Humanity has already declined…
Title: Jinru wa Suitai Shimashita
TV Series; 12 Episodes
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Produced: Sotsu Agency, AIC
An anthropomorphic loaf of bread explodes in a shower of blood red carrot juice. What did I just see? The first episode closes out with that with that exact image. It’s startling, disgusting and intriguing all at the same time. I was left with a feeling of shock and awe that something that cute was left in such a gruesome heap.
Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita left a lasting impression with all the shenanigans it pulls. From being sucked into a manga where the popularity of the book was the key to survival to sentient space satellites that came to Earth to escape their fates, the tales it weaves are bursting with creativity. It was a breath of fresh air, as the series actively avoiding using too many tropes as a crutch. While at times it can get confusing as to what or why something is happening onscreen, it never fails to provoke a thought or coax out a laugh.
This surprisingly vivid plot is painted against a very dire backdrop. Humanity is in its final stages before extinction. The population is dwindling, food is in shortage, and the very foundations of civilization are crumbling. Art, education and culture are afterthoughts for survival. Humanity’s vacated throne over the Earth is being taken by super intellectual pocket-sized dwarves that are referred to as fairies whom the humans look toward to find a key to their salvation.
Most of the insanity in the story is cause by these bite-sized creatures. They never fail to amaze by building miniature cities in the blink of an eye or warping time and space itself. Their presence, a hope for humanity, is what infuses the tale with so much charm and vibrancy.
Luckily the craziness is contained in smaller two-episode stories. The structure makes the surprises manageable, mitigating complexity. There are loose connections between each that hold the overall series together, but the serialized nature does forego the opportunity to tell a cohesive narrative though. Instead it favors world building, and pouring all its writing into creating a deep setting that I can’t help but want to explore.
The setting is crucial in achieving the goals of this series. Most of the ‘arcs’ are skewed towards satire, criticizing concepts from materialism to current copyright laws. While having knowledge of these issues makes it all the more engrossing, it isn’t required. A viewer can still derive pleasure from the well paced episodes and strong comedic writing.
Sadly though, considering all of these elements, the insanity, serialization and satire, the plot doesn’t have any focus. There isn’t an overarching statement that show is trying to make, and none of the character arcs have a sense of beginning, middle or end. Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita had a chance to be a very powerful and moving show but that opportunity is never taken advantage of sadly.
Take note, this series is not aired in chronological order. All things considered, this doesn’t hamper the enjoyment of the series because of, as stated before, the serialized nature of the show. Considering that it can be watched in either the air or chronological order, there is nothing particular that should make you choose one over the other except for preference.
I was in love with Ms.Sweets. She isn’t your typical heroine. Her cynical nature is expertly masked by her cute face and excellent manners. At times she could be a bit blunt but that is part of her charm. At times her selfish desires hid her heart of gold but she would simply reply that it was her human nature.
The pink haired lead is surrounded by an eccentric supporting cast. They each have a unique personality that accents the scatterbrained plot quite nicely. From the mute Assistant that wear Hawaiian shirts to the yuri-obsessed Y, this series has a commendable retinue of memorable folk.
The fairies can’t be forgotten in this equation, but since there are so many of them, they feel more like a plot device than anything. Sure they’re more off the way than any of their fellow character, but they don’t have any sort of concrete backstory or personality. All you can really glean from them is they have a penchant for anything sugary and edible and a slightly sadistic side.
But even for all the merits of the cast, as I stated before, their character arcs are unsatisfactory even for the lead. Some backstories are fleshed out but not many of their threads are tied. For Ms.Sweets, we learn one of her weaknesses but aren’t given a satisfactory conclusion to the direction her life is moving. At times it feels like the cast is stuck in a quagmire of interesting but ultimately pointless plot points.
This series boasts some great visuals. It was like opening a hand painted children’s book. Every setting looks like it’s washed in vivid watercolors. Character designs follow in the same vein, combining pastel shades with more precise line work. The smooth animation does the artwork justice and doesn’t distract from the great art.
The audio work on the other hand is a bit hit and miss for me. I am not a fan of nano.RIPE, so the opening was grating to my ears. The closing is in the same vein, where Masumi Ito’s vocals just didn’t appeal to me. The rest of the soundtrack is pleasant enough but doesn’t stand out in away. It’s a swath of simple piano melodies that do just enough to set the mood.
The voice acting of Mai Nakahara is excellent though. She delivers a standout performance for Ms.Sweets and her slightly deadpan delivery instill the character with a lot of personality. Miyuki Sawashiro, one of my favorite seiyuu, is amongst the cast and is representative of the median quality of the performances, simply fantastic.
I won’t be forgetting Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita any time soon. Its quirky sense of humor and social satire combine to make a very enjoyable watch. While I do have some reservations about the structure of the plot and the effect it had on the characters, this series is for anyone that doesn’t want to watch the typical anime.