5 CommentsHumanity has Declined / By Scamp /

Humanity has Declined episode 9 – Civilisation

Right, enough holidaying. Time to go back to the weekly grind of pumping out episodic posts in which I critically analyse ridiculous Japanese cartoon comedies and suck all of the laughter out of them by explaining all the jokes because deep down inside I’m a heartless soulless individual whose only desire is to destroy all the fun in the world.

I’ve said before that the fairies are representitve of humanity and how they act, but there isn’t really any sustained criticisim using the fairies. In practice they’re more satirical putty who, because of their inherant weird and nearly irrational actions, can be put to use by the author to do anything they want them to do. It’s an effective, if admittedly a touch incoherant method of satire. I bring this up because how they presented fairies in this episode reminded me rather unusually of how gaming populations work.

What this episode reminded me of is my experience playing the Civilisation or Sim City games. You build up this resource pumping machine which grows at a phenomenal rate as it modifies and destorys the landscape around it as its fed to your expanding domain. If you do the Correct Things, your population grows. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense how they suddenly expand. It’s not like you have cut scenes showing your little dots getting it on in the many tiny houses you’ve plonked down with your property planning stamp of God. You don’t get to inspect your recently constructed temple in your capital city to see two teenagers having unprotected fun in the back (the back of the temple that is, not the back of the girl because that wouldn’t contribute to population growth at all). The population just grows at an arbitrary rate depending on how well you’ve been playing the game.

There were a few other snippets too that reminded me of playing the game. You are the one in charge for no apparent reason beyong the fact you are the only one apparently capable of giving orders, despite perhaps a total lack of qualification for the position of great leader. There’s the sometimes paradoxical reactions your subjects have to your actions and how their research trees sometimes make rather little sense. It’s an awful lot like the buggy programming which makes your  people cheer when you accidentally bulldoze an entire apartment block while trying to build new roads. There’s the bit where you build up your city to its fullest degree, so in your boredom you build a bunch of superstructures that crush your civilisation and eventually you get bored and drop every single disaster in the game on it. And then, after you’ve sunken this entire civilisation you spent roughly 2 weeks building up, you delete your save and never think of it again. It’s a rather frightening look at how laxidazial people in power can look upon nation building.

Or is that what it is intended to be viewed as? Was this episode meant to be critical of royalty or politicians or whatever? Or was it just a simple analysis of the rise and fall of a nation that becomes too wrapped up in its own hubris that they lose sight of what rose them to greatness in the first place? Is it instead a strong environmental message, which seems pretty likely when you consider the end result was the entire island drowing. It wasn’t a direct correlation, but their destruction of the environment led to them having to ration off sweeties which led to them being depressed which led to the rainclouds and so on and so forth.

The quote about religion in particular stood out as being pretty open to interpretation. Being the devout aethiest (lol) that I am, I figured the line about religion being invented as being a stab at those who think that religion is something handed down by some almighty being. But if you are religiously inclined, you might take the fact that the fairies specifically singled out religion as one of the few thing you can’t invent as meaning the exact opposite. Mind you, that thinking would then also imply that beds, humidifiers, and Rube Goldberg Machines are something that you shouldn’t invent because they already exist. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Such is the issue (or beauty, depending on how you view it) with satire. Its interpretation depends hugely on your worldview, to the point that you sometimes miss the blindingly obvious message because you’ve construed it to fit your worldview.

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  1. luffyluffy
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Easily the best episode yet. I was in stitches!

    • Scamp
      Posted September 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Probably prefer 2 myself, but yeah it was pretty great

  2. lmm
    Posted September 1, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I read this and I’m reminded of people interpreting Bob Dylan lyrics. Sure, it could mean any of these things – but isn’t that because at its core it’s all just silly and meaningless?

    • Scamp
      Posted September 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps, but part of the fun is trying to make sense of it anyway

  3. Posted September 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    My favourite part of this episode was definitely Shady Experiments Fairy. A regular little Nikola Tesla, that guy.

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