15 CommentsHumanity has Declined / By Scamp /

Humanity has Declined episode 12 (finale) – When one forgets books

Forgive me, for I’m going to do what I always seem to do with these posts and focus on one throwaway part rather than comment on the actual quality of the episode. To be honest, I found the reveal that each member of the tea club were either bitchy or psychotic to be rather uninteresting. The way they portrayed it, the director seemed to think it would be a big shock that Curly was a raging psychotic lesbian. It would have been a bigger surprise if they had spied on her and she was happily writing in her diary about all the oishii cakii~ she ate and how she just loves all her friends soooo much.

So nah, what I want to talk about is the school. They said that the school was redeveloped several times, which is why there’s old corridors and mazes and robots bumping into walls. Or just one robot, the rest rotting in a basement somewhere. The fact they were there implies that the school once housed a much larger population. But by the time Watashi joins…well, I suppose I should start calling her Sweets now. Anyway, by the time Sweets joined, the school had been reduced dramatically in size and newbies classes contained kids of various ages, like it was some local school in the middle of nowhere. Except it’s not, because Watash…Sweets had to travel a long distance to go to the one school that was still operational.

And at the end of the episode, it shut down.

That got to me way more than it probably should have. Kids stopped joining the school. The ones that were there left before they could advance to the highest class and finish their education. Sweets and Y…err, I mean Silver, were the only two studying. What they did research were the fairies, the supposed New Humanity. The only two youths in what must be a few hundred mile radius to get a full education devoted their lives to analysing those that will take their place. It’s like if a giant asteroid was hurtling towards earth, everyone stopped going to school apart from a few who decided to stay and work out exactly how fucked they all would be.

Actually it’s not quite that at all. Humanity has Declined has been all about, well, the decline of humanity. Not through any war or famine or whatever, or even incompetence. It’s more through indifference towards improving a situation taken as inevitable. There no longer being an education system in place is the most damning. It’s the perfect example of humanity in decline, because we’re no longer teaching kids what we’ve learned so they can build on it. What results instead is an overall lowering of our knowledge as humanity. The fact that there was a project devoted to admiring our past creations but no attempts at understanding them shows how much they’ve stopped even trying to learn anymore.

I’m still a little bit baffled as to why this part of Humanity has Declined has got to me time and time again, to the point that the finale had me welling up slightly. Perhaps at heart I’m a romantic when it comes to my belief as to what humanity can achieve. It doesn’t help that this show is airing alongside something as upbeat about our capabilities as humans as Space Bros is. We can expand and engineer and invent our way out of any situation. The world could be blown apart and yet some pioneering individuals will find a way to survive and advance. We’ll move to other planets and make them habitable. We’ll even bio-engineer ourselves in such a way that we can survive. The idea that we’ll just accept our demise, not even meekly, just as a statement of fact, depresses me. There’s not one character in this show who contends this. Sentient marmalade will rule the world and wipe us out in a sea of orange flavoured spread and we’ll shrug and accept this, simply saying:

I, for one, welcome our new fairy overlords.

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15 Comments

  1. Vance
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Also, one should note that Watashi only makes friends with people who were involved with the fairies in some way. Y became Watashi’s partner in researching the fairies, and Assistant owes his existence to the fairies. Watashi herself participates in the fairies’ secret tea party whenever she sleeps to deal with her loneliness. Basically, you should associate with the fairies and NGAF about the current situation.

  2. anon
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    :D <– our new overlords

    what can I say, if it hadn't been for these weekly posts, I wouldn't have picked up this series.

    so thank you scamp, it was really enjoyable while it lasted.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      I always like posts like this at the end of series :)

  3. BwackNinja
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Oh God. The fairies turned the world into their zoo. Food you don’t have to work for is handed out freely. Currency or even bartering has no reason for existence. How many expert hunters do you see in a lion’s cage? Humanity’s reason for pushing forward isn’t to achieve greatness, it is to merely sustain itself. Greatness is only a byproduct of trying to survive. War is not impressive because of your success, but rather because of the impediments to your success. Take those away and all you have is the grandfather’s empty admiration of guns. It is the fact that we’re so full of pride as a race that allows us to look down on every other living thing; to domesticate animals to systematically slaughter so that we may devour their flesh which, to add insult to injury, must be properly seasoned to deserve our consumption. Humanity’s survival is no longer in the hands of humanity, it is in the hands of the fairies appearing and disappearing depending on how much fun it is to interact with those lower life forms. Like little kids, they look into the metaphorical lion’s cage and declare: “what a cute little kitty.”

    I’m disappointed how you didn’t care about the hidden dark sides of the tea party girls. Their anger and sadness and frustration and love is all they had left after everything else has lost all meaning and from there, they say goodbye, never to see each other again. Giving up on being “productive” to sit and read your manzines commands as much importance and doesn’t even hurt society because _nothing_ is important.

