|Director:||Kenji Kodama, Yatsuichiro Yamamoto|
|Music By:||Katsuo Ono|
|Licensed:||Ponycan USA, Crunchyroll (NA)|
|Original Run:||April 1, 2016 - Ongoing|
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 and it was falling apart.
Just what is the secret of Nanakimura?
Mayoiga (The Lost Village) is a new original mystery anime airing during the 2016 Spring Anime season. The above quote is the synopsis for the show. Below are my impressions of the first episode of the show, hopefully helping you decide if you should watch it or not.
The basis of Mayoiga is that our large cast of characters are traveling to Nanaki Village. The village is a sort of internet legend where people have gone to escape modern society. The group is traveling to the village because they believe that the people who inhabit it have created the perfect society for them, and hence they give their tour the name “The Life Do-Over Tour”.
In the future, I think it’s best to just give the Should You Watch anime a simple Yes, Maybe, or No answer without numerical ratings to go along with the show. This is even more true of shows that are just starting out (ie. first episode impressions). There simply isn’t enough content with one episode to merit full numerical scores. I think general thoughts on the anime and a good discussion of what type of person would generally enjoy the show is a much better format. In the end I think it’s also important to note that even if I say to maybe watch a show or straight up not to watch it, if you think you would enjoy it then PLEASE watch it! I don’t have the same tastes as anyone else and you should use your own judgement in the end.
If you want to see a Should You Watch First Episode impression that uses this new format, please read the one I did on Ace Attorney. On top of that please let me know which format you like better and let me know ways I can improve these articles for you in the comments. We’re trying to work out what the best way to do everything and we want to hear from you!
- Great mysterious atmosphere
- Solid characters
- Original work so the plot can’t be spoiled
- Will leave you wanting to watch the next episode
- A lot of characters, if we have to know all of them then better study before each episode
- Could go anywhere – could become a horror anime Battle Royal style or could be a mystery the whole time
Plot   -   7 / 10
The Nanaki Village is a sort of internet legend where people have gone to escape modern society. Our cast of characters travel to the village because they believe that the people who inhabit it have created the perfect society for them to fit into. This first episode focuses on the characters taking a bus to where they believe the village is located.
Since this was just the first episode the plot doesn’t move forward very much. If we’re being completely honest the group doesn’t even make it to Nanaki Village in this episode. However the show does present how a few of the characters could affect the story later on really well. We see one character in particular who flies off the handle a few times and seems to have some anger issues, so we know to look out for him. We are also introduced for the front-runner for best girl, Masaki, in this episode so there’s that as well.
Since the show contains so many characters, I think a large part of the story will be character focused. Since that’s most likely the case, it’s great that this episode focused on the characters more than anything else. I think the trade off of kind of knowing who are main players are going to be and who’s going to cause trouble is a good thing for the show moving forward.
As for the general vibe of the plot, I think it might become something of a Battle Royale/Lord of the Flies/Lost situation, but as of this first episode we don’t really know. Lots of characters are going to be stuck together trying to create a new society – and we’ve already seen at least two of the characters are not adverse to violence so we’ll have to wait and see.
Characters   -   9 / 10
The characters of Mayoiga find themselves wanting to escape the everyday grind of the real world. Most of them have different reasons ranging from their parents not allowing them to date the person they love to escaping a stalker. One character doesn’t even believe that the village is real and he’s only their to confirm his suspicion. The cast consists of all different ages, different archetypes, and has a great mix of both male and female characters.
One thing to note is that there are a lot of characters presented very quickly in Mayoiga. Literally the first 5 minutes of the anime are character introductions, and by character introductions I mean the characters actually get up to the front of a bus and use a microphone to introduce themselves to the rest of the group.
Luckily I don’t think this introduction of a bunch of character is necessarily a bad thing, nor does it mean we have to learn every characters name and motivations by studying a wiki before every episode. Even in this first episode, the main players were made clear and given a lot more screen time. I think in future episodes if they do a subplot with one of the more minor characters, they’ll find a way to introduce them again to us so we’ll be good to just watch the show.
The main characters they did introduce are all quite believable which I really liked. In the short amount of time given the director managed to show us that allow everyone is upbeat on the outside, underneath a lot of these characters have problems (it’s almost like that’s probably why they’re trying to restart their lives). None of the characters were even close to perfect which you sometimes find in anime, but that didn’t mean that they were unlikable either (except this one guess who’s supposed to be an a#$hole, he was unlikable but it was on purpose). Overall I would say Mayoiga‘s characters are very strong, and since I believe they will be the center of the plot that’s a very important plus for the show moving forward.
Atmosphere   -   9 / 10
The atmosphere put off by this show, in my opinion, rivals last seasons breakout mystery hit ERASED. Every episode and every moment of ERASED managed to put you on edge and got you thinking about what could happen next. This show has the exact same feeling.
Everything from cryptic dialogue that foreshadows conflict to the rain throughout the episode perfectly exemplify the mystery genre. You’ll find yourself feeling on edge when really there’s nothing to worry about. You’ll find yourself being surprised by the characters and how they decide to handle a situation. Most importantly, at the end of the episode you’ll find that you want to experience the atmosphere and the mystery of Nanaki Village again next week.
Visuals   -   8 / 10
The visuals of Mayoiga are quite well done, although there is nothing unique about them. The character designs are definitely the high point, and that makes a lot of sense to me since there are a lot of characters to work with. All the characters are based in reality, but they each have their uniqueness despite not being over-the-top with things like crazy colored hair or super strange clothes.
The opening credits visuals are your typical opening credit visuals, and that’s totally fine with me. The ending credits are just the characters faces… they don’t even move. I really feel they could have done a little more on the ending credits there but maybe there will be a change in them once the plot advances more.
There is some odd 3D mixed into the show, but its actually quite a bit less off-putting than in other shows I’ve watched. Things like the bus driving were done in 3D but I think they made a good choice to not mix the 3D with any drawn things moving. I think this results in a good balance.
The set pieces were definitely my favorite part of the visuals for the first episode. It’s raining the entire episode, and the animators mixed this really well with great lighting on very atmospheric backgrounds. In the end every scene’s visuals scream mystery. I like that.
Sound   -   7 / 10
At about the 8 minute mark of the first episode the bus of passengers bound for Nanaki Village burst out into a sing-a-long about an unlucky hippopotamus. I think this alone warrants giving this show a score of 11/10 on sound…
The background music both during dialogue and when just the music plays did a great job of setting the atmosphere and invoking a sense of mystery. I found myself getting that feeling of general unease from the music which I think is exactly what you want for a mystery.
The opening credits song is what I would called a “typical” anime open song, its pretty upbeat and honestly it’s pretty catchy, but after the opening for ERASED I was hoping for something more spectacular. The ending credits song is just a slow acoustic song and nothing special really. Maybe some people are into that type of music, or maybe it’s meant to calm you down as the episode ends but it didn’t really hit the mark for me.
Should You Watch Mayoiga?
If you’re a fan of mystery then you definitely need to check out Mayoiga. You’ll like it – I almost guarantee it. If you’re not a fan of mystery anime I would still definitely check out the first episode and a few after that. I think as the episodes move forward we’ll see what kind of show it’s really going to be. As I’ve mentioned it could go more into a Battle Royal type situation or more of a Lost situation, but no one knows.
You can watch Mayoiga right now on CrunchyRoll.
- Great Atmosphere
- Solid Characters
- Mysterious &
- A lot of characters
- Could go anywhere plot-wise