「妖精さんたちの、じかんかつようじゅつ」 (Yōsei-san-tachi no, Jikan Katsuyō Jutsu)
“The Fairies’ Time Management”

This series is one of the most exquisite mind-benders in recent anime history.

We’ve certainly seen time loops, cloning, temporal paradoxes and such used as themes in anime before. But somehow Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita has a way of making the pieces fit together that manages to be intellectually dense without being pretentious, and confusing without seeming unfair about it. This show has an exhilarating effect for me – I’m thinking my way through every episode non-stop (if you smell smoke it’s because it’s coming out of my ears) and always walk away feeling as if my brain has just been to the gym for a bracing workout. I’m mentally tired afterwards – but it’s that good, “feel the burn” kind of tired.

If Jinrui were nothing but mental Pilates I’m sure the charm would wear off quickly, but in addition to the stimulation I continue to find the whole enterprise vastly entertaining. I can’t explain everything that happened in this episode, but some things are clear enough. This appears to be a prequel to the prequel that concluded last week, for starters – making the chronological order of episodes so far 7 (8), 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4 if my guess is correct. In any event Watashi didn’t seem to know Joshu-kun this time – though like so much of the episode there’s enough contradictory evidence to make me wonder. All we know is what we’re told, that Grandpa has assigned her to pick up his assistant, who’s returning from a round of medical treatment. While we’re never specifically told that this is the Joshu-kun we know and love, it seems quite likely to be – and the evidence later bears this out.

But like everything in Jinrui, it’s not quite so simple – and Watashi undergoes quite a trip down the rabbit hole in her much-interrupted journey to pick up Joshu-kun at “The Lamb and Olive”. Among the elements that appear during the episode (all of which may or may not be significant) are the following:

  • Watashi has lost her watch, and Grandpa gives her a sundial watch that we’re told he received from a beautiful girl he knew before Watashi’s Grandmother. To indicate her underwhelmed reaction Watashi memorably gives us “Arigato gozaimasen”.
  • Watashi mention to the Fairies that since humanity has declined, there just aren’t many people left who know how to make sweets, and jokingly wishes there were several of her. When Fairy tells her this is possible, she declares “No cloning!” on the grounds that it’s morally wrong.
  • Watashi meets a Fairy in the woods who gives her a banana which has no taste. When she points this out he responds, “You wanted one with flavor?” and produces one (by the end of the episode I was shouting “Don’t eat the banana!” at the screen).
  • Watashi sees a strange dog in the hazy distance, which seems to intermittently look like a human.
  • Watashi sees the Fairies playing soccer with what looks unsettlingly like a humanoid head (and sounds like one, too).
  • Watashi meets a Doctor at the Lamb and Olive, who tells her that the assistant has wandered off (which he has a habit of doing). She also tells Watashi that the assistant is a young boy who was found completely alone, and never had anyone to teach him how to speak. She agrees to search the forest while the Doctor searches the village.
  • Watashi meets a girl who looks much like herself.
  • Watashi meets her Grandfather riding a chariot, and he scolds her for not having picked up his assistant.
  • Repeat.

Now, certain things seem obvious enough. The Fairies have clearly taken the notion of the “time slip” quite literally – each time Watashi takes a banana from the Fairy and eats it, she meets another girl who looks just like herself – then slips on the banana peel and wakes up, dazed, to start the cycle all over again. The obvious Occam’s Razor solution is that the Fairies have taken her DNA and cloned her repeatedly, in order to give themselves a stockpile of Watashis to make sweets for them. But it also seems as if Watashi has entered the world of the Fairies, which – for lack of a better explanation for now – seems to exist as an alternate dimension alongside are own (one of the Fairies refers to it as “Happy Land”). That the Fairies are up to no good has never really been in doubt – what I still don’t know is if they’re merely mischievous, selfish and cavalier about humans, or truly malicious. I don’t think this ep answers that conclusively.

It’s certainly welcome to get some new information about Joshu-kun and his sad background, and I hope that’s a topic that’s explored further because his relationship with Watashi remains the most human one in the series and the closest thing to real character development. I was interested in Watashi’s initial reaction of jealousy when Grandpa informed her that he was getting an assistant, as well as her later remorse for it. Also interesting was the Doctor’s assertion that Joshu-kun “Unfortunately was a bright boy. He was smart enough to wonder who he was.” That’s the sort of conspicuous and carefully worded statement that doesn’t sound like a piece of throwaway dialogue.

