「妖精さんの、ひょうりゅうせいかつ」 (Yōsei-san no, Hyōryū Seikatsu)
“The Fairies’ Survival Skills”

It’s tempting to think of this episode as “A Faerie History of Japan”, but I suspect that would be reading a bit too much into the satire – and believe me, there’s plenty to read into it anyway. Still, as an island nation Japan (like Britain, for example) has some unique elements in it’s historical development, and even more so in the sense that over most of its history Japan had very little contact with the outside world and almost none with the Western World. As such, its history is a great place to look for interesting case studies of human cultural development – and this episode toys with the notion of the rise and fall of a culture in a few short (about nine, to be exact) days, thanks to fairy magic.

I’m grown spoiled by the irresistibly charming relationship that’s grown up around Watashi and Assistant over the course of Jinrui, and I confess I missed having it this time around. Ample consolation was provided, though, both by an overdose of fairy hilarity and a truly majestic performance by Nakahara Mai. She’s been great from day one here – a strong candidate for seiyuu performance of the year – but I think this ep represented her finest work yet. She’s asked to carry a disproportionate share of the load in this show every week, but her deadpan credulity is absolutely essential to making this episode work.

As for those fairies, they remain a fascinatingly bizarre and mysterious force, and Tanaka’s greatest vehicle for his rapier wit. Because of their insanely kawaii appearance he can put any dialogue on their lips and get away with it, and pull in extra humor from the dissonance between their appearance and their often shockingly misanthropic world view. Needless to say this episode was brilliant – they pretty much all are with this show – but I think the satire is a little more universal than normal, and you don’t have to work as hard to make the connections – indeed, the hardest part is keeping up with the machine-gun pacing of the humor, as each joke is in danger of being drowned out by the laughter from the last one.

I still don’t really understand how the fairies work within the Jinrui mythology, though I’m definitely getting a handle on how they work as a literary device. The insanity starts with a discussion of politics, where the subject is fairy elections (they have them, I guess) and one says his platform is “equal distribution of sweets” to which the reply is “You sound like a commie!” Turns out the Fairy population is exploding, which is leading to bullying and persecution. So Grandpa decides Watashi needs to take a bunch of asylum-seeking Fairies to a sparsely populated region where they can found a new nation (I find it very interesting that he tells her it’s a punishment because she was “responsible for the Fairy population increase”). After a mishap involving a rotted dock, she and the Fairies wind up stranded on an island in the middle of a lake – which they decide to make their new nation, and appoint her as Queen.

I won’t attempt to list all the cultural references and clever jokes attached to the dialogue here – just make sure you’re paying close attention. I especially enjoyed the fact that the Fairies had a “Rube Goldberg Machine” and “religions” on their list of top-priority things to invent (though their first creation is, oddly, a Queen Anne vanity), the “Ffee-co”, and the “Narcotics” plant. As Queen, Watashi has her own mustachioed advisor on her shoulder and two Fairy beefeaters to guard her. They start slowly, making her a leaf bed, but then a house starts going up around it – along with a Fairy-powered railroad, water-treatment plant, pineapple-powered electricity plant. The real fun, though, starts when the Fairies decide they want to create monuments – and when one of them accidentally figures out a way to “grow” sweets, which Watashi has been providing for the population as a sort of price of admission for her constant adulation.

It occurs to me that everything with the Fairies is a problem of proportion. Ironically for such tiny creatures, what they tend to do is take everything a human says (or does) and expand it to a degree where it becomes preposterous. Watashi’s careless “Yes?” in response to a Fairy’s “Your Majesty?” is an invitation to build a culture around her. When she says they can build a monument, overnight they’ve created the pyramids, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Easter Island heads… When she tells one to concentrate on growing more varieties of “sweets plants”, they ravage the ecosystem with genetically engineered crops. The Fairies have no sense of restraint, and take what could (not always) be a good thing in moderation to the point where it becomes a threat to society itself – which is never more evident than in this self-contained island and its nine-day development. Everything they do takes resources – their cocoa plant foils the lake with it’s backwash, they destroy all the trees to build their factories and monuments, and they breed so quickly (how?) that they almost instantly have problems of unemployment and NEETs. No, there’s definitely no social satire to see here – just move it along…

