Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita – 1

Already a charming blend of a near-apocalyptic dystopia calmly transitioning to a fantasy realm emphasizing enchantments and miracles, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (Humanity Has Declined) claims a refreshingly distinctive setting for which to launch its story.  The plot is particularly unique, too, pertaining to mankind’s struggle to sustain itself in an environment of scarcity, disorder, and those adorable, little fairies.  But perhaps the most groundbreaking and uplifting aspect of this anime is the main character; a young, pink-haired, incredibly-moe maiden.  And while that sounds like another exhausted and overused stereotype for a character, it is her personality and behavior that prove to be innovative, encouraging, and delightful, helping create a mood, personality, and identity for which the anime to use as it continues on its remarkable journey.

“Sensei” is a refined, charismatic, and intelligent young lady who was appointed by the United Nations Conciliation Commission as arbitrator for this remote village.  Expecting her to be the embodiment of compassion, friendship, honesty, and love, the common traits you’d expect of a moe girl placed into this unforgiving situation, Sensei only appears that way.  That is, this personality is only a thinly constructed layer that only goes skin-deep.  Her real personality is more a pragmatic and coherent one, a side that highlights her intelligence and shows us why she’s in this position as opposed to everyone else.  Beyond that, she contains some sinister elements as well, such as deceiving the girls into concealing information about the chicken hunt and influencing them into following her plan so she they wouldn’t get in trouble.  What sealed that is she seemed to enjoy herself, smile even, when being dishonest and manipulative.  Moreover, she is also lethargic, not really ever doing anything at all in the first episode from slaughtering some chickens to searching or capturing that bizarre headless, featherless chicken.  She even hoped the whole escape incident would just be forgotten.  You can even attribute her forward personality, the charming young girl eager to help her deprived community, as another negative trait by rationalizing it as she is merely acting to seem amiable and supportive when really it is a means to protect or shield her apathetic and self-centered nature.  So rather than being what one would expect from that mainstream or clichéd moe girl helping others, Sensei is quite the opposite and gratefully original.

What makes her exceptional is not simply for the fact that she’s different but that she’s deviant and makes choices that protagonists usually don’t.  While most lead characters in anime exemplify honesty, friendship, and love, Sensei does not unless it’s required of her or it benefits her in some way.  As we’ve seen, she’s rather lazy, egocentric, and not afraid to manipulate information in order for her to save face or stay in power.  This specific personality as a main character is quite scarce in anime, and the perspective she brings portrays the anime, all the characters, the setting, and the story, from an atypical and refreshing angle.  She isn’t just another genki, moe girl who has those everyday type problems and deals with them by being overly emotional.  Sensei is clever, rational, and independent, all traits that allow her to flourish as a human instead of a personality archetype.  And because she is all this, her perspective on issues is vastly dissimilar than what we see from the typical characters in all the other mainstream anime.  While the common approach to solving problems is to be honest, be supportive, and create friendship, Sensei looks at what’s the most practical and realistic approach, and have someone else do it for her.  Because she is so different, she allows the anime to be different which, in turn, allows the anime to succeed.

The success in Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is all derived from Sensei’s character as she is what initiates these whimsical situations, drives the plot, and uses her sarcastic personality as that finishing touch which shifts these scenes from amusing to hilarious.  Sensei’s personality and actions have allowed this anime to toy around with various styles of comedy while allowing the anime to remain serious and mysterious at others.  Not only does she dictate the plot or support every scene, but her innovative personality provides a bit of inspiration in this anime, as she’s able to give a unique twist or ending on a situation into something original for the audience to enjoy.  I particularly enjoyed the headless chicken scene more for how Sensei handled the situation with her starving admirers than of some zombie chicken running free through the plains outside this village.  She doesn’t mind deceiving others, concealing information, and literally enjoying it, and that’s why I’m so enthusiastic about Sensei in this anime.

