Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mayoiga: The Lost Village Episode #11 Review

He hugged me, a fake, and welcomed me back.

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)
In my past several reviews of this series, I have comedically picked apart various aspects of Mayoiga and made light of them, often turning things that would look fine on paper into jokes, leaving behind any shred of sentiment they may have. However, this penultimate installment to the series deviates from its self-parodying tendencies and, instead, becomes something one step closer to beautiful. We're all aware by now that the bus driver blames himself for the death of his daughter, Misato. The first portion of this episode builds upon that, with him fumbling across a firefly-infested field on the way to Misato -- who's just...standing there. Upon reaching her, the bus driver does not embrace her, but instead falls to his knees and pleads for forgiveness, only to be greeted by the lifeless abyss that has consumed the light within her eyes. He knows by now that this is not his real daughter, but that she is a reality that he must face. And as he accepts this, Misato accepts him.

The scene cuts away from the heartwrenching father-daughter moment as we meet back up with Valkana and the others. With half of the villagers falling into an apathetic slump, Valkana and the few others who still possess some sort of emotions start to catch on to the fact that something weird is happening. Amidst the growing chaos, Hyouketsu No Judgeness and Jack show back up and rain down a barrage of flaming arrows at the rest of the villagers. After their brief onslaught, they reveal exactly what they're doing there. Before they can reveal the identity of their boss (Koharun), the scene cuts away again -- this time back to Hayato. Still torn up over Mitsumune's decision to abandon him, Hayato begins to wander aimlessly around Nanakimura in search of him. Instead of finding Mitsumune, however, he winds up running into Koharun. After bombarding him with cryptic dialogue for a few minutes, Koharun announces that Nanaki is growing. Of course, just as she says this, Hayato's Nananki (His grandmother) emerges from the forest larger than ever before.

Finally, the episode cuts to Mitsumune and Yottsun on their way back to Nanakimura. Just when things begin to look bleak, the bus driver makes his second appearance of the day as he speeds onto the scene. Once the doors to the bus open, the driver is seen unconscious behind the wheel, albeit not for long. He wakes up as soon as Mitsumune and Yottsun enter and immediately turns his attention to Misato, who is now seated at the back of the bus. However, this time around, Mitsumune and Yottsun can see her. Misato walks up to the front of the bus and praises her father for being able to face his fears. As the bus driver is reluctantly about to bid his daughter goodbye, she declares that she won't be leaving, but that she will become one with him in order to always be by his side. She then vanishes, but not before providing some extremely valuable information to the three men on the bus -- Reiji is actually Masaki's Nanaki. As the level of mystery reaches a new high, the episode comes to an end.

In Summary:
Just to cut to the chase, this is the best episode of Mayoiga so far. In fact, it's really the only one that peaks over the "average" mark. The amount of care that was put into the storytelling of episode lies not only in the story itself but the artwork's reflection of that importance as well. The scene when the bus driver approaches the ghost his daughter has become is not only hauntingly depressing but melancholically hopeful. I think I might be repeating myself in saying this, but it was beautiful. The background music winds up boosting the intensity of this moment as well as it meshes with the dialogue and artwork, culminating in an unexpectedly dramatic penultimate episode to the series.

Grade: A

Streamed By: Crunchyroll 

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