First Impressions – Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita

Front row seats to humanity’s demise!

Anime as a medium is filled with science fiction shows, but few of them actually use theri settings as anything more than plot devices or substitute for magic. That’s fine, but I do like to have more pure science fiction as well, one that really pokes and prods all the bits and pieces of its setting. This seems to be the case in Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita), a show with no named characters that is set in the far future when humans are close to extinction (and thus we’ve reverted to medieval times, apparently).
Ever look in the fridge for something to eat, and end up choosing to starve despite the fact that there’s plenty of food in there? I do this all the time. I don’t think I’d handle a food crisis quite as well as the folks in Jintai, and they’re just scraping by. There’s a lot more to be said about people who don’t die immediately from not having a constant supply of their favourite snacks, which is precisely why I’ll stop talking about myself and start talking about the show.

Gotta have dancing in the opening!

lvlln // Humanity Has Declined is blunt right off the bat with its title, a simple description of the show’s setting. We see the world through the eyes of the unnamed main character, a UN mediator, as she visits some village to teach its girls how to turn live chickens into meat. When she fails in this by letting the chickens escape, we get to see to what extent humanity has declined.

Unsurprisingly, cynicism is the name of the game in this show, as it keeps making obvious critiques of various aspects of modern society. In her search for the chickens, the main character eventually ends up at a FairyCo factory that produces marmalade and bread, all synthetically by the looks of it. The receptionist isn’t shy about admitting that his company’s food tastes like crap compared to the real thing. The meeting that goes forever only to land on the first suggestion is an especially blatant criticism of how modern corporations work.

“We’d starve to death!” “But at least it’s new and interesting!”

Humanity Has Declined is undoubtedly influenced by many previous science fiction works, and there are 2 anime shows in particular that it reminds me of. The first and most obvious one is Fractale. Like in that show, humans have become completely reliant on technology, and are pretty much doomed to death if left to their own devices. The art is also quite similar, with bright and colorful landscapes as the backdrop. But (one of many places) where Fractale failed – making a convincing case that the current situation is problematic – Humanity Has Declined is a show that gets right to the point. As cheerfully explained by the fairies, they’re going to starve to death if they can’t correct the mediator’s error with the chickens.

Which is why I think this show is much more similar to the 2nd show I had in mind, Kaiba. Kaiba doesn’t particularly look like Humanity Has Declined like Fractale does (it doesn’t particularly look like any show, really), but it is also a science fiction show that presents a pessimistic far future for humanity. The dire situation that humanity is in can be traced back to the things we’re doing wrong now, and the shows have an air of pessimism hanging over the scenery at all times.

Anyone notice the Hitler mustache on this dude? I guess that bit of fashion finally became acceptable by this time!

The show’s social commentary is too overt at times and can feel clumsy in those cases. The fair/good/excellent grading system seems just thrown in there, and the main character narrates the exact lesson to be learned at various points throughout the episode. One place where the overtness works well is the already infamous ending with the bread, but that’s to be expected when shock value is being used. The show takes sides on multiple issues – mass production of food, coddling of our students, inefficiencies of corporations – but it hasn’t yet tied everything together into one cohesive message. Since this is only the first episode, the show may be throwing a lot of things at us in order to build on them in future episodes. A couple questions still hanging over the show are, why are humans going extinct, and what is the origin of those fairies? I suspect that those answers might be saved for the very end. But in the meanwhile, the show has plenty of topics to explore. If Humanity Has Declined can do that well like Kaiba did, it could be something amazing by the end. If it fails at that, we might end up with something a lot closer to Fractale.

I like these little things like the hair growth product that remind us that this fantasy setting is actually far in the future.

Overcooled // There is something to be said about a show where food is sentient and fairies gleefully titter about the entire population dying from starvation. Jintai is about such…interesting…things. If you expected a serious take on a post-apocalyptic society struggling to make ends meet and scour together meager meals, then you will be quite surprised. Seiji Kishi is going for a more of a dark comedy approach. For example, the episode starts off cute and simple with lots of pastel colours that lead you to think the show will be sweet and fluffy. It’s not long before a loaf of carrot bread commits suicide with a gush of bright red “blood” spurting out. This show is, in a word, demented. The contrast in tone between the cutesy-looking fairies and the horrible things they actually say is both disconcerting and hilarious at the same time. There’s something great about little people with giant grins on their faces cheerfully discussing human extinction.

