“Nanaki Mirrors Your Soul”
Mayoiga – defying expectations until the very end. Is the ending we thought we’d get? Is this the ending we deserved? Or is it even the ending that makes the most narrative sense? I’m rattling my brain to try to figure out just what I think of this finale, because like every episode before it, it was not what I was expecting. If I were to go back to my (and many people’s) predictions when this all started, I was convinced that this show would end up a bloodbath. I was sure these characters were going to all go ballistic and start chopping off heads, and up until episode 8 that seemed to be the direction things were going, but that never happened. Instead, we got proper explanations about what the Nanaki really is and why these weirdos are all the perfect subjects for the village. We got glimpses into several backstories – some odd, some believable, some laughable – and in the last two or three weeks the majority of the side characters have literally given up on their worth to the story and had a nap. I don’t think anyone would have guessed this is how Mayoiga would end, but that willingness to embrace the absurdity is what made watching this oh so charming.
Cleansing One’s Nanaki:
This final episode was not as action-packed as I was anticipating, which left me feeling a little empty (but I was still laughing until the final moment). Most of the major conflicts were solved with simple conversations, and it is clear that no one was in real danger of death from their manifested nanaki, but rather it was them reacting to their owners wanting to leave the village. Once they each accepted their fate and got over their issues, they were able to “move on” and be transported to the real world, where they could all return to the bus tour and sing the Hippopotamus Song. I did like Masaki and Mitsumune’s farewell, even if they weren’t my favourite characters throughout the show. Lovepon turned out to be rather calm in the end, Jack and Judgeness’s attempts to kill a few villages went nowhere, and Koharun’s daddy issues were revealed at the last moment. As it turns out, she’s not the grand villain after all, but just another person who wanted to return to Nanakimura to get answers.
Overview – Final Impressions:
In the end, nobody died. There was no bloodbath. But there was a ridiculous bus ride filled with eccentric internet-goers who all had unsettling pasts or weird notions about their place in the world. They were all troubled in some way, or simply naive to think that running away could solve their problems, when it turned out that they would have to face their problems directly as they manifested around them and pushed them to the brink – unless of course we’re talking about the uninteresting side characters who didn’t receive any characterisation; they just moped around and went along with the group most of the time. Masaki’s witch hunt could have been the turning point where everything would get horribly violent, but that never occurred. In fact, it was only after that genuinely dramatic episode when things started to get properly explained and we headed for a much more sensible conclusion rather than a chaotic one.
When I think over everything Mayoiga has done these past 12 weeks, I can’t help but laugh. This show is absurd, and purposefully so. The attempts at character drama may have been genuine, but the silly dialogue, stupid character nicknames, and the ridiculous actions of most of the cast still convince me that this show never took itself 100% seriously. As I’ve said many times before, I’ve had a blast with this show, though blogging it hasn’t been the most fulfilling experience. It’s simply not one of those shows that I can dissect or discuss as much as I would like, and the stark difference of opinion between what I think and what the majority of watchers think has made it increasingly awkward to discuss without getting deeper than the show honestly deserves.
Even so, I had fun with it. I’m not sure why it exists or how this all got approved in the first place, because it’s one mad little show that defied expectations and played by its own rules. It’s never going to be regarded as a classic, but not every piece of fiction has to reach for the stars. There was certainly a vision with Mayoiga, and it feels to me that the initial intent came through in this finale. It was us who had a different idea of where this show as going, and that has led to disappointment and outcry, but I have respect for Mayoiga for sticking to its guns and delivering the story it was always meant to be.
ED: 「結露」 (Ketsuro) by Katahira Hina