Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita
Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is… the thing I feel most deeply sorry about being unable to blog episodically this past season, so I’m glad I was still given the privilege of reviewing it.
However, explaining what Jinrui was or what it tried to achieve is certainly no easy task. A series with an unnamed main character, completely static characters besides said protagonist, no continuous plot developing to an end and no general climax, can’t be judged with the same tools we’d normally use to critique most entertainment media.
The premise is both simple and eye-opening regarding a problem we’re very much aware of by now, with many types of warnings – the fact that we’re destroying ourselves and the world. To sum it up and putting preaching aside, the setting is exactly what the title makes it to be: “Humanity Has Declined”. Yes, in Jinrui’s era, the human species now sports small numbers and got back to the rural lifestyle of past times, while fairies became the most prominent species on earth.
With such a setting, one would expect the series to give a lot of focus to world-building, yet once again Jinrui surprises you in, giving out the information about the world in the most random and arbitrary way.
Now, the last three paragraphs may have seemed full of negative points to you. If that was the case, I’ll make my intentions clear: I’m simply showcasing how unconventional Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is. And it doesn’t stop there. Complete “wtf” moments in which the viewer has no idea of what’s going on are all but rare, and the simple existence of the fairies is shrouded in impossibility and ridiculousness.
Thankfully, such ridiculousness is not a product of chance, but a mean that’s masterfully used in favor of showing the most brilliant, funny and witty set of social critiques I’ve seen in anime to date. With a dark and deadpan humor that would always bring a sarcastic smile to my face, some other genuinely fun moments and a main character with a very human personality, and whose passivity, curiosity and strength of will or complete lack of it (yes, she’s lazy xD) worked wonderfully towards achieving a high-quality first-person narration that’s capable of charming just anyone, Jinrui proved to be the hidden gem I’d first expected it to.
From consumerism to Japanese entertainment and fujoshi, passing by “The Story of Civilization – Short 9 days version”, it hit the bull’s eye in terms of both what to critique and how to do it. Something I’d like to point out, specially to those who think this anime uses too much forced preaching at times, is that while it does critique human behavior in the most various ways, it never does so in an inflexible, accusing tone. The main character herself sees most of the happenings as inevitable; she has the independent mind to judge things as wrong, but the humanity to still feel attracted to things that undeniably are so, in spite of their seemingly distant undesirable consequences. As so, I’ve never felt as if this series was trying to force ideals onto me, nor do I believe that to be its intended purpose. What it made me do was to ponder such issues myself, even allowing me to have some good laughs in the meantime.
In the technical department, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita didn’t let down either. The bright and vibrant color pallet contrasts well with the dark humor of the show, and the abstract lines of the art are obviously a perfect fit for the bizarreness of the story itself.
But what does really deserve a huge shoutout is the voice acting. The script of this series was indeed very good, but would its worth have been properly conveyed without good voice acting? Thankfully, the voice acting wasn’t simply good, it was great and in my humble opinion, it managed to bring the script to the next level. After all, sarcastic lines do lose most of their meaning and charm without a fitting tone of voice. Special props to Nakahara Mai for her amazing work as “Watashi”.
In the end, Jinrui was a truly amazing series I wouldn’t mind seeing more of in the future. I’m not a huge fan of series clearly divided in separate arcs, but I get the feeling it actually worked to Jinrui’s advantage in this case, since… as many compliments as I’ve been giving this anime, it did have its flaws. Arcs like the factory one, the manga arc, the first job the main character took and the island episode were simply amazing. However, I found others to be just so-so – namely the spaceships one. The good points in Jinrui still largely outnumber (and overshadow) the bad ones, though, and as one can judge each arc separately, they’re also easily overlooked.
Minor complains aside, there are some other issues I’d like to address. Just because I’m a randomly inserted social critique lover, it doesn’t mean everyone thinks the same way. What I mean is that Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is an amazing series, but it is definitely not for everyone. Character development is really scarce, but that is definitely not a problem when it’s outside of the series’ purpose. Especially not when the only character that actually matters gets dedicated such a heartwarming arc to end the series. Which brings me to another issue – the fact that there isn’t a climax at all. But why should there be one? Storytelling is a free art. Yes, there are tried and true methods and they are not something one should despise. But thinking outside the box sometimes gives even greater results, and when it does, shouldn’t we simply be happy about it and acknowledge its merit?
Jinrui was my favorite anime of this season, and definitely one of my favorite of all time. I was always excited about what the next episode would bring, even though I’d already given up trying to predict what it would be. It truly was a bizarre series, but also really well-written and thought-provoking. And that’s a combination I simply can’t resist.
P.S.: I so wanted to do an in-depth analysis here… But since that’s not what reviews are for… xD