Humanity Has Declined

Tagged: TV

Japanese animated tv series (2012), also known as Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita. Based on the Light Novel by Romeo Tanaka. AIC A.S.T.A.. Written by Makoto Uezu. Directed by Seiji Kishi. Voice cast includes Nobuyuki Hiyama, Nana Mizuki, Mai Nakahara and Miyuki Sawashiro. Twelve 24-minute episodes. Colour.

Though remnant populations of humanity survive in scattered rural communities and some infrastructure still exists, Entropy is winning: the last school has recently closed. But another intelligent race prospers: the "Present-Humans", who possess "supernatural Technology". Our main character is an unnamed Mediator (Nakahara) for the United Nations Conciliation Committee: her job is to liaise with this species, called "Fairies".

Resembling elves more than fairies (see Supernatural Creatures), they are about ten centimetres tall, with pointy hats and open-mouthed grins: though they are able to create nearly anything, including a futuristic City, their child-like disposition means they are liable to quickly lose interest – unless sweets are involved (see Drugs). They cannot make sweets themselves, so are distressed when the Mediator mentions that increasing food shortages will doubtless rush Homo sapiens' extinction: their prompt refurbishment of an old factory to produce foodstuffs leads to a plot by headless, naked chickens to replace both humans and fairies. It fails.

There is an expedition into a old city, where the Mediator meets two Robots in anthropomorphized cat form (this presumably the work of the fairies) called Pion (Mizuki) and Oyage (Hiyama), who claim to be human: in fact, they are the homesick deep-space probes Pioneer and Voyager (see Spaceships). The sugar-hungry Fairies create a Time Loop where dozens of versions of the Mediator accumulate to make sweets: however, "time paradogs" save the day – restoring space-time by turning temporal paradoxes into dogs. Fairies, stranded on an Island, engage in nation-building, their list of things to invent beginning: "a bed, massage chair, humidifier, rubber band, Rube Goldberg Machine, religion ..." however, in the end, their efforts replicate the supposed Easter Island ecological disaster (see Ecology).

Another story is a Satire of Comic books and Manga: the Mediator's friend Y (Sawashiro) becomes a yaoi fangirl and revives comic book culture (see Fandom). The Mediator's fear the fairies will become involved proves justified ... "and so we found ourselves trapped inside a comic book panel". Manga Clichés are parodied; then Fairies are discovered lurking in the margins: "What are you doing?" "Editing."; when a fairy observes failed comic book artists "have no other marketable skills", another adds "To late to become a civil servant".

Sequentially, the series of two-episode stories are shown in (roughly) reverse order. There is something of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland to this Anime: on the one hand there is bleeding sentient bread and fairies who, when asked to chose names, opt for Fishpaste and Sir Christopher McFarlane; and on the other hand, the Pioneer Anomaly and Quantum Decoherence are name-checked. The Mediator's (usually) dryly resigned response to the Fairies' capriciousness is diverting. Though not everything succeeds, there is much to enjoy, if often with a bemused expression. [SP]

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