OP: 「幻想ドライブ」 (Gensou Drive) by Wajima Ami
“Look Before You Leap”
So Many Characters – And They’re All Weirdos:
30 strangers go on a bus tour to a nonexistent village. They’re all batshit crazy. They’re all using fake or online names (like “Soy Latte”). They appear to hate the world and all want to go somewhere new and start afresh. They sing a ridiculous song about a hippopotamus. One girl sobs before professing her sadness for said hippopotamus. Everyone apparently has written a suicide note for the trip and they laugh along as someone acts their out. The driver hates how much these youngster hate the world and therefore decides to crash the bus and kill them all. One boy named Jack elbows him in the face. The hippopotamus girl then vomits over him and saves the day. Oh, and there’s also an exploding basketball.
Pardon my French, but this episode was fucking bonkers. And guess what? I loved it! It’s very easy to assume that a series with 30 characters and only 12 episodes is going to be chaotic. Based on the reactions I’ve seen, people seem to be repeating the line: “I’m never going to remember the names of all these characters!”. And to that I say: “That doesn’t matter! Half of them will probably be dead within a week anyway!”. And for what it’s worth, I think many of the characters were distinctive enough that I will at least remember their name, face, or whatever random piece of info they gave about themselves in the opening minutes of the episode. What could have felt excessive and off putting ended up working because of how damn weird everyone was. In fact, weird is too kind a word; this cast is something else entirely.
What’s Worth Nothing?:
If there are two characters you should remember, it would be our leads, Mitsumune (Sakai Koudai), and Masaki (Aisaka Yuuka), aka the hippopotamus girl. Funnily enough, them being main characters doesn’t stop them from being just as strange as the rest of their travelling companions. In fact, Masaki was one of the weirdest of the bunch. As for Mitsumune, there’s definitely something off about him. We see hints of him falling off a wall (suicide?) and then surviving, but then watching as his parents run over to another version of himself. The first thought that came into my mind was whether these characters are already dead? What if they’re all in purgatory? That’s my initial theory, but I’m not going to get knee-deep into the possibilities for the mystery quite yet, as this episode mainly focused on introducing the extensive cast, and on the whole, I think Mayoiga did a good job. As I say, most of them are likely going to die very shortly (just look at the four key visuals and you’ll see who will survive across the series – does that count as spoilers?). If you can’t keep up, then don’t worry! Just buckle up and enjoy the ride. And join in on the hippopotamus song while you’re at it!
The Bumpy Ride Ahead – But Who’s Driving?:
In case you weren’t aware, Mayoiga is directed by Mizushima Tsutomu (Another, SHIROBAKO, xxxHOLIC) and written by Okada Mari (GOSICK, Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans, Zetsuen no Tempest). If you know anything about anime, you’ve likely heard these two names before. Mizushima is a very good director who has done plenty of noteworthy originals (his last one was my personal pick for 2015 Anime of the Year), but not everything he does is great. Similarly, Okada Mari has her reputation, though I have enjoyed almost everything that I’ve seen from her – but I tend to enjoy melodrama, so that comes down to my own personal taste. Whatever you may think of these two, this is a combination you can’t ignore. And going by this opener, it’s certain to be entertaining.
Overview – First Impressions:
This was perhaps my most anticipated anime of the spring season, and after watching this episode I’m really looking forward to seeing where things go. It’s very, very, (very) likely that Mayoiga will burst at the seams before it finishes its run, and part of me won’t mind if that happens. If the tone of this episode was anything to go by, this should be a camp, silly thrill ride. If it delivers on that, then I’m happy. But at the same time, the premise of a massive cast of characters pissed off with the world all running away to start a new life in a village that nobody can find is a compelling premise. Will it be the next Battle Royale? What awaits us in the village of Nanakimura? I have absolutely no idea, but I sure as hell can’t wait to find out.
