Aniwords – The Lost Village is the Best Comedy of the Season

I didn’t write that title just for the clickbait; I wrote it because I actually believe it’s true.

It takes a lot for a show like The Lost Village (Mayoiga) to succeed as well as it does, and analysis of things that are well-crafted in non-traditional ways is nearly always rewarding. Having a chance to spill out everything I’ve been thinking about why The Lost Village is as consistently funny as it is was almost as fun as watching the show itself, and I’m rather pleased with how my arguments for and analysis of it turned out. It’s not often I try to analyze things purely on a craft level, but Mizushima and Okada made it easy for me. Hope you guys enjoy (and maybe decide to check out the show if you haven’t)!

Here’s the link~

Mayoiga

17 thoughts on “Aniwords – The Lost Village is the Best Comedy of the Season

  1. I think you’re basically right here, but the show doesn’t really click with me, and there are some aspects I’m not sure about.

    First, why it doesn’t click: I dislike loud and shouty (instinctively) and with the characters basically all being highly stylised one-trick-ponies, repetition becomes annoying for me especially with the lovy-dovy couple, Lovepon, or the Mr. everyone’s-suspicious-unless-they-stroke-my-ego. The quieter people I can take (such as Mr. I-love-eating), but few actually offer much in way of interest. Ultimately, I get a pretty nice, surreal mood that will last me through the season anyway, but it’s far from being my favourite.

    I’m not quite convinced the comedy is all intentional; Mizushima hasn’t yet delivered a horror show I liked, and both Another and Blood C had moments that worked against the eerie atmosphere that was also there. In both those shows, the eerie atmosphere is layed on so thickly that it just… wrapped around and became comedy. You can’t watch the scenes in isolation and get the same feeling because it’s a cumulative effect. Mayoiga shares some of that mood, but it’s also far more self-consciously “funny” (less for me, for above reasons), so it’s sort of hard for to get a hold of the show. It’s like a cross between the Smurfs and Twin Peaks.

    I fully agree with your point about trivialisation and anticlimax. When I read that section, I instinctively thought: “Isn’t this the way internet forum threads develop?” (For example: talking about potentially interesting stuff and then losing track and getting lost in silly jokes.) And then I remembered how they even got onto the bus, and that their names are online-handles. Now I wonder…

    About the cinematography question, well, this isn’t my forte. But the shot you showed me, with glasses guy being half hidden behind a pole, makes perfect sense to me. Some shows handle large-cast shows by ever-shifting focus (say the excellent X – TV). Mayoiga handles a large cast by highly stylised and minimalised characters overwhelming you with their presence. The natural focus in a scene is the active party, so you have to find ways to de-emphasise them visually. That way, you share out your attention more, and no two people will have the exact same viewing experience. You also won’t miss anything important by not focussing on the active party, because they repeat themselves anyway. Maybe that’s compatible with what you call “intentionally bad cinematography”? Because I’m totally going off on intuition, I can’t really tell “good” from “bad”, and all I have is my intuition. I think, the show’s emphasis of character design over backgrounds plays into the same concept.

    As for “maintanance of in-universe logic”; yes. I think everything’s geared to play off highly-stylised characters against each other, without giving you much time to think/feel, nor much to think/feel about. If anything, that’s consistent.

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    • It has been more than once that I’ve heard people called Mayoiga a “bunch of redditors on a trip together,” so you’re not the online thinking about it as having some similarities to the internet.

      Anyways, I do think it’s possible to agree with all the points I’ve made about the show and still not find it funny. Comedy is super subjective, but I do think it’s particularly how well crafted Mayoiga is towards achieving a particular comedic (as I see it) effect. But if you don’t find it funny you may not agree the craft elements result in comedy… very tricky stuff.

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  2. I have found Mayoiga to be on of the most enjoyable series in this season, and you nailed reasons pretty nicely iblessall.

    The characters in the series remind a lot of the good old times of internet – before Facebook and such things – when communicating with others online happened much more often through various phpBB forums, IRC, chatrooms and such things. What I mean here is that every character in the show is recognized by their forum nickname and they act more like “internet personalities” rather than normal human beings. I find it highly amusing, and I even feel a bit nostalgic somehow. (There are still some people who call me by my old forum nickname, even though I have not really used it in years now.)

