Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita – 03

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I can’t recall another anime that’s surprised me as often in three episodes as Jinrui has.

This episode was so unlike anything I’ve seen in anime that I almost don’t know where to begin to describe it?  To say that Jinrui was Suitai Shimashita isn’t very commercial is the understatement of the year – I can’t even begin to imagine who the target audience for the show is.  Was this episode as fun and outright hilarious as the first two?  Undoubtedly no – and I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed it as much.  But it was so jam-packed with intellectual content that I found myself constantly pausing the video and scribbling notes to myself, all in an attempt to keep everything straight in my mind.

In purely practical terms we start with the introduction of a new character, Y (Sawashiro Miyuki).  She’s a colleague from Watashi’s graduating class, currently in town to work on the ominously named “Human Monument Project”.  Goodness me, this series is full of dark and depressing subtext (all those guns!) – it’s that in contrast to the hyper-kawaii characters and storybook art style that’s essence of the show, as much as anything – and the notion of this is some sort of monument to humanity’s past glories.  The problem is, nobody in the government really cares about it and it keeps getting pushed onto the back burner until a newbie like Y comes along to have it dumped on them for a while.

Naturally Y doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the HMP either – she’s a bit of a flake generally, in fact – and she’s much more interested in the old mansion outside the village who’s owner has just died.  Turns out the basement held a veritable treasure trove of human artifacts – not exactly Picassos or Shakespearean manuscripts, but the likes of rotary printers, copiers and a whole bunch of memory cards.  It’s on the first of those cards that the real “treasure” lies – a BL manga called “Sweet Love” that sets off the unlikely chain of events that this episode looks at in flashback form.

Frankly, Y isn’t a particularly likable character.  In fact, she’s rather annoying and I took an instant dislike to her – but given the fact that this was probably the exact reaction I was supposed to have (Watashi certainly can’t stand her either) she serves her role admirably.  What plays here can only be called a pitiless deconstruction of the life cycle of a fandom – on this case the one in the crosshairs is fujoshi, and Messrs.’ Tanaka, Kishi and Uezu take no prisoners in telling the story of how a new wave of fujoshi mania sweeps from “Manga Mansion” through this post-apocalyptic world at blazing speed.  We have the publication of the original manga, the follow-ups, the first wave of fans, the growth of the doujinshi market, and even a miniature Comiket for BL-lovers from all over the countryside (did I see a few guys in that line?).

I’ll be the first to confess this is a subculture I really don’t know too much about, so I suspect some of the satire was lost on me.  But in all truth, while the specifics are fujoshi the pattern was pretty much universal.  And even I couldn’t help but laugh at the progression of content that spewed forth from the humble beginnings of that first disk. We had “Camphorwood”, which gave birth to a legion of fetishists of every fujoshi stripe in this new “homogeneous” subculture.  Eventually a whole wave of doujinshi “Manzines” are spawned – “Oakwood”, “Silkwood”, etc.  This forces Y to up the ante, and manga produces the ultra-HQ “Cinnamon” collection, which gives Y the upper hand until she loses control of her means of distribution.  This forces here to call for a doujin fair, the “Rose Garden of David”, with the truly revolutionary idea of having the fans come to the manga.  And so they do, in massive numbers, bringing with them their own manzines and legions of fans.

What’s interesting here is that Watashi’s initial warning to Y was that the Fairies would mimic this operation once they got wind of it, and it was the human fujoshi who did so first.  But the ending of the episode suggests that the Fairies are finally involved, as Y and Watashi find themselves trapped inside a blank manga panel – and rather ominously (given that the quite kawaii shota was forced to lock himself in a storage room to hide from the “undisguised lust coming from the crowd of girls”, and Y’s misinterpretation of his relationship with Watashi) Assistant-kun is trapped with them.  The mind boggles at the possibilities of where the satire might go from here.

As I mentioned, this episode definitely lacked something in terms of pure enjoyment as compared to the first two – it was somewhat dry in comparison – but somewhat made up for it just in terms of the sheer sharpness of the satirical blade.  Nakahara Mai’s running stream of sweetly delivered cynicism (“I don’t believe in any of that crap”) goes a long way towards deflating any sense of elitism in what’s undeniably a very intellectual show, and the satire itself is right on the money.  There’s a “can’t see the forest for the trees” quality that runs through much of what happens in Jinrui – people walking around with blinders on, hopelessly trapped in their own self-centered view of the universe, and the doujin culture – which can clearly be as cynical and corporate as the establishment it purportedly operates independently of – is certainly a prime target for satirical demolition.

