First Impressions: Humanity Has Declined


A loaf of bread commits bloody suicide to provide free samples. An instant hair-growth tonic also imparts sentience onto lovely tresses. Little fairies produce the world's food, yet never close their mouths. Skinless, headless chickens smoke cigars and plot to rule the world. 

Welcome to Humanity Has Declined. It's weird in here.

The first thing that's refreshing about the show is that, in a time where series proudly trumpet just what genres and stereotypes they subscribe to ("harem romantic battle comedy" etc.),  Humanity Has Declined seems to actively resist being pigeonholed, or at least makes an effort to carve a new hole into the hardened bedrock of the anime landscape. 

Is it a post-apocalyptic high-concept sci-fi adventure? A moeblob daily-life chronicle? A bizarro dark comedy? Thinly disguised political polemic? Fever dream? Drug trip? All of the above? It's Humanity Has Declined, that's what it is.  

"Decline" would be a charitable word, really. Whereas most fiction sees the death of civilization in the banging, apocalyptic now, Humanity Has Declined sees us going out with a whimper, or perhaps an resigned, apathetic sigh. 

Though outwardly cheerful and reasonably carefree, a tone of fatalism and inevitability permeates the show, belying its pastel, storybook looks. Everyone but the protagonist and her grandpa is kind of a moron, and everyone seems fully aware that mankind is barely capable of sustaining itself. Not even bothering to lament the lost greatness of society (or simply recognizing it as "an ancient culture of waste"), the villagers eke out their day-to-day in the overgrown rural detritus of what used to be.

Strangely enough, what has survived from our present is pompousness, and self-importance. Our teen protagonist is, of all things, a member of the United Nations, known only as "Mediator". Lengthy, impressive titles cover up for the fact that this meeting is just the town council, or that commission is just supposed to slaughter some chickens.

Even the Mediator's polite, unflappable demeanor suggests the preservation of pretense. She may look like a country bumpkin, but she can certainly talk like a diplomat. Speaking of diplomats, Humanity Has Declined seems to take a rather dim view of what's left of "civilization". Meetings are portrayed as circular blame games and the Mediator tends to employ her skills with the prime intention of avoiding responsibility and covering for incompetence. It's almost as if the the show has some kind of vendetta against the UN.

And then there's the more traditionally weird stuff. Y'know, like a bunch of open-mouthed fairies that produce synthetic versions of humanity's canned goods. Or hair tonics that make one less a Rapunzel and more a Millia Rage. Or skinless chickens speaking in the creepiest voice known to mankind.

If this is how the world ends, I think I'd rather go early. Barring that, this is a show well worth keeping an eye on.

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures



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