「妖精さんたちの、さぶかる」 (Yōsei-san-tachi no, Sabukaru)
“The Fairies’ Subculture”
I can’t recall another anime that’s surprised me as often in three episodes as Jinrui has.
This episode was so unlike anything I’ve seen in anime that I almost don’t know where to begin to describe it? To say that Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita isn’t very commercial is the understatement of the year – I can’t even begin to imagine who the target audience for the show is. Was this episode as fun and outright hilarious as the first two? Undoubtedly no – and I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed it as much. But it was so jam-packed with intellectual content that I found myself constantly pausing the video and scribbling notes to myself, all in an attempt to keep everything straight in my mind.
In purely practical terms we start with the introduction of a new character, Y (Sawashiro Miyuki). She’s a colleague from Watashi’s graduating class, currently in town to work on the ominously named “Human Monument Project”. Goodness me, this series is full of dark and depressing subtext (all those guns!) – it’s that in contrast to the hyper-kawaii characters and storybook art style that’s essence of the show, as much as anything – and the notion of this is some sort of monument to humanity’s past glories. The problem is, nobody in the government really cares about it and it keeps getting pushed onto the back burner until a newbie like Y comes along to have it dumped on them for a while.
Naturally Y doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the HMP either – she’s a bit of a flake generally, in fact – and she’s much more interested in the old mansion outside the village whose owner has just died. Turns out the basement held a veritable treasure trove of human artifacts – not exactly Picassos or Shakespearean manuscripts, but the likes of rotary printers, copiers and a whole bunch of memory cards. It’s on the first of those cards that the real “treasure” lies – a BL manga called “Sweet Love” that sets off the unlikely chain of events that this episode looks at in flashback form.
Frankly, Y isn’t a particularly likable character. In fact, she’s rather annoying and I took an instant dislike to her – but given the fact that this was probably the exact reaction I was supposed to have (Watashi certainly can’t stand her either) she serves her role admirably. What plays here can only be called a pitiless deconstruction of the life cycle of a fandom – on this case the one in the crosshairs is fujoshi, and Messrs.’ Tanaka, Kishi and Uezu take no prisoners in telling the story of how a new wave of fujoshi mania sweeps from “Manga Mansion” through this post-apocalyptic world at blazing speed. We have the publication of the original manga, the follow-ups, the first wave of fans, the growth of the doujinshi market, and even a miniature Comiket for BL-lovers from all over the countryside (did I see a few guys in that line?).
I’ll be the first to confess this is a subculture I really don’t know too much about, so I suspect some of the satire was lost on me. But in all truth, while the specifics are fujoshi the pattern was pretty much universal. And even I couldn’t help but laugh at the progression of content that spewed forth from the humble beginnings of that first disk. We had “Camphorwood”, which gave birth to a legion of fetishists of every fujoshi stripe in this new “homogeneous” subculture. Eventually a whole wave of doujinshi “Manzines” are spawned – “Oakwood”, “Silkwood”, etc. This forces Y to up the ante, and manga produces the ultra-HQ “Cinnamon” collection, which gives Y the upper hand until she loses control of her means of distribution. This forces here to call for a doujin fair, the “Rose Garden of David”, with the truly revolutionary idea of having the fans come to the manga. And so they do, in massive numbers, bringing with them their own manzines and legions of fans.
What’s interesting here is that Watashi’s initial warning to Y was that the Fairies would mimic this operation once they got wind of it, and it was the human fujoshi who did so first. But the ending of the episode suggests that the Fairies are finally involved, as Y and Watashi find themselves trapped inside a blank manga panel – and rather ominously (given that the quite kawaii shota was forced to lock himself in a storage room to hide from the “undisguised lust coming from the crowd of girls”, and Y’s misinterpretation of his relationship with Watashi) Assistant-kun is trapped with them. The mind boggles at the possibilities of where the satire might go from here.
As I mentioned, this episode definitely lacked something in terms of pure enjoyment as compared to the first two – it was somewhat dry in comparison – but somewhat made up for it just in terms of the sheer sharpness of the satirical blade. Nakahara Mai’s running stream of sweetly delivered cynicism (“I don’t believe in any of that crap”) goes a long way towards deflating any sense of elitism in what’s undeniably a very intellectual show, and the satire itself is right on the money. There’s a “can’t see the forest for the trees” quality that runs through much of what happens in Jinrui – people walking around with blinders on, hopelessly trapped in their own self-centered view of the universe, and the doujin culture – which can clearly be as cynical and corporate as the establishment it purportedly operates independently of – is certainly a prime target for satirical demolition.
This Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita satire of the week is brought to Yaoi and the females that create it! I don’t blame Assistant-kun going into lock down mode.
Yes you did see some average looking guy’s in that line. 😉
Also the sheer magic that the faries bring to the show was lost simply because we don’t have their simple pack sugar loving mentality to offset Watashi’s cynicism. This isn’t that much of a satire either It’s super inflated because of Y’s ego but it’s not that fare off the mark just really condensed.
An North American example is 50 Shades of Gray and Twilight which both started out as fan fiction can sell, japan fan market is 10 times more ravenous.
