Being an ambassador to a newly discovered race of fairies is hard work. This is evident from the first episode of Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita), an anime series aired in the summer of 2012.
“Anonymous blog writer”, I hear you saying. “What is this cutesy bright pastel-colored bullshit you’re showing me. I don’t want to watch that!”
Well nonexistent blog reader, don’t be misled. This series is anything but normal or typically cutesy. Known to fans as Jintai for short, the series tells the story of a young lady, the nameless protagonist, who is growing up at a time when humanity is in decline just like the title says. For some unspecified reason, human civilization has pretty much collapsed and returned to a sort of medieval way of life – the world protagonist lives in is full of bits of modern technology and has some modern-looking buildings around, but the technology is mostly unused and the buildings are overgrown with trees and weeds.
Our heroine is tasked with making contact with the fairies, the “new humanity” (so called because they recently appeared after humanity’s collapse and seem to be on the rise.) The fairies are a strange race: they seem to be able to use magic to create something out of nothing. They try to use this skill for the good of the old humans (i.e. us) because the old humans are the only ones that can make the candy they crave. Unfortunately for everyone, the fairies’ efforts just make things worse. It’s really hard to describe how this happens, but it does.
As a result of her assignment (from the United Nations, no less, albeit a way crappier and smaller UN because of the whole decline of humanity thing) Nameless Girl has to deal with the magical fairies and try to figure out what they want and how to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. And she’s a great protagonist: outwardly nice and polite about carrying out her duties but inwardly frustrated and sarcastic. This is understandable, because the fairies put her through all sorts of unintended trouble. I won’t give any of that trouble away because it would spoil a lot of the story, but it’s enough to say that you won’t find this kind of content most anywhere else. Time travel happens. Bizarre cases of mistaken identity happen. Etc.
She’s joined by her strange and domineering grandfather, an important researcher; the mute young boy assistant he pushes onto her who turns out to be massively helpful to her; and a friend who’s overly obsessed with reading and writing erotic fiction comics. Together, they all have to manage to survive from day to day and deal with the fairies, who grow increasingly powerful and increasingly irresponsible.
Jintai might sound like an irritating SO RANDOM sort of series – that’s why I avoided it at first – but it really isn’t. Most of the weirdness has some sense behind it. Plus I just love sarcastic-quipping protagonists. Also, her grandfather is pretty much exactly the same character as Hououin Kyouma from Steins;Gate only fifty years older. At least that’s what my idiot brain told me. Am I crazy, or do you agree? Or you do know what the hell I’m even talking about?
So should you watch it? I enjoyed this series partly because it wasn’t a goddamn high school setting series, and honestly, this was one of maybe three or four airing series I’d watched in a long time partly for the reason that really interesting stuff seemed so few and far between. But even so, I can say that Jintai is worth a watch. It’s just strange enough to be interesting but not so strange as to be annoying or nonsensical.
Then again, your mileage may vary.