About a week ago, our guest writer Callum wrote an article on this website regarding this season’s absurdist comedy Mayoiga: The Lost Village and how despite popular opinion the show was in fact being intentionally funny.
There’s a ton of evidence pointing towards this conclusion and although we obviously won’t be able to prove any of these claims, I do believe that there is little reason to believe that what Mayoiga has been doing so far is not intentional. But this write-up isn’t exactly about that. Here I want to try and delve a bit deeper into that topic and ask a question regarding this that has been brought up several times ever since the topic first came about:
Does the fact that what Mayoiga is doing is intentional really make it a better show?
Now first I’ll have to probably explain exactly how I mean this question. I’m of course not talking about Mayoiga’s idea or approach making it superior to other anime, but rather whether what the show has been doing being intentional excuses everything it’s done “wrong”. Nothing about the show makes any kind of sense, every single character is completely unlikable and rarely has any kind of logic to them, the dialogue often enough goes completely off topic and delves into the most unimportant things possible. No matter how you look at it, any single aspect of these alone would already qualify the show as being awful on a critical level under normal circumstances, but I think that’s exactly where the problem lies.
Mayoiga is not a normal show. Every one of the “faults” I was listing serves a purpose. Crunchyroll writer Isaac Akers wrote an article about how Mayoiga is the best comedy of this season a few weeks ago and in it he describes several ways in which it achieves what it has set out to do including “bad” cinematography and the constant trivialization of huge dramatic moments something people would usually consider as a huge downgrade to a series. For this particular one however I would actually argue it’s the exact opposite once again for the same reason: they serve a purpose. The bad cinematography, as Akers explains in his write-up, is a huge factor in taking a lot of the momentum out of what should have been suspenseful scenes making them impossible to take serious and ultimately funny and that’s what’s going on with almost every aspect of the series.
All of this makes me believe that rather than wanting to be “intentionally bad” as people have described the show before, Mayoiga is using things that critics would usually call a show out for to enhance its story. It’s not trying to be bad, but rather building upon aspects of what makes a truly awful series in order to create something that in its own special way is absolutely magical.
The biggest thing to take away from Aker’s article on what makes Mayoiga work really in the end is not just the simple aspects of what makes it work, but rather that it was intended to work this way in the first place. That there was a lot of care put into it turning out this way and that with it being as hilarious as it is, it absolutely has succeeded and I think that is a very important thing to take away from this show. Criticism for a series should not be built upon preset standards of what makes cinematography good or what makes a good series, but I believe that shows that are different in some way should be treated and judged differently and based on what they were trying to accomplish and Mayoiga most certainly was one of them.