Jintai is an odd show, and I hope they can manage to maintain the same grim-yet-light feel throughout. I expect some genuinely important statements about society, human nature and economy to be brought up amidst everything. Although the presentation is there to make you laugh (at least…I HOPE that’s the intention here), there are still plenty of underlying messages. Are board meetings really just for show? Is it necessary to play out your role just to keep democracy working? Is it right for a company to synthesize food out of anything and not tell you? What IS food anyways, when you think about it? While the actual content of the episode frames it all in a zany comedy, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d eat fake bread made out of garbage if I had nothing else to eat. Even the less extreme case of wondering what the hell is in the synthesized foods we have in stores now popped into my head.

How could you not find this appetizing?

I haven’t actually watched any other summer show, but I can still say that Jintai is good news for the batch of seasonal stuff coming out now. It’s great when Watashi (no, not me! The girl!) is involved with the fairies or living food. The more normal situations like talking to those 3 girls or herding chickens is a bit slow, and I find myself waiting for a punchline about grain products bi-secting themselves. It’s all going to be about balance. The cute and the dark, as well as the everyday life and the absurd need to be in harmony. Or, you know, just have bread kill itself all day. Can you tell I liked this scene based on how many times I mentioned it? Jintai has some shining moments if you’re a bit patient, so I suggest you guys check it out.


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33 Responses to “First Impressions – Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita”

  1. skylion says:

    The underlying theme of this show is indeed quite terrifying. ::insert copy pasta:

    Behind the pastels, the cheerful characters, and the ever so blissful fay folk, this is one hell of a screwed up story. I’m not talking about the chicken. Or the bread. But they are F’ED up. I’m talking about what isn’t being said in the show; that “mankind is declining” isn’t even close to saying the horrors that must have occurred before the program even opens.

    There was one line and one scene which nails that horror. “They must have done so much for convenience”, and the scene in which our MC tried out the suspect fairy food,and says, “how much trouble it took to make something that looks like anchovies”.

    The questions I have are, when did the mechanisms that make our world convenient, that make it possible to make the junk food that many depend on, break down all-together? Can I farm? Could I do it without any sort of modern power source? Can I hunt? With archery gear? No? Crap. I’m screwed.

    There is an old saying that an old fart like me pays attention to: “Civilization is just two missed meals away from complete collapse”. Which I must admit is one hell of an aggrandizement.

    Yeah, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is a scary place. Why are they trying to make it look like a fairy tale?

  2. †Croos† says:

    Why I don’t find this bread appetizing?
    Cause they stuff different kinds of unknown ingredients from it, that’s why.
    It’s like diet coke. They took out the sugar stuff and put SECRETShow ▼

    ingredients to taste just like nearly coke. Now if you ask the coke company(I’m just using this as an example) and found those ingredients not to be the best for your health I bet you wouldn’t eat or buy the product.

    • lvlln says:

      Heh, I have a friend who says he actually prefers the taste of diet coke to regular. Ironically, he’s confused as to why anyone would put Splenda in their coffee instead of real sugar.

      • Highway says:

        Actually, I can’t stand regular coke, or any soda with sugar / corn syrup, they’re just too ‘clingy’, but I like really sweet non-sodas, like lemonade. And Diet Coke (in a can) is my favorite soda.

  3. Luxor says:

    This is already shaping up to be one of my favorites this season–it’s no Apollon or Space Bros, but the cynicism is just too alluring. ^_^

    And Croos, I don’t think you’d eat many processed foods if you knew what went into them, so it may be best to not pry too far… even if most artificial ingredients aren’t too bad for you.

    • JPNIgor says:

      Apollon and Uchuu Kyoudai isn’t of this season .-. And I think that Jinrui is still a little dull. As lvlln said, it’s better to wait because if it fails on doing what we think it is doing, it will be a really, really bad anime.

      • Luxor says:

        They aren’t, you’re right—but I’m comparing my tentative pick for this season to my top picks from last season.

        It might be a little dull right now, but lemme get back to this when I see the next ep… which would be right now.

        • JPNIgor says:

          Yeah… You’re right… After all we don’t see naked chickens talking very often.

  4. Highway says:

    I’m still not sure what that was that I watched, even a week later. A bright colorful world full of depression and cynicism, the malleable ‘truth’ of the UN Mediator, the ‘food’ that just looks like food, and the fairies that resemble more of an infestation than a dominant race (If they put them in a partitioned box they won’t multiply? Wha?). And I’m looking at these people and thinking ‘What, they can’t farm anything? There’s all this space in the background there.’ I mean, even if you don’t know how, you can learn. And there was obviously stuff growing: trees, shrubs. This world makes no sense!