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  1. A

    While the episode as a whole is less funny than the first two episodes, I can't remember laughing as hard as I did at the very end of this episode. (the last three screenshots you took).

  2. d

    What the heck is "size gap fetish"?? (It's from the fan letter.) I don't know if it is a subtitle translation issue, but I can't figure it out for the life of me!!

  3. F

    One partner who's big, the other who's small.

    …for example, this would qualify

  4. d

    Ah, I see. So any of Shaq's girlfriend and Shaq qualities as one! Or any of NBA center and his girlfriend/wife. What I still don't get is that does having "size gap fetish" mean you like dating someone who is half size or twice as big as you or you just like watching such couple? If it is just watching, then… I can only say fetish is a very strange thing indeed. It's like, anything goes!

  5. F

    You are a very sheltered person.

  6. I

    Definitely a lot less fun,but sarcasm on max.

    Funny that as humankind approaches extinction that what's fun of is the crappy corporations and strange societies that came about out of too many people and too much diversity. That's how I'll expect Jinrui to continue doing, making fun of what came when man was so far from extinction.

  7. J

    I wonder how they'll tie this into the fall of mankind. Perhaps the fact that producing BL manga is not something of priority while human existence is being tested?

  8. I don't think that the message intended. I think Tanaka is going more for a general satire of fan subcultures (it's fujoshi, but I suspect any of them would serve equally well) and the tendency for people to become obsessively self-absorbed with their own interests – no matter how trivial – as a way of escaping much bigger problems.

  9. S

    The best way to put it (and something I truly appreciate, though LN readers were saying otherwise) is that this isn't Jonathan Swift style of critique. This is George Carlin (just with less swearing). So it's sarcastic mockery of everything and I LOVE it.

    What I love most about this episode is that it's a take on the "2000 years in the future, archeologists discover people worshiping a porcelain altar" joke. Obviously a riff on the way archeologists have a tendency of overselling a limited image they have of the past. But this one was worked into a brutally wonderful take on the doujin market. So a crappy shounen-ai doujin becomes a revolutionary find for this world. Then the fairies get in on it, haha.

    Next episode is going to be a blast. Though it's going to be really hard to top eps 1 & 2. Yeah, they're only going to have a few that probably top those, but that's more due to the bar they've set for themselves.

    I'm just glad the series will actually make it Stateside. This is definitely one to add to the collection. This + FLCL in a 1 day watch may pickle the brain, haha.

  10. B

    This episode for me was actually funnier than the first two. I think it will depend on the style of humor that the individual watching it prefers. Episode 1 and 2 had more of a, and I apologize for this comparison, but more of a Family Guy style of humor in the sense that they were milking laughs from completely random events and the humor was in the way that things came out you out of left field and made you laugh before you knew what hit you. This episode largely dispensed with that kind of humor, instead opting to dial the sarcasm and snark meter up to 11. Personally I prefer that style of humor so I enjoyed this episode the most so far out of the 3.

  11. The humor in the first two episodes was certainly broader, I'll give you that. But it wasn't random – I'd say it was every bit as pointed and satirical as this ep.

  12. B

    The PLOT of the first 2 episodes was pointed and satirical, but the humor not so much, at least not all of it. Evil mastermind skinned chickens? Camera that makes gunshot sounds? These types of things appear to utilize the "throw darts at a dartboard and see what we get" style of humor. Unless I'm missing something and skinned chickens and gun cameras are actually a deep metaphor for something, but I really doubt it. In contrast a lot of the laughs I got out of episode 3 were from Watashi's snarky inner dialogue, although I though Y was funny too in a different way.

  13. The headless chickens are oligarchic "captains of industry" and also a lowbrow pun for "running around like headless chickens". Assistant's camera is symbolic for the one thing that corporate toads fear the most – having their true nature exposed to the public.

  14. R

    While the humor may have been toned down (debatable, I was still howling with laughter during some parts), the sharp wit and biting sarcasm is still there. I'd say this episode was the most blatantly open attack, in that hilarious, tongue-in-cheek, intellectual, and somewhat self poking that this show makes me love it for.

    For the record, the target audience is me. I don't care if I'm completely alone, this show is just everything I love. Craziness, off the walls randomness, satirical snipes, attacks on sub cultures, but all with that meta sense where it almost seems like the show could just as easily turn on itself is just perfect for me.

  15. S

    It's one long, extended Fourth Wall-breaking piece. And I love it as well. Riotous fun.

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