the intent behind the placement of episodes that focus on Watashi's development as a school youth. Alone, they are excellent, but taken together with the rest of the show, they seem to be kind of an inconsistent duck to follow in the wake of previous shenanigans. Maybe they would have been better off at the beginning of air time? But then again, would we care about Watashi's back story otherwise?
The OP “Real World” was done by nano.RIPE, and while in the camp of those people who aren't particularly fond of their work, my ire directed more to the singer than anyone else, here, the sickly sweet vocals, combined with the energetic beat of the percussion, electric bass, and electric guitar, synchronizes well with the repetitively off-kilter choreography of the OP's visuals and the stilted humor of the show itself. In addition to presenting the audience with a taste of the setting is a short, but interesting slide between an impressionistic depiction of a city to an impressionistic depiction of a grassland, consistent with, once again, the show's title. The ED “Yume no Naka no Watashi no Yume” or “My Dream Within a Dream,” by Masumi Ito, takes both the vocals and the visuals to a whole new level, the uncannily minor key and accidental note croons, complemented by drums, some minor electric flourishes, and a pervading more classical guitar, paralleling the impressionistic silhouette of Watashi, and, by figurative extension, humanity, motioning past edifices littered with fairies, an allegoric representation of the cycle of civilization: growth, peak, and decline. In fact, it fits quite nicely with the events of Episode 9.
Despite some problems in execution, what we have here is an intelligently written and thought-provoking piece. It's full of funny spectacles, biting social satires, refreshingly intriguing aesthetics, and superb characterization on the part of the female protagonist.
Watashi's more than just this vehicle of detached cynical snark. She's more than just humanity. Watashi mo hyuuman desu.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to my review of Humanity has Declined, let’s get started!
The story of Humanity has Declined is set in a world where the decrease in birth rates have caused the population of humans to decrease giving rise to “new humans” known as fairies who possess technological advancements. We follow Watashi as an arbiter of sorts between the fairies and the humans as she tries to investigate the fairies and their behaviors which lead to some convoluted adventures.
The main thing to acknowledge about this title is the fact that this is a comedic satire that pokes
fun at humanity, and by doing so it hits upon a bunch aspects from society in a silly yet dark way. Consumerism, religion, the manga industry, exceptionalism and much more are displayed in the anime through multiple 1-2 episode arcs that go back in time as the anime progress which in my opinion adds another layer of uniqueness with its reverse chronological ordering. The events are for the majority of the show absurd between shaved chickens running around headless to a piece of bread pulling a Hitler and killing itself. This anime is very eccentric, and I’m glad as hell that the anime utilizes its weirdness properly.
How is the show as a comedy? For me, the humor was fascinating. Not only was it intelligently written but at times it was very sinister and it cooperated splendidly with the thematic elements of the show without ruining what the anime is attempting to critique. However the show didn’t dig as deep as it could within its themes leaving some of them feeling quite superficial. Also, the world and its setting wasn’t fleshed out sufficiently either, why are there fairies? What caused the decline in birth? All these questions and still no answers which is quite a shame.
With the show’s originality it fabricates a stimulating story that held my attention throughout all of the episodes. The conclusion of the show however was alright, but it tied up our main character’s motivations/characterization very well and even included some minor surprises the show had subtly building up through what some of the characters mentioned in previous dialogue.
Watashi as a main lead female role is refreshing due to her detachment from the stereotypical anime archetypes. On the exterior she appears to be pretty, *whispers* to the point where she is on my top 10 waifu list *wink wink* but her cynical, manipulative and sarcastic attitude towards everything is a spellbinding character flaw that brings out some of the best jokes in the series. The way she goes about doing things like procuring information, or messing around with the fairies, or even just her facial reactions are all entertaining as hell to observe. Overall, Watashi as our pessimistic lead character is a blessing with nice as opposed to the standard norm.
The fairies are…. The fairies are…. The fairies are… They’re something else. Their deadpan faces, always smiling no matter if the topic is about persecution, obsessing over sweets, and their mischievous behavior that rivals a child popping a hole in a strange balloon he found on the floor only to realize that his mother got pregnant a few weeks after he popped said balloon. Damn kids, can’t trust them. The fairies are in short weird, they erect societies only to crush them, they react in absurd ways, and follow others blindly, but the petrifying part is the fairies are us. The fairies are an over exaggeration of human society, how we function, develop, digress, think, the fairies though dark and naive are essentially humanity. They are hilarious to watch onscreen as Watashi interacts with them, and as they themselves communicate with each other.
The remainder of the cast is relatively weak with a lack of development amongst some of its cast members, especially from the assistant whom for the majority of the anime is silent. Also more weak characters include a fujoshi lover and Watashi’s grandfather who collects guns just cause. But in their defense they do add a touch of flair to the show that I don’t think any other characters could’ve accomplished.
The art for the show looked very storybooky for a lack of a better term. It appears to be pulled right from a kid’s storybook with vivid colors to cover the appealing backgrounds and objects that aren’t trying to achieve any sort of realism. Surprisingly I have to commend this show for its use of lighting because it generates some hilarious moments when the dark humor is utilized in darker areas to juxtapose the seriousness with hilariousness. The character designs are all eccentric but they cooperate well with eachother as a whole with Watashi having a fresh look and the fairies looking like tiny stoners. In terms of animation it’s not the greatest the medium has to offer but it works out well for the series!
In terms of sound, the soundtrack wasn’t all that special, it was like having candles lit during sex, they’re there and they add atmosphere to the main event, but lets just face it, you’ll forget all about it.in a matter of seconds. But my god do I really like the happy go lucky nature of the opening and the ending song has become one of my top 10 favorite endings. The voice acting for Watashi and the fairies are top notch and brings the characters to life whereas all the other characters’s voice actors do a decent job at their roles.
Overall, though Humanity has Declined isn’t the best in its character department and feels lacking in explanation of its world there is a great critique on humanity here through the use of extremely well written dark humor and a refreshing female lead. This leads me to give Humanity has declined my rating of Very Good.
Hey! Listen! Legends of the fair folk go back hundreds of years and continue today with all sorts of depictions. Some fairies will help you while others are wicked creatures and you can see both kinds here!