Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita – 5

Humanity has declined.  Which means, at some time prior, humanity was at its zenith, the pinnacle of success and accomplishment and advancement.  But what was this time like for mankind?  Was the climax of humanity something parallel to our current societies or something more?  Well, given the expedition into the ruins of a former mankind, we’re able to understand a little more about the peak of mankind and the setting of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita.

Though more a reflection and critique on the current state of humanity, mankind has a fascination with the past.  The previous storyline in Jinrui revolved around Y and her pursuit to reinvent manga, an extinct and enigmatic form of entertainment, and bring it back to its former glory in society.  Her assigned task, however, was to work on the Human Monument project, a massive undertaking that records the brilliance of our mankind’s apex, highlighting its science, culture, and history, though the project has been stuck in its planning stages for a few decades.  Either way, both storylines center on the theme of our current society looking back on the achievements of our former cities and people, as a grandiose and impressive sight to behold.  And though you could extract some juicy information regarding the direction our current society has set, looking back on our past instead of preparing for our future, it just goes to show how magnificent mankind’s peak was.  In fact, to learn more about this era of history, the UN has sent a team of archeologists to explore and discover the secrets lost in the ruins outside of town.

What Watashi and her Assistance discovered while exploring an underground labyrinth, is that society seemed akin to the one in our current lives.  The final room of the episode took place in some form of a clinic or hospital with a functioning computer documenting various tidbits of its current city and society.  The only noteworthy piece of information obtained from the computer is that the inhabitants of the city were afraid of electromagnetic waves and elected to design their city to protect themselves from it.  Though the scientist within me cannot quell my rage after such an explanation, it does help point out that this society ended up afraid to leave their dome and became a society unable to leave the walls of its city.  Though this doesn’t sound anything like our modern society, there are trends pointing in this direction with people becoming more concerned about the adverse risks of sunlight (skin cancer) and opting to remain indoors during their freetime.  I’d be hard to imagine a functioning city to lock itself up like this anytime in the future, so it’s a safe bet to assume it’ll be several decades before anything like that becomes an acceptable idea.

Staying in the examination room of the clinic, we’re able to discern more information about this society that has since declined to the one in Jinrui.  The architecture and furnishings in the room help set a date given their structure, appearance, and functionality.  The layout of the room and its structure seem to indicate something futuristic with various panels on the walls and unforgiving metallic colors as the décor.  In fact, the whole interior of the maze seemed to be of this unfriendly design.  Everything had an appearance as cold as steel, giving it a look circa 50s or 60s sci-fi spaceships.  The absence of signs, maps, and even furniture (art, benches, plants or planters) really speaks volumes of what inhabitants lived in such a sterile dwelling.  And don’t forget about that elevator when Watashi and Assistance first entered the building.  The only thing that didn’t seem futuristic about this whole building were the computers which seemed appropriate for the current society we live in and the pile of appliances where those brain slug-esque slime creatures resided.  Perhaps we’ve reached the pinnacle of computing in our current society?  Perhaps, but the lack of digital interfaces, voice or motion control, three-dimensional display, among other novelties, really dates the computers to our modern society or maybe even that of a decade ago.  It is the only thing that doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the knowledge determined from the setting, but perhaps this futuristic society was interested in things besides updating their computers.  For example…

…yes!  Why, perhaps our futuristic society was interested in robotic catgirls that double as databases and superheroes beyond their adorable android nature.  Pion is certainly the most interesting aspect of this decaying civilization as it shows their prowess in robotics by creating a fully functional and independent android who is able to fight with incredible force and access situations with inconceivable resolve.  This catgirl is even able to communicate freely with humans and pursue its own goals, able to sustain itself in an era without electricity while attempting to solve the problem regarding its amnesia… or memory leak as she calls it.  Not only that but the robotic dog that aggressively attacked Watashi is another display of this society’s might.  Such robotics really distances this society far from our own, much more than any other extracted information from this episode.  It also says something when its greatest accomplishment is an overwhelmingly strong underaged catgirl with no pants on, but perhaps this society valued Strike Witches as its pinnacle of entertainment and elected to devote their lives to that franchise.  Would also explain why they couldn’t afford new computers and refused to leave their shell.  I’m beginning to understand how humanity began to decline now…

Though hardly direct and irrelevant to the current storyline, the ability to distinguish information from the previous society and applying it to the setting really helps us understand what Watashi and her fellow humans are experiencing in their situation.  The society they live in is just a shadow of the predecessors, one cast from the imposing ruins on the outskirts of town.  The fact that there is such a gap in technology, understanding, and knowledge highlights how far they are from becoming what mankind once was.  It’s understandable to retain so much pride from such a remarkable age, but shouldn’t mankind be more interested in its future than marveling in its past?  Looking at how these humans live and function in relation to their past is truly a fascinating aspect of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, and an integral aspect of the setting.  Perhaps discovering more of its history will help aid this current society but it seems more superficial than anything else.  Still, exploring the ruins of the previous civilization benefits our understanding of the setting since we’re able to see what humanity once was before it began its inevitable decline.

