Putting together the various pieces to the puzzles in each episode in Humanity Has Declined has proven to be an amusing, yet sufficiently challenging activity while enjoying the series, but putting together the timeline of the series in chronological order based on the limited and indirect information from snippets of each episode? Well, that’s something entirely different.
If it hasn’t already become aware from the sixth episode, the seventh episode of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita made it relatively straightforward that the anime is being aired out of order. And while this practice is not unheard of within the anime community (Haruhi comes immediately to mind), it is highly uncommon and unorthodox making it a perfect attribute for Jinrui to possess in its arsenal of awesomeness. What made this genius of the series apparent were two character differences that contradicted knowledge obtained from the previous episodes or tied into the other episodes better than the one that followed. That is, Watashi having her hair cut at the end of episode six tied into episode one and the storyline of the missing Assistant predates any episode seen thus far.
Through reexamination of the series and evaluation of the data either hinted or discussed by characters, evidence is mounting that the series is shown in an order that is not chronological. Watashi’s haircut at the end of the sixth episode ties into the first episode directly given two other characteristics revealed in the first episode that was unknown to us at that time. One, Watashi mentions that the haircut was her form of punishment and two, she recently explored the local ruins which occurred in the fifth and sixth episodes. And if that wasn’t enough, the CLT Director even mentions it directly, querying our heroine on her haircut as punishment from her subordination during the Human Monument Project. How else could you explain such direct connections from the sixth episode being discussed in episodes 1 and 2? And like the satisfaction of joining two independent, non-side puzzle pieces together, we’re able to place the sixth episode before the first in our developing chronological timeline.
The other major recent revelation happened in the seventh episode with Watashi actively searching for the Assistant, a character who’s been Watashi’s dependable and mute sidekick for the duration of the anime. Given the fact that they were strangers from start to finish in this episode, we can deduce that this episode occurred before any other given the nature of their relationship at these two points. Logic would suggest that this episode is therefore the earliest of everyone we’ve seen thus far, earning it the beginning of our Jinrui timeline as of right now. So with that, we’ve begun to place a few episodes together in a chronologically accurate timeline, one that begins to fill out given the fact that many episodes have been two-parters, too. But where do we go from here? What other clues, subtle clues, lie in these episodes that help organize this timeline for Jinrui?
Upon further review of the previous episodes of this anime, three variables reveal themselves to be strong markers of time or episode position and assist ourselves in detailing the timeline of this anime. The three variables are the Human Monument Project, the fairies, and mankind’s technology. The Human Monument Project has been mentioned in each of the three story arcs thus far, with the CLT Director appearing in episode 2, Y running the project in episode 3, and the CLT Director initiating the project in episode 5. Knowing that episodes 5-6 predate 1-2 based on the hair/punishment/ruins, we can see how the Human Monument project became launched and eventually stalled. Seeing as how Y was chosen to revive the project that Winter in episode 3 (Watashi remarks that she thought it was dead when Y mentioned it), we can assume that 3 follows episode 2.
The fairies are also another potential indicator of chronological order in the anime, specifically their density which was highlighted in episode 5. Bad luck and unfortunate accidents befall humans whenever the density of fairies is low, which was the whole point of the passage, but it also brings up the point of fairy density within the various episodes. The density of fairies was exceptionally high in episodes 5-6, reduced in episodes 1-2, and almost entirely absent in episodes 3-4 (only appearing within the manga universe, hidden within the manzines). That would help fit the model previously established if, indeed, the fairies are declining throughout the series.
Lastly, technology seems to be another indicator of chronological order in the anime given what we’ve seen the characters use throughout the series. Perhaps the best examples are seen through the use of electricity and transportation, which help connect other episodes than besides the 5-6, 1-2, 3-4 order. The amount of electricity and technology used in episodes 3-4 greatly outweighs that of the rebirth of electricity in episodes 5-6 suggesting there’s a hefty time skip between episodes 2 and 3, especially considering it goes from a medieval-ish town to one which has excess electricity, printing machines, and the capacity for young people to spend their time drawing and reading manga. We’ve seen two cases of transportation thus far, with the Grandfather showing off his newly purchased chariot in episode 7 and Y piloting a steam-powered automotive carriage in episode 3. Though there’s a massive difference in the scale of price and value between the two, both seem to indicate the relative technologies of the times further reinforcing the ideas that episode 7 begins the current timeline and episodes 3-4 end it.
And with that, we have a basic timeline for Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita established, at least through episode 7. Given the information provided and using some deductive reasoning, it seems fair to believe the anime progresses in this order chronologically: 7, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4. This does not account for the presence of time skips, though it seems like 6 to 1 are only days apart (you can see the crater Pion or Pioneer created when she landed in episode 5 in the opening shots of episode 1 [probably her crater]) whereas 2 to 3 could be seasons or even years from each other. And of course, the inclusion of more episodes will space out these episodes and provide more material to establish a proper timeline for which to understand this anime just the slightest bit more. Of course, trying to draw conclusions that this anime is in chronological order might be a mistake this anime wants us keenly-eyed viewers to make as a grand surprise before its finale.
What do I mean by such a shocking event? Well, consider the prominent and dominant aspect of this series, the adorable mascots that cause chaos without really understanding their actions at all, the fairies. Suppose that the reason the anime is running out of order is a result of the fairies causing some sort of time distortion that causes the various events of the series to be accounted in a strange, unstable order? I wouldn’t put it past this anime given how the fairies have powers only limited by imagination and how it enjoys toying around with its audience. Not only that, but it would make a fantastic surprise at the end, somewhere in the finale, to reveal that the fairies messed up the timing of the anime and that it aired out of order because of their magic. Either that or the director of this anime has an outstanding vision for the project and determined that the story be best told through this sequence, as we’ve seen in previous anime that have accomplished such a feat. Or, like my original idea after the first episode, this is all a drug-induced fantasy and Watashi is some unfortunate lost soul, hallucinating in the alleyways of Japan. Whatever the reason, it has yet to be known to the audience. However, what can be resolved by us is the strong indication that the series is indeed aired out of chronological order. And from this point onward, it’ll be fun to solve the mysteries of each episode as well as place them somewhere in our makeshift timeline for Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita.
The structure of the UNCC, the organization that employs the Grandfather, Watashi, and the Assistant, and serves as a middleman between humanity and the fairies while serving the needs of mankind, is still quite the enigma. Without ever seeing much beyond the frontline personnel of the organization and without any inquiry into the organization itself, we’re left with a lot to wonder about the main body of government and organization in this anime. Though I assume we’ll only receive little bits of information regarding the organization throughout the anime, similar but much less obvious than what we just did for the timeline, it’ll be interesting to see what the form of government is like in this dystopian future. Be even more interesting to learn why Watashi joined it in the first place and why she continues to do the job she does, though that might play more into the storyline of why she’s so receptive and amiable with the fairies. I assume if such an episode or episode exist, then we’ll be given more information on the UNCC and what its true intentions are.