    • Son Gohan
      Posted September 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      I don’t really think that the world has become the faeries’ zoo.
      Humans still have to hunt or farm to survive. The faeries don’t distribute food unless you become their friend (or queen!).

      The faeries are an hedonistic bunch that just cares for the present, to eat sweets and have fun without thinking ot the consequences. In fact I think that the New Humanity is not much different from the old one.

      • BwackNinja
        Posted September 19, 2012 at 12:45 am | Permalink

        Episodes 1 and 2. The hunting team of all the men failed to catch anything. Turning the live chickens into delicious cooked chickens was something that needed outside help. She had to take the time to remember the second step in the process of getting delicious cooked chickens. Food just appeared magically in cans clearly made by the fairies, which made everyone happy and she was the only one to even question it.

        The difference between the New Humanity and the Old Humanity is that the New Humanity actually thrives and succeeds off of eating sweets and having fun – with it, they built bustling self-sufficient cities in a matter of days. We’re not the same, though they are exactly who we wish we were.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Interesting. Sometimes I wonder if you guys read too much into it, but considering people level that complaint at me a lot, I don’t want to level it at anyone else.

      But still, your idea of the fairies treating humans as zoo animals doesn’t really hold up beyond the first arc. They jump on humans fads, like the second arc. Sweets becomes a god to them later on. I guess she becomes a god because she gives them sweets, but it’s not quite the same as farming. Or maybe it’s supposed to appear like that? It’s hard to tell really

      • BwackNinja
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 4:40 am | Permalink

        1st arc (1 – 2) is obvious

        2nd arc (3 – 4), they are imprisoned in a manga where their worth is how entertaining they are. Zoo.

        3rd arc (5 – 6), Err… I’ve got nothin’. The fairies were mostly hiding because of the microwaves.

        4th arc (7 – 8), Knowingly having control over her to do fun tricks (slip amusingly and make sweets) by feeding her bananas. Arguably little more than their trained monkey, and she’s none the wiser.

        5th and 6th arcs (9 + 10), these are harder because they give her authority, but they don’t quite obey her. They do things because they want things to do rather than because she tells them to – like how they never actually make a raft. She is more of a toy they like to play with than their leader or god. Also – her job wouldn’t be any fun for them (which they show clearly when she tries to make one of them god) so it is far more of them pushing the role onto her than she being in control.

        7th arc (11 – 12), she makes sweets for apparently no reason and doesn’t question it. The fairy trained her, then erased its own existence from her memory before returning to the robot. Conditioned responses like a trained animal just for the amusement of the fairy.

        Just goes to show you that with only an idea, you can warp the rest of the world to conform to it. Except humanoid space probes…

  4. fathomlessblue
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    I know cutting social commentary has always been this show’s true purpose, but it still staggers me that a series with possibly the most ludicrous setting of the season, has basically the same conclusion to the grounded environment of Tari Tari, where a school is forced to shut down thanks to budget cuts and the decline in birth rate. Until then I’d really only seen Jinrui as a potential worst case “What if?” scenario on mankind’s future, when the stark reality is in many instances the downward spiral’s well and truly in motion.

    So thanks Humanity, for reminding me that as a species we’re well and truly fucked! Also for making me too paranoid in buy a bottle of Fairy Liquid ever again.

  5. Lirael
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    “It’s like if a giant asteroid was hurtling towards earth, everyone stopped going to school apart from a few who decided to stay and work out exactly how fucked they all would be.”

    I don’t see the education Sweets had as wasted. In fact, this anime was clearly how she’ll survive the decline of humanity through her cunning tactics. Lets see: humanity is declining and there’s this new race coming up…so why don’t we study them so we can use/beat them? Sweets has, through her sly tactics (while pretending it was all an ‘accident’), become their God, their Queen and in the end their friend. Clearly she was testing the waters to decide what was the best role to play to survive. “If you can’t beat them, join them” Sweets was the superior one, case closed.

    ^and this post was in no way serious, so don’t bother pointing out the flaws in this idea XP

  6. Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    No real comment, just wanted to say this was an excellent post.

  7. Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I must say this is the series I most enjoyed this season. Everything about it just clicked. The mad social satire, the monochromatic voice of Watashi, the unknowable nature of the new humanity, and the wacky madness that ensues all just made for a terrific show. Once again this show reminds me that genuinely caring about your characters is something that can make any idea, no matter how insane, work. Its clear the author cares about the characters in Jintai, from Watashi to Y. Which leads me to a comment. The only real question mark I have in my mind about the decline of humanity is Y. In her mad crazy to bring fujoshi manga back to life, so a moment there, it almost seemed like she had the spark needed to stop the decline. It really is an off-putting punctuation to an otherwise dismal show :) I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

  8. w.t
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I tried this series after reading that breeding-bread post, then I spread the word and got some of the people that I know to watch this

    • Scamp
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Always happy to read comments like this :D

  9. Posted September 21, 2012 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    I still say it’s Alice In Wonderland vs. Endless Eight.

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