WOW, I’m just……I don’t known, speechless after this ep. even though I was laughing through it.
Perhaps not the level of sheer WTFery the first few episodes had, but this one was still very enjoyable. I love that each of the sub-stories that pop up in this show start normally before proceeding to some absolutely bizarre endings, like the gay transfer student and his cross-dressing lover.
The randomness of the story is perfectly fine with me. I have no expectation going into each episode other than to be befuddlingly entertained, and I have yet to be let down.
For some reason I think Jinrui is referring fairies as Chinese.
LOL…. i see where’re you’re getting to Croos
Every time I heard Y speak, I kept hearing Bakemonogatari/Nisemonogatari’s Suruga Kanbaru (same seiyuu). So her disturbingly passionate speeches about the “manzines” and reaction to Watashi’s assistant only further reminded me of Kanbaru lol.
either it was planned right from the start or sheer coincidence
In a good way 😉
Hm. I liked this episode every bit as much as the previous one.
I just had to enjoy all the shameless pokes at the fujoshi subculture. I was pretty much chuckling to myself the entire time.
On the other hand, it was a bit unfortunate that narrator-chan’s presence was less prominent compared to the previous episodes, but her well-timed jabs still made the episode considerably more enjoyable.
LOLOL shameless is the perfect way to describe it.
Is it just me or is this insanely overblown obsession shown by females on gay love true in Japan? I have a hard time believing that this is true, but then I don’t know much about Japanese culture, either. I’ve seen this BL thing glorified among female characters in Japanese anime too often now that one has to wonder: is this true in Japan among real people? Either it must be true since there are indeed tons of BL love theme shows and manga keep being published every year (more demand means more publishing) or there are some very persistant little buggers who keep pumping this over and over to death to see if it sticks on anyone and maybe catches on fire as a fad (I believe it’s the former.)
If this tendency among Japanese female population is indeed true, Japan must be the friendliest country on earth for homosexuality! It’s not being flown upon, but openly celebrated! So why isn’t same-sex marriage isn’t legal in Japan? Very strange. Last time I check christianity and Islam are not big in Japan, so certainly religious bigotry is not in the way… hmm, now I start to think this Japanese female depiction is not accurate at all!!
It’s not just Japanese. I know a full-on fujoshi who can’t get enough BL. You have to remember that BL manga/anime is NOT targeted at gay guys. The target audience is females who want to see hot guys getting it on.
Also .. I’m afraid that you would be disappointed as to Japan’s tolerance of same sex relationships. The fact that fujoshi want to see hoy guys getting it on does not mean they are gay. They are very much hetero.
so… those female audience wants to see hot guys getting on, but they won’t let them marry, huh? I didn’t say those females were lesbian themselves; it seems like those hetero females are all for same-sex relationship and last time I checked they are at least 45-50% of population in Japan. And perhaps old women are not for it, but that still leaves a plenty of population still openly celebrating the same-sex relationship and it appears that Japanese society doesn’t openly condemn it, either. So what gives? Why no same-sex marriage in Japan? If I didn’t know any better, I’d say U.S, despite its religious bigotry, is at least 20-30 years ahead of Japan when it comes to same-sex rights.
There are some literacy that pretty much shown Japan has some old culture that tolerate same-sex relationship as a yet to mature people and excepting such orientation to fade away once the person get old enough…
Though about BL, I have known many women who are attracted to such genre so I don’t find it to be strange…
They pretty much wish to see hot guy when they read BL instead of the love between them…
It is a generalization though, so don’t think all woman who like BL think this way…
Look at it this way – how many straight men get off on lesbian pornography? Never mind the whole concept of yuri goggles… Is it really weird for straight women to get off on the idea of guys getting it on? They don’t call them fujoshi in America, but there are plenty of women who like what the Japanese would call BL.
In terms of translating into support for gay marriage, from what I know Japan is basically more tolerant of homosexuality than any other Asian country – but not to the extent that defenders of gay rights would like. It’s worth noting that gay marriage is still illegal in almost all of the 50 States in the US.
Actually before the arrival of the Westerners in the 19th homosexuality (nanshoku) was widely accepted in Japan especially amongst monks, samurais and kabuki actors playing female roles (who often prostituted themselves on the side). However along with modernization, Japan adopted the traditional Western attitudes against homosexuality hence the lack of gay rights in Japan today.
It also must be noted that the BL subculture is not a celebration of gay rights since its chief perpetrators and audience had always been (mostly heterosexual) women. In fact, Japanese gay rights activists have criticised BL for its unrealistic depiction of homosexual relationships.
^ 😮 we have someone who knows his history and modern culture.
In a north American context Fujoshi are referred to as Slash fans…. mostly they put none gay chareacters into relationship that would never be there in the first place. I actually why I hate fan works that does this as I feel they are bastardizing the character/original work. Let our stright characters be straight and let our gay/transgender/bi-curious be the way the are.
