22 CommentsHumanity has Declined / By Scamp /

Humanity has Declined episode 3 – My Subculture Can’t Be This Homogeneous

Normally when I’m late to watching the latest episode of the Hot New Thing In Town (and according to the power rankings, Humanity has Declined is the new hot thing in town), twitter will happily spoil me for the latest dramatic plot twists. For Humanity has Declined though, instead I get spoiled for what grand societal happening it is satirising this week. People were arguing over whether it was a critical view of fujoshi fandom or celebratory. Firstly, I think it’s more a commentary on subcultures in general rather than specifically fujoshi. Secondly, anyone who tried to argue that it was celebratory because of that one scene where they said comiket was very orderly and happy on the surface I feel missed the entire point of that scene.

The comiket was the entire publishing industry coming together rather than people going to them, in one giant fan orgy. The actual event itself was great for the fans because they get their wonderful piece of subculture. However the point of the comment about how calm it seemed there was to draw a direct comparison between what happened directly after that statement when the two publishers of the other magazines realised they were at a disadvantage because they were on their competitor’s home turf. The calm on the surface disguised the rivalries and backstabbing that was occurring and going to occur. It wasn’t to say “look at how wonderful everyone is”.

I don’t think Humanity has Declined has a non-cynical bone in its body. As I said, while I don’t think this episode is directed towards BL fandom and more directed at subcultures in general, it’s definitely not a positive one. You don’t have lines about how homogeneous the art looks and generic the characters are when the main character flicked through the first book in a celebratory depiction. Neither do you have that fucking brilliant line about the fairies. “You are aware there’s a group out there that will jump on whatever the latest fad is?” – “I know, that’s what I’m counting on”. You know, those creatures that create products that resemble the real thing but are in fact homogeneous pap cobbled together using broken down rubbish yet you’re ignorant and so are not aware of what the real product is like so you scoff it all down anyway like it’s the greatest thing ever? That’s what fans of a subculture are.

…holy shit, I only just made that connection now.

…holy shit, this anime is the most cynical thing ever.

…holy shit this anime is awesome.

What are the fairies anyway? My train of thought from the last episode was that they’re representative of what humans will eventually become. This was sparked by the reveal last episode that they reproduce when they have been exposed to enough ‘fun’. You do this by buying jokes to tell them. You could make them up yourself, but that might backfire and they’ll get depressed and won’t function as your personal compass. They must be packaged perfectly into their little boxes or else they’ll go out of control. Their faces are fixed into a perfect :D and can never break out of that. There was a scene in the first episode where a fairy tries to grab his face and pull down by the cheeks to express his concern that humanity is declining, but is incapable of turning his :D into a D: no matter how hard he tried.

Also they live on fake sugary sweets with no actual substance…fucking hell this anime is so cynical.

I’m not even sure if I like writing about it. The more I write, the more I start to feel depressed at this view of humanity.

Humanity is in Decline guys.

We’re fucked.

Oh god, now that I’m on this train of though, all these screencaps I have make me depressed. A gaggle of artists have a naked man in front of them, but their faces are locked in deep concentration as they instead focus on how to create the perfect hyper-realistic BL couple. When the main character says she talks to a boy, the lead BL editor is shocked at calls her out for her betrayal. We do not consume the real thing anymore. We’ve become so wrapped up in this fake version that we don’t even notice the real version when it’s right in front of our eyes. Chickens end up as chicken nuggets, but nobody’s sure how or whether that’s just an urban myth.

So yeah, totally a celebration of BL subculture guys.

:D

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22 Comments

  1. Posted July 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    The episode laid out in no uncertain terms the main treatise of Database Animals. The vigorous explosion of fads, the copycat mentality, the exorbitant use of creative energy on petulant rivalries and one-upsmanship. It’s all there. That they were fujoshi was incidental.

    Did you read Akira’s post? I think he came to the same conclusion about the nature of the fairies after the first episode. There’s a lot of good stuff to think about in Humanity.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      I read the post. This episode was just way more direct about the fairies than the earlier ones

  2. Conankudo4
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I feel like another subpoint that was brought up in the episode was that of people getting so entrenched into the subculture of which they’re involved with due to their desires of wanting to more with it, that they become unable to actually do the things society calls upon them to do (get a job, raise kids, etc etc etc).