    • lvlln says:

      Yeah, you’d figure humans would be able to re-invent things like farming relatively easily. But, as the title says, humanity has declined. Somewhat reminiscent of the concept for Idiocracy (I haven’t watched that film). I’m guessing there isn’t much education – is it going to be like Wall-E where automation of everything made everyone super lazy to the point that society broke down? Certainly appears that way, with the FairyCo employee.

      Definitely an intriguing show that I want to see more of.

      • Highway says:

        It’s a favorite theme for dystopian futures, but honestly there’d have to be severe changes to what it means to be a human for any of that kind of stuff to really happen. Humans have been farming for millennia, it’s not like they had tractors or public schools or widespread education a thousand years ago, but they still managed to figure farming out. That’s why I’m hoping they come up with an explanation about why there’s such a decline.

    • Joojoobees says:

      They didn’t say they couldn’t farm. They said they had run out of two things: meat and sugar. Remember, the UN girl said she was able to make gum out of flour, but there was no sugar in it, so it was just rolled up balls of flour. She sat down with her grandpa to eat soup and he complained because there was no meat in it.

      They do farm, and they can eat, they just aren’t excited about it, because it doesn’t include meat and sugar.

      • Highway says:

        That kind of ecosystem still doesn’t make much sense. They have chickens, and it seemed the only reason they got away is because the people who knew how to deal with them delegated the task to people who didn’t (maybe this is actually the stupidity part?). And there are so many animals that could be farm-raised for meat, it doesn’t make much sense that none of them are available but humans still are.

        Same kind of arguments apply to sweet things. It’s hard to believe that every fruit ceases to exist, and can’t be regrown.

        These are just the kind of things that get in the way of my personal enjoyment of a show. I prefer some kind of explanation why.

        • Sushi GoKart says:

          Well I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on the gun just yet. There’s a lot of things we don’t know such as why the population declined in the first place. We have to see how this pans out in the long run. We also don’t know how far in the future this show actually is. First Episode and there are still a ton of questions to answer… but that is okay.

          Looks like the show will have a bit of a slow start but I’m digging the art and the social commentary so far.

  5. Reaper says:

    Hah, well, I’m having a food crisis after having my wisdom teeth pulled out but hey, not as bad as the near extinction of humanity I guess 😀

    Okay, not gonna lie, the moment I started watching this show, I was like, oh, fairies are present whilst humanity’s in decline. Before I could let my head push on to think why humanity has declined however (I don’t recall if they gave a reason), we bumble along after failing to chase chickens, seeing corporations making products even worse than China-quality, up to the moment the bread begins to talk…and rip himself effectively in half. My reaction? Dafuq.

    Has bread evolved to the point they can actually do that? If that kind of stuff happened in real life…oh god, the trauma of TOASTING BREAD will never be the same! Anywho, definitely taken back by this show with its kinda of oblivious(?) cynicism (from the fairies I think?), though not like a serious apocalypse (Kaibo looks really interesting, thanks for referencing it Ivlln; now I’ve got myself something to watch for the holidays 🙂 ), humanity being unable to farm…well…it’s becoming desperate I’d say. Didn’t the hunters also fail in finding any animals to hunt that day? Was because they couldn’t find any or just couldn’t hunt?

    Well, I guess regardless, it seems to be an unexpectedly cynical anime that has definitely got my interest for the season…though no more loaves of bread ripping themselves in half please…the trauma was too much…

    • lvlln says:

      Well, it’s not the bread evolving, more like humans managed to create technology that made bread sentient and anthropomorphic. And Kaiba is an amazing show, well worth checking out. Has great high concept and executes on it wonderfully.

  6. Tofu says:

    I loved the toaster part but other than that, this isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe it’s too fluffy and cute? Maybe its form of comedy doesn’t appeal to me?

    Then again, this nicely depicts a possible outcome regarding one of Einstein’s quotes stating that after World War III, World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones (something along the lines of that)

    • Tofu says:

      Here’s the proper quote: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

      By the way, I kinda liked the circle emoticon thingy Metanorn had as a Tab pic (you know that little thing at the top next to the tab? Umm.. hope I’m making sense…). Was there a reason for it to be taken over for a M?

    • lvlln says:

      A 3rd show that this one reminded me of that I didn’t manage to fit into the post is Sound of the Sky, which I’d describe as taking place in a post-post-apocalyptic setting – that is, after “World War 3.” Humanity Has Declined has yet to reveal how things got to this point, but I get the sense that it’s more like Fractale where human complacency led to their downfall, rather than building back up from a disaster.

