Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Humanity Has Declined Review It Took So Long To Get Her

Humanity Has Declined
Blu-ray and DVD release

How's your anime week going? Did anyone catch Eva 3.0 or Anohana during it's limited run in theaters?

On to home viewing anime!

This new review of pink hair and a dystopian future will want you to pick up someone tinier than you and force them to do your bidding. I'm on the topic of Humanly Has Declined, a wonderful dark and sweet anime released by Sentai Filmworks last December, almost making it into a 2014 release. I'm saddened that you, the review reading audience did not have the pleasure of viewing it on home disc format. The series came out in 2012 and took it's sweet time to get her, I mean here.

Let me introduce you her, to our heroine of the series, a pink-long-haired girl who bakes the best sweets and makes the most mouth watering candies. Oh, she speaks so softly and is so loved. She happens to be the UN mediator. In actuality, she's quite dark and plans things out like a corrupt politician. This girl who will remain nameless, as no one refers to her by any name during the series, is who we follow in the future.

What a bright future, the setting is like a storybook, such a cute tiny village, her house is right out of a pop-up book. Don't mind the many guns inside. In actuality, humanity is in decline in the future. No reason is given, humans have lost much of their power and society. Humanity has changed in many strange new ways.

We have fairies in the future, delightful little scamps that are what humans have developed into. Playful and silly the fairies can create almost anything and do almost anything. In other words, they are like children with G-d-like powers and little understanding of the world.

The nameless girl with the pink haired spends her time on strange adventures with this new humanity, these fairies as a mediator between them and humans. Most of the time things go wrong, oh so very shockingly wrong.

Before going any further, I have to write how much I hate the series synopsis on the back of the DVD case  for Humanity Has Declined. It's Amazon's publisher synopsis too. It reads like a bad sci-fi novel, lacking the sense of dark humor and odd stories the series has. It even gives a name to the nameless girl. We can do far better than it here. We can do that with bread.

Did you know bread doesn't always need to be made the same way and you can substitute some of  the ingredients? Sure, you'll have a less tasty bread and it might not be as healthy. You could even make it with vegetables so little kids who don't like them would eat get their vitamin requirement. Now imagine a robot telling you this info, a robot made out of bread as it kills itself.  Suicidal bread robots, one of many crazy story turns that will make the series surprise you and surprise are nameless heroine. That robot freaks her out a bit.

When you've got fairies, you've got problems. The nameless girl, who deserves to be named and never is, not do to anyone treating her badly, just conversation fine tuning.

Ex. Well, hello there you!

She shows a spectrum of emotions. Shows her smarts. Shows she cares. She deals with these ever funny masters of mayhem that create and build almost anything with the price of her sweets. She gives them candy and they treat her like G-d.  Really, they refer to hear as G-d sometimes. Though she me be considered the almighty, problems crop up.

Stories about these problems show off the nameless girl trying to both analyze and figure out the fairies while dealing with worse and worse problems like animals that should be dead and aren't or rouge satellites with sentience. Some of her problems come from her own hubris, thinking she can handle the fairies when dealing with them is never that simple.

Manga causes a great case. One arc has our nameless heroine trapped inside her own manga series. Literally, trapped having to create her own series, moving from panel to panel. All the while the viewer learning fundamentals about keeping a story entertaining in manga. The fairies like to try their hands at whatever humans are doing for fun. Getting trapped came from the market for Yaoi (boy loves boy) manga exploding after printing comes back. A future where there is no Batman and Robin and only girls like comics about homo boy love, did not see that coming. Don't worry, if you're hetero and not into that sort of thing nothing appears on screen, just artsy covers.

Time and design are appreciated. No matter how bleak or dysytopian the future or story might be the design work leaves the impression of reading a storybook with pop-ups. Brightly colored backgrounds and charming little fairies. Time wise the story shifts and is meant to be played out of order. You'll have a better understanding of events as the series goes on with these time skips. The last episode arc has our nameless heroine at a young age, before even meeting fairies. School was never that dark, was it? Curly, you're so creepy.

The series' lovely layout with dark humor is the perfect sweet to munch down on. The contrast of the beautiful world and our heroins and her inner thoughts and darker revelations about the world make the series stand out for dark humor.

Predicting what might happen next is almost impossible. So many series are easy to read or to figure out. Humanity changes the page in the first arc. You think you'll now the answer to whose behind the mystery, but will be mistaken.

The fairies' personalities and short talks are sinfully dark and cute. One moment has them talking about elections. Something along the lines of:

What's your platform?

The free distribution of sweets for all.

What are you a commie?


I want to invent a religion.

Most of the time they'll just get in some dark jokes that are hard not to laugh at coming out of their squeaky voices.

This collection comes with a few extra features. I'm happy the Survival of the Fittest short series was added to this collection, where our heroine becomes a fairy, was included. A few times some notes popped up on screen telling some inside jokes about other animes the show was parodying. Story digests, didn't needed to be added on. Episodes are compacted for no reason and give you bits of episodes, this was such a weird add-on.

Only twelves episodes on three discs, two for Blu-ray. Sound and resolution are fine. There was no dub for the series. The voice actress and rest of the series voice actors all fit in their roles.

The box art and disc art capture some of the episodes and comes from the Japanese box art, where episodes are released at a higher frequency.

The opening and closing animation will get you into the series. A happy dance opening to a touching, sad ending theme each with their own eye-catching moments. Dance with the nameless one and the fairies at the start of each episode and lie down and let the fairies live on with the ending.

A series about a nameless girl with fairies that can do almost anything in a dystopian future. Filled with dark humor past a saccharine sugary sweet design where inner thoughts and the voices of tiny creatures will make you teary-eyed from laughter. Humanity Has Declined is one of those series that bakes a cake of humor and gloom that makes a devil food cake heavenly.With a charming female lead who has earned a name, you'll have to decide it for her when trying to explain the series to someone else after watching it.