「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”

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Seriously – my pathetic words cannot do justice to how effing brilliant this series is. You’re going to have to forgive me for going into full fanboy mode for a bit, because Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita continues to blow my mind in a good way like no anime I’ve seen for a very long time. This episode was such a beautiful, intricate and delicate construction, lovingly spun like a spider’s web, reflecting on weighty topics like identity and perception, and pulling in some very strong emotional impact in the end (as Jinrui seems inclined to do). And then, to end on such a deliciously brilliant and awful pun – I’m in awe.

Thank Goc for anime, that’s all I have to say.

I really should end it there, but I guess I have to try and give form to my impressions. First off, one thing that strikes me is that we’ve had four two-episode arcs that have followed the same basic format, and the most amazing thing is that in each case, the second episode of the arc has been the masterpiece. The odd-numbered eps have all been great too, but it’s the even-numbered ones that have taken what those odds set up and gloriously put it all together. I’ve been completely satisfied with the way every one of these arcs have been completed – not only have they all been rousingly entertaining, but they haven’t wasted a frame of the setup done in the prior episodes. Everything follows a logical progression, in hindsight, which is pretty remarkable considering that the arcs have aired out of sequence. Against all odds, this episode manages to craft a conclusion that explains the dogs, the bananas, the watch – all of my questions were answered.

Now, I won’t pretend I can explain every single detail of what happened in this arc, but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Some of it is still tied into the larger mystery of the series itself, so I’m content to wait for the final two arc to peel away more layers. In the meantime what we have is a marvelous and unique character introduction for Joshu-kun. It seems as if, forbidden by Watashi from cloning her for their nefarious confectionary purposes, the Fairies went with Plan B – time manipulation. As commenter Sade shrewdly pointed out last week, all bananas are genetically clones of each other – so they do make a rather logical vehicle for the Fairies “Time Management” experiment. I would add about the banana that those wishing to credit Tanaka Romeo-san for a Steins;Gate reference here should check their dates – the Jinrui LN appeared well before the S;G VN did. I think he was simply going for the brilliant “slip in time” pun here – and that pun was only the warm-up for the one that would cap this episode.

I think this is a good time to muse on the nature of the Fairies, which is still shrouded in mystery. It occurs to me that they don’t seem to come up with any original ideas. The notion of “cloning” Watashi to make more sweets was basically her own inadvertent suggestion. Their factory, their manga, everything – these are all basically bastardizations of human concepts. The relationship between the Fairies and human consciousness is still obscure and something that seems likely to be at the heart of everything that’s happened in Jinrui, up to and including humanity’s decline. I wonder of they aren’t somehow an outgrowth of us – something we created out of our own group consciousness in some way. We’ve already seen that in this world, reality can be changed by thought – though that’s presumably because of the Fairies influence, which would mean their own creation in such a way is a time paradox. But maybe that’s not such a problem either…

What of Joshu-kun, all those dogs, and all those Watashis baking in the woods? Joshu-kun is described by Grandpa as “undefined”, and by the female doctor (Kuwatani Natsuko) as “obscure” – which Watashi correctly observes are odd ways to describe a person. We learn that he’s the lone survivor of an ethnic minority, and was living alone in a remote valley – so alone, in fact, that he had no sense of identity because there was no one to define him. The philosophical implications are deep here, no doubt, but that’s apparently what this “bright boy” is seeking when he wanders off – an identity, a sense of self (and is that so different from the rest of us?).

Into this scenario enters Watashi – or “Watashitachi” I should say, as there are many of her – and the Fairies. Each misadventure with a Fairy banana is a slip in time, creating a paradox and another Watashi. And as these Watashi gather in the woods the clock continues to move, and even the doctor and Grandpa seem to sense on some level that something is wrong. Finally the Fairies deliver a faulty banana to Watashi, which sends her “too far back”. There, she meets a hilariously randy and inappropriate 13 year-old boy (Matsumoto Rica) in a Hawaiian shirt who identifies himself as the assistant. He first calls himself “Doc”, and then “The Ringo Kid”. He has an affinity for guns and procreating, and after copping a feel of Watashi’s boobs he tells her he was kicked out of a prestigious school for “procreatin’ with the teacher” (what happened to the teacher??). He also takes a shine to Watashi’s sundial watch, which he promptly “borrows” from her without waiting for permission before spotting a bustier local girl and ditching Watashi to put the moves on her.