However, it would be wrong the end the post there and discount some genuine compassion and honesty in Sensei’s character.  While I painted her portrait as a lethargic and selfish girl who is a drain on society, Sensei actually has some delightful and pleasant traits about her.  She does go out of her way to help her villagers and spends her days aiding her society.  Her outcomes might be less than desirable, but the village is better with her there than without.  Furthermore, she seems rather sociable with the fairies, even to the point where she felt glad she didn’t feed them her awful flour/gum concoction in place of her failure to produce meat.  She even seemed positive when feeding her helper fairy some chocolate for living up to his end of the bargain.  So really, Sensei is rather complex and sophisticated than what I focused on; she has established herself well as a human and not an application of a personality.  However, the traits focused on in this post pertain to why I found her character to be so uplifting and influential to the anime and what about this allows the anime to prosper.  Having a deviant character lead this anime is an ideal choice given the setting and plot, even if she is not deviant all the time.  However, Sensei is so fantastic that even just a fraction of her excites me enough to believe this anime will be somewhere between fantastic and phenomenal.

Another exclusive feature of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is the naming system for the characters.  Thus far, we’ve come to learn only a few character names and none of the main cast, rightfully dubbed Sensei, Grandfather, and Assistant.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched an anime where the characters lacked names.  The closest would be The Tatami Galaxy, a cherished favorite of mine starred by the character plainly named “Watashi” (or “I”/”Myself”).  Instead, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita deals with a nameless main cast which would be yet another creative and crafty detail to this already wonderful anime.  It might be difficult communicating these characters to others but as long as we have these monikers on them, the names they’re called by the others in this anime, I believe everything will be alright here.  Still, it is a bit strange and somewhat disheartening to not know the names of the characters we are talking about.

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  1. #1 by Cholisose on July 3, 2012 - 6:57 AM

    Excellent post! I also really love our main character for this show. She not only shows us the world of Humanity Has Declined, but also analyzes it, and gives us plenty of food for thought to chew. She is one of the more human protagonists I’ve seen in an anime–rational, practical, and easy to adapt, but also kind-hearted and easy to like. Definitely looking forward to more of Sensei’s pointed observations.

    • #2 by avvesione on July 4, 2012 - 2:41 PM

      Besides the Grandfather, Sensei is the only person in the anime that seems human. Not only does she show a wide range of emotions in response to a number of events but we can hear her own thoughts which add insight into what she really thinks about each situation and reveals to us a more complex character than we would see otherwise. And her thoughts aren’t just simple reflections of the situation too, she actually has something to add whenever she thinks. Though I didn’t mention it in this post, the scene with the old ladies is a perfect example this. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying Sensei as much as I am.

  2. #3 by Sushi GoKart on July 3, 2012 - 8:24 AM

    Hey great post! It was a great character analysis for her and its great to see an atypical heroine for this season. Most of what I’ve seen so far this season has been pretty formulaic so it’s nice to see a risk being taken for the most ‘boring’ part of the year. The production is phenomenal. There was so much attention to detail toward the characters and the setting that I hope they keep up! I’m also following this on my blog but your post does ‘Sensei’ more justice! :D

    • #4 by avvesione on July 4, 2012 - 2:45 PM

      The setting and environment to Humanity Has Declined is wonderful in that it is so colorful and bright. You wouldn’t expect it was the middle of a dire situation with humanity and fairies starving the death with all these vivid colors and this peaceful scenery everywhere. And I’m so very thankful to have Sensei as our main character as she has such a rich and wonderful personality for which the anime to promote itself with. Her thoughts and behavior are so very different than everyone else in the anime and across other anime, too, so I can’t help but be happy for how she shapes this anime.

  3. #5 by shirayuki75 on July 3, 2012 - 2:51 PM

    I am glad that you focused on Sensei. Instead of being a typical good person type of narrator, the anime shows her humanely evil side as well. That makes me love her, rather than just appreciate her, as with other main characters. I look forward to reading your analysis of the social criticisms presented in this anime because I am sure that slice of bread exploded for a reason.

    • #6 by avvesione on July 4, 2012 - 2:50 PM

      Yeah, it’s nice to see someone in a position of such power actually abuse it a bit rather than do what we’ve come to expect from standard anime heroines and promote honesty and friendship over being practical and realistic. Because Sensei is more intelligent than everyone else, she’s able to manipulate the others for her own self-interest which is a wonderful sight to see from a protagonist. I’m excited to see what else she does and how the others respond to her in this anime.

      As for my analysis on social criticisms, I’m not sure when that will happen, but given the themes and plot of this anime, I wouldn’t be surprised if I do one eventually.

