WARNING: In case you’re the same kind of person that I am, who seeks out watching god awful shows just to know for yourself what makes them so bad, I’m going to drop a few spoilers in this post. If you would like to go into this experience knowing nothing, I suggest you do so before reading this post. However, I do not believe this is a show worth your time, so feel free to continue onward if you couldn’t be asked to watch Mayoiga.
At one point on Twitter I said this post was coming right after Mayoiga started, that I would write about my opinions on this surprisingly controversial show and do my best to defend my points. Then life happened and now we’re a week into the summer season and the post is barely coming up now. Hopefully, in spite of the delays, this will still be a good post. Hopefully.
For those who didn’t bother to watch Mayoiga last season, allow me to provide some context. Mayoiga is a show about a group of people in Japan that all came together to throw their old lives aside and start anew. Whether it be to escape abusive households, stress from work, or living in someone else’s shadow, every single one of our 32 main characters has decided that their only option is to move to the mysterious Nanaki Village. Countless missing person cases have been credited to Nanaki Village’s doing and this group of people wanting to start over have found a way into it and believe it is the perfect way to restart their lives. However, once they arrive they find that they’re not only all alone, but that horrific monsters border the village and wont allow any of them to leave.
To me, that premise sounds awesome. After I started watching the show I wish it took a Lord of the Flies approach and have the village start distrust between each other and having that build to a suspenseful interpersonal conflict with the threat of their worst nightmares hanging over their shoulders to make matters worse. While I didn’t go into the show knowing anything at all about it, the more I watched the more I wished that it took a different approach to the initial concept. The more I learned (or tried to learn, at least) about the world, the more I wanted to see someone correctly go about creating something that fit the mold they so clearly made for themselves.
At the beginning of this post I stated that this show was surprisingly controversial and that was because I found a surprisingly large amount of people claiming the show was actually contender for anime of the year and was easily anime of the season, and a large number of them (all but one of the people I talked to that liked it, actually) claimed it was actually a quality show for the same reason: Mayoiga wasn’t a psychological horror, Mayoiga was a comedy show. While this post was initially going to be about where I felt Mayoiga fell short, I decided to rework my initial idea to make it fit the mold of why I don’t think Mayoiga was a comedy, and why I believe that in reality the show was rather bad.
So enough building the post up. Why was Mayoiga such a bad show? Why do I hate it while other people think that it’s comedy genius? My first reason being a reason that I know many people who dislike the show will be able to relate to is an over saturation of characters. As I mentioned earlier, Mayoiga has 32 characters. Arguably, almost this entire cast of characters are main characters. There are only a handful of characters that I wouldn’t consider main characters, but I’m going to avoid that point to continue arguing later. The point here is that 32 characters is a lot. 32 characters is especially a lot for an anime that was only getting one cour. Commonly grand series in literature won’t even go beyond 20 or even 10 for fear that if they added too many characters the story would over all fall short because of it. As I’ve mentioned in the past, a character is designed to serve a purpose. No character should be written because you want to write them. Every character needs a purpose and needs something that they contribute to the overall story. For that reason when I wrote both of my novels, I only wrote the main characters and wrote new characters to add to the experience when they were needed, rather than because I wanted to. If that’s the case, then regardless of whether or not Mayoiga was intended to be a comedy, they added way too many characters if I can’t remember the name of any of them at the time of writing this (I actually had to read a synopsis to remember the name of Nanaki Village) and on top of that, in the middle of watching the series weekly I actually forgot that some characters even existed until they were introduced again. In fact, I bet that diomedéa could have removed a character entirely and five episodes later add someone who wasn’t even a part of the main cast and I wouldn’t be able to tell.
Why go through the effort of naming each character and giving each character a brief back story to understand what kind of character they are if I wasn’t going to remember any of them afterwords? Why go through the trouble of creating such a gigantic mess of characters if none of them were going to be explored in any meaningful way? These are negative traits on any experience as far as storytelling is considered. Even Nichijou, which is without a doubt supposed to be a comedy, dives deeper into each character. As time goes on, you slowly get a feel for what each character is like and understand their relationships with each other, and in a lot of cases were required as context for some jokes later on. Characterisation is a requirement in comedy just as much as it is a requirement in horror. If the Lucky Star girls never got any characterisation it would have mattered. If Non Non Biyori never had any characterisation it would have drastically changed people’s opinions on what kind of show it is. You could name any number of comedies and I could tell you exactly why characterisation was important to the production. Mayoiga fell flat. Out of 32 characters I remember zero names, only vaguely remember five or six of them, and I felt like all 32 hurt the production in some way.The only I know there are thirty initial main characters and two side characters introduced later. This is not a good thing.
