If you have watched Episode 10 of the Log Time Podcast, or have any semblance of familiarity with the series Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (also referred to as Jintai) you’re more than likely familiar with the Fairies, the pint-sized figures of great power and importance within Jintai. Considered in some regards to be mythological, the Fairies are very real, very present, and admittedly, very goofy forces of nature. As humanity slowly plods on towards its seemingly inevitable demise, the Fairies have been considered by some, namely Watashi and her Grandfather, to be the “new humanity.” They are humanoid, capable of the creation and utilization of advanced tools, even magic, and are generally an amiable species. It seems that for these reasons and others that the Fairies have been conceptually considered to be the theoretical successors of mankind on earth. Considering them humankind’s successors brings up other questions, namely that of the reason behind mankind’s stepping down, so to speak. We already get a basic sense of this from the title, roughly “Humanity Has Declined.” We understand that humankind is on its way out, as Watashi states, but we are unsure of the specifics of how this decline came about. Watashi alludes towards a decline through frivolity and decadence – through waste and overconsumption. We have causes, but not any specific instances of what brought about the downfall, and as a result, we are left to consider several factors – perhaps the largest of which is “why the Fairies?” Why are they being passed the torch? There’s as many possibilities as there are people with opinions out there (and that’s a bunch), but I’ve picked out three that came to mind and seemed like interesting points to consider. This is not to say that these are the “most valid” or best possibilities, of course. This is more just a collection of thoughts spawning from my question “Why?”
The points that I’ve come up with for us today, however, are as follows:
- The Fairies are the best-equipped species to replace humankind.
- There is no potential replacement species aside from them.
- Humankind wants its legacy to continue, and the Fairies are a convenient proxy.
Let’s go ahead and start with the first possibility: that the Fairies are the best-equipped species to replace humankind. As I have mentioned, the Fairies are equipped with surprisingly versatile magics which allow them to accomplish feats in days that humankind took millennia to accomplish. We see the Fairies create sprawling cities, complete with diverse subcultures and Fairy-groups; we watch them cultivate a desert island into a nation with a thriving economy, infrastructure, and lush farmland; we marvel at the world wonders that they construct one after the other—all of these seemingly within the span of a number of hours or days. In terms of being able to construct civilizations and societies on the scale of humankind’s previous failed efforts, the Fairies are, to say the least, incredibly overqualified for the job. In thinking about that, the Fairies are also well-suited for taking care of themselves as a species, as well, given their magical skillset and apparent lack of a need for any kind of nourishment (unless you count “fun” in that category, since fun is a key factor in the Fairies’ notably rapid rate of reproduction). Even if they did need a source of consistent nourishment, though, the Fairies are more than capable of creating a sustainable supply of food for themselves. If we take all of this into consideration, then the Fairies might actually seem to be a self-sustaining species capable of indefinitely providing for themselves all of their necessities for survival. In that respect, as well as their ability to make sustainable societies, as well, I think this could make the Fairies a solid choice for the title of successors to humankind.
Our second possibility here, that there is no potential replacement species for humankind aside from the Fairies, might seem to be a little more cut-and-dry. In Jintai, the fact of the matter is that we do not know enough about the world that the show takes place in to know if there is truly another suitable species to carry the torch as a suitable replacement for humankind. Really, the only species that seem to be even remotely capable of fending for themselves are humans themselves and the Fairies.
That is, unless you count the sentient skinned chickens. Unless you count them as “suitable” replacements for humankind.
Yes, they did take over the Fairies’ factory pretty handily. Yes, they do seem to have a language all their own used for communication, even if it does sound like a deflating balloon. And yes, they do actually seem, dare I say it, intelligent. Like really, you have to have some sort of intelligence to smoke a cigar without a mouth and give an overblown evil villain speech to a damsel that’s stuck inside a cage of your own clucking devising. That being said, though, considering that they were pretty easily taken down by Watashi and Assistant (actually, really just the Assistant’s fancy photography-fu), and as a result have assumed lifelessness and subservience to humans as tasty food, I wouldn’t say that they stand much of a chance of being a replacement for humankind in that respect. We don’t actually encounter any other seemingly sentient species in the show aside from the humans, Fairies, and chickens, so considering the former is dying out and the latter is food, the Fairies really win this one out just by process of elimination.
The last of the three positions we’ll be discussing here is that humankind wants its legacy to continue, and the Fairies are a convenient proxy. The Fairies, for all intents and purposes, certainly seem to be a solid human proxy—they are physically humanoid (for the most part), they are able to communicate with humans in their same language without the need for an interpreter, and they emulate the structures, societies, fads, and trends of humans, even if some of these emulations are pretty twisted. In that sense, the Fairies are basically smaller, psychotic, magical humans. The interesting thing about this, however, is that despite all of these similarities, there is, to our knowledge, no actual species connection between the Fairies and the humans in terms of evolution. The only real “connection” is that the Fairies are able to replicate everything that humankind has and can do. Passing the torch to the Fairies, as well as giving them the title of “the new humans,” is in essence just a symbolic gesture, leaving the legacy of humankind to a species that merely resembles and emulates them. If humanity truly just cares about preserving their legacy, then the Fairies are probably the best option for this succession (and because, you know, chickens don’t look anything like humans, even if they can get the evil takeover ball rolling).
If you really want to get down to it, any one of these considerations could serve as a decent argument for why the Fairies could/should/might be the successors to humans once humankind eventually dies out. Really, though, these considerations are all based in a common set of assumptions: that there must, should, and will be a successor to humans once humankind dies out. If we think about this in context of Jintai as a whole, though, you have to wonder—should there actually be a “new” humankind, a replacement/successor to the species that wasted itself into extinction? If the Fairies were to take on this emulation of humanity and become the new humankind, would they also become subject to the unsustainable waste that humankind ultimately found to be their demise? Or would the Fairies, with the capabilities that they have, be able to overcome this and thrive in the world as its new dominant species? Perhaps we do not even have to consider that—maybe with their capabilities, the Fairies could actually be just as wasteful as humankind and still be sustainable. Really, we have no way of knowing this, and ultimately, as Jintai ends, we are not left with a devastated humankind, but instead a humankind that is still holding on to its place and survival in the world. As it stands, though we can think about how and why the Fairies might serve as the new torch-bearers for earth, humanity still has time on the planet, and I think that should give both them and us, as their real-world proxies, time to think about our position as stewards of the planet.