Summer 2012 First Impressions – Humanity has Declined

Humanity has declined is a surrealist-slash-macabre social commentary that utilizes the advantages of satire and black humor to get its cynicism across to the audience in a backdrop of a post-apocalyptic pastel-colored dreamland.

With the pretentious plug out of the way, I can finally focus on why I enjoyed this show very much. First of all, there’s the mood. Despite the lighthearted appearance of the whole thing, I could clearly sense from the first segment that this show is not fooling around. Any laughs that I got out of this show came from pure, distilled cynicism – which makes me kind of question my own personal values.

One good example is with the segment about food production and the consumerist economy. What is food, and to what lengths will we go to obtain or produce it? The answer should be obvious, yet the anime clearly doesn’t want it to be. How did the economy survive (probably) centuries of steady population decline and still be stable? If these aren’t what you would call food for thought, I don’t know what would be.

There are also a lot of other ideas mixed in too, all in a span of 23 minutes. Are authority figures just assemblies of conspirators fooling the ignorant masses? And are these ignorant masses so dependent on authority figures that they are willing to believe every single nonsense that comes out of the big house? What about board meetings? Are they really just held to give an illusion of formality and deliberation? Is “positive reinforcement” really a good standard of quality assessment for the most basic needs of humankind? I haven’t even scratched the surface of the sheer amount of commentary the writing provides. These ideas are presented very casually and jokingly, it becomes funny in a depressing sort of way, especially since I come from a country where these topics are extremely relevant. Well, I guess with a writer like Romeo Tanaka, who happens to be the one that wrote cynical works like A Drug that Makes You Dream and Cross Channel – great visual novels by the way, I guess I should have seen this coming.

There’s also the overlying theme – humanity in itself. By giving us a very small sample size (the decline of the population), we are able to see the little things that we mostly take for granted. Once you get over the trippy art style and cutesy facade, you will see the anime in a new light.

And there’s the presentation of the writing. In a way, the show is quite brilliant in the use of first person narration from a mostly neutral stand (a la Kyon from Haruhi). She acts as a part of the audience while still being part of the whole system, much like how most of us claim to be. The directing may be a bit clunky given that Seiji Kishi isn’t really the man I would hire for a show like this, but the potential of this show is just too high, I’m willing to forgive the apparent lack of directorial skill. The animation is pretty solid as well.

So yeah, I really, really like how the show is going so far. Some things need fixing, but I don’t find the flaws to highly detract from my overall enjoyment of the show. I would probably have a blast writing about this one from time to time.

About Lucas Magnus

Trying to change for the better.
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14 Responses to Summer 2012 First Impressions – Humanity has Declined

  1. Cyurio says:

    *Gasp* Is this the elusive @fkeroge seal of approval!? Holy crap, I’m watching this.

  2. GoodbyeNavi says:

    I might give the first episode a look-see. I like the synopsis you gave it.

  3. Smiley says:

    Honestly, I’m not sure if I should be taking this show seriously.

  4. windyturnip says:

    It’s not often you see a good satirical anime. It’s even rarer to see one that foreigners can understand. This is definitively going to be an interesting ride.

    • @fkeroge says:

      I dunno. It’s always best to just enjoy it for what it is. Satire is good, but I did find it very enjoyable, satire or not,

  5. Pingback: Not Exactly Honest « Black Strawberry

  6. LiveFreeOrDie says:

    Upon watching this anime, I have associated many things from it with our world today. The similarities are quite eerie, if you know what to look for.

    As for me, I’m what you call “awake” in this world, meaning that I happen to be aware of what our society is doing/has done, in terms of how humanity is declining. I’ll give a few examples so people can get the gist of what I’m talking about.

    Quick history lesson: Assuming the majority of readers are from the USA, our forefathers have created a revolution against Great Britain in 1776 due to taxation without representation, and due to the control of our currency through inflation/deflation by the use of central banks.

    Today, and since 1913, our currency has been controlled by the Federal Reserve by use of inflation/deflation the very same way in which we have been against. We are also being taxed so damn much, without any representation as to why that is. Unfortunately, no one seems to give two shits about this evil-doing, but that’s another story.

    These facts that I have pointed out are expressed through this anime through simple characters and situations. The fairies are depicted to be the innocent, intelligent beings, but whom are also unaware of the tragedies they create. It seems that in the anime, humanity is declining to the point where there is no food to go around. You can think of food as the money in our society. Nearly ALL countries in the world are in a massive amount of DEBT, so the anime is literally saying this by using the loss of food as debt.
    Get this:
    What did the fairies do to combat this loss of food? Creating a factory that creates food.
    What did the US and other countries do to combat debt? Creating a FACTORY that creates MONEY.
    Now, this may sound arbitrary to most people, but a country cannot simply make more money to get rid of debt. Quite the contrary actually, creating more money creates even more debt.

    On another note, did anyone notice or wonder why coins are fed to the fairies? Think of it as the TAX, which makes perfect sense as to why its a coin in the first place.

    On another another note (lol), the silent assistant boy with the camera is portrayed as the journalist of the modern world. When he was taking flash photos of the chickens, have you wondered why they were weak against it? Put it this way, the assistant (journalist of real-life) was exposing the chickens and their evil factory scam (the Federal Reserve.) The reason why the assistant is silent is because most journalists are unaware of the FR and how it’s devaluing currency.

    Now, I would love to keep typing about this anime because it’s a one-of-a-kind anime that actually shows real-life-humanity-declining situations in the form of… well, anime, BUT I currently cannot remember every scene.

    I’m considering on typing my own review on tumblr, because I sincerely believe this anime is trying to show people about what’s going on in this world. In short, this anime wants to “wake people up” as it’s called, and I intend on helping with that.

    I personally don’t think my examples are compelling enough to convince people that my deduction is viable, but please, be open-minded. I couldn’t go into detail with this whole Federal Reserve/debt/tax stuff, but I will on tumblr one day.

    • LiveFreeOrDie says:

      “What did the fairies do to combat this loss of food? Creating a factory that creates food.
      What did the US and other countries do to combat debt? Creating a FACTORY that creates MONEY.”

      I must add that you should keep in mind that the fairies create things with magic. This is relevant because the Federal Reserve and other central banks create debt completely out of thin air, and is often described as “magic” by economists, thus the reason why fairies/magic are being used in the anime in the first place.

  7. LiveFreeOrDie says:

    I see a LOT of subliminal messages in this anime. I’m super excited to be typing about this later on when I have time.

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