Posted on 27 December 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



I really would have liked to see Otome Youkai Zakuro go on for 26 episodes instead of just thirteen, but ah well, at least this was a great ending that was simple, yet very well told: all of the important characters reached their catharsis and the creators managed to add a very nice emotional charge to it. The three main couples all grew even closer together, Byakuroku and Daidai got themselves a great conclusion, and the final twist on Zakuro’s mother also made her into a really sympathetic character, where her love as a mother, that has been questioned throughout the entire series, was restored.

Only Omodaka got a bit of a short straw here with that suicide ending of his. I’m not sure what was up with that and what the creators wanted to prove with him just dying without any reason: he just chose to sit next to his mother as the house around him burned down. And I know that there is the golden rule of anime and all (no character is dead unless this is confirmed), but this is the final episode: there was no hint whatsoever that he survived, despite half the episode being dedicated to the epilogue.
EDIT: oh wait, it seems I missed an epilogue and he really did not die. ^^;

At the end of the episode, the bureau of spiritual affairs also got disbanded, only to reappear only minutes later (with a plausible reason, though). That twist was mostly there to get that kiss out of Zakuro and Agemaki. I guess that there wasn’t time to let it flow naturally between them (because granted, it’s probably going to take a long time for them to stop arguing if their relationship ends up happily ever after in the first place). It in either case was a charming bit of romance.

Overall, this blogging a different series each week turned out to be a nice experiment, that I might do again in another season where there a lot of shows about which I have something I want to say. I’m not going to do it next season, though: when Heartcatch Precure ends I’ll be able to cover nine new series: that’s half the total amount of series in the entire season.

I’m not yet sure which series those are going to be, though. I’m guaranteed to blog Level E, and things also have to be pretty strange if I’m not going to cover Yumekui Merry, Fractale and Hourou Musuko. For Supernatural it’s all going to depend on how the heck they plan to release it. For Rainbow Gate, Freezing and Infinite Stratos it’s going to depend on whether or not they have their mind in the gutter. Madoka Magica, Wolverine and Beelzebub have very notorious staffs so any hints towards that will play a big role in whether or not I’m going to blog those, and Gosick and Dragon Crisis will get covered if they’re not as childishly stupid as they seem to be at first sight. In any case though, I never had to choose nine new shows to blog in such a small season, so I’m at least thankful that it’s going to be a very diverse one.

Going back to Otome Youkai Zakuro, my initial worries were that it wasn’t ambitious enough with its story, and granted its story isn’t as complex as, say, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo, but it still developed into a very nice and simple story that pushed a lot of right buttons. A definite recommendation for those looking for some light romance.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 24 December 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope




Okay. That ending was awesome.

As for the climax itself, the first half of this episode was a bit dull, in which the creators pulled the usual twists that you’d expect at the end of a series. Panty loses her powers but gets them back after having sex with Brief, it was a bit too standard, although the farming scenes were really entertaining. The second half though had some very neat action scenes that really were worthy of this series’ finale. There was a ton of neat animation going on on a really epic scale, and the final twist was just completely bizarre, and yet worked really well.

I love the guts of this series with its ending, though. For one, Garterbelt’s revival scenes were hilarious (“GOD MY OOOOOHHHHHH!!!”), but the way it lead into its potential second season with Stocking’s complete and sudden betrayal was a really neat and nonsensical twist. Now, as for that second season however I do want to say this: there has been a series in the past that pulled a very similar twist right at its final episode. I refuse to spoil which one for obvious reasons, but despite so obviously pointing to a sequel the director later stated in an interview that that was never going to come. Also, that premise of that second season has to be pretty bizarre: “Brief and Chuck with Garterbelt”. Would that even work?

So let’s just wait for any official announcements. If there is going to be a second season, I’ll probably end up blogging it. The main reason why I didn’t blog this entire season was because of the mediocre episodes 2, 3 and 4. After that though, this series took some really neat advantages of its format with a ton of neat and experimental segments.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 14 December 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This is the episode in which the creators decide to reveal the past, and what happened to Zakuro’s mother. It’s pretty much the episode that explains it all, right before the final climax of this series. And with this episode, this series got even more solid than it already was.

This episode was both very tragic, as surprisingly deep. The role of Zakuro and her mother turned out to be much more at the centre of the entire story than I thought, with Zakuro’s mother’s existence even being the reason that these half spirits exist in the first place, all thanks to these disturbing corrupt practices that were going on in order to try and use her powers. I mean, this episode never explicitly stated it, but it’s pretty obvious at this point that Zakuro’s mother was raped multiple times in order to attempt some good off-springs.