Of course, the Ringo Kid is really Grandpa – it makes sense, right down to the Wild West gun-spinning and the origin story of how he got the sundial watch from a beautiful girl. The years have obviously changed him – in some ways more than others – but irrespective of that, this trip far back in the past seems to close the loop on the slips in time, and after this last big slip Watashi has one last meeting with Watashitachi, where she finally asks them what the assistant might look like. The resulting conversation (these really are all her, after all) paints a detailed picture: kind, thin, soft hair, sweet, gentle, responsible but a little bold sometimes, and wearing a Hawaiian shirt – of the boy she imagines Joshu-kun to be. And Joshu-kun has been in the forest all this time, listening in to all of Watashitachi’s conversations, and decides that this is the identity he’d like to take on for himself. So, at last, Watashi and Joshu-kun meet – and this time he’s the Joshu-kun we know. Oh, and all the dogs? Turns out that every time a temporal paradox occurs, the universe cancels out the paradox and gives it the shape of a dog – a “Time Paradogs”. Oh, the sweet sweet agony – Romeo-san, I bow before your ruthless genius.

I’ve said all along that the relationship between Watashi and Joshu-kun is the most real and grounded thing in Jinrui, and this arc makes me feel that even more strongly. How could there be any stronger connection than a boy who decided to be everything a girl imagines him to be? I don’t want to go down the shipping road because this isn’t that kind of show, but there’s a very real connection between those two – built on the compassion she felt for him after hearing his story, and his desire to find himself by connecting with her. It’s a fantasy but it plays on some very real questions of self-identity and how it depends on our connections with others, and I think it’s quite beautiful in a very profound way – for all the kawaii and zaniness, this Fairy world is actually quite a terrible place in many ways, but Watashi and Joshu have found each other in the most bizarre circumstances possible and because of that they have something very real to hold onto.

There’s one last bombshell, of course – Joshu-kun speaks, and using the voice of Fukuyama Jun, no less. Whether this means he’ll continue to have a speaking role in the rest of the series, I can’t say – given that (unless there’s another shoe waiting to drop) this arc surely must precede all the others in the series continuity, it seems unlikely. Perhaps it was the presence of the time paradog that allows him to speak. But with Jinrui, who knows – this is truly a magical and bizarre world that Romeo Tanaka has created and Kishi Seiji and Uezu Makoto have brought to life. And in that kind of world, nothing seems impossible.


    1. You’re kind, Croos. But while it’s fun to blog a series as magnificent as this, I’m always aware of how pathetic any attempt I make to interpret and analyze is.

      I don’t normally summarize as much as I did here, but I thought an exception made sense. First, because there was a lot to interpret, and second, because it was so beautifully constructed that I wanted to relive the experience of watching it.

    1. I scream a little for Watashi on that part but thankfully the memory was mostly erased from her mind. >_<

      Grandpa was an odd duck at 13 want to procreate to re-popular humanity for the reason to have sex. haha THE LAST thing on a 13 year old's mind usually.

  1. Now THIS was an episode.

    The narration in this episode really drove home for me just how amazing a job Nakahara Mai is doing as Watashi. It is Watashi’s character as played through Mai’s voice acting that really makes this series work for me.

  2. There a couple of small things that struck me this episode because nothing said should be taken for granted at this point.

    #1 being Watashi statement questioning if the first Joshu-kun (Grandpa) was human. She quickly brush that though off rightly so as Grandpa was human, but she was searching for her Joshu-kun at the time as well.

    Up to this point I had assumed he was human but the figure running in the wood this episode was changing as people where trying to describe him and possible out of his control. He’s not human, whether he is a faerie construct or his “clan” was effect by time paradoxes (actually he was in the forest of fairie world as well on his own to hear the Watashi’s talk) highly suggest he is more then human.

    #2 Joshu-kun seem lightly sensitive to people strong impression of him. Back in episode 3 Joshu-kun basically barracked himself away from others thanks to Y’s (Y is for yaoi?) mass exodus of yaoi fans flocking to their village. Instead of Joshu-kun just hidding from their insanity of being potential shota fodder is what we the viewer thought, but I think he was hiding so that that large group would not alter who he is currently by their perception of him. A really soul crush fear for Joshu-kun their probably and a really good reason to lock away. He seems just fine with dealing with Y’s fantasy of him on her own but only after the hord came did he take a drastic measure.

    Random Note: I just though Joshu-kun choose not to speak for some reason because Watashi was able to read his moods and toughs so well (in fact Watashi does have full one sided conversations with him), he didn’t need to. This episode he spoke because they didn’t have the answer in their head already.

    1. I think Watashi is able to read his thoughts and feelings because she actually gave him his personality, Watashi is able to read his mind since she knew exactly how he would react based on the personality she gave him.

      1. Every true it also relates into what the female doctor said as well about him, she too was able to feel out what he was feeling as well despite not saying a word. I think Joshu-kun does tape into people to communicate with them, which is why some of the detail nature of Watashi conversation is not just a simple reflection of what she perceives him as thinking.

