Death comes suddenly to a loved one. Though their body may have perished, you cling to the hope that their soul will stay with you... It is the year 2222, and that dream has been made a reality in a local city of Japan. Today, at the Soul Foundry in the center of the city, people's souls are being transferred to the bodies of others, or sometimes, to things that aren't human. This manga is a story about the curious, bittersweet love and human dramas that exist in an age where souls can remain in this world after death.
Ningen Deshita is about a boy who gets his soul temporarily transplanted into a hamster. He is then cared for by some random girl he barely knows until he gets put back into his original body. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. This being a romance, it shouldn’t be hard to guess the story’s direction. Yet while very contrived, the story and characters end up rather innocuous when compared to the surrounding aspects of the manga which the author seemed to completely neglect.
In Ningen Deshita, there is a huge lack of reasoning for anything that happens. We don’t actually find out why exactly hamster-kun needs a soul transplant/substitute body at all, it’s just taken for granted that it has to happen. The assumed alternative of keeping his soul in limbo may seem like detached or heartless idea, but the asspull of a twist near the end completely renders the soul transplant futile. Perhaps a soul needs to be put in a body to survive or something, but if I have to make up my own ideas for how the story works, there’s a problem. Similarly, there is no reason why main girl-chan is even chosen to look after hamster-kun. While his parents have a somewhat reasonable explanation (but not really), not a word is said about why his close friends don’t look after him. Girl-chan is the most far-fetched option they could have gone with. At the start of the series, they have very little connection and don’t even like each other. It’s hard to imagine hamster-kun even agreeing to it. Girl-chan does save him by ‘catching his soul’, however the story doesn’t even utilize this Pokémon master logic and settles for ‘no reason’ as its reason. Finally, there is the aforementioned twist at the end. Like I implied earlier, it feels like it was pulled out of thin air, solely as a means to make the story more ‘tragic’. Despite this, it actually ends up working due to the non-existent exploration of the setting and ideas.
Ningen Deshita is set two whole centuries in the future but it is completely identical to the present. Save for one single aspect, society, technology and the people went literally unchanged. There is no reason given for this. The author didn’t seem to realize that this was a problem. All we get is a lazy narration that goes like “Well hey, nothing changed!”. It feels that the story was only set in the future to make soul transplanting possible. Of course, soul transplanting itself is very vague, unexplored and only mentioned when necessary for the plot. Since its only reason is to make the story happen, it’s relegated to being a prop for the story, which by default makes the entire setting one too. It’s rather irritating to have a story set in the future when the author has no real interest in the setting in the first place. Why even set it in the future then? It’s just too distracting. It would have worked better as some alternate Earth, or with some more creativity and thought, a real-life setting with a real-life issue.
Despite all its problems Ningen Deshita has it can still be enjoyed due to how utterly harmless it all is. The aim of the manga is to present some cute relationship and it succeeds at doing so. It’s flaws can be overlooked by those just interested in the characters and their story. But how such a simple story still has such weak, flimsy writing and planning is just puzzling. Ningen Deshita simply asks you to overlook too much to enjoy it.
Also, apparently putting a human soul in a hamster can make them speak human language. ┐(￣ー￣)┌ read more