Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita – 07

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This series is one of the most exquisite mind-benders in recent anime history.

We’ve certainly seen time loops, cloning, temporal paradoxes and such used as themes in anime before.  But somehow Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita has a way of making the pieces fit together that manages to be intellectually dense without being pretentious, and confusing without seeming unfair about it.  This show has an exhilarating effect for me – I’m thinking my way through every episode non-stop (if you smell smoke it’s because it’s coming out of my ears) and always walk away feeling as if my brain has just been to the gym for a bracing workout.  I’m mentally tired afterwards – but it’s that good, “feel the burn” kind of tired.

If Jinrui were nothing but mental Pilates I’m sure the charm would wear off quickly, but in addition to the stimulation I continue to find the whole enterprise vastly entertaining.  I can’t explain everything that happened in this episode, but some things are clear enough.  This appears to be a prequel to the prequel that concluded last week, for starters – making the chronological order of episodes so far 7 (8), 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4 if my guess is correct.  In any event Watashi didn’t seem to know Joshu-kun this time – though like so much of the episode there’s enough contradictory evidence to make me wonder.  All we know is what we’re told, that Grandpa has assigned her to pick up his assistant, who’s returning from a round of medical treatment.  While we’re never specifically told that this is the Joshu-kun we know and love, it seems quite likely to be – and the evidence later bears this out.

But like everything in Jinrui, it’s not quite so simple – and Watashi undergoes quite a trip down the rabbit hole in her much-interrupted journey to pick up Joshu-kun at “The Lamb and Olive”.  Among the elements that appear during the episode (all of which may or may not be significant) are the following:

  • Watashi has lost her watch, and Grandpa gives her a sundial watch that we’re told he received from a beautiful girl he knew before Watashi’s Grandmother.  To indicate her underwhelmed reaction Watashi memorably gives us “Arigato gozaimasen”.
  • Watashi mention to the Fairies that since humanity has declined, there just aren’t many people left who know how to make sweets, and jokingly wishes there were several of her.  When Fairy tells her this is possible, she declares “No cloning!” on the grounds that it’s morally wrong.
  • Watashi meets a Fairy in the woods who gives her a banana which has no taste.  When she points this out he responds, “You wanted one with flavor?”  and produces one (by the end of the episode I was shouting “Don’t eat the banana!” at the screen).
  • Watashi sees a strange dog in the hazy distance, which seems to intermittently look like a human.
  • Watashi sees the Fairies playing soccer with what looks unsettlingly like a humanoid head (and sounds like one, too).
  • Watashi meets a Doctor at the Lamb and Olive, who tells her that the assistant has wandered off (which he has a habit of doing).  She also tells Watashi that the assistant is a young boy who was found completely alone, and never had anyone to teach him how to speak.  She agrees to search the forest while the Doctor searches the village.
  • Watashi meets a girl who looks much like herself.
  • Watashi meets her Grandfather riding a chariot, and he scolds her for not having picked up his assistant.
  • Repeat.

Now, certain things seem obvious enough.  The Fairies have clearly taken the notion of the “time slip” quite literally – each time Watashi takes a banana from the Fairy and eats it, she meets another girl who looks just like herself – then slips on the banana peel and wakes up, dazed, to start the cycle all over again.  The obvious Occam’s Razor solution is that the Fairies have taken her DNA and cloned her repeatedly, in order to give themselves a stockpile of Watashis to make sweets for them.  But it also seems as if Watashi has entered the world of the Fairies, which – for lack of a better explanation for now – seems to exist as an alternate dimension alongside are own (one of the Fairies refers to it as “Happy Land”).  That the Fairies are up to no good has never really been in doubt – what I still don’t know is if they’re merely mischievous, selfish and cavalier about humans, or truly malicious.  I don’t think this ep answers that conclusively.

It’s certainly welcome to get some new information about Joshu-kun and his sad background, and I hope that’s a topic that’s explored further because his relationship with Watashi remains the most human one in the series and the closest thing to real character development.  I was interested in Watashi’s initial reaction of jealousy when Grandpa informed her that he was getting an assistant, as well as her later remorse for it.  Also interesting was the Doctor’s assertion that Joshu-kun “Unfortunately was a bright boy.  He was smart enough to wonder who he was.”  That’s the sort of conspicuous and carefully worded statement that doesn’t sound like a piece of throwaway dialogue. 

The odd thing in this episode is that Watashi remembers that Joshu-kun “looks great in a Hawaiian shirt”.  Does this mean the timeline is different than it appears, and they’ve met before?  Time is an obvious recurring theme, with clock faces and watch dials appearing throughout the episode.  And what’s the story with the dogs, I wonder?  Again, in what sounds like anything but a throwaway line, Watashi is heart to say “That dog worries me.”  As the episode closes Watashi stumbles upon a village square full of dogs like the one she’s been glimpsing – and a boy in a Hawaiian shirt playing with one of them.  The internal logic of Jinrui always holds up once the mysteries are revealed and I have no doubt that will be the case here as well, but at this point I can’t yet put all the pieces together.  If the past three arcs are any guide it should be a blast to find out – each of them has concluded with a brilliant second episode that builds on the one one that preceded it.

