Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita – 2

Humanity has declined?  Nah, humanity has already declined; humanity is dead.  Or at least that’s one interpretation of where this anime is going.  The other, and an equally possible alternative, is that humanity is indeed in a steady decline but it can redeem itself and eventually be saved.  The reason why and how both these understandings of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita exist is due to the ability of the audience to view this anime through two completely opposite perspectives and arrive at entirely different outcomes.  In order to understand the enigmatic message of this anime accurately, we must first ask ourselves this question: is Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita pro-industry or anti-industry?

Depending on your own personal philosophy and idea of industry, you may already have an answer in your head.  The way Jinrui has progressed thus far, it’s presented the issue in a way that almost forces the viewer to realize the circumstances at hand and create their own opinion on the matter.  However, while it places this dire situation before our eyes, it doesn’t tell us what decision we should be making.  That is, it’s open to interpretation on how to understand the industry within Jinrui and thus, as a consequence, understand the nature of the decline of humanity.  Let’s start by taking a glance at what I assume is the less popular of the two options: the pro-industry side.

By viewing Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita as a pro-industry anime, the first step is to determine that humanity declined through its excessive and wasteful consumer lifestyle.  And while this lifestyle is an effect of industrial production, the industry does not dictate how the consumer behaves and ended up at this stage through the means of the previous and current social structure.  What industry does, however, is provide for the humans in ways they cannot for themselves.  Humans depend on the industry to feed them through any methods possible because they cannot fend for themselves.  If we take the villagers as examples of modern humanity, we can see they refuse to slaughter chickens for meat yet they want to be provided it nonetheless.  This is where industry can step in and save humanity.  With the decline of industry saw the decline of humanity, so logically, the rebirth of industry would see a similar parallel in humanity.  Through this perspective, we can see that Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is a pro-industry anime.  And not only that, but you can rationalize this position further.

The series has also incorporated symbolism through that can also be interpreted as a pro-industry message.  Perhaps the most memorable of these would that little dance that Sensei and the fairies perform in the opening credits.  The dance is incredibly simple (and awkward) with a push, reset, kick back, reset, and repeat.  This motion shares a striking similarity to the motions of a piston.  And with everyone performing the dance in perfect harmony, it resembles a machine vigorously working, producing a sight to behold coupled with all those tasty treats and fairies flying every which way.  Another suggestion toward the pro-industrial perspective is how reluctant Sensei was about the helping the villagers slaughter the chicken but was eager to discover and explore the factory.  Furthermore, if you believe this perspective of a pro-industry approach to saving humanity, then you must also discount most of the humor pointed at the industry regarding its unknowledgeable employees, abysmal products, and the skinned chickens running the show as just humor and not a criticism of industrial production and management.  After all, the humor is spread around among all aspects of humanity in this anime.

The other perspective on Humanity Has Declined is the anti-industrial perception, one which blames industry for the decline in humanity and its inevitable death.  One can assume that the current consumer lifestyle is a direct result of industrial production.  The humans became lethargic and indifferent with the ways in which humanity sustained itself and became reliant upon industry to provide for them without requiring an ounce of thought or effort.  The decline of humanity mirrored the decline of industry because humans evolved to become dependent upon industry as a means of sustaining life.  As a result of industry, humanity is where it’s at right now.  While some may argue that humanity is already dead, a community of zombies who exist without the knowledge, capacity, or desire to sustain themselves in their current situation.  There is, however, a way to rescue humanity and that is to become self-reliant and independent of outside influences.  If humanity is set on surviving, it must first shed its previous lifestyle and rediscover what humanity is all about.  And the first step in doing so would be to rid itself of relying on industry and the consumer lifestyle and begin fending for itself with a new mindset and collective social personality.

Additionally, there other facets of the anime which support this perspective.  Perhaps the most obvious is how the industry was portrayed in this episode: dimwitted employees unsure of how anything works and unable to do anything about it, products of inferior quality (and probably safety, too), and a pack of headless chickens managing everything with an intention of ruling over humanity through deceit and violence.  Even though everything it performed in a humorous light, it is clear that these subjects are criticisms of the current industrial model.  It couldn’t be more obvious unless it had a subtitles saying “Industry is corrupt” across the bottom the entire time.  Likewise, the rampage through the industry which saw the deaths of many processed chickens is a critique on the perceived notion of how unsafe industry is.  Though in our current society where safety is a priority, the belief is still that industry is dangerous, unsanitary, and unconcerned, which is why the chickens were able to be killed in such simple manners.  I feel anything from The Jungle by Upton Sinclair would do well here (but alas, I have no read that novel).  Similarly, humanity is suspicious of the appearance of processed and canned goods despite the fact that they’re starving.  This can be interpreted as a negative of industry as the people are unwilling to use their products for whatever reason despite them essentially needing it to survive.  That am I’m sure you could work in some employment quip in here, too.  And even without that or any number of other additional criticisms, a strong anti-industry stance exists in Jinrui wa Suitai Shimasthia.

