Fandom Mechanics; Jinrui Episode 3

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita has kept me on my toes for the past two episodes, and while at first, it seemed to be a satirical story about industry, this episode changed the game with its dry humor on otaku subculture. I’m coming to see it more as a satire about not just ‘humanity’ but rather about human culture, and capitalism as a whole.

This week’s episode focuses on a new character- a white haired girl named Y who is a representative of the “Human Monument Project”  -a project initiated by the government to celebrate and to record the last monuments of human culture. This includes warfare, as seen with the large amounts of guns hoisted on the walls, as well as literature. Y is yet another figure who works for the government, but simply dismisses or casually forgets about her duties, hence the pun on her name (“Why this? Why that?” etc). We’ve seen this before in last week’s episode where the Director didn’t even understand his position in the factory, and so I think at this point it can be said that the humans of this age are forgetful, extremely lazy and only motivated when it comes to pursuing their own interests. Which, if we were to label as the humans’ unique traits in ‘surviving’ in this Darwinistic world, would paint a clear reason as to why humans have declined. And it makes sense; after all, the title of the show is Humanity has declined, not “Human Population.” I could argue that the two terms could be interchangeable, but whereas human population references the numerical data- just the number of humans- humanity also means human culture. This show focuses on the unique traits that make up humanity, and how these traits have passed down onto the fairies and their way of twisting it to fit their own needs.

Y is a proponent of this recurring theme. She stumbles upon an abandoned mansion where ‘treasure’ is found- the fax machines and printers we use today. The irony of this situation is that the literature Y finds is not the treasured literature you or I would classify as ‘historical’ or ‘classical’ but rather, yaoi. Y makes it her new project (mainly for her own interests but she luckily can say it’s part of her job as well) to ‘investigate’ manga and begins her own publications. The entire female population of the village fall victim to these mangas and thus, an otaku subculture is created. It’s funny that the same villagers who were too lazy to catch and chop off chicken heads are so passionately into yaoi manga and pass the word around. New mangas and doujinshis are created as the fujoshi population increases and people around the world begin to hear about yaoi manga. Eventually people themselves create their own manga, stirring competition, and the world’s first Comiket fair is created in the process.

I would say that while the episode seems to poke humor at the ‘yaoi fanbase’ in our world today, the approach is vague enough to the point where I feel like it’s a satirical take on fandom itself. Jinrui makes fun of the idea that one thought can spread across the world like wildfire, creating its own very culture in months. I said previously that the only remarkable trait of the human population in this show was their imagination. This imagination is what sparks curiosity, which in return, sparks inspiration and copying. The humans themselves are as much of a ‘printing force’ than the actual fax and copy machines. The relationship between the ‘admirer’ and the ‘one to be worshipped’ always blurs in fandom as people absorb what they love into what they try to do. In fandom, the observer becomes the partipant; she or he (in this case, she) is as much of an important part of the culture as the person who started it. This can be related back to the mechanism of an industry itself; give and take. In order for an industry to function, there must be an audience. In the realm of fandom though, where a ‘fan’ is the sum of the detailed narratives, characters, and tropes of a story, competition is much more available. Y tries very hard to maintain a monopoly over her yaoi ‘manzines’ but because she also instigates a rabid culture, competition is created and her monopoly fails. This is because in fandom, the source of one’s power is not the money (to an extent) but the idea given and molded. As manga drawing classes are held, the only tools a fujoshi fan needs are her pen and ink, some paper and a good mouth. Fandom is not just about watching, it’s about participating, something that is a large leap from the confines of what is just a story, or just a video game, where we are forced to only participate in the realm of the narrative. This includes interaction, fandom fairs, as people become inspired and take their own twist of the original copy and publish it on the market. What this all ultimately gears toward is the fact that in fandom, an audience is in demand and grows because the audience participates on a larger scale.

This is also where the downfall begins. Y is overenthusiastic about her creation, but our Narrator doesn’t think it’s a good idea- and for good reasons. Just as the human population quickly becomes consumed with fan culture, so do the fairies, but unlike the humans, fairies possess a unique sense of consumer interest. They not only know how to really gear toward audiences’ demands, but also know how to maintain quality and add their own sense of imagination to the game. They also have magic (let’s not forget that our Narrator’s hair has a mind of its own). This can be clearly seen when the Narrator, her Assistant, and Y end up in a blank panel themselves. This is a literal step in the ‘audience becoming the participants’ part of fandom culture as they might end up becoming the characters of the manzine Y created. Maybe the fairies will create the yuri subculture this time?

We’ll have to wait until next week to find out what the fairies’ plans really are, but if there’s one thing I can say about Jinrui this week, it’s that it knows exactly how to mix dry humor with passionate one. This show is really shaping up to be both the biggest surprise and the best show of the season. Can it keep up with its energy though? I’ve seen enough shows lose their energy halfway throughout the journey, and I definitely don’t want Jinrui to fall into that category….

Enjoyment Level: 8/10

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