There is a bit of the romantic cheese: Zakuro was born out of true love and therefore has inherited some incredible powers. This is obviously a bit of a flaw, but after this backstory I don’t mind, because this episode brought more than enough to make up for it. Especially Omodaka became a much better villain after this episode: after this episode I really hate this guy as an asshole, rather than this cheesy shoujo villain.

I’m also glad to finally see an actually justified hints at incest. Anime with incest nowadays are nearly all of the type “hey we have a boy who has this hot sister. Let’s make them fall in love with each other!” Zakuro’s family in contrast is so completely broken; Omodaka has been corrupted by his father from the start, he now turned out to constantly lust after Zakuro’s powers. It’s miles away from the lazy and shallow incest we usually see.

In any case, in the end this series did turn out to have just 13 episodes, which thankfully means that Mari Okada only has three series to worry about in the upcoming fall season. She’s an amazing writer, as shown by how well she treated Otome Youkai Zakuro, so I really hope that she can give all three of Hourou Musuko, Fractale and Gosick enough justice instead of rushing through all of them. Only once I’ve seen a more extreme version, this was in the Autumn Season of 2007 when Natsuko Takahashi wrote a whopping four series at the same time. The results were still good, but really unbalanced at times (but then again, that’s pretty much Natsuko Takahashi: she’s either really solid or makes really strange design decisions).
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 10 December 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



Of course it’s great to see Garterbelt’s past here, but what really made this episode for me was its brilliant second half. It pretty much was about nothing: Panty and Stocking sitting in front of the television being really bored. But the entire half was shot on the same camera on the same position. It only panned twice, it only cut three times. Apart from that, it was all about Panty and Stocking randomly talking, along with Chuck, Brief and Garterbelt who appeared along the way. I love these kinds of episodes that really take this unconventional way of storytelling.

And still there were plenty of things going on with that half being everything but boring. Panty and Stocking being bored was surprisingly interesting, especially when you learn about the bizarre context at the end of the episode: Garterbelt spending ten hours inside the kitchen in order to cook a lunch party to celebrate that his afro was announced as the best afro in the world. The voice acting was especially fun and excellent here, and I like how the animation brought the characters here to life without a camera that usually keeps changing positions. I also really liked the final punchline. That was some great comedic timing there.

A lot of the anime today are just too safe and hardly ever bother with episodes like this and that’s quite a shame, really. There’s a ton of potential here if you’d just wish to abandon conventions and that’s what I really appreciate this series for doing.

Oh, and it’s not like Garterbelt’s backstory was uninteresting either. I mean, with the entire history tour that this guy made, parodying everything from Adam and Eve to the vikings.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 29 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



For the Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope I’ve been talking about different series each week. Otome Youkai Zakuro’s ninth episode makes for the last series I want to say something about. For December, I’m going to fill this category with posts about the series that I think will have the most interesting finales, which probably will be posts focusing on Panty and Stocking and Otome Youkai Zakuro.

Oh and on a side-note: I’m probably not going to go a kaleidoscope for the upcoming winter season, because of the simple reason that TOO MANY SHOWS ARE ENDING at the end of December. With that as a result, I’ve got room for eight new series; nine when Heartcatch Precure ends. That’ll be plenty of room to blog all of the good shows, plus also a bunch of premises that I normally wouldn’t even consider.

In any case, this episode is a good point to talk about this series, because a) we’ve gotten some significant build-up at this point and know where this show is heading to, b) I can praise a lot about it and c) I can also criticize a bit about it.

Starting with a), Otome Youkai Zakuro definitely has built up the best cast out of all the shows I’m not blogging this season. It’s got three couples who play off each other really well, and the past episodes have developed some really genuine relationships between all of them. the most intriguing being Zakuro and the mystery behind her: she’s a really tragic character who was really well explored in the past eight episodes.

Now, this episode was meant as a bit of an intermezzo between the heavy arcs, mostly focusing on fleshing out the romances a bit. It was enjoyable because we’ve seen relatively little of the cast in light-hearted situations due to the short length of this series. This episode was enjoyable, simply because the characters have been very well developed at this point, and because of that they were fun to watch.

And yet, this episode also enlarged some of the major flaws of this series. For that I need to go back to the source material, or its original author Lily Hoshino. When you look at the different covers of some of the other manga she has written, there’s one thing that immediately caught my attention: they all look the bloody same! Nearly all of them feature two people looking mellow and hugging each other. I couldn’t find a premise for most of them on ANN, but the premises I did find were just completely stupid and cliched, most notably that one about a family which forces all of its children to marry guys.

