22 CommentsAnime Analysis / By Inushinde /

The Focus Problem of Mayoiga: Why Lovepon is the Only Good Thing About the Show

Lovepon01

Mayoiga has a significant problem between it and staying good, and it’s that everyone isn’t Lovepon. This may seem like a joke meant to further my virulent pro-Lovepon agenda and her insistence on executing everything that looks at her funny, but it is something that dramatically reduces the joy that I get from watching socially incapable idiots bumbling their way into solving a mystery. As Mayoiga shows them not only trying to be capable, but actually achieving capability, some of the magic is beginning to wear off. The characters are the show’s best feature, and it stepping away from the deranged interactions of the first couple of episodes to add to the plot isn’t doing it any favors. 

When it comes to most narratives, there has to be some vein of competence running throughout in order to keep the story from degenerating into a horrid, coagulated mess. I fully admit that I may have gone into Mayoiga with expectations that proved different from what it actually tried to achieve, but the meticulous introduction in the first episode, and its focus on establishing its cast as a group of socially incapable sociopaths, painted a picture that’s nowhere near the Mayoiga that’s happening now. It established a Shion Sono-esque exploration of what happens when people are thrust into circumstances far beyond their control or comprehension, where the intrigue is more in how they survive as characters, and less in how they the actual events play out. By stepping away from that, Mayoiga’s appeal has soured for me.

Lovepon08

The issue is that the majority of the show’s attention is paid to solving the mystery of why everyone is seeing and interacting with strange things, and imbuing the cast with some degree of ability in order to properly solve that mystery. Beyond giving the mysterious force outside the village fodder for its illusory horrors, the characters’ flaws and baggage rarely factor significantly into the goings on of the show, falling into the category of material that’s nice to know and is executed more or less competently, but has little broader impact on what the show as a whole is trying to achieve. It makes Mayoiga feel like a disjointed mess where the horror, which is competent if unremarkable by itself, is mitigated significantly by the show insisting on having a mystery to solve that’s neither interesting nor feels terrifically urgent, despite it claiming otherwise.

A big part of it is that the presence inhabiting the forest around the village isn’t explicitly malicious. Yes, it manifests its quarry’s worst insecurities in order to terrify them, but aside from off-screen disappearances it doesn’t seem to do much else. There’s no tangible threat to the being that stalks the outskirts of the village, making attempts to understand and circumvent it feel in service of jerking off the context that the writing gives, rather than making it fit in with efforts to truly deliver on something terrifying and unknowable. The competent, if unremarkable, horror that Mayoiga achieves with a little effort is unfortunately undone by its insistence on lending it vestigial bits of context that bloat the mystery with extraneous information, rather than streamlining it. Deciding to dedicate an entire half of an episode toward explaining that the being is called a nanaki, and has to be confronted in order to be evaded, certainly doesn’t help matters.

Lovepon05

Unfortunately, the unbridled, psychopathic mentality of Lovepon doesn’t give Mayoiga enough legs to stand on. She’s a shining star of deplorable behavior and somebody with whom I would detest to share a vehicle with, yet her misdeeds and constant calls for execution are the essence of what makes Mayoiga work. She’s irrationality holding out against the squalid tides of the narrative, and it makes her far more interesting to watch than any of the other characters whose endearing quirks are compromised for the sake of an increasingly less compelling story.

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22 Comments

  1. Ken
    Posted June 6, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I stopped watching this after 5 episodes. I kinda agree with a common complaint people have about Mayoiga, that these stupid people are not dying fast enough.

    If they would throw one kabane into this village it would be a lot more interesting.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I was expecting chaos but I got a lot of talking and middle school quality backstories. The fact that it wasn’t Another with its dumb final destination style deaths was a big complaint. Even so this show is just not fun to watch.

    • gedata
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      “Not dying fast enough”? How about “not dying at all”?

  2. Ugh
    Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    This show fucking sucks.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 7, 2016 at 3:01 am | Permalink

      It’s at least a step up from Another in terms of horror, but that really isn’t saying much.

  3. Salamander vi Britan
    Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    How can you say Lovepon is “a good thing”? I mean, Lovepon is the most unbearable character in the series. Mayoiga is crap, it has so many problems from the beginning, and it’s too stupid. Now they want to do interesting with the final part, but I sincerely doubt that this will serve to fix something else.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 7, 2016 at 2:53 am | Permalink

      Pretty much because I was expecting it to be unapologetically, fascinatingly demented, and Lovepon is the only element of the show that lives up to that expectation. I really like Mayoiga’s dedication to being bizarre, I’m just not a fan of how it’s trying to justify itself.

