Humanity Has Declined is an anime defined by the fairies. And though the fairies have been present and highly influential in every story, this is the first episode where the story revolved around the fairies and Watashi interacts with them. Finally, an episode with some insight and information on the adorable, pint-sized creatures that dominate this world and truly represent this anime.
Throughout the prior batch of episodes, the fairies in Humanity Has Declined were presented to us as tiny enigmas, a society of miniature elves who shared a healthy, responsive relationship with Watashi and the cause of all the abnormalities and oddities that perplexed or bamboozled the human society. With Watashi having an established friendship with the fairies and quite a history already, possibility dating back to her time as a young schoolgirl, Watashi was able to quickly diagnose or deduce fairy-related quirks and kinks or swiftly explain a peculiarity about the fairies that’d either be unknown or unapparent to us. However, the nature of this relationship is limited in the amount of information it could offer us and the extent of Watashi’s explanations were written in either a way to quickly inform us or stylized to accentuate the witty humor that the series deserves praise for. With this episode, however, we’re finally able to take a long look at our delightful mascots, the fairies, and see what their lives are really like.
First, and probably the most substantial, is that the fairies are incredibly dependent, social creatures who are easily manipulated. Though capable of great things, such as producing magnificent machinery, elegant erections, and ingenious applied agriculture founded in genetic engineering, they require mood and motivation before unlocking the vast potentials of their abilities. If they’re feeling the slightest bit down, the first step in a dangerous spiral that ends in collective fairy depression, then the fairies are reduced to nothing more than sulking and fabricating miniature grey rain clouds that hang low over their heads. When happy, however, these creatures become active and overjoyed, immune to fatigue and able to perform any task, even those beyond the realm of imagination. And the deciding factor between the two extremes is how they’re feeling, their emotions, and their prospect of fun. They show zero resilience and their current emotions make them predictable and easily manipulated. Though we had seen a range of emotions for the fairies before and its effects on their productivity, it was never to this extreme or this noteworthy before; literally the pivotal moments of this episode hinged on the current emotions of the fairies. Really, understanding that the emotions of the fairies dictates their lives and their livelihood is probably the most important lesson we learned about the fairies in this episode.
Another imperative aspect of the fairies learned from this episode is how they function as a society. Before, we’ve seen small groups of fairies play various roles throughout the episode but never in the range of hundreds or thousands. And with the fairies seeking asylum and founding a new nation on the tiny island, now was the perfect time to understand how fairies interact with each other and how they live together. What immediately comes to attention is how they work for the collective good rather than satisfy their personal desires. The fairies are an industrious race, capable of manufacturing anything in any amount of time with varying levels of quality and durability. However, when the fairies work together, their products become grander and greater, producing a water treatment facility and power plant within a matter of hours given minimal resources. On one’s own, a lighter can be produced but only after a matter of days (though given a deadline, a primitive lighter can be fashioned, too). Combine this with the fairies inherent pleasure from constructing buildings and creating products with their natural ability to multiply when overjoyed and it becomes quite clear how the fairies are able to build such a pleasant and peaceful society within a few days. Of course, there’s more to it than this in regards to their social behaviors and how they govern their society, but we’ll just leave it at this for now.
A drawback to the fairies, since not everything we learned from them is positive, is that they’re rather unintelligence or unknowledgeable about the world which they affect. Either through a lack of understanding or absent wisdom, the fairies aren’t able to see the errors in their ways or overcome their emotions for an improvement in their lives or their society. As mentioned before, they’re dependent, and a large part of this is that they’re dependent on someone else thinking for them and even directing them. And though this role has been fulfilled by fairies before in the past, it’s often lead to inconveniences to the humans due to a lack of perception and understanding the long-term effects of their actions, like the adventures in the manga universe or the generation of several time paradogs (or paracats) for a few sweets. In any story, however, the fairies don’t understand the full effects of their actions and this often leads to complications and negativities to the fairies and the humans. Though seemingly able to manipulate magic for their own purposes and able to create an advanced society in the matter of days, the fairies lack the brainpower to manage their abilities to be their best. And because of this, the fairies and humans are often caught up in whatever misadventure occurs due to the unforeseen effects of the fairies and their magic.
One final point, and quite possibly the most significant, is that we still don’t know everything about the fairies. Most of the progression and advancement throughout this episode happened off-screen, away from Watashi’s eyes. We are still unsure how they’re able to produce such magnificent products with zero resources and restricted time, though we know more the limits of their productivity. The reproduction of the fairies is still a mystery to us but we do know some trends on when it does or doesn’t happen. How the select their clothes (or if they ever change clothes) is something without an answer, too. What this episode did was reveal certain aspects about the fairies and their society to us in order to narrate an episode. The purpose of this episode was not a documentary on the fairies but rather an entertaining tale of how the fairies can easily create a futuristic society and collapse it within the duration of a week. If anything, the limited information given to us could be there to draw parallels from this anime to the real world, another criticism of modern humanity and the way we live today. Or it could just be the essentials to a story and nothing more. Either way, we only learned certain attributes to the fairies and their culture in this episode, yet it is enough to better understand the fairies throughout the series and we can apply this knowledge to any future encounters we have with the adorable mascots of Humanity Has Declined.
Watashi reminded me more of a kindergarten teacher than a queen throughout this episode. It seemed to me that she was interested more in monitoring the fairies and ensuring their safety and happiness rather than commanding them with her every command and watching from her throne. And though she did play the authoritative role while on the island, it never seemed like she was inconsiderate or regal in her approach. What gave me this impression was largely influenced by the fact that she baked sweets for the fairies and distributed them evenly during that massive social gathering. And throughout the beginning, her efforts were to cheer them up rather than organize a nation where she’d rule as queen. Her compassion and cheerful nature reverberated throughout the episode, making her akin to a kindergarten teacher looking over her students as they quietly worked on their crafts. That’s not to say she never acted like a queen in this episode or any other form of government, just that it never seemed to outweigh or overtake the impression of her being a teacher.