The creators here really gave a wonderful adaptation of the Otome Youkai Zakuro, but at the same time you can see that the romance is bound by these stupid cliches. The romance is mostly mature, and yet because of that premise the characters never really become couples, even though how obvious it is that Susukihotaru and Yoshinokazura are into each other, with the same going on for Bonbori and Hoozuki and Hanakiri.

Zakuro also suffers from these romantic cliches, though slightly different. In her case it’s indeed more logical to become good friends with Agemaki due to the large tension between them, and I actually really liked the point at which her crush on Hanadate was revealed. But yeah: he’s a bad guy, making what could have been a mature love triangle into a cheesy shoujo affair and Zakuro closer and closer to a standard tsundere. It’s pointless twists like these that are really holding back the otherwise truly excellent execution of this series.

Again though, I really like this series despite these criticisms. What’s even more impressive here is that JC Staff is really busy this season: they’re working on four different series at once, and yet all four of them are actually pretty good. Obviously some are better than others, but compare that to AIC which was in the same position during the previous Summer Season, working on four moe shows at the same time, where in the end every single one of them turned out to be dull and boring.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 27 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



Okay, perhaps last week would have been a better time for me to blog an episode of Index, but I did not know that that arc would just take up two measly episodes. And besides, this episode was pretty much was as interesting as it was terrible, which is pretty much what Index is all about.

So far, the second season of Index has been a huge mixed bag, but that’s part of its charms: the first arc was rather dull, the second arc was surprisingly good for being the lost chapters of Railgun (I really liked how they just cut the crap there and went straight to the point instead of dragging on). The current third arc is definitely enjoyable: it’s not the most ambitious arc, but it puts a lot of emphasis on the chemistry within the cast, which was quite enjoyable.

But really… there is fanservice, and there’s taking these dull romantic cliches way too far. How many times did Touma walk into a naked girl? How many times did his face get planted in someone’s bosom? Why did the creators suddenly introduced yet another random girl for Touma’s harem? It makes no sense, it feels lazy and it was completely pointless, making it seem like Touma can’t be friends with a girl unless he gets some romantic tension with her or something…

Either way though, this episode wasn’t a complete waste. I liked Touma in the rest of the episode, where there were a ton of different things that were going on. That’s how I like these sports festival episodes: we’ve seen them done to death by now, but this episode made well use of it to show some good antics. Another piece of criticism that I can give here is that the magical items in this show are starting to become mere McGuffins: especially in this episode, you could have replaced that Stab Sword with for example the “magical pizza of the annihilation of something very important”, and it wouldn’t have changed this episode in any way.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 16 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week I want to rant a bit again, even though I’m probably still the only one left who still watches this series. Still, I do want to write a bit about the strange and horrible decisions that were made for this second season. I’ll try to explain my thoughts on this series so that they also become a bit understandable for people who have never seen anything from Marie&Gali.

The first season of Marie&Gali was awesome: it was a fantastic comedy that showed how fun science can be; every episode was full of hilarity and came with completely new material and jokes, never running old or repetitive. The characters started out as stereotypes, but they really grew on you as the over the top quirky personifications of famous scientists that they were. Everything was set to also close off perfectly after forty episodes.

And then, out of nowhere, a second season suddenly got announced.

Obviously I was delighted back then, but after watching more than 20 episodes of this second season, I get more and more the impression that the second season announcement was as much a surprise for me as it was for the creators. I’m betting my hat that they only learned of it, after fully planning out the entire first season. This meant that they had to create a completely new set of forty episodes from scratch, even though they already put their best material and inspiration in the first season.

There are many reasons why I believe this to be the case. The most notable are the following:
– They inserted a freaking Scrappy. Norika, a strange whiny princess-like little girl, just comes out of nowhere and completely takes over the show as the lead character.
– The first season never repeated itself. The second season does, devoting several episodes in a row on the same concept.
– The comedy in the first season felt natural. In the second season, it feels forced. And this didn’t happen gradually, it immediately turned from good to bad at the start of the second season. But more on that below.

I’m not really sure why Toei found it a good idea to give this of all series a continuation, because it really wasn’t their most successful series by far. Especially considering how they closed off their viewer ratings cannon of Kaidan Restaurant abruptly after only 23 episodes. This season just serves no purpose.

You can also see how the creators are having trouble to fill this season through the execution. The biggest problem is Norika: her whining gets old really fast, and because of her the entire nature of this series changed because the creators included the rule that Norika can’t leave the world she’s cast in until she gets to appreciate science. What followed were 23 episodes of Norika running and screaming around, refusing to accept science and blowing everyone away with her giant teddy bear.

