A bus full of eccentric individuals is headed towards the urban legend known as Nanaki Village, a place where one can supposedly start over and live a perfect life. While many have different ideas of why the village cannot be found on any map, or why even the police cannot pinpoint its location, they each look forward to their new lives and just what awaits them once they reach their destination.
After a few mishaps, they successfully arrive at Nanaki Village only to find it completely abandoned. Judging from the state of disrepair, it has been vacant for at least a year. However, secrets are soon revealed as some of the group begin to go missing while exploring the village and amidst the confusion, they find bloody claw marks in a forest. As mistrust and in-fighting break out, will they ever be able to figure out the truth behind this lost village?
In the midst of all of the decent shows that have come out this season, a peculiar one has piqued my interest. This is of course a very special show, often described as being "intentionally unintentionally funny" by the people who know fuckall about what they are talking about. So why is this show so intentionally unintentionally funny? It isn't. Mayoiga is a show that had some of the worst writing I've ever seen and it seems to have picked up on that fact, albeit a little bit too late. What people seem to be missing is that when a show makes itself looks ridiculous
and ends up being a mess, its' genres do not change by default as well. "Erased was never a mystery hurr durr". Enter: Teenage Angst, the series.
The story isn't actually that bad on paper. It's cliché as hell but doesn't seem like something that can ruin a series all on its own. The most important factor here is the execution and you can probably guess that it's not so great. Mayoiga is a story about 30 social misfits and takes place in Nanakimura village, a village rumored to be a safe haven from society, where people who want to escape from reality go to. So being the bright little crew they are, our cast makes an ingenious idea to organize a bus tour in order to leave their previous lives behind and start anew!
First and foremost, who thought it would be a good idea to have a cast of 30 characters within a 12 episode anime? That is literally spelling out disaster, no matter the execution. Short series usually have trouble with fleshing out the handful of people that make the main cast, but Mayoiga decided to take it to an entire new level like it was no big deal. You can only imagine how much the story as well as the characters suffer from this. 90% of them don't even get a backstory, and those who do get a 5 minute exaggeration of something terrible that happened in their lives.
With the premise and setting giving out so many horror vibes, as well as it having the same production crew that worked on Another, I had obviously jumped to the conclusion that this is a horror series. At least that's an efficient way to cut down a considerable portion of the cast, right? To my great disappointment, I was completely wrong. There is a single "death" to start the show off but other than that, it fails to deliver. I was at least going in with expectations that it'll be a fun and stupid ride like Another was, but ended up being thoroughly disappointed.
Being a good psychological series is practically impossible when every single character in your cast is borderline insane and / or delusional with very few exceptions. None of them act like normal human beings to begin with and their stories are exaggerated in the worst ways possible, trying as hard as they can to victimize them and justify their insane mindset, which is frankly impossible. The mystery is nonsensical and completely relies on the supernatural, which is a flaw in itself.
The lowest of the low. This is easily some of the worst characterization that I have seen in my entire life. Not only are over half of the characters completely useless, but they also lack any sort of rationality and common sense to add onto it. They are as deep as a puddle to put it lightly. Needless to say, there is absolutely 0 chemistry between any of them and the drama feels so incredibly forced, as they are shown to argue over the most trivial of things imaginable. Like in one of the highlights of the show where a character randomly decides to want to STAB another character because he didn't like his name. Just your everyday stuff.
Our protagonist is the spinning image of a goody two shoes, as he wants to help everyone and everything around him. I'm not sure how he managed to maintain this overly-positive outlook on life but it makes him one of the most annoying protagonists in the entire medium and somewhere along the way you end up wanting him to die a horrible death. Not to mention how oblivious he is to virtually everything around him, which sometimes really made me question how he has retained being a functioning member of society for the past 17 years.
Masaki: I need to go to the bathroom
Mitsumune: Do you want me to go with you?
No one else is really worth mentioning, although I do briefly want to touch upon something that impressed me. This series managed to make the most stereotypical fat guy that I have ever seen in my life. I'm not even exaggerating, all he does during the entirety of the series is either eat potato chips, tell us that he's tired or he just falls asleep and that is all there is to his character. Hats off to you, Mayoiga. We have truly hit rock bottom with this one.
Art / Animation
The art is very subpar and lacking in a lot of instances. It is bland in the worst way possible which you can probably gather by looking at Mitsumune's face for a solid 3 seconds or so. If I had to compare the style to something, it would definitely be to Another. The only difference being in the fact that Another had very saturated backgrounds and visuals to help enhance the theme and atmosphere of the show, while Mayoiga doesn't really have anything. As for the animation, it definitely reaches its peak about halfway through when they start showing us these giant CGI monsters. My personal favorite was the one-eyed furby penguin.
