15 CommentsHumanity has Declined / By Scamp /

Humanity has Declined episode 4 – Dokaan~!

This is how the girls actually end up in the world of Haibane Remnei. They read BL only to get sucked into the pages and forced into purgatory as they repent for their yaoi loving ways, ony to turn into angels for adoring the pure beautiful love of The Gay. It was Yoshitoshi ABe’s way of protesting the Tokyo Youth Ordinance Bill years before it came into being.

Well, do you know what the world of Haibane Remnei was supposed to be? Didn’t think so. Until then, I’ll stick with my version.

This episode was surprisingly direct by Humanity has Declined standards. The past few episodes have been an exercise in drawing sometimes tenuous links between societal issues and headless skinless chickens, debating whether the rise of BL fandom was an allegory for the homogenisation of subcultures that lead to the ultimate downfall of humanity. This episode, on the other hand, was about the characters making a manga as a commentary on…well, the manga industry. The dialogue was incredibly direct too, such as how 2 panel spreads make everything seem more dramatic but quickly loses the interest of the reader when done repeatedly.

Which unfortunately leaves me with rather little to talk about. I can’t really spell out my interpretation of the intent of the bizarre events when the episode itself spells them out itself so plainly. Which leaves me with little else to write about, except to make dumb jokes about other anime like I did in the opening paragraph. Observe.

I’ll tell you one line I did enjoy from this episode was Main Character off-handedly mentioning that humanity was in decline while they were busy re-enacting a scene from genderswapped Saint Seiya. I’ve seen many people say that the main character is the single voice of reason who puts herself above all the nonsense that occurs in the anime. That’s mostly true, but she also does nothing to try counter this. While she may mock the repetitive nondescript BL artwork and story, she creates nothing of worth herself and just lets the entire fad pass her by. Humanity being in decline has become something she just spouts and accepts without ever questioning why or what she can do to counter it. The anime is critical of the unquestioning ignorant masses who scoop up whatever false products with no understanding of its origins or process from which it was created, but it seems to be also critical of Main Character’s approach (I’ve seen people call her Watashi, but Watashi will always be the main character from Tatami Galaxy for me) of being apathetic towards everything.

Or maybe that’s just my lens telling me what I think it intends. There’s few genres that have as much varied interpretations from the viewers as satire. I still find people’s interpretation that the last episode was a celebration of otaku culture to be willfully blind to so much of that episode to fit their viewpoint of how it should have gone. But then again, maybe I’m willfully blind to large chunks of the episode too. We all have different interpretations, and That’s Cool. I’ve seen people throw around the old Death of the Author idea yet again, which I’m starting to get tired of seeing. Arts students grabbing hold of the one piece of theory they can remember from their literary critique class. For those who took a degree with employment prospects, the Death of the Author is the idea that the original author’s intent doesn’t matter when it comes to audience interpretation. What it does not mean is that your interpretation of the intent is invalid. All our interpretations are valid. Some are just more valid than others =P

Anyway, back to dumb jok-




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  1. Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    The “manga artists have no real marketable skills” jokes in this episode really turned me off. The non-ending “ending” also did considerable damage to my interest.

    It’s still miles better than Campione.

    • hint
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Who is watching Campione? :)

  2. Nebulous
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    These past two episodes haven’t been very good. Nothing comes close to the suicidal bread and the Assistant’s story. Really hope they move on past these comics quickly, they aren’t very funny.

    • dene323
      Posted July 25, 2012 at 2:36 am | Permalink

      I think that to some extent is the intention of this episode: the anime team is basically implying that if they constantly strive to top the WTF-level of the previous episode, this show would end up like Y’s manga at some point. So to scale back a bit may not be such a bad idea.

  3. Fadeway
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I dread learning how boys end up in the world of Haibane Reimei.

  4. Posted July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I wasn’t kidding when I said that Daria was in this anime.

  5. Posted July 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I actually thought this episode was funnier in retrospect than whn I first watched it. The jokes made me laugh harder when I recalled them, I’m not sure why. It is very “on the nose” and I hope they do another social/political target next. Cynical industry commentary is getting old in anime.

    Love the observation that Protagonist is basically Daria. Man I miss that cartoon.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      I think a lot of this series is funnier in retrospect. It’s an anime I kind of enjoy writing about more than I enjoy watching it at times

      • Mr.RR
        Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:19 am | Permalink

        WTF why would they leave this out. I always felt they were pretty ok guys. Well at least I have a new view of the main character.

  6. Chipp
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    this part is missing in HorribleSubs and Commie versions.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      Goddamnit, that’s an important scene for her character too! Kinda changes my opinion on her, rendering the second last paragraph a bit moot

  7. Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    So do you think the show will stick with topics central to Japan like manga, anime, etc. or will we see more of the processed foods subjects that have an effect on a much broader scale?

    Personally, I’d like to see the latter

  8. Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    It’s kinda funny that the first thing that came into my head wasn’t Haibane Renmei, but it was the intro in Laputa. The Haibane connection is kinda cool if you consider Kow Otani, the composer behind Haibane Renmei, also scores Jintai.

    Oh well, this is pretty much how the world ends… not with a bang, but a whimper. Interesting how Japanese people seemingly subscribe to that, especially if you take into account anime like Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Highschool of the Dead directly quoted that line in its final episode.

      Yeah, I know not exactly a sophisticated example, but it shows they’re fully aware of the concept

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