The Lost Village or Mayoiga was a weird anime to watch. Right from its first episode it got some fairly heavy criticism (not all entirely unwarranted) and not for the usual things horror anime get criticised for – though I’m still not sure if The Lost Village is actually a horror, a suspenseful thriller, a complete mess, or an attempt at satire that just kind of missed its mark. What I do know is that it certainly got people talking at the time and then almost immediately was forgotten. While I did give this one an honourable mention for horror anime released during the last 5 years that is more a reflection on the infrequency of horror anime and the general poor quality of most of the offerings.
For those who don’t know what The Lost Village is about, here’s the quick overview:
30 people try to escape their lives by taking a tour on a bus to Nanaki village. However, the village is not what it seems and they soon find themselves trapped and unable to leave. Then lots of weird things happen. And I do mean LOTS of WEIRD things happen.
I’m probably going to get some criticism for this but I kind of liked The Lost Village. I know I’ve been really critical of it as a series during my episodic coverage (and rightfully so, there’s a lot wrong with it) and I even had it on the close to dropped part of my list for almost the whole season, but on watching it a second time straight through, there is actually something about this series.
Affiliate Link – Play Asia
I’m really not sure what it is. The first few episodes I found quite amusing even as the mystery kind of fizzled and I quickly lost hope for any real tension or drama to be found. And watching the introductions a second time, they are even more poorly written than the first time. throughout the entire series listening to the character conversation is like reading someone’s twitter feed without putting any of the comments into context. And while that can be amusing, it doesn’t make for a great story or compelling viewing.
That’s the real problem.
There are moments of genuine amusement in this series and they are surrounded by inept character developments, plot twists that feel like they are drawn out of a hat, and ultimately a mystery that feels like even the writers gave up and just said ‘solved’.
Cheesy psycho-babble abounds in the final few episodes as the characters come to the totally amazing revelation that they are not the only people in the world who have gone through hard times. Amazing! Even other people have problems. Wow! Who would have thought? I know that given the nature of the tour, it was inevitable that a lot of self-involved characters with little perception of reality would gather, but could all of the characters on the bus really be that clueless?
And even the characters in the show can’t stand the other characters. They are irritating human beings. At no point does it look like the tour could have succeeded even if the village wasn’t some mythical whatsit with Nanaki running around (and who named them Nanaki in the first place).
Part of me really would like to see this concept done over with a group of more nuanced characters choosing to cross into the unknown for a chance at a new life. I think there’s a lot of potential in the concept and even the basic idea that these characters are essentially haunted by their own traumas could be better explored if someone took the time to do so.
I’m not going to recommend this anime. Reading my week to week thoughts would clearly tell you why. It isn’t a good story and it is full of flaws. I probably won’t ever watch it again either. But, I did get some enjoyment out of it and while it was close to dropped and I wondered why I was watching it, I never did drop this show.
Though, we really could have done with the hippopotamus song coming back at the end. If this was the writer’s idea of adding some sort of closure then I am very concerned.
Two further points:
- Why didn’t Love-pon get executed? That scene alone would have made this whole anime worth watching.
- Do we assume all the characters who left the village remain excessively cheerful forever or are they just on the road to more psychological scars?
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