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By Charles On 24 Aug, 2012 At 06:38 PM | Categorized As Animation, Featured, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarOne of my longstanding anime traditions is to select one or two shows a season to keep up with. This way I don’t get bogged down in the often futile pursuit of trying to watch everything, then feeling guilty when I abandon a show after a few episodes (which pretty much summed up Summer 2011). If something comes along that people suggest I should watch, I add it to the queue, but otherwise I choose shows based on appeal and just follow them until the next season.

This season I decided early on to watch “Kingdom,” a show set in the Warring States period of Chinese history. Since I love the Three Kingdoms timeline, this seemed like an obvious choice. Six weeks later, I haven’t watched a single episode. Blame the slow progress I made with my two spring series, blame my occasionally erratic viewing habits, blame everything else that seems to love getting in the way, but at this point, I doubt I will ever start.

My replacement for a sweeping martial arts epic is the utterly ridiculous, yet satisfyingly funny “Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita,” or, “Jintai,” or, “a bunch of Japanese words I don’t really understand.” Actually, that’s not a fair assessment of the show at all.  (In fact, the title translates to a notably grim “Humanity Has Declined.”)

The premise is simple. Five episodes in, I’m positive that this is a fluff series meant purely to entertain, which isn’t a bad thing. The entire world is on the brink of extinction, and human domination has given way to that of the Fairies- 10cm tall beings with magical powers, great intelligence, a love for sweets, and an affinity for pranks. They also maintain the most blank expressions, that give them the appearance of idiocy despite being the smartest things around.

Another day at the UNCC office…

Enter the Protagonist, a girl sent to her home village the UN to work as an arbitrator and inspector of the fairies alongside her grandfather. Her first day on the job, she loses a flock of chickens, interacts with her tiny charges, discovers those same chickens have been cooked but are still intelligent, and that products produced by the fairies are appearing all over town. A quick trip to the FairyCo factory leads to suicidal bread, transfiguration of trash into food, evil plots and eventually yaoi.

To call Jintai an exercise in irreverence is obvious. The show never seems to take itself seriously, even when lamenting the pitfalls of mangaka or highlighting the declined state of humanity. It often makes light of its own situation, be it by the matter-of-fact nature of the heroine, the deliberate silence of her assistant or the haunting perpetual smiles of the fairies. But it also brings to the table some downright hilarious moments, an interesting look into subculture, and at the very least, moves quickly and doesn’t bog itself down with too much substance. This translates into a very disposable series that is perfect for downtime between serious shows, or used to recover from a mind**** like Madoka or Fujiko.

By this point last year I was completely bogged down in serious shows that took me months to finally plow through. This year, I’m pleased with this relatively lighthearted summer show to keep my mind occupied until the Fall. Jintai is a solid representation of anime at its cheeky-best. Swift-moving and irreverent, yet addictive and satisfying.

…but I love you…