So, of these two perspectives, which is the correct one for Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita?  I belong to the camp that believes the anime has a strong anti-industry message to it, though I would not be surprised to find it has a pro-industry side to it as well.  I don’t believe these opposites are mutually exclusive and that the true criticism of humanity comes from both perspectives.  However, this episode further entrenched my rationale for why this anime is anti-industry as for the decline in humanity.  Should the anime reveal itself to be the opposite or some combination of the two, then I’ll consider myself surprised.  However, my current understanding of the anime is that it is anti-industry and that humanity has declined as a result of industry.  Whether this is the true message of the anime or not has yet to be discovered.

I found the use of a kazoo to be brilliant in how the headless chickens communicated.  Though the biologist within me was writhing in pain, I enjoyed how the anime used the kazoo to give the chickens a bizarre voice for which to further differentiate them from the humans and fairies.  Had it gone with a sophisticated accent, as I expected from a cigar-smoking CEO, then it would’ve been a more literal depiction of industrial management and been somewhat typical and tame.  But Humanity Has Declined is far from those norms, differentiating itself from every other anime in almost every possible opportunity.  While I’ve heard various voice adjustments used in anime before to create silly or intimiating voices, I’ve never heard nor ever would’ve imagined the use of a kazoo to portray a unique voice.  And I couldn’t imagine how much fun the voice actors had playing around with those toys in the studio, too.  And with that added touch to the chickens, I think I’ve been thoroughly impressed with every aspect of this anime thus far.

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  1. #1 by Detetiv on July 8, 2012 - 7:59 PM

    just readin this review is flashin back to a manga kind of similar to this involving faeries and a girl who mediates between humans & the fae people. [Though in the manga she had a faerie partner who looked like a cat.

    • #2 by avvesione on July 9, 2012 - 12:38 AM

      Sounds interesting, do you perchance remember the name of that manga? Might be interesting to see how it compares to something like this.

      • #3 by Detetiv on July 9, 2012 - 1:15 AM

        Hakushaku to Yousei or Earl & the Fairy.
        I remember that one had a few head-scratching moments. It may not be you cup of tea. Still need to watch the anime.

        • #4 by avvesione on July 9, 2012 - 7:19 AM

          I’d be interested to check it out, even if it turns out to be something outside of my tastes. I always like taking a look at stuff like this since it’s times like this, exploring outside one’s comfort zone, when we can make changes to our taste or discover something new about ourselves. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly!

        • #5 by Detetiv on July 9, 2012 - 12:25 PM

          no problem, I just looked it up using keywords that I can remember. I have too many manga to read…

  2. #6 by shirayuki75 on July 8, 2012 - 10:03 PM

    Awesome article! I believe that this is anti-industry. The arguments for this show being pro-industry actually make fun of it, like the dance in the ending, which I salute you for noticing. As I see it, the rise of industry caused mankind to depend on it; thus leading to their decline, which makes this anime anti-industry rather than pro-industry. I read an article about the first episode on Moe Sucks that criticizes the anime’s viewpoint on industry. I still don’t understand it much, but you should read it. :)

    • #7 by avvesione on July 9, 2012 - 12:45 AM

      Thanks for the heads-up on the Moe Sucks article; I haven’t read, but since it sounds like it pertains to this article, I’ll check it out. As for the pro-industry approach, it is a bit more challenging to formulate and create that argument, but given the balanced and even nature of the anime, I think there’s still a pro-industry message hidden within, especially if that’s how the anime is trying to convey its message. The anime has done a fantastic job in this respect, never hinting to one side too strongly without backing up the other.

      I suppose looking back on this post after writing it, the main goal was to bring up the fact that the anime has covered both sides with evidence of both. Instead, the flow of this article is trying to fit it into my argument of whether it is pro-industry or anti-industry. Still, it sounds like it got you think about both sides which I guess is what I wanted in the end. Oh well.