    I also find that the show puts a lot of cognitive dissonance in the mix in connection or the comedy – i.e. deliberately poor cinematography – which some people like me very much enjoy, but some other really seem to hate.

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    • I have heard legends of these old days of “IRC” and “AIM” and “chatrooms.” So this is what it was like back in the young days of the internet… how fascinating… 😛

      Yes, Mayoiga is definitely a comedy of dissonance. Betrayed expectations for sure. I would like to say the “stiffs” react badly to this, but that’s probably ungenerous and inaccurate.

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  3. Mayoiga has been one of my favorite shows this season for how awful but fun to watch it’s been.

    It never once occurred to me that it might be doing all that on purpose. I think you just changed my entire perspective of the show.

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  4. And I thought you’d said a couple of weeks ago that you were going to drop this show…obviously not. I did, though. Needed to trim my list, and just wasn’t feeling it. I do get your points, though. Some of your observations got me thinking about how Mizushima has approached his other works, and his other comedies that I’ve seen definitely make full use of the surrealist/absurdist toolkit, including deliberate juxtapositions of opposing elements, random tangents and non-sequiturs, and normal characters thrown into bizarre situations. Magical Witch Punie-chan is my favorite of those, with its magical princess who prefers to defeat her enemies with submission wrestling holds instead of magic, and her adorably cute mascot companion who’s also a hardened Vietnam war veteran. Even with something less overtly surreal like Girls und Panzer, though, a big part of the initial hook is just the sheer bizarreness of turning tank warfare – surely among the manliest of “manly” pursuits – into a recreational sport for girls. So yeah, from what I know of his work and thinking back on what I saw of this show before I dropped it, I can definitely see where you’re coming from.

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    • I did say that, actually. But then I was bored on a Friday night and picked it back up again and… now look where I am.

      It’s interesting that you mention Mizushima’s other works, because now I’m thinking about Witchcraft Works and some of the oddly surreal touches it had at times, as well as some of the really conceptual parts of Shirobako. Maybe someday we’ll get a pure surrealist masterpiece anime from Mizushima…

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  5. I was thinking about how this show makes the dramatic trivial and the trivial dramatic (at the very least from some of the character’s perspective). For me, all the elements – the trivialization, the cinematography, the dialogue – mix together to prevent me from ever feeling at ease. Just as the conversation bounces from topic to topic, from one emotion/tone to another, I feel like I’m in a pinball machine as I watch. I’m always in a state of entertained unease.

    Although, I hadn’t thought about how the consistency of the characters juxtaposes the erratic, antsy feeling the rest of the show produces. It’s interesting… They say writing predictable characters is useful for writing an unpredictable plot and that it’s even wise to do so if you want to emphasize it and REALLY go off the rails. So, I’m expecting Mayoiga to go batshit crazy, and hoping it does so in the most bizarre and enjoyable fashion.

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    • I definitely do agree that there’s a sense of unease about the whole thing. The prolongation of this is another thing I find very funny about the show – anticlimaxes following peaks increase the tension and it never resolves.

      As for it going off the rails, I’m torn between wanting it to just never actually let the bubble burst and going off the rails like crazy. The former might actually be more in line with the show’s construction so far, and while the latter might be highly entertaining in the immediate, it may be the perpetual unresolved tension through the very end of the show winds up being the biggest joke of all.

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  6. Right now Mayoiga is the only anime in this season I am looking forward to watch. The story still is mysterious but there’re psychological mixed in horror, survival anime so that’s why I still am waiting for next episode.

    Mayoiga is not like other anime when you can decide to continue watching or dropping.

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  7. I have to agree with the idea that this is a comedy. The first episode I just didn’t get it, but by the fourth episode I was regularly having fits of giggles while watching the character interactions. Once the characters were established and the base line for their interactions this show became one of my favourite watches this season. Hopefully it doesn’t become stale before the end.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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