Humanity Has Declined–Anime Early Impressions

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Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita) (Crunchyroll) is a rather strange anime, but one of the most promising of the Summer 2012 season.

Mostly this consists of whimsical surreal social satire, a bit dark at times but mostly lighthearted.

The premise is that centuries of low birthrates have caused the human population to plummet. The surviving humans live in small villages with reduced technology. Humans have been supplanted as the dominant species by “fairies”, tiny people with permanent idiotic grins. They look and act very cute but are potentially dangerous since they possess advanced technology and/or magic.

I don’t think the fairies are really evil. They seem to want to be helpful but they have an alien viewpoint and their attempts to help are not always desirable. Fortunately they can be bribed with sweets.

The protagonist and narrator is identified only as “Watashi” (“I”). (This show has a habit of not giving people’s real names.) She works as a U.N. Mediator specializing in negotiating with the fairies.

She got the job thanks to the influence of her grandfather who is the village’s U.N. Bureau Chief. He is a wise but easy-going character who is inclined to let her do the job as she sees fit.

Watashi acquires an assistant whom she calls Joshu-san (“assistant”). He is a clever boy with a sardonic outlook. He doesn’t speak and communicates only through notes and drawings.

The anime seems to consist of 2-episode story arcs. In the first story Watashi is called upon to investigate a mysterious automated factory that is flooding the village with manufactured goods that seem desirable but have questionable side effects. Who could possibly be behind it?

The second story arc begins with the appearance of an old classmate with the unlikely name of “Y”.

Y has discovered a treasure-trove of old technology including a printing press and magnetic disks full of content to be printed. When she prints out a sample it turns out to be a manga which Watashi summarizes as follows:

“The protagonist, Jackie, is a normal girl whose freckles embarrass her. One day Jackie bumps into a rude boy and gets into a big fight. The next day that boy shows up as a transfer student. In the end it turns out that the boy likes other boys, but Jackie happens to be a boy in drag.”

Y, who turns out to be a full-blown fujoshi, decides to revive the manga industry, or at least that segment of it that interests her. She is remarkably successful.

Soon thousands of girls from all over the world are writing, drawing, publishing and trading yaoi manga, while all the boys seem to be doing their best to stay out of sight.

However Watashi doesn’t find yaoi manga particularly appealing and worries about what may happen if the fairies find out about it. And at the end of the latest episode it appears that they have…