As a scientist, I always take pride in an anime when it uses or involves science in some way.  It doesn’t matter what field of science it’s in, even social sciences like geography or sociology, I find to be a gratifying experience.  When anime reveal the answers to mysteries or various questions by involving scientific explanations, I am delighted since it relates to the story but also provides a bit of education for the audience, too.  When an anime uses science for the sake of science, it’s a nice association, but it feels rather shallow compared to what it could have been.  The only time when I frown upon an anime using science is when it uses it incorrectly, and, as I mentioned it before in this post, I am unhappy with the whole electromagnetic wave exposition in Jinrui.  Both the fairies and former society had a fear or EM waves and elected to leave their current situation to avoid them.  That’s great and all but where exactly are you going to go to get away from EM waves?  Considering the fact that visible light are electromagnetic waves really damns this argument as bad science.  Even if they were to construct a home that preventing EM radiation from entering, they’d have to live their lives without visible light, infrared light, or any other form of energy emitted in this wave form.  It’s rather amusing to see the fairies adamantly declare their distress of electromagnetic waves while basking in the warm, friendly sunlight that they just said they feared.  I almost wonder if another term should’ve been used for this explanation, one in relation to electricity, but it still leaves me feeling a bit dismissive over the use of science here.  I only hope that the anime can find some way to redeem itself involving this snafu, and not use magic as a cheap escape either, since it has been so awesome in every other regard.

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  1. #1 by windyturnip on July 31, 2012 - 9:05 PM

    This show has remained rather pessimistic, but I think I’ve managed to find a little glimmer of hope. The Human Monument project is meant to preserve and display humanities past, but time and time again it has been sidelined for some other project. This keeps happening because humanity can’t be bothered looking into the past; only the future matters.

    Y was suppose to catalog manga as an art form, but instead she rebuilt it for future generations to enjoy. The UN might be exploring the city for the Human Monument project, but something tells me they’ll be sidetracked yet again. The old satellite they found they used to generate electricity for their research (even a festival). Simply put, the past isn’t something we should glorify, instead we should build upon it.

    As far as EM waves go, aren’t you being a little bit picky? There are plenty of harmless EM waves, but then there are also lots that can kill us quite easily. I’m at least going to give them a chance to explain themselves before I start tearing into the logic behind a show involving fairies. Although I’m sure they’re going to use it in a satirical manner, I think we should at least wait for some answers before we start judging. Then again, I understand how hard it is to suspend ones disbelief in a situation like this, especially if you have a background in science.

    • #2 by avvesione on August 2, 2012 - 3:23 AM

      Your views are quite the opposite of mine and mine are more along the pessimistic for this anime. Whereas you view the Human Monument project something that humanity can build off of and has been sidelined for other future projects, I see it as humanity trying to grasp onto the merits of their former societies as a record of how awesome they once were. Instead of using it as a way to resurrect humanity and to solve its current issues, I see this massive project as an ode to what humanity could do and something to appreciate and bask in its glory. It seems grandiose and superfluous and the research they do should be used for more important things like recovering their technology and culture instead of trying to honor it for all to appreciate.

      As for the EM waves, yes, I am being a bit over zealous and nitpicky on the subject, but this is the kinda science that irritates me in anime. If they took the time to further specify it as UV light, X-ray waves, or gamma radiation, wavelengths associated with DNA structural and cellular damage, then I’d be applauding Jinrui’s use of scientific knowledge. When I figure the fairies were trying to convey (and it could be due to their lack of knowledge or understanding) is that those brain slug creatures are attracted to electromagnetic forces and are bound to enter and destroy their village with the return of excessive electricity. But using EM waves as an explanation when they’re literally everywhere (and not just in the visible spectrum but all those TV, radio, and whatnot constantly bombarding us every second of our lives) is just something I can’t help but speak out against. Hopefully the anime proves me wrong but for now, I’m unhappy.

