There’s alot of hate on this blog about this show, so I thought I’d chime in with a little tidbit of my own.

A lot of people have deemed Humanity Has Declined to be a highly intelligent and special anime, one which manages to impact them deeply and has become a strong contender for best personal Anime of 2012. There are also a number of people calling this show the hipster’s anime, in both a positive and negative light.

Humanity Has Declined is a weird series, and in fact one of the weirdest animes I can recall in recent memory. Yet, it stands out from most of the other “weird” anime, in that there’s not really anything stereotypical about its weirdness (in contrast with most other weird shows anyway). The stereotypical tropes are all here; you’ve got cat-eared androids, suicidal toast robots, and “paradogs” (paradox dogs), among other ridiculous concepts throughout. The weirdness isn’t done simply to be weird, but rather is done to add depth to the series.

The android-arc brings forth yet another “Do Androids Dream” story, but does so in a way that’s both original and thought-provoking. The fairy societies of episode 9 and 10 are analogous to how fickle many societies are in the long run. Even the many improbabilities within the setting contribute to this by giving the setting a fantastical and whimsical atmosphere. I imagine there are plenty of fans who love Humanity simply because of how different it is (mainly the hipsters) but coincidentally it’s the things that make it stand out that make it so intelligent.

None of this is quite evident until episode 6, however. The first five episodes, almost half of the series, utilize an excessive amount of dialogue and deadpan snarking to the point where it undermines any of the good qualities. The dialogue gives the impression that this is a poor adaption of a light novel, while the deadpan snarking just makes all the wittiness seem snobbish. It’s boring, and doesn’t engage you. There’s certainly thought-provoking things to be found, but you’re too distracted by the show’s faults to really care.

Ironically, when Humanity isn’t bogged down by dialogue and snarking, it stands as an anime that showcases all of animations strongpoints as a story-telling medium. The visuals and sound are put to much better use to express the emotions and plot of the story, instead of spoon-feeding it with dialogue; giving the series an atmosphere that only animation can accomplish. Many of the shows weirder elements are also things best told with animation, similar to the likes of FLCL.

Although the plot is nice and well written, the characters themselves are overtly simplistic and uninteresting. They all do well to move the plot forward, but it’s never more than five minutes that each character ever becomes compelling in and of themselves. A big exception to this would be Watashi and Y, who both undergo some heavy character development in the final two episodes.

Another thing is that Humanity presents itself as comedy, and although it may be intelligent, it’s just not as funny as it could be. All of the jokes have potential, but more often than not they’re not quite executed well enough or just miss the mark. Most likely this all due to poor adaptation of the source material, as I’ve heard of it being leagues better than the show itself.

All in all, Humanity Has Declined has its fair share of mediocrity–especially with the first few episodes (past the first two), and it’s not quite as great as many claim it to be.  But it certainly has its moments of brilliance, full of wit and emotion.

3.9/5

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