This isn't something I have ever payed much thought nor attention to before, but I feel like it needs to be addressed for this specific case. The utilization of the sound effects is legitimately some of the worst that I have ever witnessed in any sort of media. In particular, there is this sound effect that sounds like bones breaking and it is used way too often for things it shouldn't be. The opening is your typical J-pop kyaa uguu song and the ending isn't spectacular either. Mitsumune's seiyuu made me want to slit my throat multiple times during the duration of the series so I can at least vouch that it made an impression. OST is forgettable and misplaced in most instances, which makes me take it even less seriously than before, if that's even possible. Warui hippopotamusuuu, rururu ruru ru.
To quote a good friend, "It will be performed as an opera on the holodecks of the ships that disperse us into the highest of heavens. It all began... here. In this place, in this time, NOW. We were really all just clothed monkeys until Mayoiga allowed us to transcend our animalism. I shall sing its praises to all that shall come forth and be enlightened." With all of that being said, from a critical standpoint Mayoiga is just a complete and utter turd, give or take. It starts off as a bad series and devolves into something so horrid that not even the worst of plebs would dare poke with a 5-meter stick. So with your health in mind, even if you have some kind of morbid curiosity or are just an extreme masochist, this title should be proceeded with the utmost caution.
A 5.9? Really guys? This is why we can't have nice things.
Yes, I apologize, but I'm going to have to join the Mayoiga debate, since there are apparently a large number of individuals in the anime community who are convinced that this beautiful disaster is somehow entirely unaware of the fact that it's a comedy. Now, I've heard a lot of things said about the matter, and so I would firstly like to clarify that I am not a diehard fan of the show trying to justify it, nor am I attempting to tell anyone that they are somehow stupid or foolish for assuming that
Mayoiga is actually just mind-numbingly stupid trash. I don't even consider this some enlightened or critical interpretation: this review's main purpose is to tell people that yes, this show is worth watching, and that yes, it is only worth watching if you look at it from the standpoint of "Mizushima and Okada have fun messing around with B horror tropes", because while there are certainly a fair number of blatant giveaways, much of Mayoiga's humor comes from the small details.
So why is Mayoiga good again?
Most anime comedies are bad. That's an opinion, obviously, but it's one that I'm fairly hard-set on. Anime comedy derives mostly from physical comedy, overreactions, making fun of anime tropes, stupid sex jokes/boob jokes/food jokes, and other versions of uncreative/broad-appeal humor that gets reused over and over. When anime does set up good jokes, it often ruins them by pointing to them aggressively to make sure you understood the fact that yes, this was in fact supposed to be humor.
Mayoiga never does this. Once. What makes the show work more than anything is that it's so absurdly self serious one-hundred percent of the time. More than anything, this is likely why there is so much debate surrounding it, because there is never a single moment in the show where Mayoiga acknowledges that anything that it's doing is a joke. On the other hand though, this is what makes it so entertaining. You have stuff like Nyanta and Jigoku wandering around with amunition belts and assault rifles or Lovepon ceaselessly screaming about her gradually-escalating need to execute someone, and no one pays this even a lick of attention. It's pretty much the anime equivalent of that comic with the dog in the middle of an inferno saying "this is fine." In Mayoiga, nonsense passes as logic and no one questions it once. The names "Hyouketsu no Judgeness" and "Jack" are acknowledged to be 'similar'. A character claiming to be able to see dead people is accepted as a valid argument as to why another character is not in fact a ghost. Medieval forms of witch torture are used as practical assessments of guilt, with a council of thoughtful glasses-pushing intellectuals actually trying to stab a twelve-year-old girl just to check if she'll bleed or not. The offhand way in which Mayoiga spews utter nonsense without ever treating its story and world as anything other than absolutely intense and important makes what would be an absolutely attrocious plot into a phenomenal piece of entertainment.