  3. about the grandpa….do you guys ever wonder if watashi gandma is the teacher? the grandpa is kicked out after procreating with the teacher…

    P.S : man…at 13?at 13 im still busy playing my PS and he’s playing THOSE game…

  4. I was simply blown away by the answers to the questions posed the preceeding episode. It’s so out of this world that it actually makes sense. And yes, I’m often finding myself reviewing the arc conclusions because they’re simply brilliant and beautiful. I actually felt for the characters. And did you notice that at the last loop, she can’t get rid of the impression of Grandpa as she was pounding on the wall? Her inverse impression of Granpa was what made the image of Josh-kun real (all the gentle qualities, plus the Hawaiian shirt). So indirectly Grandpa had an influence on Watashi’s likes, which in turn influenced what Josh-kun’s appearance as well.

      1. Isn’t there a long-standing saying that most women tend to marry their fathers (of course, there’s the whole sorta-joke about how if you want to know what a woman will be like in her later years, look at her mother too).

  5. There are still two big mysteries I’m stuck on.

    1. What or who was that head the fairies were kicking about in episode 7, and why?! D:

    2. Where did that sundial watch come from in the first place, if Watashi receieved it from her grandpa who took it from Watashi who receieved it from grandpa who…
    *brain starts smoking and summons Time Paradogs*

    1. You’re getting hung up by the paradox. There never was a “first place” for the watch to come from. It exists only as we’ve seen it: stolen by grandfather in the past to be kept until he gave it to Watashi, who wore it until grandfather stole it in the past. That is the entirety of its presence in the timeline. This sort of paradox is not uncommon in time travel stories, and is quite often the cause of brain overloads by people who insist on thinking that things need to have a linear beginning and end.

    2. Think of it this way, if in an original unseen timeline the sundial watch was created and along the way was obtained by grandpa, then given to Watashi only to be taken by grandpa’s younger self in the past thereby altering space-time to where the sundial was neither never created nor obtained by grandpa again then there ya go! A linear explanation of how an object can exist only within a paradox.

  6. I think Watashi’s conversation with the rest of her is actually her discovering her true self, note how her real opinions contradicts what she said. What this episode done is that it gave us a glimpse into what made Joshu-san like that, and also how Watashi gave Joshu-san a personality.

  7. this week ep

    1st time zone bit more info on person to search mix of hercules & ares?
    so main meet female doctor then slip banana to 2nd time just usual then slip banana again.
    3rd time female doctor explain more on person after some search banana time again.
    ??? time area main female meet cowboy kids who touch main’s “sweets” & kiss her cause give 13 want to have kids.
    after some go around take her watch go to another woman slip time & that dog.
    4th time bit confuse til slip 5th time after meeting of mains females another slip.
    main & her grandpa finally meet the person in blue shirt with dogs everywhere.
    so all check bring him in still carry a dog.
    cause ta-da blue shirt just pull a ferb speak cause dog is a Time Paradogs?!

    oh my 8eps already now likely wrap of this version endless 8 with 1st meet with Assistant now what else?

    give only missing we this version this guy http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/step…mr-crocker.png yea sure it would mu ha ha ha.

    1. Over-exposed scenes is common in order to underline something dramatic/mindfucking/surreal, and used a lot in time travel (see steins;gate). Don’t know why it’s used a lot, though.

  8. Can someone explain the dog that appeared to shape shift in the seventh episode? Was she seeing herself in the past or something? Or is it symbolic of perception or something? It threw me off this whole time cuz I was expecting the assistant to be a shape shifting dog which is why he wouldn’t be able to speak and would fit her perceptions or some shit.

    1. I can see a couple of explanations. First, she was seeing one of her other selves – and in doing so, the paradox was created and the universe converted it into a paradog. Alternatively, perhaps she saw Assistant “trying on” various identities, and some of those took the shape of a dog or a girl (because that’s what he was surrounded by).

  9. This episode was a difficult episode just once I read the original novel is also difficult to understand.
    I think in the anime story was good and it is easy to understand.
    Show Spoiler ▼

  10. > Of course, the Ringo Kid is really Grandpa – it makes sense, right down to the Wild West gun-spinning and the origin story of how he got the sundial watch from a beautiful girl.

    WTF, I didn’t realize this until you brought this up. Many kudos to your excellent blogpost, Mr. Enzo. (orz, I’m such a bad analyzer)

    And, this is the only anime which leave me both mindfucked and touched in a strange way… Romeo Tanaka, I’m going to read Cross;Channel just to see another time paradogs mindfuck like this again.

    Jinrui starting to stole #1 anime in this season. I’m hoping for another epic tales next.


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