“When the Cat’s Away, the Mice Will Play Mischief”
Mayoiga is Genuinely Good:
While plenty of Mayoiga’s episodes could be classed as “so bad it’s good”, this episode was great, plain and simple – it worked both as a compelling thriller and self-aware comedy. I would even go as far as saying this was one of the better episodes from this entire season (and what a season it has been). Online reactions to Mayoiga are often way more negative than I think is deserved, but when I noticed this episode was getting a positive reception, I was excited to see why that was. And now it’s obvious: because it was great! I’ll say it a third time just for good measure: this episode was great! The directing was strong and the intentions of the series are shining through; this is not a badly written anime by any means. That may seem like an utterly stupid thing to say, but after the past few weeks I’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t write something like this by accident. You can make all the Okada Mari jokes you want, but she and Mizushima are being very smart here. Every absurd or unlikeable character? Every crass line of dialogue or cheesy gag? Every laugh out loud moment when things should be taken more seriously? All intentional. Whether you’re laughing, exasperated, or downright confused, it’s becoming clear that the staff behind Mayoiga know exactly what they are doing, and they deserve way more credit than they’re getting.
The reason why this episode was a such a success was that it finally started getting serious, without taking itself serious. That’s the very important distinction here. After what could be considered too long, we’re seeing anarchy break out and some real horrific things are happening. No one is getting stabbed through the face by umbrellas or going on a murder spree, but it doesn’t feel like we’re far from it, and the build-up to that eventual chaos is oh so sweet. Not only that, but Mitsumune’s backstory was handled very well – better than any that were shown last week. It’s not surprising that he gets the extra time, since he is the main character. And finally I can see him as the lead of this ensemble cast. The history with his deceased brother was hinted in the first episode but I didn’t see anyone guess it correctly (but if you did call it, feel free to take credit).
Now that we know he basically took over the name and role of his brother after he died, all the quirks, flaws, and annoyances of his character begin to make sense. For the first time, him getting flustered over being near/talking to/holding hands with a girl made me smile rather than roll my eyes. But even with something serious backing our main character up, it doesn’t detract from the silliness that resonates in every passing scene. Though if you’re not a fan of the style of Mayoiga’s storytelling, or how little it takes itself seriously most of the time, I can’t imagine you’ll ever be pleased with what we’re getting.
The Witch Hunt:
The latter part of the episode presented us with a literal witch hunt, as our idiotic characters assumed that Masaki must be a ghost (not a monster!), that she may have psychological abilities, that even if she bleeds she is a still not a real person, and that anyone who questions the burning of this girl should just “go with the flow”. In a less self-aware show, all of this nonsense would be unbearable, yet it’s the opposite here. I was grinning through most of this scene, up until the tension started to get real, as Mitsumune showed up, proved he had some balls, and things felt as devastating as they should be. Lovepon may have been puking while preparing for her must awaited execution order, but this final scene left me shocked over how exhilarating it was. And to end on a cliffhanger once again? Gah, Mayoiga, I love you, but I also hate you sometimes. Although not in the way that many others seem to. I just want to be able to binge watch this thing in the space of a few hours rather than waiting for a new episode every week.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Easily the best episode yet. It was the funniest, more absurd, best directed, and most thrilling up until now. This feels like the true turning point of the series – the moment we’ve been slowly (very slowly) building up to. Next week’s preview gives almost nothing away, so there’s no way of guessing what Masaki is going to reveal and how that will affect the group. All I know is I cannot wait to watch the next episode, perhaps more than any other show this season.
P.S. Nanko is once again proving she is the most sensible, likeable, level-headed individual person in the cast. It doesn’t take much, mind you, but her straight forward approach to doing the correct things while everyone else is running around screaming absolute mayhem is another hilarious contrast that I can’t help but love. It’s funny that Nanko and Lovepon are probably my favourite characters, yet are the yin and yang of one another in just about every conceivable way. Look what you’ve managed, Mayoiga!