The summer 2012 anime season is heralding a new era for anime. Whereas it was merely entertainment before, it’s now become the vehicle for a few intrepid writers to stand on some animated soapboxes and shout their beliefs at whoever will take the time to watch their writing become animated into pretty moving pictures. Alright, so maybe it isn’t exactly unheard of for a show’s creator to embed hotbed issues in their works, but very rarely have the works been as clustered as they are now.
Between shows weighing the pros and cons of capitalism, scrutinizing the problems inherent in Japanese politics, and throwing out brilliant one-off jokes about Japanese conflicts of interests, the summer is practically choking on subtext and hidden messages. While the latter two could potentially be interesting, I decided to go the safe route and blog the show with chickens committing suicide to Ave Maria.
Because Jinrui is so shameless in its approach to criticizing capitalism, I don’t think I need to elaborate on the message much; suffice it to say that it’s appropriately scathing, pulling out all the stops in portraying the various issues with Fairy Co— redundancies, incompetence, and full-on corruption being part and parcel for the company, personified fully by the white-suited “manager” that pesters Watashi on her way to meet with the factory owners. Other people gone into greater detail, and I don’t have anything to add to the discussion.
Of course none of it would matter if the show didn’t have an aesthetic befitting a fantasy-esque take on an out of control free-market economy; while not exactly the cheeriest of subjects to lampoon, injecting undue amounts of grimdark into the mix would be a recipe for disaster. After all, people want to see evil chicken carcasses running factories and smoking cigars, not underpaid workers forced to watch their families starve while they hang themselves from the rafters.
Thankfully, Jinrui manages to be dark without falling into bleak territory, the second episode showcasing its immense potential for grim humor. Every gag, from the story of the seven children (Flora was hacked into pieces), to a group of chickens crashing through a stained glass window and into the lap of an older sister desperate to feed her siblings, is absolutely flawless in execution. It manages to balance surreal, almost nightmarish situations involving food products gone awry with a hilarious lack of accountability on the fairies’ part to create scenarios as enjoyable as they are ripe with potential for (not so subtle) commentary. In short, even if the rest of the show turns out to be complete pants for whatever reason, this episode by itself is easily one of the best comedies of the year.