After the resources run out and Watashi decides it’s time to leave the island the Fairies are depressed – and what do we make of the notion that it’s the “gloom clouds” that form over the Fairies heads when they’re depressed that cause the rains that submerge the island, because there are no trees to control runoff? I’m not sure if there’s a specific metaphor at work here, but I was fascinated by the conversation between Watashi and the “Rurouni” (Miyata Kouki), a religious pilgrim who confronts her about her decision to abandon the island. She reasons that it’s beyond saving, and it’s surely better to accept that and move on – to which a Fairy replies, “Would you say that about a sick relative?” It’s hard to escape the implications of that statement as it relates to our society and indeed the series title itself – “Humanity Has Declined”, indeed – though I’m not sure what Tanaka-sensei is suggesting as the right answer. Watashi can only plead “Don’t ask me that question!” – which in itself is a line of dialogue whose implications are hard to escape.

The end of the ep is interesting in itself, no less so than because it represents the conclusion of the arc in one episode, a first for the anime adaptation. The Fairies gloom clouds flood the island and it disappears beneath the swollen lake. When Watashi wakes Grandpa and Joshu-kun are there, having come to her rescue (I take some satisfaction in the fact that “Joshu-san was worried” is a reason Grandpa states for why they’ve come, as well as his embarrassed expression). Gramps tells her that the former island used to house at least three native species of rare spiders. Watashi nervously laughs it off, trying to cast the blame on the Fairies. Grandpa provides the ultimate moral of the story in the final line of dialogue: “Learn to clean up the mess, Foolish Child.” If only it were so easy – but, oddly, I think this coda adds at least a slightly hopeful tone to what’s otherwise a hilariously depressing commentary on human culture.


ED2 Sequence


  1. One thing that bugged me in this episode was, that at the beginning, when Watashi counts the 6 fairies, she only asks what happened to the smallest one. Later we see that she started with 8, but no one even seems to notice that they lost the light blue one.

    Anyway, this was one of my favourite episodes so far. The fairies were simply hillarious this time. And Watashi had a few new cute costumes. The giant fairy pyjama was especially adorable.

  2. I liked this episode, just shows how human civilisation started and how it might end.
    It starts with humans gathering food, water etc(the fairies gathering them), then they build a home(fairies building the house), then begin the technological advancement, electricity, genetically modified plants(the candy plant).
    The island would symbolise Earth, the fairies would be the humans, the trees all chopped down is a reflection of deforestation, the storm created by the fairies is a reflection of the weather on Earth becoming unpredictable, the flooding of the island would be the ice caps melting and rising water level flooding land. The ending is quite positive though, the remaining “humans” building another nation on the island.

  3. A one episode arc was unexpected, while shorter this story was delightful for we got more insight into the fairy society.

    “He must have died.”
    “Oh my god.”

    It’s good to be the Queen.

    Are we to expect a 3eps season finale?

    1. My favorite three line. Up to this point I though Sugar was a Narcotic for these guy’s.

      “Oh Boy what is this?”

      Apparently they also pee liquid sugar. lol

  4. This episode was hilarious and an interesting story to boot. It really was a reflection of human nature in general, and the fate of this island nation is one that has happened many times in history already (the moai heads are ironic, considering Easter Island pretty much underwent the exact same fate as this one, up and to including cutting down the forests to make monuments). The faires were put in a rather disturbing light too, from their misantrophy to their creation of narcotics (I totally lost it there, such a surreal sight). Watashi’s narration made it all the better, as she was deliciously deadpan again.

    This really is the best series of the season to me, no contest.

    1. I was thinking that too, how Easter Islanders met their demise by using up all the resources of what was once a paradise island by constantly trying to outdo each other in ‘who can build the biggest monument’ competition…

      The narcotics fairy made me almost spill my drinks!!! XD
      I must say Watashi would make a great ruler, given that she makes sure to have Assistant-kun as her royal advisor next time.