      • Highway says:

        I absolutely love So-Ra-No-Wo-To, and was thinking of the same sort of comparison. But the decay there is much more obvious, and referenced throughout the show (with the desertification and “No Man’s Land”). Also, there are definitely people in that show who are trying to reclaim the lost knowledge, which we haven’t seen in JinTai yet.

  7. Bob from Accounting says:

    Heh heh heh, this show is great from the looks of the first episode. Silly yet ever so slightly dark and twisted. I’m so looking forward to seeing more.

  8. Karakuri says:

    …Would this be described as satire? In any case, I liked what I saw. Like OC said, there’s just something about watching small cheerful little people talk about the inevitable extinction of humankind.

    I think I’ll be okay with this show, even if it does derail and become like Fractale as long as the level of absurdness stays the same.

    • lvlln says:

      This is definitely satire, making fun of the conveniences and coddling that we live with today with its far future setting. It’s hard to make sense of the main story, but so far at least the setting has been far more well done than Fractale.

  9. xochandaox says:

    Lol the bread was like a zombie… in reverse

    I liked the first ep, and can’t wait for more ^o^

  10. Mitsuki says:

    haven’t watched yet, but wanna cover dat opening. With this I think I definitely will

    • lvlln says:

      I hope to see some people dancing the OP at future conventions! Not a complicated dance; it’s just the same 2 second loop repeated over and over.

  11. Hawthorne says:

    I feel like a good amount of the social commentary is going right over my head, but I’m enjoying this nonetheless! (The second episode was even better imo)

    I was getting some Kaiba vibes as well, the cheerful cynicism is always a weird but fun mix. I do prefer the visuals nd characters of Jinrui though. Thanks for the insight lvlln and OC! (I’ll definitely be reading these posts every week because like I said, so much goes right over my head. -_-)

    • Highway says:

      I’m generally not a fan of ‘message’ shows, because they usually present the message in a blunt “This is what you should think, and people who don’t think this way are bad / stupid / evil.” If they can leave it kind of on the outside, and not beat us over the head with it, I think it’ll stay good.

  12. ZL 'Kai' Burington says:

    Okay, people. You’re reading too far into the details. This is an excellent example of surrealism. In surealist literature, it doesn’t all have to make sense. What matters are the general shape of the ideas and their social commentary. Take Richard Brautigan’s Sombrero Fallout. Theres a writer and he’s writing a story about a sombrero that falls onto a road and quits halfway, but in the trash the story is writing itself and escalating into an all out war. Meanwhile the author and his ex girlfriend are reminiscing/obsessing and dreaming (respectively) across the city from each other. Why did this sombrero fall into the street, why is it freezing cold, why are people fighting over it, is it some kind of psychological infection? It’s not supposed to make sense! That’s surrealism.

    During the first episode, I didn’t understand the premise. I was reading too far into the details, trying to piece things together, trying to find the reasons, like I would for a more typical story. Once I got to the end of the first episode, however, I had finally gotten it. And then I was laughing at almost everything. Horrormirth and regular mirth. The second episode was equally hilarious.

  13. PocariSweat says:

    Until Sword Art Online decides to prove itself (too early at this point), I’m predicting this to be my favorite of the season. It has the same surreal feel that Mawaru Penguindrum gave me last year, except this time it’s used for comedy purposes.

    I’m loving the dark social commentary and black comedy behind the in your face crazy and wackiness. I’m no fan of Seiji Kishi (Seto no Hayanome, Angel Beats and Persona 4 were all bad to me), but his work here is brilliant and credit should be given when deserved.

    Looking forward to episode 3.

    • lvlln says:

      Seiji Kishi made a real stinker with Angel Beats!, but I’m willing to blame that more on Maeda, who has yet to write a good story or characters, as far as I’m concerned. I think Kishi does have the chops when it comes to comedy. The bits of Angel Beats! that were tolerable were the ultraviolent slapstick, which I thought were actually really good. I also enjoyed the comedy in Persona 4, and I liked what I saw of Seto no Hayanome. Plus, he directed Carnival Phantasm, which was just marvelous.

      But if Humanity Has Declined ends up as just a really funny comedy, I’d consider it wasted potential.

  14. D-LaN says:

    Finally watched it…. and I just ate some chocolate raisin bread as breakfast…. D: And Watashi inner comment is…. cynical/sarcastic at it finest? AND THOSE 😀 face…..

  15. […] Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita ] Humanity Has Declined built up a lot of hype with an unforgettable first episode, only to slowly waste its goodwill, failing to deliver more than some groans and chuckles with each […]

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