The odd thing in this episode is that Watashi remembers that Joshu-kun “looks great in a Hawaiian shirt”. Does this mean the timeline is different than it appears, and they’ve met before? Time is an obvious recurring theme, with clock faces and watch dials appearing throughout the episode. And what’s the story with the dogs, I wonder? Again, in what sounds like anything but a throwaway line, Watashi is heart to say “That dog worries me.” As the episode closes Watashi stumbles upon a village square full of dogs like the one she’s been glimpsing – and a boy in a Hawaiian shirt playing with one of them. The internal logic of Jinrui always holds up once the mysteries are revealed and I have no doubt that will be the case here as well, but at this point I can’t yet put all the pieces together. If the past three arcs are any guide it should be a blast to find out – each of them has concluded with a brilliant second episode that builds on the one one that preceded it.

57 Comments

  1. That does it. This is down right the most intellectual show and most curiously stimulating of this season, if not the year. The way the fairies made clones of Watashi was freshly presented.

    The results appeared to affect the dog as well, and I wonder if this will result in a new character, considering she saw the dog as a human briefly at the beginning of the episode.

    starss
    1. I’m actually not sure the Watashi’s are clone but another way to split her is to split the time line and create copies of her in a none cloning method that all co-exsist in “Happy Land”.
      That or with all the time jumping the other Watashi’s get replaced with a dog each time they try to feed Watashi’s a banana so that she does not remember being asked repeatedly to clone herself from that action. >_<

      Ani_BEE
    1. I just stopped trying to make sense of the time slips

      Time slips on a banana peel, no less.

      I guess the fairies must have heard the old joke: “Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana”

  2. It’s definitely a fellow Fairy head O_o Consider they mass produce themselves I guess they have no senses of pity if one is defective or damaged.

    I’m planning to make a small following of these Little Gaffers. They are creepy looking without a body.

    Glad to see the banana in the end credits get some explanations as well. Although Watashi floating in space with the banana and the red spatters turn into stars actually concerns me at this point. O__O
    http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c34/ani_bee/cosplay/watashi.png

    Ani_BEE
      1. Actually I think the headless chickens put them in those blister packs. (I think it is mentioned multiple times that they just duplicate/multiply)

        This is how in episode 6 the one reconstituted fairy multiplied so the fairy density was >15f.

        a20020000
    1. I just had a random thought. The fairies in this episode call Watashi “Human-san” but in the first episode they called her Ms. Sweets, meaning that now associate her with Candy after this time jumping episode in the timeline. lol

      Ani_BEE
  3. Figured the last arcs backwards time skip was going to be a one time thing but now that we’ve moved into how she meets assistant maybe the entire series has been moving backwards arc by arc from the start?

    Qwert
      1. I don’t know. After this arc we’re probably looking at another backwards time skip which would start lending some credence to the theory.

        If you look at the OP at the end it moves through various side characters, there’s Y and then Pioneer/Voyager who we’ve already covered and after them there’s Watashi with a group of girls and they’re all wearing what are likely school uniforms suggesting that the next if not the following arc is going to jump back to when Watashi was still in school.

        Qwert
      2. I have no idea where the series will go after this arc, but among the eps that have already aired a straight-backwards direction doesn’t fit. The “Fairies Subculture” arc certainly seems to take place after the “Secret Factory” arc.

      3. Actually you have a point with the Fairy Subculture arc. I was going to watch through the episode for anything that would act as a time line reference and after all of 10 seconds the fact Watashi’s hair isn’t cut is proof enough that the arc wouldn’t fit with the backwards progression.

        Qwert
      4. Actually, is it be possible that the order is 7, (8), 3, 4, 5, 6, 1, 2? We might be able to figure out which occurred first from the conversations about the Human Monument Project in episodes 3 and 5, but I haven’t actually checked.

        introverte
      5. 3-4 clearly goes after 1-2 because otherwise her hair would still be short.
        I think it’s as Enzo suggested – 7(8)561234 – God knows how the rest of the episodes fit.
        Gah, I hated when Haruhi anime did this achronological thing because it always makes me go “Wait, What? Who? When? How? Why?!” XD
        As if this series wasn’t screwing with our mind already!
        I’ll probably have to watch this again in chronological order when the series ends.