Dammit! Just as I was about exercise my history muscle, someone beats me to it… ;__;
But it’s as Momogoldfish says – prior to Western influence (especially in the pre-Tokugawa era), the Japanese were pretty lenient when it came to male same-sex relationships. There are a lot of scriptures, paintings, etc. that depict it in a positive light, and the general attitude those give off is that homoeroticism was fairly well-accepted. It’s only after the West carried over its “BURN SODOMY” attitude that the acceptance of same-sex relationships started to die out.
>I’ve seen this BL thing glorified among female characters in Japanese anime too often now that one has to wonder: is this true in Japan among real people?
Define “real people”. Fujoshi are an actual subsegment of Japanese subculture. Thing is, they are also probably among the most openly loathed by the general otaku populace, which is quite astounding when you consider that so many of them are loli-cons. If you go to 2ch or niconico, most commentators dislike how they try to fit a yaoi context into practically anything. I’ve never met a fujoshi, but I imagine their portrayal as being completely obsessed caters to the negative view that most otakus have of them.
Mind you, Japan doesn’t have what Westerners would call an accepting view towards homosexuality. Homosexuals who show up on TV are almost always portrayed as flamboyant (and occasionally predatory) and are subjects of mockery. Maybe its because Japan is far more homogeneous than most Western nations, but Japan doesn’t consider most minorities (homosexuals, foreigners [especially black people] and etc), to warrant politically correct representation.
I just—- I need to see this show. But my life is busy enough as it is, and I’m afraid my visual-artist-sensetive eyes would make it extremely difficult for me to read the subs and take in all the artwork simultaneously!
Just sack up and board the crazy train with the rest of us.
I wa shock!
How ironic – I just noticed that this episode post is just below the one for Kuroko no Basuke…
I somehow get why Jinrui will get extinct cause their are lots of girls than boys.
ops wrong place to post this >3<.
LOL Enzo. Did you see the semi-suggestive cap I snuck on the excerpt? 😛
But oh lordy this ep XD I find it so funny that even after the decline humanity, fujoshi are still the ones fueling the manga industry.
Just FTR, that’s not why I gave up KnB!
In all seriousness, one thing I love about the manga industry is that its content is still incredibly diverse because it’s so cheap to produce. That’s in contrast to anime, which is becoming more and more safe (generally) and staying with formulas that are most likely to sell discs.
While this episode was indeed not as hilarious as the previous one, I felt that it was all setup for the current arc anyway. I enjoyed it regardless. I mean, an episode about the renaissance of yaoi in a post-apocalyptic world? That’s…that’s not something you see every day. I liked the satire and Watashi is quickly growing to be one of my favourite female characters this season (I just love her sarcasm and level-headedness in her insane world), so this show is quickly proving to be one of my favourites this season.
And if the last few minutes of the show were any indication (trapped inside a blank manga, sound effects popping up behind them everytime they did something, wtf), we’re going back into full-on crazy next episode. Can’t wait!
ok now i guess look something to read on it.
so we meet Y who drive want to find data & oh going print it.
yet here print book but it’s manga but it’s the YAOI books.
so Y make more & spread it to everyone while total more LARGE HAM doing.
yea more of it then people copies it so make more own made.
then too much so manga convention on it.
yet all it so like indeed Y has really Ham and Cheese all of it.
main character see manga book but tada she is manga with Y cue to be continued.
oh my now it’s manga what next?
Still brilliant as a satire, and the proof is me finding myself trying not to howl loudly in laughter in the middle of early morning while watching this.
Somebody should give the director and the screenwriter two cases of Yebisu each. I love to see more of this possible niche hit of the season.
Yeah, and the first issue of the manga at the beginning looked like a straightforward romance… until she turns out to be a TRAP.
The assistant had to hide himself, that was the funniest part of the episode for me lol.
“As I mentioned, this episode definitely lacked something in terms of pure enjoyment as compared to the first two”
Men… you need to have more fujoshi’s friends.
I have a lot of them and dude, this episode was pure epiphany and bliss. My eyes are still shining like headlights.
But at one point you’re right. It “seems” to be missing “something”, but do not forget, this episode was just an introduction for what they said. Now, after all this introduction, this “lecture” … what we’ll have? What is the joke?
“An ordinary girl, a girl hooked on boys love, and an innocent boy are locked in a room …” DO WANT!
Not as funny , but really random.
It was kind of weird hearing Y’s voice , since Miyuki Sawashiro also voices the character Jun Kanzato from Persona:Trinity soul and their personalities and voices are so different.
Add that to the fact that this episode was the most bizzare thing I’ve seen in a while and …
well , I can’t imagine what the next ep will be like…
If you saw a couple of guys I wouldn’t be surprised. Rotten guys are called Fudanshi.
(did I see a few guys in that line?).
They were buying it for their sisters. That’s what OreImo taught me.
Saw this episode after that.
Despite Y clearly being the antagonist of the week, or if a bit misguided, she looks lovely. If she mellowed down some, she could be my favorite character, and by the end of next week, she just might.
Watashi’s voice actress’ performance is something I can’t describe easily. It’s very monotone and disinterested, but there is a hint of poetry to the way she expresses and calculates her pitches in her lines.
Didn’t like this episode as much as the others, but this series is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread – oh, wait.