Back to what I mentioned earlier, and a debate on which characters were indeed main characters and which were side characters. Well, if you ask me, this show had 30 main characters. The scientist which two of the main characters meet upon somehow escaping Nanaki Village and the red haired plot-favourite girl’s personal Nanaki are the only side characters because they were treated like side characters the entire show. Every single other character at one point or another had a legitimate role as a main character. There were some characters that even got an explanation of what their Nanaki was and then they were straight up ignored for several episodes on end. I understand that this is completely up to debate since there were some members of the original 30 person cast that were treated like side characters more often than main characters and it isn’t totally uncharacteristic for side characters to play major roles for a few scenes. Regardless, I thought I’d shoehorn in my opinion on that.
Next on my hit list is poor conveyance. This is where the argument that Mayoiga is a comedy comes in to help prove my point. Conveyance is how well a show presents what it is trying to be to the audience. Kill la Kill is an excellent example of a show with bad conveyance. While the Kill la Kill hate wars were raging back a few years ago, a common complaint by those who were disappointed by the quality of the show was that the show felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to be until they very end. If a show feels that way then that generally means that the show has bad conveyance. If you ever ask yourself “What is this show even supposed to be?” then the show has failed on a conveyance front. If a show ever has two distinct camps about what the show was supposed to be, it has also failed because this means that the show has ultimately failed at properly showing the majority of its audience what it was supposed to be. It has especially failed in conveyance if the show’s two camps are seeing it as either a comedy or a horror show. A show with an excellent sense of conveyance is the aforementioned Nichijou. You never have to sit there and wonder “Is this a comedy?” because it’s extremely clear from step one that it’s a comedy. Even people who dislike the show can tell that at he very least it is very clearly trying to be a comedy. That is good conveyance. Conveyance makes or breaks a show on an objective level because if a production of any kind conveys itself poorly, a portion of the audience, whether it be large or small, will mass dislike the production more than if it didn’t have the issue.
When it comes to me personally, part of me wishes I could see how this could even begin to be approached as a comedy due to that not even slightly clicking with me. When a friend and fellow blogger of mine mentioned that he saw it as a comedy and that he was loving the show, I genuinely could not see in any way how he could have this impression. In my mind, the quality of diomedéa shows have been gradually declining more and more to the point where I’m beginning include them with Gonzo for being studios that produce shows that I can just expect not to enjoy merely by them putting their name on the credits. It declined from Akuma no Riddle which was a pretty solid show sans the ending down to Kantai Collection which was honestly a bad show, and down to Mayoiga which is as bad as it gets without me wanting to drop you. It’s gotten to the point where I’m afraid that if one day in suggesting someone Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? they’ll be turned off because of how many shows are negatively associated with diomedéa.
Mayoiga has also had me frustrated at the show for several reasons. Every single line of dialogue is yelled, characters commonly yell over each other, the plot derails constantly, logic is thrown out the window so often that I think my suspension of disbelief is just broken now, and managed to divide the show’s audience into two distinct camps that can’t decide what genre it even is through sheer failure to convey what they meant the production to be. Maybe this was intentional, I have no idea, but it isn’t good. At they very least, hopefully you can agree that this show is objectively bad. It breaks too many rules and constantly throws away conventional storytelling not as an amplifier like in shows such as Madoka Magica or Selector Infected WIXOSS, but merely because they can. That doesn’t make your show good. That doesn’t make you genius. This show is bad. There is absolutely no other way for me to see this show as anything but that. Bad. Objectively and subjectively.
Well, I hope you enjoyed me ramble on and on in a frustrated mess on why I dislike something. At the very least, I hope some people can see where I’m coming from with this context. Regardless, that is this week’s editorial, and for the first time I can actually say for certain that there will be no more breaks in my schedule posting these unless something big comes up. If anyone is interested in knowing why I just died for a few days even with this promised post on the order list, you can read that on my personal blog, here. Also, if you’d like to see what I’m up to even when I die for several weeks, you can always follow my Twitter and engage in petty arguments like the one that sparked this post. Thank you so much to everyone who read to this point. I’ll be back next week. I promise.
The featured image for this post was a promotional image for the anime Mayoiga.