The first season felt so fun because it basically was about a bunch of quirky scientists who loved to show off their accomplishments to Marika (the lead character of the first season). Nothing was forced, you just had the adventures of a bunch of eccentric people who really loved what they were doing. The scientific explanations really blended in well with the storytelling. The second season, however, just turned into a series that explains science for the sake of explaining science. By trying to force Norika to accept science, they also try to force the viewers to sit through it. It loses all spontaneity.

On top of that, a bunch of characters derailed as well: the first season featured some stereotypes, but the characters were more than that: Gali was this dirty old man, but at the same time you had those scenes that showed that he was quite the brilliant scientist. The second season however reduces these characters, back to their stereotypes. You can really blame that to the acting: balanced in the first season, but the second season contains way too much yelling, especially considering how everyone in every single episode, likes to introduce him or herself in this overenthusiastic way for some strange reason.

The show at this point is still mildly funny, but it’s nowhere near as good as the first season. It’s at its best when it at least tries to do something new, but even those episodes are rare. The current episode for example featured a contest between Gali and Leonardo Da Vinci: who can build the fastest flying machine.The show so far has had a ton of these kinds of episodes. Especially in the second season, whenever Leonardo comes into the picture the creators can only seem to focus on how he pwns everything about Gali.

Oh, and the “scientific” explanation on how airplanes fly in this episode… it was actually wrong. Read some xkcd dammit!
Rating: — (Lacking)

Posted on 14 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week, I’d like to apologize for not sticking with Yumeiro Patissiere’s first season. I originally stuck with it for five episodes before giving up, but here’s why:

The things I appreciated about this series back then was that even though this was a show in which people are accompanied by strange sweets fairies, it didn’t pull a la Corda d’Oro and suddenly make their characters incredibly talented: they still had to work really hard for it. The thing that turned me off however was that it was already getting dull and repetitive after five episodes. I especially didn’t like the cheesy drama around the arrogant rivals that appeared in front of the lead characters, and on top of that I was also bothered by a lack of creativity…

…so why did the drama in this series suddenly become so good? Where did the inspiration come from for the Professional arc? This second season acts like the two main gripes I had with the first season never existed. The current episode marks the end of the Sweets Kingdom arc, which really shows that better than ever.

The sweets kingdom is… bizarre. What mind came up with that and what kind of state was it in? For the past three episodes, the characters have travelled to various places to collect some conveniently located sweets ingredients. An entire forest made out of baumkuchen? What the heck? This episode went even further by explaining how Sweets Spirits are born. That was without a doubt the weirdest explanation of the “birds and the bees” that I’ve ever heard.

Just about everything about the Sweets Kingdom makes no sense, but that probably was the intention of the creators: to just make this very imaginative fantasy world. It definitely gave me a lot to laugh about for the past three episodes, not to mention Kashino walking around in a pink teddy bear outfit for the entire time. I’m really suspecting that the creators did that in order to avoid confusion with the Kasshi fairy, since the two look so similar. I have not watched the first season, but is there a reason why these three fairies look like Kasshi and the two others look so much like Kashino?

And regarding the drama… why did it suddenly turn this good? I mean, compared to the first season, the characters are much less obnoxious, it’s much less forced and actually quite genuine. Of course, you need to like the childish kind of series in order to enjoy Yumeiro Patissiere. I don’t think that I’m going to end up watching the first season anytime soon (50 episodes is looooong), but the new season definitely surprised me.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 6 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope




Ah, who cares? I’m just going to talk about two shows this week. Don’t expect it to turn into a habit, but this episode was just too awesome. Episodes 2, 3 and 4 probably turned off a lot of people, but the past two episodes really made up for it.

Episode five was mostly awesome because of Osamu Kobayashi (yeah, the guy from Gurren Lagann’s fourth episode), but this episode was really everything that this series should be: crazy and over the top fast paced action. The first few episodes made the mistake of focusing too much on the shock factor, which is neat for one episode but becomes boring quite fast.

The bitch-fight between the two angels and devils was completely awesome though. The focus was much more on the addictive chemistry between these four than the shock factor and dirty references, and the toilet humour instead got used effectively in the action scenes at the second half of the episode. This was really the first episode of this series where the chemistry between these characters really worked. On top of that, this episode was well paced and didn’t drag on like some of the previous episode as well.

It’s really these kinds of episodes that I expected when I first learned about this series. The second half of this episode just continued building up the action without getting boring: that’s how varied it was, moving from battles with angry cars to toilets, shootouts and random chases: there was a ton of creativity in this episode that went much beyond the usual gimmicks of this series. It’s also here where the music really helped making things even more exciting.

