Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mayoiga: The Lost Village Episode #1 Review

It's not so easy to turn over a new leaf and start over, okay?

What They Say:
A shady bus tour of young men and women are headed to an elusive village called Nanakimura. A destination where people can partake in a utopian existence, free of the world's obstacles... or so goes the rumor. Heading deep into the mountains, the bus is carrying 30 different individuals, each harboring their own expectations and troubled hearts. What they had arrived to was an uninhabited village with lingering, faint scents of life. It was falling apart. Just what is the secret of Nanakimura?

The Review:
(Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Okay, so what would happen if you filled up an entire bus with people trying to escape from their current ways of life? Each one, hiding problems of their own (Or so we think at this moment in time), decides to leave behind their family and friends and come to a new beginning. Right from the start, Mayoiga (Or "The Lost Village" as it is called in English) introduces us to a very cult-like group of people of various ages coming from diverse personal backgrounds. The thing is, we don't really know much about any of them. Do any of these people have ulterior motives? Or is everyone truly on this trip to start over?

Mayoiga has perhaps the most jam-packed character roster I've seen since Mahou Sensei Negima. I think it was like 30 people or something that came together for the ride -- each with their own unique code-name tied to the messageboard/forum where they met. Well, apart from Yuuna. There we three Yuunas. (That is going to get annoying). Apart from that, the director of the trip seems to be a light-hearted and excited individual and easily coaxes each person on the bus to introduce themselves. And, after a brief snippet from each person, we are left with a list of names that we will never, by any means, remember. Like ever. But that's okay. The thing with this series (Or at least, what I think the thing is) is that everyone is going to have one or two characters they can really relate to, and those characters are going to be what shapes this journey for us viewers. I mean, we've got 30 people on this bus. At least, a couple of them have to lead lives that parallel ours, right?

Anyway, right from the get-go, we realize that this isn't going to be your average family vacation. In just the first minutes of the bus ride, some of the characters start going back and forth about their opinions, creating a rather hostile environment almost immediately. However, that hostility is soon defused by a song about a hippopotamus with terminal cancer or something. I don't know man. It's Japan.

Turns out, the bus is headed for the hidden village of Nanakimura, which has never actually been discovered or put onto a map or anything like that. In fact, the bus is only on its way there due to a tip from an anonymous individual who apparently knows its exact location. Huh. Sketchy. But oh well, it's not like anyone on the trip really cares about their life anyway. With tensions rising amongst the individuals in the bus, the driver finds himself caught in a screaming match with the passengers about how people just need to deal with the shortcomings and terrible happenings of life and just move on. However, considering the sheer mental instability of the other 30 people on the bus, this doesn't really go well and he ultimately ends up with a lap full of vomit. Yup, you read that correctly. One of the girls legitimately threw up on him while trying to diffuse the fighting. The bus eventually comes to a halt near some abandoned rest area that is still well-lit and functional so that people can use the bathroom and do all that kind of stuff. Then, out of the darkness, comes a young girl singing about ripping the limbs off of bodies.

It's all good, though -- she's just someone acquainted with the trip director who apparently specializes in the lore of Nanakimura. And, apparently, she's tagging along as well. As the bus drives back into the darkness, tensions climb again as the group finally appears to be reaching their destination. But what awaits them, unfortunately, will not be seen by us until the next episode.

In Summary:
Mayoiga is my most anticipated series for this season and I'm very glad to be reviewing it. In just the first episode, we've witnessed a solid amount of philosophy on the purpose of life and perseverance. The vast majority of characters stand out as completely unique, and for the amount there are, I'm incredibly impressed. I'm not quite sure how the rest of this show is going to play out considering the mass amount of tonal shifts throughout the pilot, but I can predict that wherever it goes from here will be full of surprises. Honestly, this can play out in any way. Some people are predicting that everyone is going to die, some others are saying that this won't be anything other than self-interested individuals trying to get over their problems. But what I'm expecting is a journey of self-discovery with a large amount of mystery tossed into the mixture. The art is well-done and character design, itself, is pretty fantastic. Even the soundtrack so far has proven to be impressive. Needless to say, I'm expecting big things from Mayoiga. But, at the same time, I can easily see how this series might derail.

Best/Favorite Part:
The hippopotamus song. How could it be anything else?

Grade: A-

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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