Well, after nearly 3 months of the first simulcasted anime I’ve ever watched, the story comes to a close. Part of me is tempted to give this show several “best” awards for creating a feeling of sheer oddness that I have not felt since Deadly premonition. But does this odd little show rise up through its fellow modern shows, or does it, like the titular humanity, decline?
Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitaishimashita) Review
Length: 12 episodes
Studio: AIC A.S.T.A. and Sentai Filmworks
Available for free at this Link
As the title might imply, Humanity has indeed declined, and not in a way I’ve ever seen before. It is established, or at least implied, to be a post apocalyptic world. However, this isn’t the traditional apocalypse in any sense. Oh no, this looks more like a middle ages story through the lens of a children’s story book. Well, minus the whole declining human birth rates and the fact that they are aware of what technology is, yet electricity is hard to come by. Presumably due to the fact that this might not be our version of humanity. But this is a point that, to this day, I can’t really define how you pull off, and that is making me love absent threads in a story that is presumably set in some world similar to reality.
Well, I say that, and this is a show that is, in the end, about fairies. Yes, humanity is on the way out and beings about as tall as a finger who have mysterious abilities to adapt and manipulate things that humans couldn’t dream of controlling, are the new dominant species of Earth. And our particular viewpoint on this is from the perspective of a mediator between the human race and these new and mysterious fairies. And this unnamed pink hair teenaged girl is one of the most hard to pin characters I can recall from recent memory. She is fully aware that humanity is near its end, and by extension herself. However, she is still a treat to watch as she play straight man to a world that is positively bananas.
Let me just break down the first episode for you. After being assigned to look for escaped chickens, our heroine finds a headless wingless chicken running through the field. Shortly after asking he armory holding Grandfather, who is probably one of the last professors in the world, what that is, she sends her mute blonde male assistant to get some rations sent to the small village she resides in.
However, he finds sweets at the market, which serve as Fairies’ main source of nourishment, by which I mean their only. And a hair growth tonic that helps bring up something that makes me think whether or not this show is just going on in an extremely nonlinear fashion. However, she eventually gets curious about the goods and investigates the factory for them, Fairy Co. Once there, she encounters some carrot bread made from scraps that rips its body open to reveal its juices.
Well, it’s been a good 3 months, so that’s just the gist of it. This entire show is positively nuts from beginning to, well, the 15 minute mark on the last episode. You see, the show follows an order where there are 5 two part stories, but arranging them in chronological order would be difficult, since after episode 2, one character trait is never brought up again, same with episode 8. EPisode 9 just stops halfway through its story, 10 is a flashback, and 11-12 go back to the school life of our pink haired friend. It sounds a bit hard to follow and, yeah, it pretty much is.
Not to say that the show doesn’t try and interesting twist here and there, or does not have an aesthetic that is unique to itself. It still pulls out things that are either unique or intriguing in every episode, yet I can’t help but feel that it could have been better structured. There is no real reason that I can see to end the story with the beginning, rather than just follow a standard timeline. Now, time travel does play a role, so it might be right in a sense, but I mean one that follows the order out main character would be experiencing them. Does the forest of magic bananas happen before the aliens come on in? What about the magical test she is put in with Y, the lover of stories regarding boys who are more than just friends?
This isn’t the same as asking why there are computers somewhere, or whether or not cars are powered by gas in this world. I want to see that naturally come up, yet I can’t really do that. You see, despite having 3 attempts at a manga, with two currently running, and being licensed for a US release right after the first episode aired, I doubt I’ll ever see this story continue. Now, the studio behind this show is able to do several productions at once, but I have been let down by several other creative properties.
Look at any massive lists of sequels the video game industry’s followers want to get, and you’ll figure out what I’m talking about. And this kind of somewhat bleak view on the world accompanied by the least formulaic ingredients I’ve seen since Baccano, and you have something that I’ll probably never get to see again. I want to write about light novels, and how I want to see more of them, yet finding the information is tough, but damn it! I want to read the source material of this more than I want to see anything else I plan on seeing for the next year!
As much as I want to get deeper into this series, and how much it pisses me off that, say, 50,000 others could not buy a digital copy of the original story in order to justify translating it. I am instantly calmed down by the area this anime will always beat its light novel source material, the amazing visuals. As stated before, the show looks like a pastel filled fairy tale, with tons of nice, bright primary colors, looking natural, but whimsical at the same time.
Everything from the dopey looking bobble heads that are the fairies, to how it still makes metal ruins look interesting due to how juxtaposed the macharters are to it. And the actual animation is nice and smooth capturing the oddball vibe of sincerity that flows through this show. Also, the happy bum backing opening and melancholy and freaking beautiful sounding ending themes not only perfectly summarize the show, they often enhance the mix between the loss of a species and society, with giant cats and the most beautiful genocide of all time.
While the lore and story structure can be a bit confusing, and the plot is nonsensically nonlinear, it is not nearly common enough to see a show that utilizes many tropes, but never falls victims into them. It is as much a different take on making a show as it is a parody of those available as of right now, but never really feeling like it. There very well might be several little errors within the story, but the world of Humanity Has Declined is so eccentric and appealing that I am flat out pissed that I will not be allowed back into this universe. It is a show that makes me laugh due to the absurdity of the situations and ponder just how exactly this world functions with these fairies, at the same time. Toss in the fact that is looks freaking beautiful, and I can safely say that it is not just up in my favorite animes of all time, but favorite shows of all time.