      • Salamander vi Britan
        Posted June 11, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        But it’s not bizarre, it’s just stupid in the bad way. That’s not the same thing.

  4. Canary Paint
    Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    It is a confusing show to me because it does seem fundamentally sucky, and yet I keep watching it. I more or less agree with Inushinde’s review, and there are certainly shows, that with a similar level of problems, I would drop like a rock. And yet here I am… Continuing to watch it…

    I think it suffers from what I call “The Matrix Complex.” The film The Matrix brings us to a point of revelation, but we, as human beings, don’t seem to know in a convincing way what happens after a great truth is revealed. Then, the sequel sucks, probably because the authors don’t know what happens after this revelation, but the audience does not really know either. There is essentially nothing to relate to.

    I am not giving this series the credit of convincingly bringing the story to the point of “revelation,” but it founders in a similar way. The idea it introduces during this last episode that our psychological hang-ups are a part of us to the point that we lose something vital in divorcing ourselves from them is kind of interesting. I doubt the authors have any idea what to do with this idea.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 7, 2016 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      It REALLY gets Matrix-y in the latest episode, which is very much to its detriment. It would have done better taking cues from Jacob’s Ladder, where the exact nature of what’s going on is so much of an unknown quantity/quality that it contributes to the unreality that pervades every moment in the film. There is an enjoyable Jacob’s Ladder-y element to Mayoiga that it doesn’t exploit nearly as much as it should.

  5. Outcast
    Posted June 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    So, the common consensus on ANN is that the show is terrible on purpose – with stuff like characters spending a full minute trying to remember Judgeness’s name after he fell off a cliff, Lovepon’s flashback doing nothing to explain her love for executions (contrary to how flashbacks like these normally work) and just more generally weird choices. Assuming that premise to be true, do you think some of the problems you have with the show are intentional choices as well?

    • Gan_HOPE326
      Posted June 7, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      “Terrible on purpose” should mean something that ends up being squarely “so bad is good”. At this point I think Mayoiga is a show that’s trying very hard to be bad in order to be good but ends up being too good at being bad.

      If that makes sense.

      • Outcast
        Posted June 7, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Well, when you artificially construct a story to be “So Bad It’s Good” you do end up losing a bit of the genuineness that’s associated with the ones that come about through sheer incompetence. Maybe that’s what you mean?

  6. Shikamaru
    Posted June 7, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t watched Mayoiga since episode 4, but I would say that even Another is better. I have read what happens in episodes 5 and up and apparently it hasn’t gotten any better. At least I didn’t drop Another. It wasn’t scary at all I give you that, but it was much better as a mystery anime than Mayoiga. At least you could take Another somewhat seriously. It wasn’t this ridiculous. I mean it definitely was ridiculous, but not this much.

    People are saying that it’s supposed to be bad. You know, so bad that it’s actually good. I don’t believe this theory.

    I usually really enjoy Mari Okada’s work, but this is really mediocre. I wouldn’t call it terrible or even bad. It’s just stupid mediocre mystery/horror anime.

    And where have you been? I missed your posts.

    Also, Renge is love, Renge is life and always will be.

    • Outcast
      Posted June 7, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      “People are saying that it’s supposed to be bad. You know, so bad that it’s actually good. I don’t believe this theory.”

      There’s some merit to the claim. Aside from the examples I stated above, there’s the main character blushing at the sight of a girl’s bra visible through her wet shirt WHILE SHE’S IN THE PROCESS OF DROWNING HIM, and a dude with a silicone implant in his head getting attacked by a fake boob monster. Hell, in episode 1, the bus driver trying to get every one on the bus killed gets stopped by a girl puking in his lap. No one in their right minds would think up these scenes and go “Yes! Horror Gold!” Still, there’s no real way to tell so who knows…

  7. Entitled Brat
    Posted June 16, 2016 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    >still no summer season preview

    WHY

  8. Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    I had such ridiculously high hopes for this anime, but it definitely didn’t go the way I thought it would and its ending made me more furious than I have been in some time.

    Why couldn’t they just make it a good old-fashioned murder mystery where all these assholes died horribly? The tried to get deep and it feels like they ran out of time.

  9. Shadow
    Posted June 26, 2016 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    is this site dead?

    Will we not get one of those epic Scamp season previews?

    I feel a part of me has died…

  10. Varyn
    Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    RIP TCD?

  11. Entitled Brat
    Posted June 27, 2016 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Scamp may have forsaken us, but Inushinde remains! Prepare yourselves for the next incarnation of our favorite anime blog: The S’Life Driver.

  12. DeadPon
    Posted July 6, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Reading this made me realize why I couldn’t stand LovePon.
    She is basically the worst parts of my girlfriend personified.

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