But it goes past that. Mayoiga's dialogue and overblown character tropes may be fun, but what really makes the show special is that it assumes that the audience has seen at least a few B horror movies and murder-mystery plots in their day, and it uses that to violently thrash their expectations in the most viscerally unsatisfying ways imaginable. If Mayoiga was a violent gorefest it would quickly slip into the realm of incoherence, lose the appeal of its nonsense dialogue, and turn into another Another (heh). But instead, Mayoiga capitalizes on lethargy and apathy. It treats its plot twists and reveals like inqonsequential details to skim over. Instead of whipping its characters up into a frenzy, it makes the majority of them lazy, subdued, whiny, and complacent. It devotes ominous attention to cast member that are never remotely relevant. If ever there were a perfect backdrop against which to place a few under-the-radar psychos and sociopaths, it's the one that Mayoiga creates through its easily-distracted mob. When characters start going missing, large portions of the cast are more concerned with existential reasoning or even debating the spelling of said character's names than with worrying about their own or their comrade's safety. Beyond this, Mayoiga goes so far as to present some of the worst direction concievably possible, pace itself in ways that make no sense, and demonstrate a staggering penchant for anticlimax right through to the very end. It could be argued that the plot was technically 'resolved', because it was, but it is done is such a way that you're left confused and slightly baffled, wondering 'wait, what? that's it? this is a story, weren't there supposed to be dramatic stakes?' and then you can't help but chuckle at the fact that Mayoiga got you good one last time as you realize that it couldn't have been any other way.
So yeah, Mayoiga is hilarious. I laughed out loud at least two or three times an episode on average, with plenty of chuckles in between, and I'm talking about from the very first episode. This is funny stuff.
That said, even for what it is, it's by no means perfect. I enjoyed the show immensely, but I still wish that it had been just a little bit better at what it does. The final third of the show is noticeably less funny than the rest, with a reliance on anticlimax and executing big moments horribly taking away from some of the show's momentum. In addition, the show is composed by Okada, who has always loved her melodrama, and this becomes more and more apparent as the number of faux-emotional flashbacks intensifies until that joke has been overdone and it loses its charm. If these flashbacks and idiotic backstories had become increasingly more absurd and creative perhaps this would have worked better, but the show's best backstories are mostly the early ones so unforunately this wasn't the case. In addition, it's usually the case the truly successful comedies succeed the way they do because they manage to be engaging even when they aren't throwing out jokes simply through atmosphere/intesity/actual plot, and again unfortunately when Mayoiga isn't making you laugh, it isn't really doing anything of note. In my opinion, this is what sets something like the first season of Jojo apart from the rest of the fold--even Mayoiga--in that even when Jojo isn't being immediately absurd, it manages to breed an atmosphere of fun and excitement that keeps you interested because it feels like an adventure and not just one big joke. So yeah, this thing is flawed. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a great time, and that it's consistent enough to not give you that empty feeling of 'I want to laugh more, I'm in a humorous mood, but the show's just not quite getting there". With the right attitude, Mayoiga delivers.
In the end it kinda just makes me sad to see the show getting so much hate, because it's a kind of unique and truly dedicated comedy that we see rarely-to-never in anime, and it would be cool if more people could appreciate it. After watching people explode over stuff like Konosuba (personally, I find Konosuba to be, well, kinda garbage, but to each his own) I was excited to have an airing comedy that I was also invested in and could laugh along with the rest of the community. At this point, it seems a little late for that, but it's not to late for all you smart people out there who spend your time wisely and wait until the end of the season to see reviews and decide what looks like it's worth watching. Despite what almost everyone is saying to the contrary, I firmly believe that if you go into Mayoiga expecting a comedy and a self-aware but deadpan parody that you will likely find yourself happily laughing for twelve delightful episodes. Every type of humor isn't for everyone, granted, but for what it does Mayoiga is pretty much one-of-a-kind among anime, and I think it's worth giving a shot, even if just to see if it's for you.
In Mayoiga-esque fashion, here's the score breakdown loaded ino the end of the review now that it's almost entirely irrelevant.
Story-- Decidedly unique. Better than Trasformers: Dark of the Moon. No other information necessary.
Art-- Totally fucking terrible, the CGI looks like a bad skyrim mod.
Sound-- Surprisingly competent, could even be counted against the show because it's too effective. Opening is catchy AF.
Character-- You either love them or you Lovepon them.
Enjoyment-- Really the only thing worth mentioning, it's a good time, that's enough of that.
Watching Mayoiga is like opening a surprise package and finding out it's something you so fiercely hate, thus transitioning your expectations into a decaying death. The premise itself is interesting, and there's a sense of an odd feeling of triumph at the beginning because as rarely as it comes, to see a pure original 'lost somewhere' flick is definitely something you can look forward to with excessive hype and such was the case with myself. As a matter of fact, before the spring season began, I had Mayoiga at the top of my most anticipated shows list. But Mayoiga, or rather Trainwre- I mean... The
Lost Village, turns out as a complete disaster.
