The fairies of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita are arguably the most distinguished and memorable component of the anime. Without them, the anime would suffer significant damage to its supposedly-dystopian fantasy realm, remove all instances of this overwhelming magic, and shift attention from these adorable, smiling creatures to the army of cute, moe girls that seemingly overpopulate the Earth as well. So considering their impact on the anime and how they influence every aspect, we hardly know anything about these miniature beings. Perhaps now is an ideal time to sort out what we know, and what we’d like to know, as see what new information we can draw from this mishmash of knowledge.
Though perhaps overlooked or somewhat obscure due to the perspective of the anime, the first bit of information we know is that the fairies exist. And while that may seem like a trivial fact, it is vitally important in that only a select few know about the fairies and actually acknowledge their existence. Despite the fairies being a presence in every episodes, only the UNCC personnel and the secretary and director of the factory have seen the fairies and interacted with them. The rest of the villagers? Nah, we have no reason to believe they even know about the fairies. In fact, I almost want to believe that the only ones who know about the fairies are those affiliated with the UNCC or that stumbled into these situations by coincidence. The issue with the plucked, headless chicken running through the meadows in the first episode was concealed purposefully by Watashi (or Sensei, still don’t have a name for her) to prevent any panic or misunderstanding. Perhaps it’s an objective of her job as mediator to prevent the humans from interacting with the fairies and for her to act as the representative for both sides when issues like these come up. Furthermore, in this episode, no one seemed to recognize the potential hazard ahead with the fairies wanting to make their own magic manga when the time came, not even Y (though we don’t know how much she knows about the fairies). So while seemingly insignificant give their appearances and plot points, it is important to recognize that they do exist but only for a select few.
Furthermore, we know that the fairies are responsible for the magic in the anime. From the bizarre canned products that flooded the town during the food shortage to the animated plucked, headless chickens, to the intelligent and powerful hair of Watashi, to the manga equivalent of that comic book from the Take on Me video by A-ha, the fairies are accountable for virtually every surreal and illusory aspect of the series, a logical deduction that has enough evidence to support this theory. And though they are intelligent and diligent, they lack the ability to fully comprehend or understand the humans that still populate the Earth. Though friends with the humans, their inability to relate to humans has led to the awkward situations that have dictated the two main stories thus far. Furthermore, they don’t seem to comprehend the magic themselves and have become victims to it themselves. Being held prisoner from their own factory and, though this is unsupported I’m assuming some fairies are trapped in the manga as well, are just two examples of how their magic has backfield on them. Combining these points together, the result is that the fairies are the source of chaos and fantasy in the anime.
Beyond that, certain specifics and small tidbits do exist about the fairies, though at the moment, they seem to be just unused details. However, when comparing our knowledge of the fairies to the greater aspects of the series, some coverage gaps begin to appear. Perhaps the most interesting is learning the origin of the fairies and understanding how they became the dominant life-form on our planet. How did they evolve and come to inhabit our world? What do they do besides tangentially interact with our society? Why do they remain hidden from the public eye? These questions can go further, and be directed to answer wider questions about the setting, the characters, and the plot, too; are the fairies responsible for humanity’s decline? Why is it that only the UNCC interacts with the fairies? What about Watashi’s relationship with the fairies? And anyone else? What about the presence of fairies in the rest of the world? Or are there evil fairies? Of course, asking limitless questions on anything can go on forever without accomplishing anything, but the point here is that there is quite a bit left unknown about the fairies that leaves them mysterious and unpredictable. And perhaps the series designed how to disclose this information in such a fashion so that they appear this way…
What we can use from these fragments and shards of data is we can attempt to construct a better image of what we know and would like to know about the fairies thus far. We know that they do exist but outside the scrutiny of the public eye and that they are somehow well equipped in the magical arts. We don’t know much about their history or society or how they view their relationship with mankind and interact with it as well. They are a brainless population that remains invisible for the most part and cause disorder in unintended ways as they try to mimic our society and enjoy the benefits of being civilized. In other words, they’re what Watashi has to babysit on a regular basis to prevent humanity from dealing with these chaotic beings as they can cause unintentional destruction and lead humanity into a steeper decline. Or they could equally be the saviors of humanity that Watashi manipulates to solve whatever problems are present and bring humanity out of these dark times with the help of a little magic. Of course, it depends on your view of the series and how you interpret this data. The information on fairies is limited for a reason, one which allows our own imaginations and perspective to take over and allow us to determine what we want from the fairies to fit our own understanding of the series. With only a small subset of knowledge disclosed to us and a vast amount still unanswered, the fairies will continue to be a primary aspect of Humanity Has Declined as we remain curious and interested in their fantastic existence.
Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita took a crack at critiquing the otaku subculture of Japan as a follow-up to the modern consumerism and corporate subjects in the previous episodes but ultimately came up short. While the previous episodes dabbled in appropriate satire and played around with the various humors that we can partake from society, something that enhanced the entertainment and created an amusing story, the whole fujoshi/Comiket angle felt somewhat directionless or ineffective. The humor was related more around how the humans interacted with each other as they began copying the yaoi fanbooks and seemed to rely heavily on Y and Watashi for substance. As a looking glass into both our form of culture and our otaku colleagues, it felt almost positive or glorifying manga as a means to improve society by bringing people together and providing people (or young girls in this case) a reason to get together over something they all share. That’s not what made the previous episodes so outstanding and acclaimed. In fact, at times, it almost dipped into boredom. One figures the series will continue to examine the facets of society and poke fun at how it causes its demise, but that really didn’t seem to fit the theme with this episode. Is the series not as dark or cynical as previously? Who knows. Either way, the series rebounded in an unexpected direction with this manga episode, a move that I can’t help but disagree with. Of course, I say that now and I’m bound to love the next episode as a result when it returns to the fairies and that delightful absurdist humor.