  3. #8 by Myst on July 9, 2012 - 10:17 AM

    That is a really, really good point about the dance in the OP. I was very amused when I first saw it (after all, it does look rather silly), but I knew after watching the full episode that it had to have more meaning to it. Unfortunately, I was unable to come up with anything for what it might mean. But your idea makes a lot of sense. It may not be “right” per sa, but it is a fascinating explanation for an otherwise bizarre dance.

    • #9 by avvesione on July 9, 2012 - 11:10 PM

      Thanks. I truly think the dance it there for fun since it looks simple but goofy. It probably doesn’t have a significant meaning more than just something cute and fun to look at while the opening credits roll. But if there is a meaning to it, I guess mine makes some sense.

  4. #10 by Dusk on July 10, 2012 - 10:14 AM

    Excellent post on Jinrui!

    I had never seen this series as trying to force an anti-industrial message on its viewers, since it limits itself to artistically portray real-life situations and dynamics, giving us food for though but not forcing an opinion on us. However, I’m almost sure that’s the message it’s trying to convey, as one could find many more arguments to support such a position, as you proved it yourself with that amazing article. The sarcastic tone in which all of this is portrayed is also certainly a point in favor of the anti-industrial view. I still think this is trying to send a more moderate message, though, since with the exaggeration in the portrayal of situations, it seems to try and criticize the excessive way in which consumption mindset has been corrupting our society. I believe its goal is appealing to balance, though I agree with you that with only two aired episodes so far, it’s still rather hard to grasp its true intentions.

    Also, I thank you for having learned about something new, for I had absolutely no idea what a kazoo was before reading you post. Quite the funny instrument, though^^

    • #11 by avvesione on July 10, 2012 - 9:58 PM

      Glad to hear you enjoyed my post (learned something even!). Most of the feedback I’ve received on this article has been similar to what you’re saying with most people believing the anime to be balanced and fair in its approach. The anime has provided both pro- and anti-industrial messages among its humor and story, so I’m wrong when trying to pigeonhole the anime as one or the other. Instead, I realize this post should have done more to point out how it’s been balanced and presenting both sides rather than presenting both sides and trying to force it as one or the other. And while I feel it has been a bit stronger on the anti-industry side, it doesn’t appear to be that at all.

      Anyway, thanks for taking the time to comment and provide your thoughts on this anime. Hope to see you around this season!

      • #12 by Dusk on July 10, 2012 - 10:15 PM

        I agree with you in that it is definitely stronger on the anti-industry side while still providing some arguments in favor of both. Sometimes the simple portrayal of the situation can even be interpreted one way or the other depending on one’s own mindset.

        Anyway, expect to see me around then, especially when it comes to this series, for I can say I really enjoyed your analysis of it.

        • #13 by avvesione on July 11, 2012 - 1:44 AM

          You’re right about the individual mindset affecting how people interpret this episode (or this anime), and that was a discussion I was hoping to generate here which was secondary to presenting both sides of the argument. Looks like it was able to accomplish that both here and on Twitter.

          Looking forward to hearing from you again!

  5. #14 by ThatOneGuy on July 11, 2012 - 2:15 PM

    Excuse me, whilst I wear my literal translation glasses… With your last post, I feel like there is something to be said about this as a whole, and not just sensei. While you pointed out that her character is not very genuine on the outside, and would often prefer to be lazy, I think that really applies to everyone else in the cast except for maybe the assistant (who as far as I can tell, has no discrepancy between social and personal) and the manager (spoiler: now ceo) of the factory, who has no inner monologue and speaks his mind out loud.

    • #15 by ThatOneGuy on July 11, 2012 - 2:16 PM

      I should specify, that I mean that everyone seems to have an alternative motive behind their actions, and with the exception of a couple characters, you don’t see it at all.

    • #16 by avvesione on July 12, 2012 - 6:28 PM

      You’d be correct about that, everyone seems to have a personality they have around people and one that they keep to themselves or only show on occasion. It’s been most obvious with Sensei/Watashi given how much time we spend with her but these conflicting motives are seen in other characters, too. The girls who were assigned to slaughter the chickens brought up this conflict of wanting to eat meat but not wanting to kill the chickens (their morals). You could see it as well with the grandfather in this episode, too, wanting to solve the mystery of this factory but not really doing anything about it. This dichotomy, as you describe, certainly makes every character a bit more complex. It’ll be interesting to see if this changes or how it changes over the course of the season.

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