Humanity has Declined 09 — Let Them Eat Cake

Watashi becomes the Queen of the fairy kingdom.

This episode is a microcosm for the entire series. Except instead of “Humanity has Declined”, it could be called “The Fair Folk have Declined.”

At the beginning, they have nothing, not even the barest necessities. Then they build a cabinet, and everything quickly expands. Soon enough, the entire island’s environment is destroyed by everything they have made.

Then they reach the point humanity is at now in the show, where they want to build a monument.

They build monuments, and use every last piece of wood on the island to do so. Soon they have no material left to fix their water plant and have to leave.

This was one of the show’s better episodes. It more or less has a single point it’s trying to get across: that humanity needs to conserve and protect its resources. It’s not like the more recent episodes which were utterly pointless as far as I could tell.

Still, it does go on strange tangents against genetically modified food. Which are so ridiculous as to not be very effective.

The show’s largest problem continues to be that it has no understanding of subtlety whatsoever. In my opinion, for the best satire it’s hard to tell that it’s even satire. But Jinrui is so far from any approximation of reality that it’s easy to dismiss its message (when such a message even exists). Plus, it’s just not that funny.

9 thoughts on “Humanity has Declined 09 — Let Them Eat Cake

  1. Hmm, I’d like to know what you mean when you say you wish your satire was subtle. Most satires I know of that are famous and well-beloved are pretty blatant about their messages (in fact I’d say a satire *fails* if nobody actually catches what the whole point of it was [eg political cartoons]). For an example, is there anyone in the world who would be confused about what Animal Farm is all about? That doesn’t make it a bad story, or even a simplistic one. It’s been analyzed and expounded upon in a thousand different ways, despite the general message being abundantly clear.
    At any rate, you say there were no messages at all in some of the Humanity’s previous episodes. Maybe that was just the series being more subtle, and you didn’t catch what those episodes were about? I at least got something out of them. But then again, I got something out of Angel’s Egg, too! ;P

    IMO Humanity is an extremely thematically-driven series, much like Kino’s Journey (one of my top five favorite anime). The author of Humanity loves to play around with concepts and doesn’t mind framing whatever kind of story he wishes around it, which I find pretty unique and refreshing. Each story arc has been quite different from all the previous ones, at least. But at the same time, the author seems to enjoy having fun with the wacky stories he comes up. I mean, I certainly got a laugh from sugar cubes coming out of those veggies. 😀

    1. Compared to this, I’d say that Animal Farm *is* subtle. I mean, it’s about animals! There are people who don’t get the satire in animal farm (admittedly, they are not very smart people, but…) That book doesn’t say “now let’s see the effects of Communism! Now let’s see the effects of Capitalism!” which is what Humanity has Declined does. It actually shows the effects. Here it’s just like “let’s build a civilization and use up all our resources! Oops, we destroyed the world!” No thinking required. Another good example of satire is the Colbert Report. There was some survey where conservatives said that Colbert agreed with them on pretty much everything. Satire at its finest. Another good example is the Onion. Sometimes it’s pretty blatant, but more often that not, it looks like an actual newspaper article. They always get people thinking their articles are real.

      This show, on the other hand, wants to satirize manufactured food. So it has plants growing sugar in cubes, and everyone thinks they are gross. How subtle! But it has nothing to do with the rest of the story arc, and is just thrown in for kicks and giggles. This is my main problem, an utter lack of focus. When I said there was no point in some of the previous episodes, I was thinking specifically of the Voyager story arc and the time travelling one. Were those episodes supposed to be saying something? Sure, they had small bits of satire, but there was no larger theme. There’s subtle, and then there’s running around like a chicken with your head cut off.

      1. I don’t think the space probes and time loop episodes were really supposed to be satirical. Jintai strikes me as only being somewhat bigger than just a satire in general; it’s more like surrealistic science fiction, though it’s a lot less story-driven than, say, Haruhi. That’s another series that has parody/satire elements but is also more, though there really isn’t much in Jintai of traditional storytelling elements like character development, sustained plot, etc.

        I also don’t think satire needs to be necessarily be subtle. The episode you’re reviewing here in particular reminds me of Jonathan Swift more than anything else, and he focused way more on exaggeration and outrageousness than storytelling (there is absolutely no mistaking his point in the Laputa and horse kingdom parts of Gulliver’s Travels). Both of Orwell’s satirical books are much more narrative driven and I think are a different approach.

        1. Ugh, I wish I could edit my comments, there are some atrocious sentences in there 🙂 Anyways hopefully my point is clear. Always enjoy talking to you here!

        2. It may be true that those episodes weren’t intended to be satirical. But if so, what was the point? I just found them to be plain dumb.

          I guess satire doesn’t necessarily need to be subtle, but in my opinion the best satire usually is. I think that Johnathan Swift succeeded because he had genuine criticisms that he wanted to make. Humanity has Declined is just throwing random complaint after random complaint out there for no discernible reason. I’m not getting anything out of this show— neither a message nor enjoyment, so I’m not sure what the point is.

  2. @draggle look at my last post in sword art online episode 8 review it very importend about the coninue of the main plot

  3. FAIL NATION! WOOOOOO! Best ever!

    I loved how Watashi wanted to leave the island originally until she got a taste of the sweet queen life and damn I kept laughing when the fairies kept on building random stuff until they had a full city? I knew they wouldn’t last forever and it was all done in a week? I want some fairies to make random things for me…

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