Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Anime Review: Humanity Has Declined

The final summer (for now anyway) show and one of the weirder entries in the season, although thinking back on it the summer season was a filled with strange shows. Not much else I can say about the show without getting into the actual review so let's get going!

Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita)

Summary: Based on a series of novels, humanity is in it's twilight years and the new, widely spread form of intelligent beings are tiny faeries. Mediator is well, a mediator between the humans and the faeries and tries to facilitate communication and cooperation between them, even though the world she lives in is quite weird.

The Good: Often when watching anime (or reading a book, seeing a movie, etc) I'll see something strange on screen and make a sarcastic comment to myself or my friends. Here there was no need to do it, Mediator was making all of those comments for me which was rather fun. I often feel like stories aren't self-aware enough (as in "why don't these characters realize what they're doing is dumb? Haven't they seen enough other media to go 'wait a minute...'?") and this story had enough of that self-awareness for at least one other show.

The Bad: While I'll admit that ending the story with the earliest (chronologically) part of it was probably a better ending than whatever arc was actually last, I just can't see the point in telling these stories out of order. You can work it out if you're paying enough attention, and each arc is so separate that it doesn't matter in the end, but I'm of the opinion that non-linear storytelling should only be used when it serves a purpose. Other than that nitpick, this show just dragged for me by the end. I mentioned to friends that I couldn't tell if the writing was supposed to be brilliant or if a really cynical 13 year old was trying to write a "deep" story for homework (my friends proposed it was both) and while the cynical humor worked sometimes there were other times when it just got too strange or it took itself too seriously for it to work and in the end I was glad that the series was over. 

The Audio: I looked up the opening and closing lyrics and they were both, strange, and didn't add anything to the show (I've known enough shows where the lyrics actually relate to the show to make an effort to look them up, although sometimes they can be quite spoilerly). The voice acting worked, Mediator sounded young and a bit cute (not the overly, moe-moe cute but just cute) and did sarcasm quite well and everyone else sounded just fine as well.

The Visuals: The art in the series is very soft and pastel (rather watercolor like but without the texture that comes with it) which was of course the perfect choice for a show that's slyly cynical about how corrupted the world really is. I have no idea if there were any illustrations in the original novels or if all of the anime designs are completely original but I think they fit rather well. However, I am of the opinion that the faeries are creepy looking and not cute-creepy, Japan once again your definition of cute has confused me.

So another anime where I would give it 2.5 or 3 stars out of 5 since it had some good parts but I lost my interest before the end. It has been licensed by Section 23 in the US and can be viewed either on their website or on Crunchyroll.