        NaYa
      6. Order of the story aired in Japan, all of this anime has been announced already.
        This story is what animated episodes of Volume 2 of the original novel, is the last episode of Volume 3.
        Became a topic between the original novel fan was originally an animated look at the story and also in Japan?”Why start from Volume 4:” Why.
        I’m sorry English is poor.
        Ojamashimashita.

        RA-GA
  4. this week ep

    main give sweets to fairies give want more think of clone but main go bad idea & see a dog.
    main’s grandpa ask her find a person give her old watch.
    a fairy give main a banana & her grandpa on horse chariot.
    see a female doctor give info on the person to find.
    then main see a female person bit hmm til slip.
    main seem bit wonder see a dog look bit confuse like grandpa with a rifle & got a watch already.
    fairy banana, female doctor & same hmm female person.
    then again slip now three hmm person & again yet it was fairies did it.
    cause sorta make banana sorta time loop probs to point clone time main female?!
    then after some no watch & ask of person to search one more slip.
    fairies see ok give look like all normal til many dogs & see person to search.

    to be continued…

    den-o
  5. I was under the impression that whenever Watashi slipped on the banana peel, it caused her to “copy”; she would return to some earlier point in that day while leaving a duplicate in the forest. DNA cloning wouldn’t explain why several of the duplicates had watches and why several of them didn’t.
    I suppose something happened during one of the slips, where she lost the watch and met Joshu-kun.

    While the fairies are adorable, they’re also starting to scare me…

    introverte
    1. They were already sort of creepy before, but also kind of cute, like the bacteria from Moyashimon.

      But seeing them play soccer with the head of one of their own (which seemed to be still alive) takes the cake so far.

      I too think the “clones” are a result of some loophole during time travel the fairies used, rather than real clones.

      Zannafar
  6. The copies of Watashi are copies of her from different times. The fairies said that the “Happy Place” is disconnected from the past. When she slips on the peel it sends her to the past, but since the happy place is disconnected, she is still in the happy place too. Repeat until there are 100 Watashi. You’ll notice that when she goes back in time, it never to the same place, which is how I think the fairies made the loophole. The Watashi in “Happy Place” are technically from different “Places”

    Kushieda
    1. Yeah, I was thinking it was something along those lines. It’s a little confusing though, having thought about it again. I can’t decide if Watashi exists in a linear or divergent timeline. On one hand, she finds herself cycling through events that had occurred previously, indicating that she’s somehow looping through the same timeline’s events. On the other hand, we see her seemingly merging with two of her “other self”s when she comes into direct contact with them, indicating the possibility that the timelines of two divergent Watashis had converged and led to a particular, unavoidable outcome.

      Either way, you can tell that idea was to parody S;G. Again, I completely missed out on the obvious hint, and only after thinking a little bit about the banana did I realize its significance. And those fairies… I can imagine this series ending as disturbingly as School Days did.

      I wonder what would have happened if Watashi had managed to put that banana spring roll into that strange hearth…

      Junglepenguin
  7. this episode creeped me out :p but I’m confused, in a previous episode they said ”he lived a happy life, why do you draw dark images” kind of thing, and this episode you see he lived his life alone :p how’s that a good life x.x they either forgot that or the subtitles I read weren’t that clear :p

    Anyway not bad an episode n its creepylol.. so yeah

    ColonelMiim
    1. Interesting point about Joshu-kun’s picture book. I can’t explain how Watashi’s comment fits with what we found out about Assistant this week – but I still wonder how it is that Watashi knew was he looked like supposedly before they’d ever met.

  8. I examined this episode carefully and after my headache subsided this is what i came up with.

    1. The time loop begins when Watashi eats the banana at 12:40pm, the first banana was a test run (indicated by the lack of taste and also the time it took for the first time loop and how far in the past Watashi went back to, which was back to outside her grandfathers office 12:20pm.) Watashi mets the doctor at 2pm, enters forest 2:30pm, arrives at the hearth 3pm, where it resets.

    2. The second banana, now perfected, shortened the time loop resetting right b4 she eats the banana at 12:40pm instead of 12:20pm. Each time Watashi meets herself, her previous self is changed into the dog which helps cook the pastries in the forest.

