Humanity has declined. Which means, at some time prior, humanity was at its zenith, the pinnacle of success and accomplishment and advancement. But what was this time like for mankind? Was the climax of humanity something parallel to our current societies or something more? Well, given the expedition into the ruins of a former mankind, we’re able to understand a little more about the peak of mankind and the setting of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita.
Though more a reflection and critique on the current state of humanity, mankind has a fascination with the past. The previous storyline in Jinrui revolved around Y and her pursuit to reinvent manga, an extinct and enigmatic form of entertainment, and bring it back to its former glory in society. Her assigned task, however, was to work on the Human Monument project, a massive undertaking that records the brilliance of our mankind’s apex, highlighting its science, culture, and history, though the project has been stuck in its planning stages for a few decades. Either way, both storylines center on the theme of our current society looking back on the achievements of our former cities and people, as a grandiose and impressive sight to behold. And though you could extract some juicy information regarding the direction our current society has set, looking back on our past instead of preparing for our future, it just goes to show how magnificent mankind’s peak was. In fact, to learn more about this era of history, the UN has sent a team of archeologists to explore and discover the secrets lost in the ruins outside of town.
What Watashi and her Assistance discovered while exploring an underground labyrinth, is that society seemed akin to the one in our current lives. The final room of the episode took place in some form of a clinic or hospital with a functioning computer documenting various tidbits of its current city and society. The only noteworthy piece of information obtained from the computer is that the inhabitants of the city were afraid of electromagnetic waves and elected to design their city to protect themselves from it. Though the scientist within me cannot quell my rage after such an explanation, it does help point out that this society ended up afraid to leave their dome and became a society unable to leave the walls of its city. Though this doesn’t sound anything like our modern society, there are trends pointing in this direction with people becoming more concerned about the adverse risks of sunlight (skin cancer) and opting to remain indoors during their freetime. I’d be hard to imagine a functioning city to lock itself up like this anytime in the future, so it’s a safe bet to assume it’ll be several decades before anything like that becomes an acceptable idea.
Staying in the examination room of the clinic, we’re able to discern more information about this society that has since declined to the one in Jinrui. The architecture and furnishings in the room help set a date given their structure, appearance, and functionality. The layout of the room and its structure seem to indicate something futuristic with various panels on the walls and unforgiving metallic colors as the décor. In fact, the whole interior of the maze seemed to be of this unfriendly design. Everything had an appearance as cold as steel, giving it a look circa 50s or 60s sci-fi spaceships. The absence of signs, maps, and even furniture (art, benches, plants or planters) really speaks volumes of what inhabitants lived in such a sterile dwelling. And don’t forget about that elevator when Watashi and Assistance first entered the building. The only thing that didn’t seem futuristic about this whole building were the computers which seemed appropriate for the current society we live in and the pile of appliances where those brain slug-esque slime creatures resided. Perhaps we’ve reached the pinnacle of computing in our current society? Perhaps, but the lack of digital interfaces, voice or motion control, three-dimensional display, among other novelties, really dates the computers to our modern society or maybe even that of a decade ago. It is the only thing that doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the knowledge determined from the setting, but perhaps this futuristic society was interested in things besides updating their computers. For example…
…yes! Why, perhaps our futuristic society was interested in robotic catgirls that double as databases and superheroes beyond their adorable android nature. Pion is certainly the most interesting aspect of this decaying civilization as it shows their prowess in robotics by creating a fully functional and independent android who is able to fight with incredible force and access situations with inconceivable resolve. This catgirl is even able to communicate freely with humans and pursue its own goals, able to sustain itself in an era without electricity while attempting to solve the problem regarding its amnesia… or memory leak as she calls it. Not only that but the robotic dog that aggressively attacked Watashi is another display of this society’s might. Such robotics really distances this society far from our own, much more than any other extracted information from this episode. It also says something when its greatest accomplishment is an overwhelmingly strong underaged catgirl with no pants on, but perhaps this society valued Strike Witches as its pinnacle of entertainment and elected to devote their lives to that franchise. Would also explain why they couldn’t afford new computers and refused to leave their shell. I’m beginning to understand how humanity began to decline now…
Though hardly direct and irrelevant to the current storyline, the ability to distinguish information from the previous society and applying it to the setting really helps us understand what Watashi and her fellow humans are experiencing in their situation. The society they live in is just a shadow of the predecessors, one cast from the imposing ruins on the outskirts of town. The fact that there is such a gap in technology, understanding, and knowledge highlights how far they are from becoming what mankind once was. It’s understandable to retain so much pride from such a remarkable age, but shouldn’t mankind be more interested in its future than marveling in its past? Looking at how these humans live and function in relation to their past is truly a fascinating aspect of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, and an integral aspect of the setting. Perhaps discovering more of its history will help aid this current society but it seems more superficial than anything else. Still, exploring the ruins of the previous civilization benefits our understanding of the setting since we’re able to see what humanity once was before it began its inevitable decline.
As a scientist, I always take pride in an anime when it uses or involves science in some way. It doesn’t matter what field of science it’s in, even social sciences like geography or sociology, I find to be a gratifying experience. When anime reveal the answers to mysteries or various questions by involving scientific explanations, I am delighted since it relates to the story but also provides a bit of education for the audience, too. When an anime uses science for the sake of science, it’s a nice association, but it feels rather shallow compared to what it could have been. The only time when I frown upon an anime using science is when it uses it incorrectly, and, as I mentioned it before in this post, I am unhappy with the whole electromagnetic wave exposition in Jinrui. Both the fairies and former society had a fear or EM waves and elected to leave their current situation to avoid them. That’s great and all but where exactly are you going to go to get away from EM waves? Considering the fact that visible light are electromagnetic waves really damns this argument as bad science. Even if they were to construct a home that preventing EM radiation from entering, they’d have to live their lives without visible light, infrared light, or any other form of energy emitted in this wave form. It’s rather amusing to see the fairies adamantly declare their distress of electromagnetic waves while basking in the warm, friendly sunlight that they just said they feared. I almost wonder if another term should’ve been used for this explanation, one in relation to electricity, but it still leaves me feeling a bit dismissive over the use of science here. I only hope that the anime can find some way to redeem itself involving this snafu, and not use magic as a cheap escape either, since it has been so awesome in every other regard.