How could you leave behind the fairy, Nameless Main Character!?! Look at his pained expression. Well, if he was capable of contorting his face into anything other than :D then I’m sure he would look depressed. Maybe to express his disappointment he should simply stand on his head. Come to think of it, I’ve been calling the fairy “him” up until now, but do they even have genders? How do they procreate? I thought it was literally through feeding them happiness and cakes, but apparently that was a literal translation rather than an accurate one. Or perhaps I shouldn’t think about procreating fairies too much. I’m sure there will be doujins graphically detailing how it’s done by the time the next comiket rolls around.
This episode established that Humanity has Declined isn’t told in chronological order. The episode starts with them doing the Look How Great Humanity Once Was Before We Declined Project, or LHGHOWBWDP (pronounced Luhg-howb-bwud-puh, which is coincidentally also the name of a place in Wales), which was the project Y was supposed to be working on before she got swept up in the destructive world of yaoi. One of the things that has been consistent so far is humanity declining. I thought the first episode heavily implied that it was because of humanity’s disengagement with the process of how stuff is made, and the more general failings of the system they’re in leading to people not attempting to change things for themselves. After 5 episodes though, I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore. Certainly those factors exist, but the actual reason for the apocalypse hasn’t been stated. It’s just something everyone accepts and nobody tries to counter. Even this big LHFHOWBWDP was set up to celebrate humanities past rather than try do something about reaching that level again.
As for the episode itself, I honestly found large chunks of it fairly boring. Nameless spends way too much time narrating events. You could cut out most of the episode and still get the general picture. I’m not sure how much of this is down to trying to stick strictly to the source material or not, but it definitely needs to be edited down way further if that’s the case. The directing in general isn’t anywhere near as imaginative as it should be. Take the scene with the fairy counting. You didn’t need to go through the whole thing, we got the joke within the first 30 seconds. Not only that, but it left the scene entirely with Nameless narrating rather than, you know, actually visually showing us what she was saying. Instead they completely ignore the strengths of a visual medium.
I just haven’t been overly impressed by the directing in Humanity has Declined so far. I like the pastel pallet watercolours used to deliberately contrast the bleak messages and the general dark cynical tone of a story about fairies eating oishii cakee~! Episode 4 had cool tricks with the manga format, but it wasn’t like they could direct those scenes in any other way. It wasn’t like they were adding their own directorial touch when they drew the characters in rough sketch format, since that was literally what happened. At the moment it’s getting by entirely on the strength of its ideas rather than snappy dialogue or clever directing.
Which I guess comes down to Tanaka Romeo, the author of the original books. I had VN fans tell me he was great because he’s written stuff like Cross Channel, but I looked on in scepticism because VN fans have baffling levels of patience to sit through tedious crap to get to the Good Part that I simply don’t understand. I guess I’m going to have to eat my words with VNs again. Unless the long-winded monologues and dragging pacing of the anime is actually cut down from the original novels, in which case my scepticism towards VN fans tolerance for bad writing remains justified. But still, the guy has some crazy neat ideas in his head if he can come up with Humanity has Declined.