The big question now is whether this show will be able to keep this up. It is the perfect set-up for an action series without any bounds whatsoever, but the creators really need to make use of it and let their creativity run wild like the previous two episodes. If the remaining episodes will be like that though, then this will end up as an awesome series.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 5 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week I’d like to talk about this surprisingly charming slice of life series. And I guess gather my thoughts about Shinbo at the moment. I mean, I consider him to be an excellent director. The thing I hate however is how he is working on way too many projects. Just get him to work on one single project every year or two years: that will make them extra special, especially with the wait time in between. Why can’t he just leave Shaft’s other projects to the other directors at Shaft? Why does he need to hold their hands for every single series?

My big annoyance with Shinbo is that I’ve just seen too much of his series and I really do not want to sit through another one of his uninspired series. At this point, those series are easy to spot because he ends up doing one of two things:
1. Repeat himself. The best example of this is Natsu no Arashi 2, in which the first four episodes talked about the exact. same. freaking. subject. But also Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei. My guess is that that’s also why I can’t enjoy Arakawa Under the Bridge: there are just way too many similarities between the two.
2. Take his style way over the top to the point where it loses all its charms and ends up only getting in the way of telling the story. Examples of this (in my experience at least) were ef – a tale of melodies and Bakemonogatari.

Soredemo Machi is neither: it neither tries too hard, and while maids have been milked to death in anime, the delivery is fresh here. It doesn’t try to force down as many random jokes as possible, but instead focuses on just portraying the characters without trying to pretend to be anything more, and on top of that the different stories are varied and not repetitive. Finally.

Arashiyama is quite likable. In this episode she was mostly just a side-character, but even there she was pretty enjoyable as she tried to encourage Toshiko and her brother’s romances. It neither dragged on, and yet you could see that she loved to tease them. These kinds of romances are now also cliched as hell (‘I want to propose to you but I’m too scared so I just say something that sounds like “love”), but the creative characterization still made them enjoyable. If the characterization of Togainu no Chi was as good as this episode, I really would not have minded it being a dating sim.

On top of that, I’m glad that we finally have a Shaft series with a proper budget here. Especially the first two episodes had very good inbetween animation, but this episode too was very dynamically animated. I also like how all of the characters have their distinct character-designs, rather than just feeling like stock puppets with different eyes and hair pasted on top of them. On top of that, it’s also an interesting technique to use CG in frames that aren’t moving: it certainly took me a while before I noticed it.

It’s not perfect, especially in the way that those title cards get more annoying every episode, and there are times when it tries too hard (like with the chair in the previous episode), but I like its charms and how down to earth it is. It’s also got some good jokes as well (like the Czar and Luther).
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:48 PM)
    @topgavin, I am not gonna deny that’s a large part of what I like about it as well. And practically everything really does become a side plot when the other guy is introduced.
  • topgavin
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:19 PM)
    I think, after watching the recommended episodes for kaleid and watching the first 3 eps of it, I’m solely watching for Gil. All the other stuff (and girl mc’s) is a side-plot to Gilga-f******-mesh wrecking people.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 05:43 AM)
    @Aidan: You know how a boomerang works.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:08 AM)
    @RealJustified, pretty sure that’s Kevin pretending to be afgm.
  • reaLjustified
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:49 AM)
    @afgm How so? I’ve rarely even seen you on here, plus trolls aren’t even a common occurrence.
  • afgm
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:40 AM)
    this chat is ass, to be honest
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:35 PM)
    @Krista, relax. He’s the only one that riles people up like this. Normally this chat is fairly civilized.
  • Krista
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:24 PM)
    The chat’s becoming too angry for me, thanks for the recommendations guys! I’m gonna try to find another place for this kind of stuff.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:03 PM)
    @Vonter, Personally I only give a score to stick to Psgels format. If up to me I would just give a recommended or not recommended verdict.
  • Vonter
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:37 PM)
    Ok, then now it’s more clear. Since from what I’ve heard in-between critics some say comparisons is the path of unhappiness. Or so I’ve heard.

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Flying witch 09d

Flying witch Review – 86/100

As I mentioned in one of my weekly posts, most of the reason why a slice-of-life anime show don’t work well is not because there’s nothing happen, but more because the cast isn’t interesting enough or the show tends to repeat the things that we already know. I’m happy to say that this is not […]

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Bungou Stray Dogs Review – 62/100

Well, we don’t usually give a review on the first cour of anime show, given the fact that the second part will air next autumn season. But since I’m not certain I would cover its second half, plus I don’t think this series will improve itself, I might as well give Bungou Stray Dogs a […]

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Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

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Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

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Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]