We have a murder mystery on our hands, a lost village, a beast lurking in the woods, and yet… I am bored out of my mind. Where did Mayoiga go oh, so, so wrong? For the fourth week in the row, it’s got to be the characters, man. The characters are absolutely terrible. There isn’t a single redeeming person within this entire group. There’s no one that I want to remotely root for. But to start from the beginning, the third episode seems to be lurching as it attempts to drag the slow-developing story forward. Things kick off on a semi-okay note when everyone finds some giant claw marks on a tree in the woods. There are also some bloodstains, but who knows if it’s really blood? After all, we’ve got a dust expert on the team, but not a forensics expert. Eventually, they find Masaki, but Yottsun remains missing. The group questions the girl, and her story sounds ridiculous, but any attempt to call her out is met by Mitsumune’s furious white-knighting. All of a sudden, the story comes to a screeching halt as we watch the group go through the motions of pseudo-domestic bliss.
Oh, there just happens to be a field of fully grown veggies! One character finds it odd. One. Out of a group of 30. People then start preparing food. Sweet! People pull out some futons. Great! Meanwhile, I’m just bored out of my mind as I watch these cardboard cutouts try their hands at this thing called human interaction. It’s a bit hard when you’re a cardboard cutout. At some point, some weirdo is mean to another weirdo, so the latter tries to kill the former! You might naturally assume that this sudden injection of murderous intent is a sweet respite from the mind-numbing sequence preceding it, but it’s actually so ridiculous in execution that I’m more exasperated than anything. It’s just like… “W…what?” It turns out the second weirdo allegedly stabbed a kid back in elementary school. Uh, okay. So they stick him in some jail cells. Again, whatever they need just happens to be right around the corner. Except Yottsun, of course, but then again, who really needs him?
Later that night, some words are exchanged between Mitsumune and… ugh, Lovepon. Seriously, I don’t even want to get into what they talked about. It’s not even worth it. These characters are so pathetic, it hurts to even recall their conversations. To make a long story short, she ends up trying to drown the guy in a nearby creek, but when her breasts show through her wet shirt, this makes our gormless loser of a protagonist so embarrassed that he gets the strength to push her off of him. As he tries to run away from his would-be killer, he spots Yottsun’s body floating down the creek in the distance. Or did he? Ah, the ol’ switcheroo. Too bad Okada goes back to this well a little too often. You’ll see what I mean. Naturally, the rest of the group soon joins Mitsumune in their search attempt, but it yields nothing. Also, no one mentions the fact that Lovepon just tried to kill someone. It’s over and done with! Time to move the hell on.
Eventually, the group decides to split into two. Maybe something happens before this, but I can’t be assed to go back and check the fourth episode. I also stopped taking notes midway through the previous one. As I was saying, half of the group wants to leave, because hey, this trip has been a disaster, we’re surrounded by weirdos, someone’s gone missing, and last but not least, there seems to be some dangerous animal in the woods. Yeah, I think we should leave. Frankly, I wouldn’t have gotten onto the bus in the first place. Masaki, however, argues that they shouldn’t leave, because uh… what if it’s even more dangerous to leave than it is to stay? Yeah! Does she know something? Does she? Gee, I dunno, Mari Okada! Naturally, Mitsumune is ever the white knight, so he wants to stay as well. The rest will try to leave, but it’s the fourth episode, so you already know their efforts will be quite futile. As humans are prone to do in the forest, they find themselves walking in circles.
You can see how the elements are there, but the whole falls woefully short of the sum of its parts. Again, you’ve got the mysterious animal in the woods. Nevermind the fact that Mitsumune thinks it sounds like a sea lion. At least there’s a pertinent threat, right? Now, they find themselves walking in circles. Maps are useless. The “military-grade” GPS is useless. It’s the Blair Witch Project! Then, they come across train tracks that lead to a dark and ominous train tunnel. This entire time, it’s raining cats and dogs, people are seeing things, and yet another individual goes disappearing into the woods. Like I’ve said, the element are all there. It’s just put together in such a dumb fashion. First, the animation style doesn’t fit. Like someone said in previous weeks, this looks like some boring ass slice of life PA Works anime.