ED: 「結露」 (Ketsuro) by Katahira Hina
There were so many thoughts brewing in my head as I watched this awkward bonkers of an episode, but the 2 most prominent of them all were:
1. Jack is already my favorite character.
2. If someone is gonna do a ward count for this episode alone, it sure as hell won’t be me.
can you always upload the gakusen toshi asterisk 2/ second season episodes please…
And here we have another Okada series with socially awkward (or dysfunctional) characters. The cast here reminds me of Okada’s other work: M3: The dark metal(M3: sono kuroki hagane), and that series was awful to sit through because alot of screentime went to reminding the viewer how despicable some characters are, and Okada tends to write another person intervening in couple’s relationship. I hope Mayoiga wont be like M3. Please let it be a “normal” mystery/thriller without the whole character drama…
I never watched all of M3, but that definitely seem like one of Okada’s weakest titles. For what it’s worth, Mayoiga has already showed more promise in its first episode than M3 ever did.
The creepiness factor reminded me of Another for some reason. I got the feeling from your review that you might have taken some of what happened too literally. Mitsumune’s falling sequence might have been a flashback but most of it was either a nightmare or hallucinations. AYS, can’t discount them all being deaders either.
I’m assuming that the main characters are going to be the ones who gave the longest introductions or had the longest screen time in this episode.
I have a feeling Lion will be one of the main characters, even though she barely introduced herself.
True she didn’t get a lot of screen time but she did interact wth Mitsumune which I take to be another indication. Now how long each of them last…..
Most likely because the animation also appears to have been done by the same studio as you can pretty easily overlap the styles.
This is why I am expecting over half of the group to be dead by the end of the series.
It also doesn’t help that we have other ominous foreshadowing like the hippo song, Lion jokingly talking about cannibalism, and the series’s summary about signs of people having “used to” live in Nanakimura and yet, with the preview, the place looking pretty broken and run down…
Over half? Optimist. 😀
I had this eerie sensation when watching Mayoiga, especially how they openly talked about death, suicide, and throwing your old life away.
I’m going to go the M. Night Shyamalan route and say that everyone died in the beginning when the bus supposedly did not crash but actually did, and that they’re all ghosts in a hallucination of reality.
This was an interesting start. I watched Another for the first time back in October and while not as overt, this does give the feeling of unease. It will be interesting to see where this goes. Hopefully, it doesn’t go to hell in the last two episodes like Another did. Given Mizushima Tsutomu has been really successful as a director lately heres hoping he may have grown and will not make the same mistakes twice.
Also,Samu, you forgot to mention that our director also directed Girls und Panzer and its relatively recent, last November, movie. It is one of my favorite anime of this decade so I feel the need to mention it.
I tried to mention the director’s works that were more relevant to this sort of series (though I had to throw SHIROBAKO in there just because it’s fantastic). I’ve heard GnP is very good, so I’ll probably check it out at some poinT!
The only reason I wanted to bring it up is because it was such a huge success and began his winning streak as a director. Shirobako was his next big project and then he did the GuP movie. Still, cool that you will give it a try.
The eerie mood is nice, the art is nice, and the characters… Well, if those facial expressions and characters are meant to be annoying, the creators did a wonderful job. I hate these guys already, Will this be a kind of story where they will die one by one? If so I’m game.
I predict there will be many ridiculous/bloody character deaths in the upcoming episodes. Perhaps we should guess how many will bite the bullet next week? I’ll play it safe as say three.
There’s definitely a mood that’s hard to describe.
It gives me the feeling that at any time a character might just start grotesquely mass-murdering the others. The unsettling part is that nothing bad actually happens, so you’re just stuck with this constant state of apprehension. Also, the design of the characters is cute, but everything they say is so creepy.
As azimber mentioned, I don’t like any of the characters, and that seems to be intentional to make them all unlikeable.
Not sure what to think yet.
It seems this anime is going to take the crazy road.
Not just the hipoppotamus (damn, I was really said for the really real unlucky one, but was laughing anyway due to the crazyness of the scene), but that beautifully eerie Nanakura hymn already shown what awaits our big crowd in the village.
I’ll be frank, Mitsumune didn’t gave any weird feeling to me until his delusion. But I guess weirdos are able to detect weirdos (I’m looking at ya Samu). By the way, I presume the first death will be the poor vomited driver, as it has no relation whatsoever to Nanakura and…well, hidden villages are supposed to be hidden right? If he’s not dead by chapter three, I’ll put some chips on him being the last boss, if there is one.
Let us hope they don’t pull that old, old card. You know the one where “bus driver is the killer.”
