Friday, October 19, 2012

"Humanity Has Declined" Anime Review

There was one show that stuck out from the rest of the crowd during the 2012 summer season. This anime, Humanity Has Declined had the randomness and uniqueness of Gintama and while I would say I enjoyed it almost as much, certain parts of the season really brought it down.

Story: 5/10
So starting out with a downer, the plot is very incoherent. To give you an idea of what the show is about, we follow Mediator who is in charge of overlooking the fairies in the surrounding area. She and her assistant, Assistant (what a cleaver name…) run into many different experiences over the course of the season. The first story arc is brilliantly funny and a joy to watch but the following arcs felt…out of place. We learn towards the end of the show that the final episodes actually take place before the first four or so episodes in the timeline. Why the creators arranged it this way I do not know but whatever effect they were shooting for missed me completely. While I generally enjoyed the show, the order of events really threw me a curveball. If your main focus is on the actual content and whether it is worth watching, I would say yes it is. Most of the story arcs have a very dry, dark humor but the character interactions break the tension. The main cast along with the fairies work very well with each other. The major flaw with the plot though (the sequence of events) just really lets the show down. If you want a coherent experience, you are almost better off watching the last two episodes, then the ones before that, then starting from the beginning. This might not affect a lot of people but whenever I watch a new anime or tv show, I cannot start it until I am fully aware of the beginning episodes. I just cannot stand jumping into the middle of a season. 

Animation: 7/10
While the animation won’t blow your mind away, it is very unique and distinctive from other shows. The show sports a plain, matte looking color scheme that fits the post world war whatever environment. The character models also have this slick, reflective look that make them stand out from other slow paced shows. It’s hard to explain the appeal but just know that it isn't amazing but by no means horrible.

Sound: 7/10
The first episodes really shine in the sound department. The music played during the chase scene at the end of the first arc was brilliantly placed and the voice actors really nailed their character’s personalities. While the quality of the voice acting continues onto the very end, the background sound tends to sizzle out. I even started to notice that they were reusing some of the musical tracks in the ending episodes that were present in the first couple ones. The best thing about the sound however is the opening theme. It is by far the catchiest opening I have ever watched…and I tend to stray away from J-pop. Overall a great sounding anime.

Characters: 9.5/10
This is by far the most stand out point of the show; the characters and the chemistry between them. The main character, Mediator deserves character of comedy anime of this century award by far (either that or a very close tie with Gintama). Her morbid thinking and decision making process makes every episode a blast to watch. Assistant also tends to steal the show while he is present due to his very crude humor and his use of his sketchpad. Other great characters include Grandfather, Pion, and Y. The fairies also provide some very funny moments in the show. There is however a problem; while all the characters present in the show are well written and amazing, they tend to stay on the sideline too much. After their respectable arc is over, we hardly see anyone but Mediator. Even her Assistant is absent in the middle of the season for a lengthy amount of time. If they would have worked these characters in some more, I would have rated this category with a ten without a doubt in my mind.

Overall: 7.1/10
Do not let this score stray you away from this show. While the timeline really screwed up my experience, this show has too much greatness to offer. If you want a very dry humor and interesting comedy to watch, then look no further.

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