With the recent failure to capture my wife’s attention with Chaika: The Coffin Princess, I was still feeling adventurous in our anime exploration. After poking around for a new series to try, I came across Humanity Has Declined. Rockmandash had recommended it, and the plot description piqued my interest: ‘The human race has been slowly declining for several centuries now. In many ways, the Earth already belongs to the Fairies. Life is relaxed and care… free? Thus begins a story that is a little strange and just a tiny bit absurd.’ – Plot description from Crunchyroll
A strong female lead? Check. Cute fairy creatures? Check. An interesting and unconventional take on a future dystopia? Check. What could possibly go wrong?
This is not a formal review, but rather a more intimate look at what the two of us found enjoyable or otherwise, collaboratively written from both our viewpoints. Rockmandash provides a quick recommendation for Humanity Has Declined in his Anime Backlog Review Gauntlet #2.
For Us: An Interesting Premise in a Beautiful World
As you can see in the above screenshot, Humanity has Declined has a beautiful art style that juxtaposes painterly-like backgrounds with pastel-toned characters. Even when the plot made little to no sense, the show was a visual treat. On top of that, the world is interesting. Humanity Has Declined posits an agrarian post-apocalyptic world with the human race fading into history. The remaining human population is now dealing with fairies, a new race of beings that seems to be pushing humans out of existence. However, nothing is ever made explicit. Humanity Has Declined allows for the viewer to draw their own inferences, which is a nice way to build the world while retaining a sense of mystery.
For Him: Darkness Beneath the Surface
I’m all for beautiful worlds with a dark undertone. However, the darkness beneath the surface was an unexpected twist to what I had been hoping would be a fun and upbeat series to share with my wife. I was worried early on when the fairies posited that death by starvation could be a coming fad, but the real tip-off was when an animatronic bread creature ripped its head in twain while begging to be eaten. In the right circumstances, such a gag would be welcome… but not when I’m trying to introduce anime to my wife. Things only got weirder and darker from there: evil headless chickens, a death-trap factory, animate food made from garbage… and all other sorts of macabre madness. The heroine’s deadpan reaction to everything did not help matters either. While I believe her affect is meant to provide a humorous non-reaction to the horrors the viewer is witnessing, it made her seem like a fatalistic nihilist… thus making her an off-putting female lead instead of what could have been a more appropriate viewer’s proxy into the world.
For Her: Scary Fairy
Listen anime world, I love fairies. My affinity towards these tiny ethereal creatures is part of the reason why my husband thought that I would enjoy this anime. When the fairies first come into the picture, they are super cute. They live in a box which is super adorable. And can you guess the only type of food that sustains these little guys? Candy! I mean, how CUTE is that?! You just want to wrap them up in a fruit rollup blanket and feed them little chocolates. Even though these little sweet peas look cute, trust me, they are vindictive little suckers. They will do ANYTHING to get a candy fix from the humans. The village in which this takes place is poverty stricken, so the fairies’ ‘keeper’ (our protagonist) cannot afford to buy gourmet sweets for her fairies. In an effort to be thrifty, our protagonist cooks up a cheap, gum-like treat to keep her box creatures happy and fed. I’ll be darned if they didn’t complain EVERY TIME that poor girl fed them. No one likes a rude fairy.
Another aspect that adds to my overall disdain for the fairies is their method of communication. When they communicate, their mouths and eyes do not move at all. How the heck does our protagonist hear them? Telepathy? Psychic connection? Are they possessed? I don’t like that one bit. For these reasons (along with many others), my husband and I dropped the scary fairies and have moved on in our journey to watch exciting anime.
Because this is not an official Ani-TAY review, we have eschewed the normal review card.
Be sure to check out Rockmandash’s recommendation in his Anime Backlog Review Gauntlet #2.
While I’m aware the traditional rule is to give a series three episodes before dropping it, our cut-off limit is two. Admittedly, my wife and I did not venture deep into Humanity Has Declined… so take our judgement with a grain of salt. From what we saw, Humanity Has Declined is not a safe pick to share with your significant other. While there are elements within the series that could make it a classic... the dark underbelly of the lore, off-kilter comedic stylings, and general air of weirdness earns Humanity Has Declined a pass with us. Your safer trying a different series. Unfortunately, no similar series come to mind to recommend.
If you are still interested and willing to take the plunge, Humanity has Declined can be watched on Hulu streaming service.