Orthogonal Thinking, Humanity Declines

The approach Jintai (Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita or Humanity as Declined for long) takes for cynicism and criticism about its thematic subject matter is straightforward and methodological. It doesn’t sprout out in minigun format like, say, Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, but it makes one solid push each week, with one subject matter and all its ancillaries. Quite frankly it’s delightful to think about and this approach is appropriate for foreigners, since it’s not cloaked in this extra referential meta stuff for a different culture, so we get to the meat of the matter right away.

The flip side is that I have no motivation to write about it, or really dwell on it. After all, the anime says all that needs to be said. What’s left is my usual inane rambling.

It might be apt to compare Joshiraku–a show that is dense with references and fast-pace verbiage. Because, really, how do we non-speakers quite get all the humor from the wordplay? Even the best localization will have a hard time cutting into that. I mean, can we even expect 70% of it from the translation? But in Jintai, we can probably get 90% or more. It’s also common to make Joshiraku viewers admit that they’re just watching the show for its cute-girl-backroom-chatter angle, since a lot of western anime viewers who watch new shows are rotten no-goods who get off to such a thing. Fair enough, I think.

The real question I want to pose is, then, how many of us watch Jintai for the fairies?

There is an angle to the fairies that is persistent and thematic. And then there’s another angle to the fairies that I really don’t want to know about. Because, really, I don’t want to know what floats your boat. I really don’t.

As for the persistent and thematic, I’m liking fairies not so much as the next evolution of man, but more like the Mark of the Beast. Here’s an example.


It’s not going to be the first or the last time someone makes this comparison.

I think the crosscultural appeal of Jintai is best seen over in America via the lens of space exploration. I mean, sometimes I wonder if an american-centric version of Jintai will include this sort of … eulogy-ish display of dead romanticism. The capitalistic ideal embodied in mobile computing (namely, what Apple peddles these days) and our attention turning away from grand schemes towards satisfying personal comfort might directly parallel the subject matter in Jintai, but I suppose that is one aspect of modern, 21st century living all people, across the world, have to deal with to a degree: More #firstworldproblems for all.

6 Responses to “Orthogonal Thinking, Humanity Declines”

  • Author

    It is quite sad how ignorant Trent Volbe is about American space exploration, while writing articles about it. It’s not so much the ignorance of basic facts, like that NASA has nothing with Spaceport America, construction of which is financed with state money (largely). But he apparently has no idea how wasteful NASA is at what it does, and how much more they could do with those 18 billion. The flagship programs such as Mars take all of about 7%. The monstrously expensive ISS is only 12% or so. The SLS is consuming almost full third, and there’s no word as to if we even need it.

    Ironically, that deeply flawed piece of disinformation works quite well to underscore the end of statist romanticism: the era when our betters told us what great things we were supposed to accomplish. Now they just steal more our money than ever and instead of building Hoover Dam or Saturn V, they pass what’s left to the “disadvantaged”, who in turn vote to keep them in power.

  • jpmeyer

    I watch Jintai in hopes of seeing scenes of faeries peeing.

  • vendredi

    To be honest I think Jinrui started off with the right foot – a critique of industrialized food production/consumption. That’s something you rarely see tackled in anime, or heck, any other media for example, but the movement towards organic/fair-trade/local/something “not industrial” has tons of traction in the West.

    In a sense I’ve always wondered if Japan sort of represents a potential model of a future American long economic decline. Like Gibson said in one of his interviews, the Japanese were cyberpunk before he started writing cyberpunk.

    • omo

      On a very basic level, “organic/fair-trade” stuff has more traction out west because it’s easier to afford those things and people have more choices. I see it rather in the opposite end, where Japanese people are more often victim of poorly controlled cheap production and general pollution and other by-products of industrialization. That’s how they’re somewhat more sensitive.

      To that degree, speaking as an American, I think Jintai’s earlier episode on Bread and Chicken speak in general enough terms (or fantastical enough terms) that the message isn’t lost.

      As for decline, well, I don’t want to say humanity is in decline, but let’s just say to pessimists the cup is always half empty no matter what language they speak or country they live in.

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