  4. #7 by foshizzel on July 3, 2012 - 9:21 PM

    Sensei is hhnnggg worthy for me, but yeah there is something about her that is sneaky and possibly dark? She had some really fantastic “evil expressions” when she had to lie to the girls when they chased that chicken around! Speaking of chicken…that whole scene when they tried to catch it made me laugh! That and the robotic loaf of bread? LOOLOLOL That was the best ever! I had to watch that scene twice.

    Welp time to draw Sensei because I loved her long hair look and it reminded me of Marika from Mouretsu pirates? YESSSS Messy long hair for the win!

    This series won me over because it wins me over for being random xD

    • #8 by avvesione on July 4, 2012 - 2:55 PM

      I’m not sure if Sensei is ‘dark’ or ‘evil’ or anything, but I figure she’s put in a position of power, she’s intelligent, and she’s lazy, and those together with the situation they’re in don’t always yield the best results. She does her part to help but her response to certain situations are not exactly what we’d call ‘good’. Perhaps the best term would be that she’s selfish.

      And yeah, the comedy in this anime has been fantastic and a real surprise for me. I really enjoyed that bread scene and have probably watched it a dozen times now. I’m looking forward to see what other bizarre things happen, especially with those fairies around.

      As for Sensei’s long hair, I actually preferred her better with the short hair in the beginning. Her long hair is lovely and I think she looks wonderful with it long and messy, but she was incredibly cute with that short pink hair. Too bad I don’t expect to see it anytime soon (and probably never again).

  5. #9 by illogicalzen on July 4, 2012 - 12:12 AM

    I do like how we have this whimsical comedy set in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity seemingly has no hope and will eventually die out. I like how Watashi is supposed to be this mediator between the fairies who appear to have a way to stop humanities decline and the humans, but the humans either dont entirely trust her, or simply ignore her advice. its fascinating to see how she seems more animated around the fairies and has an incredibly cynical view on humanity and their inability to cooperate in any meaningful way. We also have these strange moments that are both tragic while also being darkly comic, such as the bread robot and its sudden suicide. It is an intriguing series actually and I look forward to seeing how Watashi works as a mediator.

    • #10 by avvesione on July 4, 2012 - 3:03 PM

      You know, I have to disagree with you on that. I don’t think that he humans don’t trust her but that they trust her too much and the fairies not enough (I’m curious how many people know there are these fairies around). In the opening scene with the chickens, they put it all on her to slaughter them for meat but she eventually failed them. Later, after failing to capture the loose chicken, they listen to her advice and follow it even though it means lying to the village about a potential source of food. If they didn’t trust her enough, they would’ve had someone else slaughter the chickens or went behind her back and told the town about the naked chicken they almost caught.

      And yeah, it’s interesting to see how different she is around the fairies than when she’s around the other people. Perhaps she is more familiar with fairies or something than she is around people? But she never seems terribly excited or concerned when people are around.

      The comedy has been fantastic and a real surprise for this anime. I was not expecting that at all but it has proven to be a favorite of mine thus far. Really looking forward to where it goes from here.

  6. #11 by Joojoobees on July 4, 2012 - 7:18 PM

    Definitely the most interesting new show I have watched so far. That ending took me by surprise, even though so much of the episode was about avoiding starvation or killing animals and so forth.

    • #12 by avvesione on July 4, 2012 - 8:07 PM

      I think the ending took everyone by surprise, that bread scene certainly is the most memorable and discussed aspect of the episode thus far. I tried my best to ignore that scene (though I did want an image of the bread and the blood) with this post and focus on what I enjoyed more which was the refreshing nature of Sensei’s personality and her slightly unethical behavior. It really means a lot to me to have a lead character like this which is why I decided to blog it for this season. Really happy with how it turned out and I’m glad to hear it’s so popular already.

  7. #13 by azeriraz on July 4, 2012 - 11:21 PM

    Nice focus on sensei. She’s clearly aware of humanity’s faults and is even willing to exploit them to her advantage; a very good political character.

    • #14 by avvesione on July 4, 2012 - 11:30 PM

      Yeah, it is nice to see a character aware of their setting and surroundings and take the appropriate measures to make sure they’re taken care of before anything else. And as you mentioned, she’s aware of humanity’s faults, but I wonder if she’s aware of herself as a fault in the eyes of the villagers. Either way, if she did, she probably wouldn’t care which would make me like her even more. Can’t wait to see what else she does.

  8. #15 by yay on April 2, 2014 - 11:45 AM

    This is great:)

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