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Posts Tagged ‘post-apocalyptic’

In this series, the animation is pastel, non-photorealistic, and bright; the tone is sarcastic, cynical, and loaded with irony; the main character is a lowly UN mediator assigned as the interface point between humans and fairies. She works for her grandfather, and in many episodes, has an assistant to accompany her. (I don’t think she is ever named, oddly enough.)

Civilization is in ruins and people have returned to more of a medieval style of living — hunting and gathering. Electricity is rare, although cars are still around, and so is the dysfunctional UN. In short, “It’s the End of the World as I Know it, and I Feel Fine.” This is the world of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita — Mankind is in Decline.


Assistant and Mediator

First, the music. The intro theme song is a fantastic slab of alt-J-rock — catchy, emotive, upbeat, and sadly, not translated by any of the fansub groups. Check it out here. The ending theme song is a slower, atmospheric, ambient pop kind of deal that actually better captures the whole spirit of the show. The music throughout the show is atmospheric, often quite good, but not outstanding.


Intro

Second, the consistency. This series has a nearly-perfect setup combined with palliating graphics that put you at ease just so the knife can slip in. As you might expect, the writers don’t make the most of it. In fact, the episode quality is all over the place. For instance, episodes 1 and 2 are awesome; 3 is very lame; 4 is good, but 5 and 6 are a bit tired; you get the idea. It’s almost like the anime` picked random episodes from a manga, and the mangkata was trying to find his/her feet for 12 issues. The episodes connect to one another rarely, and there’s no character development to speak of. However, the main character’s past is explored and more of the world is revealed. It almost works, given the whole stilled time feel of the show.

So why do I enjoy this series? Simply because the episodes that are good are fantastic, there’s plenty of weirdness, the kawaii animation, the sarcastic dialog, and the refreshing themes. Episode 1 features potshots at the incompetent UN. Episode 4 explores the insane nature of much manga. Episodes 7-8 feature a time loop. Even the off episodes still have moments of hilarity and sarcastic insight; episode 5 features Pion, the kawaii robot girl, for instance.


Pion

Your Majesty, the Queen (note the Pocky plants!)

Jinru wa Suitai Shimashita is unique. It’s a breath of fresh air in a time where anime` tends towards the ho-hum and predictable. While another season would have been welcomed, even one season could have sufficed if the quality was consistent. As it stands, I can give this a guarded recommendation, but not a rousing or unreserved one. The episodes to catch are 1, 2, 4, 7, and 9. The others are at your own risk.

The following fansub groups did the best job:
CR
HorribleSubs
Asenshi (Blue-ray specials)

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I’ve held off on posting because I hate to see a series crash and burn. Even more, I hate being taken for a ride (or admitting that I don’t know how to pick good series, whichever works). I think I’ll keep around the early episodes, though, because they were that good. In the end, the series went nowhere, not because of its pace, but because the writers didn’t have a map and so just made it up as they went along. It’s a real shame. Anyways, here’s the short OO guide.

* 1 — Ooh, this looks good. A post-apocalyptic fantasy world, with symbolism, excellently-detailed backgrounds, believable characters, and very little garbage. I’m in. The opening theme is half-good; the ending theme is mostly good. It starts off with heavy emotion, a black-and-white world with only a few spots of color.

2 — Again, the usual excellent artwork, good characterization, even if it’s a little bit stereotypical, a cool setting, and the past irrupts into the present. I wish they’d do more with the latter, but there’s no trash, no profanities, and it’s endearing. I’m not sure where the plot is going, but I’m afraid that it won’t add up to much. I’m not seeing any big conflicts on the horizon; a slice-of-life pace is nice, but I’m worried about the lack of dramatic tension.

3 — It’s only a bit much, but the dramatic tensions and the import of the episode are top-notch. I could have done without the profanities, though. You get a feel for the greater echoes of the series, here, and it’s soulful stuff.

* 4 — A little bit more subtle than last time. The grande past is again mysterious; charming innocence; character development, and a sense of the smallness of humanity and yet our importance in it all. This show has the real capacity to be wonderful; stekki, and this episode has it.

* 5 — This is wonderful. The past is an endless ocean subsuming the present; there is both glory and sadness in this; some character development (Kurehana has a crush), and we get to see the edgy side of Noel. No profanities; no trash. The pace is slow, here, and I don’t mind it — I just worry that nothing will have happened when we reach the end, you know those lame “return to the beginning” kind of plots.

6 — It’s still beautifully drawn, and the subplot of Yamina and the orphan girl is touching, but I’m not so sure about the whole thing that the army is making wine to sell to supplement their incomes. I guess it’s cool that they’re not constricted by the oppressive laws of the land, but on the other hand, it does seem dishonorable. Kanata is charmingly innocent as usual. The ending song grows on you.

7 – OK, the typical anime` fail begins. The show ends with moral relativism, embracing paganism along the way; well it’s worse than that, actually it states that there is no meaning in life, and therefore we can create our own meaning (self-deification). Whatever. The music is good; the characterization is a little off; the war scenes are cool, but if it’s all in support of selfishness, well, I just can’t hang with that. So you don’t want others to suffer? Wow, how noble; no-one wants to suffer!

8 – Not bad. A little risque material, but mostly it’s just slice-of-life and humorous.

9 – The series starts to swirl down the drain. Yes, this episode features arguably loli shots of girls in panties (not exploitative, but it never is at first), and the destruction of absolutes continues. This time it’s Kuraha-chan’s faith in the Desert Wolf. I’m pretty sure that the series will wrap up in some kind of typical Japanese metaphysical head-game. My interest in this show has dropped by 50%.

10 – Forgettable

11- Takes an anti-war turn with the typical facile argument “we’re all the same”. No, we’re not, and that logic has long since moldered into dust. I’m out.

Yes, there was a twelveth episode, but I couldn’t be bothered to watch it. Welcome to the graveyard, Sora No Woto.

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