Mayoiga, a show that has garnered wildly different reactions from a number of people ranging from outright disgust to actual enjoyment and also the ever popular ‘It’s a hidden comedy’ defence. So what is it about Mayoiga that has caused people to derive such varied and derisive opinions ?
Well the show does have some solid pedigree behind it, being scripted by the ever present Mari Okada (Anohana, Kiznaiver) and directed by the talented Tsutomu Mizushima (Another, Shirobako) thus leading to a certain level of expectation and preconception from the anime fan base which suffice to say was either thrown away or completely remodeled a few weeks into the spring season. Mayoiga to say the least was not the show a lot of people expected it to be (myself included) but in the end I can proudly say that I enjoyed this show in ways in ways that I never thought I would which brings us all to starting point of those various reasons.
(Mild Spoilers Below)
Going in I expected a solid mystery, thriller with overall high end production values and in the end can safely say that two of those three expectations have been met with different degrees. The show certainly did have a mystery surrounding it though the mystery itself wasn’t well played out. The end revelations were more or less obvious only taking time to be revealed thanks to our large cast of mostly mentally incapacitated characters (a staple of the horror genre). The production values however fared much better being a show done by ‘P.A Works’ who have always been known to produce some high quality shows (in terms of art and animation) and this work is no exception. Mayoiga has looked great throughout it run from the large cast of distinctive looking characters to the many beautiful background shots of the village and the forest surrounding it.
As for the characters well the biggest problem was that there were just too many of them and as such most of them aren’t given any substantial amount of screen time making it impossible (for me at least) to even remember their names at times the fact that they even exist. The show never really cared about most its cast which makes that long introductory sequence in the first episode quite annoying in hindsight. Even with the characters which did receive more substantial screen never really elicited something from me as the audience because the show never really tried to get me to care. Simply showing a quick sad flashback doesn’t really make me feel emphatic towards the character but simply go “that’s sad” momentarily and then quickly move on. Some characters were also just plain unlikable which didn’t really help the show’s cause. Overall the characters were the weakest part of the show though they did have their moments in various ways.
Moving on from the characters to the main story-line, I found that the story itself separated from the product as a whole was decent enough. The whole facing your materialized fears could have been quite emotionally poignant but that clearly not what this show was trying to go for. Which brings to my main point of this review that despite mostly negative ramblings so far it was entertaining ride for me these past three months mostly thanks to the show’s intentionally (or not ?) great execution™ (trademarked by Lovepon.inc).
Like I said before two out of the three thing on my checklist before coming and if you have been paying attention you’ll know that the one part that wasn’t ticked was the thriller aspect and that’s because a lot of the time the show just doesn’t take itself seriously which in this case is a good thing. From inappropriate musical choices during what should be tense moments to conversations out of left field and some damn ridiculous looking ‘monsters’ this show provided entertainment in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways case in point the below (as well as above) image:
With this I think my point is illustrated quite nicely though the show at rare times does manage a bit of an emotional showcase though are few and far between. Moving back to a more technical viewpoint the show also manages to draw attention through some strong directional work and often well realized (for the situation) atmosphere. Also a quick mention for the opening and ending themes which are quite nice on their own but don’t really mesh well with their anime.
So, bottom line here is that although Mayoiga may have its flaws and though a lot of people may give it more scathing reviews, I personally think that the show is worth a watch if only to experience this odd yet delightful blend of animation.