As this is the final episode, there are obviously SPOILERS!
Continuing on from last time, Ms. Mediator is stuck in the Tea Rose Society for better or worse. She eventually finds it to not be all that bad, as all the members seem nice enough. The members in the club have been trying to research what is called “the fairies’ secret tea party,” and have numerous books on the subject. After finding the blueprints in one book to have been torn out, Ms. Mediator questions it and finds out that Y had also been a member of the Tea Society.
Soon after, Ms. Mediator discovers Y’s secret: she’s been stealing books from the library to horde in one of the secret rooms of the school. And the books she’s been hording? Well, they’re of the homosexual type. Y ends up making a deal with Mediator in order to keep her hobbies a secret. Y leads Ms. Mediator around the school, and allows her to peer into the rooms of the other Tea Society members. To Ms. Mediator’s utter shock, the members are not as nice as they first appear. The head Society member holds grudges over the smallest things; the next member is obsessed with students’ hair; two others act like common thugs; and then there’s Curly. Poor, poor Curly…
After this, Ms. Mediator and Y become “friends” of sorts, as they both agree they are the only sane members of the school. Both attempt to find out the origin of the fairies’ secret tea party. As the years pass by, both girls grow up and move up to higher grades. Y also ends up re-joining the Tea Society to get more information on the fairies. Eventually, in their final year at the school, only Mediator, Y, and Curly are left in the club. They also finally find out a grand secret room hidden in the school, stacked full with old robots. It’s only then that Ms. Mediator remembers that she met a fairy once.
Not long after, the school is torn down and the rest of the students are “graduated.” Back in present time, Ms. Mediator has just finished reminiscing about her school days, when Y brings her an unexpected gift…
This episode… I have mixed feelings about it.
While it started out fairly well, the rest of the episode was a little bit, well, uncomfortable to watch to be honest. What exactly is the moral of this episode? That everyone you know ultimately turns out to be weirdos and the only person you should trust is yourself? I’m not fond of how they showed the rest of the Tea Society members to be utter nutcases. Because the Tea Society members were honestly one of the more accepting students of the school in the last episode, and then the storyline decides to shit on them this time? It really sends out a mixed message. Sure, it’s true to real-life, as everyone has a “dark side,” and some people are definitely more unstable than others. But I just wish the episode didn’t have to go to such extremes to show it.
To be fair, by the end of the episode, Ms. Mediator DOES seem to put up with the other members’ weird habits (including Y’s), so I guess she does eventually learn to accept people for who they are. The whole sequence still left a bad taste in my mouth, though.
This episode (and series) ends not with a bang, but with a soft sigh. It’s quiet, and it’s somewhat bittersweet, as everyone knows that humanity is still in decline. While a few people might be somewhat let down by such a simple ending, it fits the series’ tone. As we’ve seen throughout the whole series, humanity is declining quietly. The humans are not being wiped out right away; they’re just slowly fading from the world. The ending reflects that, so I found it to be the best kind of ending that the Jinrui wa anime could have had.
Anyway, out of five for this episode:
Final Thoughts: (incoming for HUGE WALL OF TEXT)
Jinrui wa was certainly a strange series. As if the series’ oddball humor wasn’t weird enough, the anime decided to mix up the timeline too. Although there’s no real consensus on the timeline order, I think the first arc we saw (episodes 1 and 2) was actually the latest in the timeline. My opinion on this timeline gimmick can pretty much be summed up with the same words that I feel for the series as a whole; and that is “mixed feelings.”
I’m not quite sure how to feel about this mixing up of the timeline. There are some points where it DOES work, but for the most part it doesn’t. For example, Assistant’s introduction arc makes far more of an impact AFTER we know of his existence, due to the fact that he says one line in that arc when we thought he was truly mute (based on previous episodes that take place after that arc). Similarly, I think Ms. Mediator’s recounting of her school days makes for a better ending than a beginning. If this school arc had been the first episode, I don’t think I’d have been as drawn into the series.
However, I think the series still would have benefited from a more linear timeline (barring those two arcs). Ms. Mediator’s first day on the job would have made a perfect first episode. As I said before, it would have been Ms. Mediator’s as well as our first introduction to the fairies. I’m also sad that the chicken arc was shown first, where it’s shown that Ms. Mediator has gained magical hair from that incident. Because I was really expecting more magical hair shenanigans, but they never showed up, sob…
Moving on to the characters, I think Ms. Mediator (or Watashi as other fans have called her) is the best main character for a series like this. Her personality is very subtle, she’s snarky, and she’s probably the most “sane” of all the other characters. That’s not to say that the other characters are bad, though. Even I found some of the minor characters to be endearing, if somewhat of a “one-episode-wonder.” Still, I have to criticize the series a bit for this. It seems a bit pointless sometimes if the series is just going to introduce a character for one arc and then dispose of them in the rest. It cheapens the characters a bit. But I suppose it fits Jinrui’s wa theme. Like Ms. Mediator said near the end of episode 12, once someone says goodbye in (her) world, it’s hard to see them again…
The last major thing I want to talk about is Jinrui wa’s story. The concept of mankind declining slowly is a very interesting one. And I think that particular part of the story has been done well. But some of the arcs in the series were a bit too indulgent or random for my tastes. Y’s introduction arc (dealing with manga) was fairly entertaining but I felt the joke went on way too long. I felt that it was less “exploring the complexity of humanity” and more “MANGA TROPES ARE HILARIOUS RIGHT?!?” It was honestly sort of annoying, because humanity took a back seat and manga geekery took the front—which is fine if this were not an ANIME. Another arc I’m not fond of is the space satellite arc with Pion and Oyage. Sure, the ending was sweet and all, but the whole story leading up to that point just seemed so random. The humor was also one of the worst in the series, relying on cheap gags instead of the usual satire that we’ve been accustomed to in the rest of the series.
Other than those two arcs, the rest of Jinrui wa’s episode borders on either “average” or “great.” The animation for this series is actually quite lovely, relying on a more pastel-like look to give the series a “softer” atmosphere. The music is somewhat average as far as anime goes, but it’s fitting.
Overall, I am a bit disappointed in this series. It had a lot of potential to be a good one, but I don’t think it (the anime at least) lived up to that potential. Maybe if the producers and episode writers chose better story arcs out of the light novel, it could have been a better series. As it stands, though, Jinrui wa isn’t an awful series either. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a more oddball series, because seriously; I can’t even describe what genre this is. I’m very interested in checking out the light novels now, though. Hopefully they explain things more.
For this series as a whole, I give (out of five):