An average rating of 5.7 out of 10 on MyAnimeList—ranked 7,657th on the site as of writing this. Numerous “Worst of the Season” awards from fellow anibloggers. Each top review on MAL is a 4 or below (not counting the 8/10, as the entire point of that review is to portray it as an intentionally abstract comedy). A friend of mine recommended that I marathon this series as a Halloween joke of sorts, and with all of these expectations placed on it as a surefire unintentional comedy the likes anime has never seen before, I’ve finished the series and am left scratching my head. Why did I enjoy this series more than Yuri!!! on Ice?
Now that is a scary statement, right?
So what’s the deal with Mayoiga, or The Lost Village? Why did it end up being rated so low, so panned by everyone as though it were common knowledge? Why do I feel like I completely missed the point as to why it’s almost universally accepted as tragically underwhelming? I haven’t been this shocked by such a positive (by relative standards) score since Umi Monogatari, another series that’s rated fairly low by most anime databases that I ended up liking. Were my expectations so low that I ended up being impressed, or is there something more to this series that I feel many averted from their gaze because the plotholes were so enormous?
Indeed, I will admit outright that this post isn’t to say Mayoiga is a good series—it’s below average. My point is to say that the series is not one that should be considered the worst of the worst that anime has to offer. There are far more shows that deserve such an “honor.” Koi Koi 7, Diabolik Lovers, Dog Days’, Green Green (probably), Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun, and others just like them have far less value as outlets of entertainment than Mayoiga. For those who have seen all titles listed (God save you, first of all), what is something that they all share, that they all have in common? The fact that they’re all creatively-shot. They do nothing to distinguish themselves from the pandering, market-testing corporate shells that focus exclusively on profit. They are bland, predictable, and will only truly work on someone who has never watched an anime ever before.
Let’s talk about the Star Wars prequels. No, hold on, come back for a second! It’ll be harmless, I swear. What do they have that The Force Awakens doesn’t? If your guess was “George Lucas,” that would be correct, but not quite what I was getting at. My input is “a creative soul.” The Force Awakens feels like Star Wars for the sake of giving people more Star Wars, with no real weight put upon the things that happen without relying entirely on the already-established characters of Star Wars lore to pick up the slack of the mindless new characters and their cookie-cutter motivations. The prequels, for all the shit they get, whether the acting, the writing, or the overuse of special effects, actually feel like they matter. They feel like George Lucas put his numbed-up brain and drug-induced heart into his precious creation and released it into the cruel, uncaring world. Said world is correct in tearing it to shreds, but what I would argue is that they at least felt like they had that sort of gusto that made them enjoyably dumb, instead of efficiently dull. In some cases, this is all one needs to make a “better” product, though the scenarios involved are wildly varying and dependent on numerous different situations and expectations.
Mayoiga is essentially the Star Wars prequels to me. It is dumb, it has plotholes, the characters are really overdramatic and the world they soon discover has logical inconsistencies. Not to mention, THE POWER OF EMOTIONS!!! Yet in spite of all of this, I felt its heart beating within me, I was able to empathize with the “message” it tried to convey. I was able to detract the logic in favor of the symbolic imagery and moral coding it embedded into its narrative. In some cases, it’s better to look at the world not through the perception of your own reality, but the reality faced by the characters in fiction. In many ways, logic plays a major part in Mayoiga’s downfalls, with characters being really hyped up for no reason while at the same time cool under pressure when the moment calls for it. In others, the logic within, that states that these characters, who all deal with the backlashes of deep emotional and psychological abuse and trauma, somehow aren’t allowed a little insanity to satisfy the viewer’s idea of realism? I’m willing to adjust, if ever so slightly, for the sake of trying to understand the world within.
In nutshell form, that’s all I really have to argue, at least to an incessant degree. Mayoiga has creativity all around, whether intentional or non-intentional, through the manifestation of its fucked up world, and I think people should be more open to explore how isolating it can be to think that the world is against you. Edgy as it turns out, or consistently inconsistent, I can at least get out of the experience saying, “Holy shit, this one dude had silicone implanted in his head to grow two whole inches and now his inborn psychological scarring takes the form of a giant, malformed pair of tits!” CAN KOI KOI 7 ALLOW ME TO SAY THAT? HOW ABOUT DIABOLIK LOVERS? Of course not. Those series don’t take chances.
So am I hyping it too much? Is the splendor of something new and enticing (and non-traditional in its approach to human emotion) blinding me to what is actually something obscenely bad? Probably. Despite all of this pent-up frustration that I was swindled out of ironic enjoyment for genuine enjoyment, I really do feel this series has worth—if not for the sake of what the message entails, then how it’s presented. Despite all the dumb, I was immersed every second of the experience, constantly trying to pinpoint who was doing what and why and how. A series that both inhibits and encourages thinking. Mayoiga is an absolute mindfuck that I would recommend simply to see how people would interpret it.
Is it just stupidity incarnate, or something more?
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.