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.