I bring in a bunch of new writers, only for them to bugger off to AX and leave me trying to make sense of anime carrot bread suicides.
Before I get into my usual bout of being an overly critical moaner, I have to give Humanity has Declined serious props for being chock full of interesting ideas. Particularly after winning cliché bingo with Campione and snoozing my way through that Italian reverse harem anime, Humanity has Declined rather defies classification. A sci-fi post-apocalyptic cutesy fantasy dry cynical moe comedy? Whatever it is, it’s brimming with ideas. The premise is that humanity has been dying out (or ‘declined’ as you might put it) and they’re now living in a world where they can’t even control chickens. Also there are fairy people who make food. Or synthetic non-food. Or it’s not even made by the fairies. Or something.
It’s a genuine struggle to try list out the themes laid out in this episode alone. Board meetings are just for show, ultimately useless wastes of time done for the sole purpose of keeping up the facade of order, democracy, and legitimate deliberation. The deadening of human realisation of what food truly is, lost in its commodification to become both food and living, commercial and human, edible and emotional. I’m really stretching my vocabulary trying to articulate the concepts brought up. Suffice to say, it certainly gives you a lot to think about.
But a coherent whole it is not. Fans of the original material (although I don’t think any english translation exist, so that basically means maybe that one Japanese guy who reads this blog) will be delighted to hear me pin this blame on the directing. There’s the easier to spot problems, such as letting the main character narrate her entire way through the episode rather than letting her actions tell the story. For all its pastel colours and occasional weird imagery, it’s fairly dully directed. The dialogue doesn’t really click either, mainly because every character she’s talked to are total brainless idiots. Her conversation with the fairies was slightly more interesting, in a completely surreal sort of way, but most of the rest of the dialogue is really boring. In fact, there’s rather worryingly long stretches of dullness in between the surreal and imaginative concepts.
I feel the director doesn’t really know what to do with this bizarre series he’s been given, so it feels disjointed at the moment. Perhaps this is just me being picky, asking for it to lay its cards on the table in the first episode, which it has no obligation to do. It’s certainly got my interest. I just hope a clear story starts in the next episode. I don’t think it, or any anime, can survive on interesting concepts alone.