Mayoiga begins with a bunch of ragtags together inside a bus heading towards a peculiar place known only as the Nanaki Village. The similarity between all the people, thirty to be precise, is that each and every one of them had a traumatic past of which they were all desperate to escape from. Nanaki Village is a place that is not on the map and no one knows about it, and no one can pin-point the location of the place. Nanaki Village doesn't exist. That is until a mysterious group known as "It's Super Genesis" or "ISG" for short discovers the exact location of Nanaki Village. Various online users who make it through layers of protection of the ISG website, take part in this tour which is branded as the "Start Life Over" tour where people are seeking a world free of hassle and trying to relive their lives, escaping the reality. The irony in the story lies in the fact that "changing your lives" is something the adults should be doing, not a group of teenagers who have barely lived.
A whopping thirty characters could all be in theory, regarded as our protagonists. But we all know that's not bound to happen in a show which consists of just twelve episodes. And that brings us to Mitsumune, the main character in which the show mostly revolves around and has the spotlight. For one, there is nothing that separates Mitsumune from the other thousands of generic main guys there are. He is shy, pathetic and single-minded who has a positive outlook no matter what happens. He is also very disloyal, so much so that he gives up on his best friend, who also joins him on the tour by the way, for a girl he met in the tour! Looking at Mitsumune makes you wonder why would such a phony guy even join on this tour? There's a backstory to him which is just as miserly as the show itself. As I said before, the first episode starts off with the tour organizer, Dahara, stating that only the people with gifted talent could ever break through the layers of their website and join the tour, which also makes you think as to how someone as dense as Mitsumune could have done that all by himself? Mayoiga is full of contradictions such as this.
The rest of the characters are up to no good as well. A majority of them merely exist for plot conveniences, and that includes Mitsumune at times too, and have little to no in-depth characterization. Probably a few of them worth mentioning are Masaki, the mysterious girl to whom Mitsumune falls for. She plays a big role as the show progresses, but there are little traits to her character worth explaining. She's basically used as the embodiment of the emotional trope and is a pretty one-dimensional character. Hayato who goes by the pseudonym Speedstar, is a good friend of Mitsumune's. He acts as the support for Mitsumune and helps him out whenever he is in need. Speedstar is more suited to be the show's protagonist in my opinion as he's displayed as someone who has a strong willpower and personality. He undergoes a terrible characterization later on however which was a waste. A few characters act as a sidekick like Valkana, who is shown as a very angry man. Koharun, who is the one responsible for locating the Nanaki Village and Lovepon, who is probably the craziest in my opinion. All she ever talks is about executing and is a good example of a literal cardboard-cut "yandere" trope character. However, there's a backstory on her which was quite captivating and displayed the struggles she goes through as a kid. It's depressing since the show doesn't do justice at all to the backstory as she's used for mere conveniences by taking on a more active role in the coming episodes saying the exact same thing over and over again.
It's such a shame because Mayoiga has well-designed characters for an original show. The art isn't anything significant and is nothing but generic, but it doesn't necessarily mean bad. The characters and the backgrounds are drawn simple and not too exaggerated which helps the viewers settle in very quickly. But for the most part, there is a visible decline in the art and a good example of this are the first two episodes. The pilot episode has nice visuals but there are times when it goes downhill from there in the coming episodes. The CGI effects used later on suck for the most part. One of the main reasons being the totally absurd "Monsters" but yet there are moments where the characters are shown alongside the CGI-designed creatures and it all feels very underwhelming. The visuals for the opening/ending songs respectively are kept very minimal where they focus on merely introducing the characters. The ending especially only uses the faces of the characters in them with different characters in the next episode ending than the previous. Overall I have to say the art is pretty mediocre.
The sound aspect of Mayoiga is once again a mixed bag. On one hand: Fantastic opening and ending song, A few good soundtracks in between which play by the mood and the atmosphere etc. And then there is this task of voicing over two dozens of characters. Honestly, many of the characters' voices are done terribly and seemingly by amateurs in the industry. And it comes as no surprise for an anime which was supported by crowdfunding, to have budget issues and made by a small time studio. Many of the characters are played by the newer personnel or ones with little experience in voice acting and that is so very evident in Mayoiga.
Mayoiga is at times so insane that it matches the contemporaries of those anime which are so bad that they're good. It's a common expectation that with such a huge amount of cast, many will be put off to death soon and that does seem to be happening until it takes a completely different route. It's tough to tell after a few episodes if this is truly a mystery show, psychological drama or a satirical comedy. Mayoiga doesn't rely on gore to put off the viewers and be 'edgy'. But instead it uses hysterically pretentious philosophical dialogues and awful plot twists which literally does the trick and puts off everyone watching it and can be deemed as cringe-worthy. At this point I'm just gonna say avoid Mayoiga at all costs. It's an utter waste of time and nothing good will ever come out watching it. I'd also like to mention that this is the worst anime I've ever seen.