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  1. j

    The fairies just don't take "no" for an answer.

  2. A

    Well she told the fairies 'no cloning' so maybe to get around this the fairies decided to get 'watashi' from every dimension/time that she repeated the cycle and put them in the same happy space thus increasing the amount of watashi by 1 each cycle…And I suppose since she semi-remembers each timeline and tries to do different things she lost the watch at some point and every subsequent 'watashi' was watch-less. Also that doc is beautiful, maybe related to the beautiful lady that gave gramps the watch somehow. Err the dogs are just plain confusing. I can't wait to see how this all plays out :/

  3. S

    The Fairies will listen to what you tell them not to do.

    Just remember that they're just going to find a loop hole. :)

  4. A loophole with the banana-peel slip in time, no doubt. But it also seems as if the Fairies take their actions based on human ideas, rather than independent thought. Even if they twist her words, the kernel of the idea here still came from Watashi – and indeed, everything we've seen from the Fairies seems to be a parody of a human concept. Is it possible they're some kind of outgrowth of the human gestalt consciousness?

  5. S

    They're friends with Prince Baka. Have to be.

  6. d

    My take on the dogs.
    1. She eats the banana and by doing this, goes back in time. We can see this as she repeatedly meets herself in the forest. And once she met herself by the small wall. And both of herself joined and combined. This means meeting another time version of oneself results in a fusion.
    2. So why does she not join with her other selves? Simple, true to the their nature, the fairies did not clone her, and those are not her other time selves. They are genetically engineered dogs. Or weredogs. Dogs sometimes, Watashi other times. As seen in the beginning, dog becomes human becomes dog.
    3. What does dog-human-dog mean? It means Watashi eats the banana which sets a pre-dated time slip. As she goes off to find the blonde kid a dog is transformed to her. However, this only lasts for a moment. Which is why the constant time slips are needed, to keep the dogs remaining as Watashi for as long as possible.
    4. When the time slips ends, the dogs all stop being Watashi, that is why there is a town full of dogs. Probably because of the irregularity in the timeslips (between losing the watch and having the watch), some dogs have already left the forest (as seen in the beginning, dog-human-dog) and met the assistant, but was pulled back into the forest when Watashi slipped on the banana peel (time slip). Which is why the knowledge of assistant having a hawaiian Shirt is normal.
    5. Based on speculation. by the "last" time Watashi time slipped, she had slipped tens of times and the knowledge of Assistant having a Beach shirt has passed through the Dogs and unto her.

    -Signing off the "Hopeful new character of Hyouka"

  7. H

    I'm starting to see the Faeries as the embodiment of what we might think of as 'human' spirit now. It brings up the question for me, again: Why has humanity declined? Why are the Faeries in ascendance? And from this episode, it seems to come down to: The faeries will use the things at their disposal to work toward what they want. They want sweets, they find out what they need, then they go get what they need. Meanwhile, the humans won't. We've seen humans repeatedly give up on things, or intentionally limit other humans in their endeavors. They've apparently just resigned themselves to fade away without fighting or trying, just cataloging and collecting the past glories of humanity, maybe enjoying some of it, but that's as far as they'll go.

    To me, that's the interesting thrust of the show. I find the individual stories not nearly as interesting or engaging as the overall narrative of humanity's decline.

  8. M

    This seems more and more like a post-Singularity show.Humans are in decline because most of them stopped being human and the ones who refused lost the will to move forward.

    The fairies were left as a combination nanny and cattle-prod.Like the little book showed as long as fairies are around nothing really bad can happen to humans.But they also seem to keep humans from really trying to live as well.

    The only way humans could stop declining would be to get the fairies to leave so they could live on their on.

  9. j

    Next, various heroes of the Austrian School (plus Ayn Rand) will swoop down and punish those damn fairies, thus saving humanity.

  10. D

    I know the source of hunanuty's decline. At least I think so. Fairies are little children. Mischievous and unintelligent, magical, playful, sweets loving, spoilt little brats who listen to the adults.
    Those kids who UNFORTUATELY, like assistant, who has self awareness and Is not part of a semi collective entity becomes kids. The lack of kids due to them changi into fairies is what caused the humanity to decline!!

  11. That made my brain hurt.

  12. d

    Yup. I was using the Iphone and I didnt realize the mistakes of "word substitution jutsu".

  13. L

    There you have it.
    iDevices, the source of humanity's decline. =P

  14. I can buy that.

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