17 CommentsHumanity has Declined / By Scamp /

Humanity has Declined episode 6 – Curio-chan

Countries, squids, soda cans, dogs, cats, fighter jets, cockroaches, pollen, assault rifles, and now modern interplanetary exploratory unmanned probes have been moe anthropomorphised. I must say I rather like the idea of a genki moe Curiosity on Mars…sorry, I mean Curio-chan, running around, picking up rocks and going “sugooooiiiii~!”

This happens to be the second time I’ve written this post, because the first time was based almost entirely around “I haven’t a clue what this arc was going for so therefore it was terrible”. However in the process of writing it, I think I may have stumbled across the answer. Give me a sec, let me try patch this out.

So, the dome is built by a bunch of raving loonies who think that electromagnetic waves will cause their brains to explode. So to counter that, they build this Truman Show-esque dome with video game monsters in it. It’s a video game world designed to keep you from being affected the outside world. Video games are things people delve into to escape from the real world too, shunning real human contact. You following so far? The two exploratory probes are afraid of searching too far into space because they feel scared and lonely of the unknown. Which loosely ties into the video game world…I guess? And the fairies getting depressed when microwaves blast them apart…is…

Oh fuck it, I shouldn’t have deleted my earlier post. Any connection between the different themes is tenuous at best. If there was an overarching theme, then I’m just too dumb to pick up on it, and I’m pretty goddam smart. I could follow the plot of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. So I’m going to place the blame on Humanity has Declined for being way too obtuse with whatever it point it was trying to make. A more likely explanation though is that there was no meaning and he was just throwing ideas at a wall and hoped it formed a pretty pattern so he could submit it to a modern art gallery.

Not that every piece of entertainment has to have a point to prove. Steins;Gate is pretty shallow in that regards, but tells a good coherent(ish) story about a character’s development. There’s running themes with his character that make it interesting. This arc of Humanity has Declined doesn’t work on that level either. The exploratory probe thing came out of nowhere, the shift in tone felt jarring, the dome with the tinfoil hat wearing hikikomori’s went nowhere. Episode 4 may have been a bit too direct, but at least it had a clear goal. That’s preferable to having none at all.

I’m just going to put this arc down as a dud. It’s a shame, but hey, every show is allowed to have a dud. Cowboy Bebop had that Heavy Metal Queen episode that was kinda bad. Mushishi had that episode with the seaweed that felt weirdly forced and completely failed at being suspenseful. Popee the Performer…actually Popee was perfect the entire way through. Maybe my theory doesn’t hold up so well after all.

Yo guys.

You should probably watch Popee the Performer.

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17 Comments

  1. Posted August 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Just be careful if you do watch Popee. He will own your soul forever if you do.

  2. fathomlessblue
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    The ideas were still around, but trying to pin a specific message on to this arc just seems an exercise in frustration. The ideas expressed by people in the earlier episodes all seemed to make sense, but anything I’ve heard regardless the last two seems to be desperately clutching at straws. Randomness & plenty of imagination, but little meaningful substance; it’s kinda like an episode of Excel Saga in that regard.

    I remember the dark days before Popee, when I could sleep without seeing psychotic clowns throwing bombs at me. Terrible, terrible times!

  3. Posted August 8, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I do believe that there was a hidden message in all of this.

    Everything revealed in episode 6 all goes back to what Watashi’s Gramps said at the start of the fifth episode. He states that the tablet just sent from an airplane above isn’t enough to satiate his learned mind. However, when he and his scientist buds sent those probes out to space for the sake of discovery, they ignored the world around them, a magical world filled with headless chickens, fairies, and robotic dogs. Later when the Oyage and Pion are revealed to be the tablets, everyone is enthralled and excited, despite the very real chance that they were first tablets found in the first place.

    So in this there’s a sort of deep sense of irony and social criticism hidden within all the RPG pop culture slams. It’s a lot like the manga arc, where Y could have turned in fujoshi manga for her cultural report, but disregarded because it wasn’t high culture. TL;DR, We need to go deeper.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 9, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      That sorta fits, but it also has absolutely nothing to do with the 30-odd minutes between the start with the grandad and the end with the space probes. What about the enclosed culture and video games and fairies being depressed and all that?

      Again, I can draw some small comparisons between different aspects of these 2 episodes, but like yours they don’t cover all the bases and feel pretty stretched

      • Posted August 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        I don’t see it as an overarching theme as much as it is an ironic snippet. It’s the sort of thing that just makes you go “oh,” at the end of the viewing or after stewing over it for some time. The only reason I could really come up with that was because the Gramp’s dialogue was completely out of place, just like Watashi’s odd comment on being “monuments to culture” in episode 3. They start off with a line which stands out and eventually work their way back to it, filling up the rest of the gaps with pop culture slamming, meta shit, and general hilarity.

        Then again, I’m one of those odd guys who always assumes that there’s cynicism behind the cynicism.

  4. Posted August 9, 2012 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    It’s self-evident that anime doesn’t need to make a point, but Jintai has very staunchly set itself up as a show with a message. It’s tempting to agree with the conclusions of the commenter above, but it’s just so convoluted. It may well be right, but it’s lost to the average viewer (and, indeed, most intellectual viewers). Previous episodes have had something to say on a number of levels, so the lack of an easily-identifiable message is either down to the anime’s failure in execution or the source material’s inadequacies. So yes, here the lack of a message is a problem.

  5. Posted August 9, 2012 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    I thought everything outside of the bounty hunts in Cowboy Bebop were pretty poor.

    Oh and as for Jinrui, yeah, this arc practically served no purpose. Maybe they can create some sort of Al Gore character and have a whole spiel on global warming. Or better yet, have some random yahoo come into the picture, spout off some nonsense on how if they don’t buy some product he has on hand they will all die. And everyone in the village goes hog wild over it. That might actually be interesting

  6. Posted August 9, 2012 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    uh, well I think the story of the show is about the fairies really, and the decline of humanity. So the plot of the latest arc is pretty much: even the probes sent into space aren’t out of the reach of the fairy insanity. I mean, the whole fairy density thing sums this up nicely. Also, outside of that, the episode focuses on a monument to humanity and the result of that is two of the most outrageous attempts at exploration of the unknown returning in moe anthropomorphic forms. I think the themes are strongly established. I don’t think this is an enjoyable as the early eps, but the themes are there.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 9, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry, but you’ve lost me on that one

  7. Inushinde
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Popee for anime of the year every year.

    • Posted August 10, 2012 at 12:38 am | Permalink

      Popee is anime of the day, week, month, year, decade, century and millennium.

  8. luffyluffy
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    To be honest, I don’t think they’re moe anthro. I mean, they aren’t moe. Just because something is cute, doesn’t make it moe.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 9, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      She has cat ears. Seems pretty moe to me

      • luffyluffy
        Posted August 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        No no. Cute =/= moe

        for example, oberstein might be moe as all goddamn fuck but he’s not cute.

      • Posted August 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        In this context, “moe” refers to the specific neotenous anime art style (big eyes, small nose, etc), not to the more widely defined emotional reaction that may or may not be evoked by cuteness.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moe_anthropomorphism

      • luffyluffy
        Posted August 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        well it’s the goddamn wrong useage

        this is how words loose their meaning i swear

  9. Black Dalek
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    a couple of words: i hate anything related to star trek, but when the plot of this arc come to reveal the nature of pion and oyage, i recall the first star trek movie… yuck! i think this arc was made with that reference on mind.

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