  5. a truly majestic performance by Nakahara Mai. She’s been great from day one here – a strong candidate for seiyuu performance of the year – but I think this ep represented her finest work yet. She’s asked to carry a disproportionate share of the load in this show every week, but her deadpan credulity is absolutely essential to making this episode work.

    She makes this series. The fairy insanity catches our attention in a sort of morbid curiosity, but it is Nakahara Mai’s magnificent work as Watashi that keeps bringing me back each episode, rather than just going “WTF Japan” and leaving after an episode or two. She impresses me more and more every single episode.

  6. How would I have described this episode… Plenty of fairies, A (albeit short) Watashi shower scene and a direct reference to the idea of the end of a civilization. This was fanservice resulting from fanservice in a series that is essentially molded around fanservice. FANSERVICEPTION.

    Forgive me for the stupid joke. But really, this could be my favorite episode yet. The way it flowed into the ED did it for me. It was painful, realizing that RC was down right after I was done with the episode, and that I had no place to squeal my fanboy ass off.

      1. LiA…? *Thinks for a bit* *Does some investigation* *Finds LostinAnime blog* *Looks through blog* WHYHAVEINOTSEENTHISBEFOREARGHGHGH:'( *Bookmarks blog page*

        Also, I completely forgot to mention that Watashi was absolutelyunbelievablymindblowinglyheartstoppinglymoemoekyun~<3 kawaii in her different outfits this episode. Whoops, weaboo moment there. =D

  7. Ample consolation was provided, though, both by an overdose of fairy hilarity and a truly majestic performance by Nakahara Mai. She’s been great from day one here – a strong candidate for seiyuu performance of the year – but I think this ep represented her finest work yet.

    My thoughts exactly. But too bad this series is not viewed by many people so it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The other series are great but Jinrui always draws me back to it and making it my number 1 show of the season. It’s funny, smart and even heartwarming. Especially this episode at the end. And yes, like mentioned above, the way it lead to the ED theme was amazing.

    Japan rebuilt itself very, very quickly after World War II. Japan was extremely poor; pretty much an empty island. Noticed how Watashi said “With fire, water and food, we’ve taken the first step toward survival.” But the fairies went straight to building a water purification system, toilets, etc. lol. Similarly how Japan rebuilt itself into a flourishing nation in the past few decades.

  8. This was my favorite episode! I liked it so much that I watched it twice back to back. How so true, ironic, cute, cynical and hilarious it was! It was full of pure golden moments and the transition was fantastic.

    I just love the fairies in this series. (and their puns too!) Their cute yet misanthropic behavior makes me think of them as children with the memory of the entire history of humanity shoved in their brain. They have abilities that are too good for their own good, and have great knowledge to perform amazing (and/or terrible) feat, but they always follow the examples of humans and requires guidance in their direction… and they love sweets. The way that they multiply by ‘having fun’ rather than through actual breeding is like concept a child would come up with as well.

    I remember hearing somewhere that there is nothing more innocent and cruel than a child, and I believe that applies perfectly to the fairies. (I still can’t get rid of the image of them playing with the severed – and alive – head. XD)

  9. Fairies are cognate there is a setting I’m called frosty but I love that human, according to the original novel.
    Story rises fairies will come out too. The cute.
    This anime’s story ends with the remaining three would be lonely.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  10. the more i keep watching wonder what next?

    so much FAIRIES on this ep only missing is this guy http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lm8c1mEtRi1qemvsho1_500.gif

    main got send fairy to own island with stuck going survivor the fairies edition to fairies make main the queen of island yea keep multiply a lot wonder how they make fairies?

    all doing well bit what like outfit made to spider to a fairy wet itself really yet all good til all sad til so much cloud & rain from the fairies.

    indeed rise & fall or fairy island this week.

  11. This show is amazing, and I am amazed.

    Not particularly subtle (like almost all media is nowadays) but a treat to watch and mull over.

    And your recaps are appreciated GE, especially as I don’t have time anymore to rewatch episodes.

    J Jay

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