    3. The fairies wanted to shorten the time loop even more to create more helpers faster so they gave Watashi “a new model” which resets back to only 2:30pm instead of 12:40pm, so every half hour creates a helper instead of every 2 hours 20 mins.

    So what to do with all the Watashi’s? Pets maybe? I don’t think there was any cloning, just Watashi jumping back within the same timeline (indicated by the watch being given to Watashi only once), causing the previous Watashi to be taken, changed to a dog and entranced to make pastries. Good paradox episode, haven’t enjoyed a good space-time story since Mighty Max.

    Jounouchi
  9. I can’t help but think of the dogs. On the first part of this episode, Watashi was looking at a dog who transformed to a human figure, and crouched back to a dog figure, the creepy part is the outline just looks like Watashi. Is it possible that Watashi was transformed to a dog? Or is it the other way around? This show sure packs creepiness in a cute package. How else can you explain the bleeding bread of the first episode or the fairy head soccer ball?

    Flanders
  10. So Watashi tells fairies cloning is morally wrong .. so they surprisingly comply, only instead of cloning (which is morally wrong) they resort to time loops/paradoxes to create extra copies of her without using cloning, mischievous clever bastards XD

    Zephyr, as for your question about their intentions, i think they are a case og “lethal indifference” .. they just think interacting with humans is entertaining and fun but they really don’t value the well being of humans that much .. kinda like robots without the Azimov “Robot laws”)

    HunterWulf
  11. Enzo, you say you were yelling at Watashi not to eat the banana, but apparently even baking the banana causes paradox.

    However, I want to bring up a curious topic. Did anyone notice how the first dog in the beginning has the same type of eyes as the assistant? I don’t think any other humans in the cast happen to have such an eye type. Does this mean the assistant is actually a dog? Does this mean the dog is actually the assistant? Is this overanalysis? Mind = blown.

    Zanibas
    1. I’ve seen it postulated that Joshu-kun is a dog, also that the dogs are Watashi… I don’t know. I just know the dogs mean something. As Watashi herself says – “That dog worries me”.

      Also – how is it that Watashi knows Joshu-kun wears Hawaiian shirts? That feels significant to me.

      1. My bet? There’s a prequel to this prequel that hasn’t been explained yet. That, or Hawaiian shirts have the ability to transcend dimensions when worn properly :P. Don’t you find it weird though that Watashi never gets an actual physical description of what the assistant looks like to assist her in her search? We get a glimpse of his history, but we never know within this episode what he actually looks like.

        Zanibas
      2. Reasonable theory:
        She already knows the assistant beacause she met him in a number of time loops. All those Watashi are just her from different loops she made. She did say her memory was fuzzy and the fairies said that she will forget everything from that “nice place”.
        Also, remember how some of Watashis had sun watches and a lot of them didn’t? And how she didn’t remember where she lost it? Well, she probably ended up way back in the past once and gave the watch to her grandpa – the Watashis with the watch are from before that and those without are from after that event.

        Somewhat crazy theory:
        Not sure about the dog, but i’ve been thinking – the assistant grew up without any human contact and didn’t know what he was. Maybe he saw himself as undefined – and became a being with unstable form. So when he met Watashi she defined the way he would look (remeber that question – “What you want him to be like”).

        Totally crazy theory:
        What if the entire human race already destroyed itself? The current humans are just some kind of an experiment that fairies (aliens, something like that film “AI”) are running to see what the humans were like.

        Knez
  12. I… I can’t get over the fact that the fairies were kicking around a fairy-sized head that seemed to still be alive……
    That fixed smiley face is creepier than Kyuubey.

    NaYa
  13. I know everyone wants to give Romeo-san credit for the S;G thing with the banana, but I honestly think he was just going for a pun with the “slip in time” thing. This seems especially likely given that the LN version of this episode was released before S;G was…

  14. That was very clever sade. Was this intentional on their part? Truly I wonder.

    Currently I was under the impression that the assistant was the dog from the get-go. Watashi never knew the description beyond that he couldn’t talk but knew who he was. I think she thought it was the dog and conveyed this to the faeries in each of the different timelines except for the last one. In the last one the Hawaiian shirt appeared and her description to the faeries was now about a boy. In every single timeline the assistant/dog is faerie-made.

    What was up with the faerie head though? Or the shapeshifting dog? I’ll need a second episode to explain this.

    Commenter

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