Recommendation : Hesitant Yes
If you like being psychologically tortured for weeks this might just be for you. Just don’t hope for too much.
Mayoiga looked to be a hidden gem. It started off so well with a spooky first episode that introduced a cast of interesting and weird characters who you were excited to get to know, travelling to a mysterious place with creepy lullabies that no one could apparently get to.
For the first three or four episodes you got worried that the show was hurrying what was looking to be a gripping story that could have ended up going just about any possible way.
The next five or so episodes you could have a lot of fun trying to figure out the mystery whilst the nagging feeling that you were heading for disappointment started to settle in.
By episode 12 you were either angry at how disappointing the ending was or you just kinda felt… Well… Meh.
Mayoiga was about a Lost Village, people who are running away from “psychological scars” in their life try to find it to start a new life. We join a tour group on their way to the village. So many interesting characters all with different reasons why they were there and a strange tour guide who you were never quite sure of. When they got to the village slowly strange things started to happen and they were faced with the reality that they were alone in a village with people they didn’t know. Suddenly there were monsters, people going missing, a witch hunt and still this sense of over all dread.
Unfortunately every single interesting part of the anime was bypassed.
Only a handful of characters were really explored in one episode. The main characters got a slightly small dose of character development but the majority of the cast ended just as mysterious as they started. The one episode that did explore the fears of some of the characters left you yearning for more. In general you are left wanting to know more about all the characters if I’m honest. Just seeing them interact with each other, maybe have a actual day of living in the village without something strange happening. They started off really interesting and then all ended up fading into the background. Only three characters back stories were ever given in full and even then there was so much more to the actual characters then we got to see.
What the village was as well as its supernatural monster were so very interesting but were explained away very fast in one episode. The same episode, and the one after, kind of killed any actual meaning behind the village.
Well the village was meant to be somewhere you went when you basically hit rock bottom. There you had to face your worst moment in life, your worst fear, that little weakness inside you that is so personally yours. When you face up to it the consequences were spelt out…. Then in seconds dismissed…. As well as the whole “you have to be scarred to go there.”
It cheaply had a character fall in love because he was innocent. He followed a girl around like a lost sheep defending her for no actual reason before being thrown back and forth between reality and the village trying to save people.
It didn’t end up being half as dramatic as it sounds either.
The biggest problem seemed to come from having such a big group.
The series started by making them all feel important. They all had their unique voice, their own wants and needs, their reasons for being there. It was a interesting case of seeing a mob mentality too. Scared people doing things that they wouldn’t normally because a stronger voice spoke. None of it ever really mattered though and in the end the vast majority of the characters felt “sleepy” and didn’t do much. At first though it made you feel like you’d get to know these characters so by the end you kind of felt cheated of seeing MORE. MORE Nanaki, MORE life stories MORE reasons why someone would run away to a lost village.
Depending on personal taste as well it can feel like they focused on the BORING characters. A lot of the characters in the show were interesting. As much as I didn’t understand her, Lovepon was such a interesting character to study. She didn’t learn anything and I’d be worried being left with her in any circumstance, but she was interesting. The fact that the main characters were the bland boy and girl pairing that you see all over the shop felt insulting to the various personalities that were shoved to one side.
For me there was also the feeling that the writers couldn’t remember their own story from scene to scene. Things that Mitsumune was talking about just weren’t anywhere near reality. In fact his character was so far removed from reality and so hammered down as the love sick protagonist that instead of feeling sad for him you just wanted to slap him. I couldn’t BE mad at Hayato. He might have been a ass but at the same time regardless of why he did what he did he HAD been Mitsumune’s friend for a long time and Mitsumune WAS and CONTINUED to choose a girl he hardly knew over not only a friend but someone who had been looking after him for years. Why are we meant to go “good for you Mitsumune, you go back and save the girl of your apparent dreams but forget about your best friend.” Why?!
A similar problem with Jack. So he had a short fuse and didn’t stand bullies, instead attacking bullies. You became sympathetic to him just for the next time he shows up the show kinda wanted us NOT to be sympathetic anymore. He went from being a kid that snaps when he gets bullied to a psycho that would attack any old person for whatever reasons he decided on. Completely missing the moment where someone DID stand up for him. As someone who suffered from bullying and did snap once (not like him, I just shoved the girl in question) I can get the snapping part but then they ruined him by having him just become a psycho.
The anime is great in a lot of places, good in most others and ends on the biggest downer in the world.
It could have been so much more.
It could have been the best murder mystery.
It could have been a wonderful study piece on how humans cope in high tension situations with strangers.
It could have been just about anything. What it was? It felt like 11 episodes of building up this village, the Nanaki and these characters just for the 12th episode to shrug and go “it doesn’t really matter.”
So I’d hesitantly say “go for it” if you asked whether you should watch it. It shouldn’t be high up on your list but there are plenty of interesting moments and will probably be better watched from beginning to end in a binge situation then weekly.
Don’t get your hopes up is the biggest thing I’d say!