Mayoiga (The Lost Village) is a really strange series and to watch it, you’ll really need to do it with some attention or an open mind. I can’t remember the last time I watched a show with such amount of absurdity, to a point where I feel just as lost as the characters in the story. Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima (Shirobako, Girls und Panzer), the series takes the genre of mystery but what you expect isn’t what you’ll likely get. And in many ways, Mayoiga sends a wrong message that makes the show look like a borderline comedy.
As an original series, the premise itself sounds
interesting. Think about it. You have a group of characters each with their own personalities but all end up in the same place, a village named Nanakimura. It invites a lot of questions about what takes place and the discoveries they’ll make. Those who have seen series such as Another, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and Ghost Hound may be in for a treat. On paper, the show looks intriguing. However, the first episode gave me a mixed impression especially when it introduces 30 characters. What goes on my mind is: how on Earth do they plan to give characterization with this many people? The show is also only 1 cour so my expectations was rather dense about how much they can focus on the story as well.
Essentially, the show is pretty much about a group of characters being lost in a remote location after being dropped off by the bus driver. The setting (Lost Village) invites a lot of attention because by plot formulaic standards, there’s bound for a lot to happen. It’s not strange in the sense that everyone on this trip gets lost but why they are there. And it also sets up developments related to survival, trust issues, and possibly even death. The show already establishes a few given ideas though – being that no one really knows why they’re there, what’s at the village, or how to get back. There’s a lot of diverse personalities all mixed in at once if we take at the characters individually. Their common goal of course is to get the hell away from there as fast as possible.
On paper, there’s 30 characters but the series does manage to show some background stories for some of the more prominent individuals. Besides Mitsumune, we also get some storytelling about Hayato (Mitsumune’s best friend), Valkana (a man that is trying to build a new life from his previous job), Lovepon (a girl obsessed with execution), Nyanta (a kid with fondness with guns), the mysterious Masaki with connections with the bus driver, and among others. While their background stories doesn’t have direct connections to the main story, it does identify their characteristics. And that’s an important part of the show. The characters in this series needs to know who each other are to build trust. In a place of unknown, the last thing they need is betrayal or turmoil between each other. The show only does a moderate job at crafting relationships because quite honestly, there’s just too many characters to work around with. In retrospect, most of the character relationships are based more on how much they want to know about each other.
After seeing a fair amount of episodes, I find it hard to understand the purpose of the show. Yes, it’s supposed to be a thriller but a lot of times, I find it rather amusing with the amount of superstitious events that occurs in the series. Perhaps it’s surreal comedy? Who knows but some of events going on are rather unbelievable. In addition, the story feels more like a skit where the characters are there for entertainment. Their established personalities become more and more evident as each episodes ventures on. At some point, I have to wonder if it series is trying to be unintentionally funny or not. For instance, the show at one point decided to actually make Lovepon into a prominent character for the viewers to take seriously despite her behavior being borderline insane. It’s definitely not scary if that’s the original purpose because just how ridiculous it has been. The first two episodes actually makes the series somewhat compelling because of the way it sets everything up. However, the amount of absurdity that builds up more and more and later feels just like popcorn comedy.
While the artwork isn’t great, it isn’t bad either. It’s more like somewhere between the middle where it’s acceptable. The setting does have a genuine feeling of horror with its eerie atmosphere. Character designs aren’t impressive but they are fresh enough to show that each individual has some unique trait. The fun part about the show is the character expressions as we see how they react to certain situations. Lovepon is the gold standard for this while there are times when see others behave in ways that are laughable.
Soundtrack on most part works for the show. It works in the way that it portrays the atmospheric setting well. The OP and ED theme songs aren’t very impressive but the OST has the general idea of giving mystery vibes. Character voice mannerism actually deserves some praise especially with the female characters because of how they react. Meanwhile, the show also crafts some dramatic scenery accompanied by the choreography of intense music at times.
“What did I just watch?” You’ll probably ask yourself that question more times than you can count by the time this show is over. Make no mistake, Mayoiga is more about entertainment than an intriguing mystery or horror story. It has the general premise but it hardly delivers at what it tries to do. There’s also a lack of sorrow felt during the show despite some key staff involved and writing. So what is Mayoiga really? Is it a show that is “so bad, it’s good”? Well to me, it’s more of a “I’m so lost”.
Sure, you might love some of the more poorly received anime in this article, and you might not understand the fervor around the latest big hits. But this is what the general consensus is around the latest hits and misses of the Spring 2016 anime season for western anime fans.
Don your wizard cape and grab your mystical staff of unmentionable powers! It's time to learn about the most fascinating chuunibyou characters in anime who suffer from "middle school 2nd year sickness."