And even if you were going for the Lynchian surreal, the quiet moments aren’t off-putting whatsoever. They’re just boring. There’s nothing bizarre about these characters once you get past their gimmicks. Still, Mari Okada could’ve played it as safe as possible, and you’d probably have something potentially interesting. Why? Because the mysterious is almost always somewhat fascinating by virtue. A mysterious village is supposed to be alluring. But unfortunately, the execution is just ass, so you can’t help but just laugh at the anime. Remember the guy who was supposed to be in jail? Well, someone saw him in the woods… or DID HE?! What follows is the most maddening part of it all. Mr. Judgeness slumps to the ground, and points at the distance. You think it’s gonna be good. You think it’s gonna be shocking. I mean, just look at his face. But then the anime cuts to this:
I literally facepalmed. I sat there and facepalmed at my desk as I watch these two episodes. There’s literally no suspense, and likewise, there’s absolutely no payoff to speak of. Even a moment that is supposed to be apprehensive ends up being goofy as all hell. The group comes across something frightening, but Miss NyanNyan can’t help but speak in her stupid nyan way, which diffuses any tension in the air. Someone warns the group to protect their arms and legs, so Miss High Heels remarks that her legs are her best assets. Am I supposed to laugh at this? Is this a comedy? If so, what is funny about it? What is ironic about it? What are we tweaking? Wait, wait, it gets better. I mentioned how the group came across a dark and ominous train tunnel, right? So they venture into it, and find themselves face to face with something truly horrendous and frightening!
Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ. Let’s first assume that the show is trying to be serious. I’ll grant you that I don’t know why she said she saw a giant Mitsumune. And considering how people are just seeing things, maybe she’s the only person who saw a giant Mitsumune, and everyone else saw something that was scary to them. But let’s grant for a moment that it is a giant Mitsumune. I can’t help but think of that moment in Silent Hill 4 when you stumble across Eileen’s giant head in the hospital:
Silent Hill 4 was probably the weakest of the four main Silent Hills, but it was still a decent game. And the giant head fits the atmosphere. At that point in the game, everything has gone off kilter enough that y’know what? Yeah, I can stumble across Eileen’s giant head and find myself a bit disturbed by it. But in Mayoiga, the thought of seeing a giant Mitsumune in some random fucking train tunnel just makes me scoff. Maybe you’ll disagree. Maybe you think Eileen’s head was silly too. I dunno, man. You can insist that Eileen’s head didn’t disturb you, but c’mon, the execution is miles ahead of Mayoiga. Hell, we don’t even get to see the giant Mitsumune. It probably would’ve been better if we did!
Okay, we did the serious part! Now what happens if this moment was supposed to be funny. Well, if that was the case, then we definitely should’ve seen the giant Mitsumune! No matter how you look at it, we should’ve seen the damn giant Mitsumune. But we didn’t. We never see a goddamn thing, and I can’t help but think that the anime thinks it’s being clever.
Just to remind you that the bus driver still exists, he also wanders into the woods, because he thinks he sees his young daughter out there. Predictably enough, she supposedly died ten years ago. Way to go, gramps. People are seeing giant Mitsumune, and you just see your dead, lameass daughter. But seriously, I don’t even have words to describe this anime. I’ll just resort to gifs. You’re supposed to be bewildered, confused, befuddled, shocked:
But instead, I’m more like:
Then we have the characters and… I’ll just let the screencaps speak for themselves:
We almost forget that these people are society’s outcasts. They’re only here because they’ve been so alienated from modern life in Japan. For some of these disaffected youths, especially the ones that seemingly don’t want to leave, these bizarre events are apparently more preferable than returning to their old lives. We’re supposed to plumb the depths of these kids’ social despair, and the mysterious village is only a tool to enable their character study. But wait, my bad… that’s only an assumption on my part. That’s what I thought I was going to get when I watched the first episode. We still sort of touch on it in the third episode when the mean guy talks about how he was betrayed as a systems engineer. Maybe we touch upon the disaffected youth part again when Masaki strangely cries and runs away when MItsumune tries to bond with her near the end of the fourth episode. Shrug.
In any case, the reality is that I’m currently mired in a cheap and boring mystery, the characters are grating, and the story’s not going to end any time soon.