      • #3 by windyturnip on August 2, 2012 - 5:13 PM

        I agree that the Human Monument project is sad, but that’s why I think this show is being kind of optimistic. They just can’t bring themselves to look at the past. All their attempts to do so just end up with them doing something for the present or the future.

        • #4 by avvesione on August 3, 2012 - 2:21 AM

          I’m still pessimistic about the whole Human Monument. I find it silly how the UN continues to look back on this project and try to create it when there are other things they should be planning and working on instead. The fact that they continue to get sidetracked is nice since they are improving the future or working on more immediate concerns, but the fact they come back to it shows their fascination with the past and how they want to save it so they can continue to honor it. At least that’s my take on it.

  2. #5 by shirayuki75 on August 1, 2012 - 11:56 AM

    This episode was boring; there is too much exposition on the narrator’s part. The imagery from the previous episodes somehow went astray from this episode; for example, the part where the narrator reads from the fairy manual could benefit from more visuals to exaggerate the consequences and make it funnier.

    The city they choose to explore is somewhat akin to a utopia/dystopia. We’re missing the point where humanity starts to decline. How does humanity decline if it’s in a bubble? Moreover, if this city has been separated from the rest of society, it probably isn’t an accurate representation of the zenith of mankind. Global interactions foster growth, so what this city has to offer isn’t the peak of mankind’s inventions. There are probably some other ruins out there that depict a more advanced civilization. This makes sense to me, but then Pion doesn’t make sense, since she’s a neko gal. I can’t believe they created her instead of advanced computers.

    The current people are not trying to return to the past, but they don’t seem to be moving forward, either. They are selective in what aspects of the past they take with them; for example, Y’s manzine business and electricity. It confuses me why they are investing their energy into a Human Monument project when they could be creating a better way of life. Perhaps they are chronicling the achievements of the past that they need to surpass. I don’t know anymore. What is the point of this anime?

    • #6 by windyturnip on August 1, 2012 - 5:55 PM

      “We’re missing the point where humanity starts to decline.”
      > ” I can’t believe they created her instead of advanced computers.”

      You answered your own question there. We aren’t missing the point, we’re watching it.

      If your looking for an actual plot you might be in the wrong place. They probably won’t ever answer all the questions they’ve posed because they’re irrelevant to the message they’re trying to get across. You keep asking why the characters are doing such irrational things, but the title says it all.

      • #7 by shirayuki75 on August 1, 2012 - 6:46 PM

        Wow. I don’t think much when writing comments, so I often miss things. It helps to have different insights. Thanks! But what is the message they are trying to get across?

        • #8 by windyturnip on August 1, 2012 - 7:13 PM

          If you aren’t careful you’ll just end up finding what you’re looking for. I, for one, think that they’re just playfully joking about our consumer society. I don’t think that they think it’s wrong per se, but they certainly enjoy poking fun at its craziness and contradictions.

    • #9 by avvesione on August 2, 2012 - 3:34 AM

      Let’s see if I can try to answer everything with my understand of Jinrui so far.

      How does humanity decline if it’s in a bubble? Well, I think you answered that with the statement later on about how interactions with others foster growth, but it could also be that they quickly became complacent and satisfied with their own abilities and failed to protect themselves from any adverse threats beyond that of the EM waves.

      About this city not being the zenith of mankind, that very well could be true, but these are the most advanced ruins around this area, so, for the time being, this is the peak of civilization (at least in this region). I’m sure there are better areas out there, but this is all they have and what their basing their research on.

      I can believe they created Pion instead of advancing their computers. Who wouldn’t want a robotic cat girl that can save you from danger? They could’ve had more advanced computers and technology outside the clinic/hospital, too. The other computers might’ve been more expensive or the clinic/hospital could’ve lacked funds or something to explain that.

      I agree with you about the current people not trying to return to the past, but I do believe they have an unhealthy fascination with it compared to working toward the future and solving the problems that face the present humanity. They always have their eyes set on the past and how humanity did things back then. They aren’t really looking at any innovative solutions to their problems. And while many of the problems are solved by things from the past, there are other ways of dealing with these problems, too, and they could end up being better or more ideal than simply looking back and seeing what worked before. Putting all this time and energy into the Human Monument, something that’s been in the works for decades, seems to hint at this fascination and idolization of mankind’s past. If only they put this effort into their present and future, then perhaps humanity would not be on this saddening decline.

  3. #10 by Joojoobees on August 1, 2012 - 7:04 PM

    “Even if they were to construct a home that preventing EM radiation from entering, they’d have to live their lives without visible light …”

    This reminds me of the kind of frustrating discussions I get in all the time. People will say something like, “humanity would be better off without technology,” then I say, “you can’t possibly believe humans would be better off without Language.” I don’t know why some people are so eager to make expansive indictments of things they clearly haven’t thought carefully about.

