Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is many things: incisive commentary on otaku culture, intensely strange, and funny as hell. It’s also more than that if we take time to look at it as a serious piece of genre fiction.
To grasp what is going on beneath the satire, we’ll have to arm ourselves with some terminology and concepts. The first one is singularity, which has a general meaning of a period of explosive increase in knowledge and technology. Our species has had a few minor singularities in its history: development of agriculture, invention of writing, widespread use of the printing press and the sizable one we’re now in presaged by the birth of the internet.
However, the usage we are interested in is the Singularity as a discrete event of which there are a number of variants. Intentionally-designed intelligences that bootstrap themselves to greater-than-human intellect, spontaneously-emergent entities arising from the network and more than human capacity created by the ever more intimate interfacing of man and machine.
Hyouka follows Oreki Houtarou as he enters high school wishing to expend as little energy as possible despite his intelligence and deductive capacity. Of course if he were successful, we wouldn’t have much of a story; so we follow along as curiosity incarnate Chitanda Eru enlists his aid in helping her remember why an old story from her uncle left her in tears. To solve this becomes one the Classics Club’s raisons d’être, as we have Fukube Satoshi and Ibara Mayaka round out their quartet.
The answer lies in the name of the club’s anthology itself, the Hyouka, and why asking her uncle what the name meant left Chitanda in tears.
One night, bored and trawling the web for reading material, I landed a seinen romantic comedy that promised the addition of laser-beam-firing alien antics. A recently completed four volume series, so far 13 scanlated chapters of Ashita Dorobou exist in English. While those chapters deliver on the promised romantic shenanigans and alien antics, it is the relationship between the protagonist and his ex-girlfriend that sparked my curiousity, for in the very first chapter I noticed the resemblance to that newly-coined romantic trope, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Continue reading
It's not what you think!
Wait! What’s this?! What do we have here? Chiaki! What are you doing? What’s with the get-up? Were you… posing?
I wasn’t the only one laughing was I? What made it funny? Well, I can’t quite answer that, but it’s obvious that we were meant to make the comparison between Chiaki and Marika in the regalia. With that in mind, I think it’s important to note that that was the underlying theme of this week’s episode.