Gosh,I loved the hippo song…batshit crazy but still so enjoyable.
Is nobody gonna remark the hippopotamus song is practically the same as Solomon Grundy’s?
So many characters so little self-preservation instinct…
If I had stumbled upon such organization, I’d contact the police first…
And second, had planted a beacon on myself and had someone follow. Preferrably someone well armed.
In the first place most of them have suicidal tendencies, and they’re willingly write suicide notes, so why bother contacting police?
It’s literally what you get when you put Reddit on a bus. – Some Reddit user
I think this sums up Mayoiga EP01 impressions really lmao
best comment idneed…
As for Mitsumune, there’s definitely something off about him. We see hints of him falling off a wall (suicide?) and then surviving, but then watching as his parents run over to another version of himself.
My initial guess is that Mitsumume has a split personality and Speedstar is his alternate. No one else really interacted with/acknowledged that character in the first episode and he seems to know too much about Mitsumume.
That would be cool, but I think the tour guide guy does specifically acknowledge Speedstar when he says that it was him that first revealed the name of their destination being the village. So at least he seems to notice them as two different people. I think in the conversation with Eve and that lipstick girl, they mentioned him too, comparing the two boys.
Not my cup of Tea
I already love this, why’s it have to end at 12 episodes.. (he says after literally the first episode)
I’m sort of glad this is only 1-cour. If it were double that, who knows what levels of craziness it would reach? Even so, I’m sure 12 episodes is more than enough to surprise us.
suicidal bus the simulator
Thinking along the same line. About half-way thru, I wondered if this wasn’t a retelling of a story like Haibane Renmei Show Spoiler ▼
Even so far as their ‘handles’ being the equivalent of a Haibane’s name deriving from their cocoon dream.
Just a thought.
I don’t know why but Mitsumune looks like the nice guy that could break up anytime and go completely insane, killing everyone.
The whole concept of this mysterious, nonexistent city that draws people to it gave me some serious Silent Hill vibes
Well thankyou Samu, you’ve sold this series for me. I wasn’t sure what shows to watch this season.
I haven’t even watched this yet and I’m pretty sure I’ll love the yellow hoodie girl.
I haven’t even watched this yet and I’m pretty sure I’ll love the yellow hoodie girl.
Okay, why is it saying I’ve already made this comment?
Oh, that’s why. Weird.
Seems like a promising show. It gives me similar feels like Another and I loved the first half of Another. I really like the 30 character format, it feels like a real bus trip and less constructed.
!st episode in and I am already wary about it.
Because I sense it’ll follow the lines of Higurashi and seeing that it’s Okada Mari and the dark atmosphere thus far, we might have this following the route of despair as done by WIXOSS
I say, any of these characters have the potential of snapping and killing everyone. I’m excluding the bus driver. He is disgruntled, but not entirely crazy.
Also, the eyebags raving dude might just turn out to be the sanest of the lot.
I’m worried about Diomedia’s handling of their first original anime series, despite having both Mari Okada and Tsutomu Mizushima involved in Mayoiga.
Also, I have a bad feeling that things won’t go well for those 30 participants!
i’ll check it out
I dunno, the obvious feeling I get is they’re all already dead or something. Or they’re in purgatory. All the characters are really tropey, and the introductions were pretty forced, it’s like, “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I have low self-esteem and am escaping from my old life of misfortune, how about you?”
Haha, the poor driver is just named Driver, lol
But the atmosphere is the best thing the show has going for it.
The introductions were pretty forced — in-universe. I don’t think they are dead, at least for now, but the show is playing with the idea. 30 people dying after having researched this special vilage is a bit unlikely.
Pacing? What pacing. This show threw it out the window then spit on it.
I guess I’ll give this the 3 episode rule.
Well, in reality you fill bus full of peoples that want to suicide or has other problems that do not fit into the society. As if you just do not care about them, and “want” them to Jump from the bridge.. Or is there anyone to look after them?
so here the starting point do not fit into my mind
I have a feeling that the torture devices they were naming on the bus might come into this at some point…
I also got that “Another” vibe… Loved the first episode (Y)
Is it just me or am i getting some Orwellian vibes like “Animal Farm” or William Golding “Lord of the Flies” vibe?