    I think the most noticeable point of this was the fan letters, where the people were sending in letters of complaint saying that they could no longer get work done cause their BL fantasies got too much in the way. The jab is probably that because people are so comfortable where they’re sitting that they let themselves get immersed in the subculture, leading to the decline of their good health, the health of those who are dependent on them, and the decline of humanity as a whole.

    As a side note, there’s a large part of me that wants bring this ep into my anime club whenever the falls starts up. Then that same part thinks that the ep will be stopped halfway through, and our fujoshi base will literally line up and slap me in the face for being legitimately insulted.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 19, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Same point was brought up with Y. She was meant to be doing this grand Humanity project, but instead got caught up in this subculture and totally forgot what she was meant to be doing, which the main character predicted would happen right at the start of the episode

  3. Anonymous
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    I know that hierarchies suck and that nobody ever really knows what it is they are eating and that fujoshi will never get laid even if they are sorta decent looking. I know all that already! Humanity Has Declined show me something I don’t already know and you just might become this season’s best show.

    Also regarding:
    “You are aware there’s a group out there that will jump on whatever the latest fad is?” – “I know, that’s what I’m counting on”
    I loved that, that interpreter girl’s friend, the publisher, interpreted that as teenage girls instead of fairies.

  4. Tsukiyo
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Whenever I read your posts lately, I imagine your voice reading them O.o

  5. Posted July 19, 2012 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    The fairies aren’t what we will become – the fairies are what we already are. That title is literal.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Not quite, there’s still hope! We’ve just got to start having wild sex over a plate of roast chicken

  6. Posted July 19, 2012 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    I didn’t like Episode 3 that much, mainly from the point of view that there was no real connection to Episodes 1 and 2. No headless chickens, no living hair, just the idea that we live and die on our impulses. I’d like it better if there was a little more of a link.

    I also didn’t like Y much as a character. Probably because she’s too much like us, and I’m not really looking forward to an anime about fairies being this real.

    Probably can’t be helped though.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 19, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Eh, I’m pretty sure the entire show will be like this. A series of loosely connected stories

      • Posted July 20, 2012 at 1:56 am | Permalink

        I prefer a little connection between stories.

        Besides, the living hair thing had so much potential. Now, it’s like some pair of shoes buried in the back of the closet.

    • Chipp
      Posted July 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      You’re right sir.
      They’re adapting the stories from the different volumes of novel, even the first 2 episodes were from the 4th volume.

  7. luffyluffy
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    A bit weaker this time but it’s clearly a set up episode so EPISODE 4 AHOY

  8. Inushinde
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    I didn’t find it nearly as scathing as you did. It felt objective in its view of Y’s manzine empire, both looking at the terribly irresponsible person that created it and its debatably positive impact. Yeah, Y’s kind of looked down on, but the movement as a whole’s regarded with slight admiration at its sheer industriousness.
    Though admittedly, Watashi’s snarky narration adds a layer of cynicism to that point of view.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      See, I don’t think they were being positive about how people reacted to it. The rise of the BL fandom felt more critical that they were rising around it rather than a celebration of their ability to do that

  9. Chipp
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    “The Fairies reproduce naturally when they’re having fun” is an awkward translation
    it is somehow a literal translation than liberal translation
    The real meaning should be “The Fairies will gather naturally when they’re having fun”
    It is the habit of the fairies.
    When there is fun, they will gather. When there is no fun, they will disperse.

    That’s what was written by the man who read the original novels on animesuki forum.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Awww really? I loved the idea of them literally reproducing when they were fed enough fun

  10. Mr.RR
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    This was pointed out to me, but it seem no one in this series has an actual name. It’s either a title, something general (like I, the faries, Them, etc) or something of a nickname.

  11. Posted July 19, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    If you want to check out a REAL piece of cynical anime science fiction, I highly recommend Kaiba.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Man, I love Kaiba, and it certainly is very cynical in some regards, but its ultimate message is that love will overcome all boundaries. That’s a pretty upbeat message if you ask me

  12. Adrian
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    *Looks at the fairy drawn on the sheet of paper.
    *Remember the end of the episode.
    *Finally makes the connection.

    Oh shit, how could I let that slip? Dawn it!

  13. Shogun
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Scamp, if this show hits your patrol boat the book ‘Simulacra and Simulation’ with sink your battleship. Analyzes how we relate to signs and symbols in contemporary culture, creating a simulation of reality that bears no relation to reality itself.

    It also inspired the Wachowski bros in making The Matrix, in case that movie blew your prepubescent mind like it did mine.

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