    • #11 by avvesione on August 2, 2012 - 3:11 AM

      I think when people make that argument, they have something specific in mind but try to generalize the topic. I often find this example used when people say “anime sucks” or something along those lines when they’re referring to something in particular or a specific subset of anime while generalizing the whole thing. They use it to make a point (I know I do) even though it’s technically wrong.

      When I do it and I actually do it a lot, I think I’m looking to start an argument with someone so that we can discuss the issue, though sometimes making it too general can make the argument about semantics rather than what I want… say, wait, weren’t we supposed to be talking about the improper word choice of EM waves in Jinrui instead?

      • #12 by Joojoobees on August 2, 2012 - 2:24 PM

        Yeah, but I generalized it to people making big statements about things they should realize they are not informed enough about. Anime is a good example. People say they don’t like Anime, and I say, “Anime is more of a medium than a genre, so it would be like saying you don’t like movies, or TV.”

        Perhaps the author of Jinrui was doing what you suggested: making a strong statement about EM waves in order to anger you enough to “have a discussion” on the topic.

        • #13 by avvesione on August 3, 2012 - 2:24 AM

          Then again, if you generalize something to make a point or an argument, you’re more likely to get a response… just like the EM waves. If their goal was to create a discussion on it, well, they certainly accomplished that. Then again, there are about a thousand or so topics that can be brought up and discussed for every episode of every anime ever, so it’s just a matter of finding a few who are interested in that topic and connecting them to facilitate discourse.

  4. #14 by Kaylia on August 2, 2012 - 12:22 PM

    It wasn’t specified directly, but it’s probably safe to assume they were talking about the “radio wave” region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Why fairies are allergic to that..go figure, but it seem fairly consistent with the thematic used in this arc so far. You have a satellite (telecommunication) that is going to be activated as soon they get the electricity back up, and you have an underground city that block these same communications (ie: she wasn’t able to get a signal on her phone). Because this show usually throw metaphors, and symbol in your face, I don’t think we have to look much further than that. Otherwise, we might as well go back and argue about the plausibility of seeing headless chicken attempt to dominate the world.

    This last episode made it clear (imo) that mankind’s “decline” is directly related to the fairies density.A low density means diseases, deaths, and nasty accidents, while a higher one mean miracles, foods, living hair…and Willy Wonka chicken. What is the meaning of this and what are the implications is still left to interpretation at this point, but it’s not too far-fetched that mankind’s careless uses of technologies caused their downfall.

    Either way, what matter here is the message this show is trying to convey rather than the plots and the “hows”. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are anti-technology, but like Windyturnip said before me, it’s likely to be one big jab at our consumer society who only care about instant gratification, rather than long term impact of our actions on our environment.

    This monument/project for example is done in a good faith, but because nobody is wondering where the food and everything come from, they are going to end up destroying the little they have to gain something they didn’t really need.

    • #15 by windyturnip on August 2, 2012 - 5:21 PM

      That’s an interesting theory on the fairies purpose. It will be interesting to see how the story plays out if they decide to go in that direction.

      I always thought of the fairies as a metaphor for our current generation. We’ve recently experienced a huge expansion in the fields of science and technology which has made our lives much easier and more efficient. In doing so though, we’ve lost something that the earlier generations had. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I feel that we are a bit too carefree, too entitled, because of all our recent accomplishments. Sorry if I don’t make sense. Even I barely understand what I’m saying.

      Is the director of this anime older? That might explain a lot.

    • #16 by avvesione on August 3, 2012 - 2:38 AM

      But arguing the how and why is always fun, especially since it often can be used to explain all the oddities we see whenever we watch Jinrui. Trying to figure out what it is about the radio waves or whatnot that scares the fairies is a fun exercise in learning more about their nature given the limited information we’ve received. But then again, you probably already know that from all the times we’ve talked about stuff lol.

      You make a wonderful point about the decline of humanity with the fairy density being directly tied to good luck and fortune (if only Yoshitsugu had some fairies with her…) and that their technologies related to their distancing themselves from humanity. Still, I’m a bit curious about that since the fairies never seem to interact with anyone besides Watashi, so I’m curious to see how they influence the lives of everyone else. We did see how happy everyone was at the beginning with all those fairies waiting for the cake and tea, so maybe they’re just hidden among humanity but still affecting humans positively. Hope to find that out soon, too.

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