Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita
It's hard to talk about the story of Jinrui without giving too much away. The series takes place in a world where humanity is gradually dying out (title drop!) and follows the work of the Mediator, an individual chosen by the United Nations to work as a liaison between the humans of the dying world and the fairies, a race of tiny cute beings with strange technology that seems to have sprung up to fill in the ecological void. It's an often confusing but overall enjoyable romp through the leftovers of human culture and dwells on the way means of life have progressed over time.
The show presents itself as a semi-episodic mystery/adventure/gag series heavily tinged with meta-humour and tongue-in-cheek references to other works, but it's also a retrospective of consumer culture as a whole, particularly the way it's developed in recent years in Japan. There's a lot of black humour and twisted aesops there for those who choose to read between the lines - as such the show could be said to belie its depth with a cutesy exterior.
The production values aren't anything remarkable for 2012 but the visual style is quirky and distinctive and works as a part of the overall package very well. Backgrounds are often done in watercolor style. Detail is always present and sometimes almost overwhelming. There's a lot of deliciously contrasting elements here, from the plainclothes/anachronistic dress and architecture of the villagers to the ruined and sometimes preserved cities of old to the insanity-inducing buildings and vacuous grins of the fairies. There's a lot to love about the visual style here. The series' creators have carved themselves a niche very effectively.
First thing's first. The OP is an utterly addictive earworm and will have you humming and possibly dancing along within two episodes if you have half a beat in your body.
Music in-series is quirky and bouncy and fun when it shows up, not taking itself too seriously and working perfectly in harmony with the overall premise and themes. Seiyuu work is outstanding. The fairies are my favourites.
The Mediator is a deadpan snarker narrator, a position often held by flat masks held up in front of an empty void, but she develops an interesting and consistent personality through the time we see her to an extent that's quite uncommon for a comedy-focused series. The secondary characters vary widely in their level of depth, often being played for grotesquery. That said, Y is the fairies' gift to humanity and, in my opinion, almost impossible to dislike.
It's very much an offbeat package, constantly breaking the fourth wall and occasionally making very little sense, but I greatly enjoyed the overall effect of Jinrui. For a show that doesn't take itself seriously in the least it actually has some fairly interesting things to say about the way we live. That and it's often just flat out hilarious. Can't go wrong there.