We finally meet the man behind the man.
|The 1st episode of Humanity Has Declined hit us with the barrage of social commentary. It was a bit messy without a central theme to tie them together other than that they were really cynical and pessimistic. I was hoping for the show to expand on the commentary in this episode, but what I got was something decidedly much sillier than expected. Not that that was necessarily a bad thing.|
Big cat! I hope those glasses make a return, and with more features!
Story-wise, the show picked up right where it left off, with the main character still inside the factory. There was plenty more fodder for social commentary again, such as the manager/director who was so focused on moving up the corporate ladder that he didn’t recognize what a shitty corporation it was. But most of the episode was dedicated to unpacking the mystery of the headless chickens who were executing their plan of human conquest surprisingly well considering that they were headless chickens. I think those guys are inherently funny, and the Project Glass-esque translating glasses made for good translation jokes while also showcasing the far future technology. It was fun, but it was also quite the departure from what I was expecting from this show.
With the cynical social commentary, the colorful world deliberately unfitting for the depressing setting, and the lack of any named character, I was expecting a science fiction showcase that explored where humanity went wrong with its unrelenting march of technology. Instead, the future technology feel like stand-ins for magic. It was neat in the 1st episode to see a plucked headless chicken running around with a factory stamp on its thigh and to see the hair growth cream actually work. It was jarring to see a boardroom full of plucked headless chickens plotting to take over humanity and to see the main character’s hair grow a mind of its own. This was the kind of over-the-top wackiness that I associated with Western cartoons.
Speaking of Western cartoons, this bit reminded me a lot of Strong Bad.
Not that anime is lacking in gag comedy shows – this season we’ve got Yuru Yuri as a prime example – but few go as far as to create an entire society of intelligent creatures hell bent on overthrowing humanity, like the Crab People in South Park or the gelatinous aliens from Futurama (from the season 6 finale, in a segment that was anime inspired). The show that comes closest to that sort of wildness is Pani Poni Dash! (a show heavily influenced by Western media). I welcome this anything-can-happen-because-it’s-animation attitude, and I wish more shows were bold enough to try something as out-there as the chickens in this episode.
I can appreciate this bold silliness of the 2nd episode of Humanity Has Declined. The absurdity was legitimately funny. But a random comedy that makes fun of various aspects of society in a cynical way isn’t that unusual and, more importantly, doesn’t fulfill the potential that this show’s setting has. The John Woo inspired “shoot” out scene was hilarious, and it also touched on modern society. We need more scenes like that. If the show is to achieve greatness, it needs to turn its social commentary into meaningful satire, with its points tied together by a central thesis that fits into the main characters’ story. Otherwise, we might as well be watching a less pretty, less funny Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.
And another one gone, another one gone, another one bites the dust.