Here is the second part of my mid-season review. Looking at what’s written below, the general mood seems to be one of criticism, except for Kiznaiver, anyway. With that note, let’s get into my thoughts on Mayoiga, Kiznaiver, Haifuri, and Flying Witch.
5) Mayoiga (aka The Lost Village)
At this point, I’m sticking around merely to see the end of the show. I had hopes of these characters overcoming their fears and behaving rationally, but no dice. At last, we have discovered that a village adjoins Nanaki village beyond the tunnel and that the monsters are both produced by our characters fears and truly are able to interact with the real world. Our heroes must overcome their fears lest their phobias cause them more than mental harm, but can they?
This anime strongly reminds me of C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, where the characters board a bus and enter a sort of purgatory, where they must grow larger than their past selves if they are to enter heaven. The characters in Mayoiga are also very small: slaves to their fears or their hobbies. However, they have it worse than the characters in The Great Divorce in that they have no guides for showing them how to overcome their small-heartedness. The opening of the show had a sad beginning, as we see these half-persons choosing exile from everyone and everything they know over facing their fears and failures. Normally, that would make me expect a happy ending, but I can find no reason for hope in the story thus far.
6) Haifuri (aka High School Fleet)
The best part of this show is the naval battles. I’ve warmed up to some of the characters, especially the zany Kouko Nasu, the ship’s secretary. With advent of the extraterrestrial rodents, the plot has taken an interesting turn. Still, if we are to compare this show to Girls und Panzer, it falls short on so many levels. I must admit that the moe girls animation is bugging me too. Girls und Panzer also featured moe girls, but the action kept me from paying minding too much.
7) Flying Witch
Gosh, there’s so little of substance to this show, i.e. no high story. I wonder how realistic their portrayal is of people when none hold strong opinions or conflicting views. Sure, Flying Witch is part of the slice of life genre, and people do not generally watch slice of life for conflict, which is why I generally have a low opinion of the genre.
Still, the cultural notes, beauty of the backgrounds, comedy, and above average animation make me enjoy the show despite the above imperfection. It is cool to see glimpses of life in northern Honshu and to hear a different dialect of Japanese in Kei Kuramoto’s father. All the characters are likable, and the scenario rather relaxing. Still, I’m probably going to give it two and a half stars.
Now that I’ve gotten my negative opinions out of the way, let’s move onto my third favorite show of the season. Kiznaiver‘s beginning annoyed me so much that I almost dropped it, but Trigger has a knack for creating interesting characters and depth of story. (Yes, I’m convinced that they have depth under all the style. You may disagree, my dear readers, but you’d be wrong.) I mean, the characters of one of their prior works, Inou Battle Within Everyday Life, rendered the show interesting through their mere interaction despite it not having a cohesive plot.
Trigger pitched in an interesting question into Kiznaiver: would we be better people if we directly felt another person’s pain? After all, the Latin word for mercy is misericordia, which combines the Latin words for miserable and heart. This implies that compassion is a prerequisite for mercy. The worst people are often those who are unable to empathize with others, and so, the show creates a scenario where complete empathy is imposed on the actors.
But, I wonder whether perfect empathy would impede mercy in certain circumstances. Some acts of mercy involve rebuking or even punishing people in order to deter them from evil. As the famous song goes, “We gotta be cruel to be kind in the right measure.” How much less inclined would we be to do this if we felt their humiliation, anger at being admonished, despair of change, and the swirl of negative emotions confronting those who refuse to change or suffer difficulty on the path of virtue? We naturally hesitate to bring up the faults of others least they become angry at us or love us the less for pointing out their faults. Yet, can we really be said to be merciful when we refrain from admonishing the sinner–a spiritual work of mercy? Of course, we cannot be busybodies or throw pearls before swine, but much of the time when we avoid pointing out another’s faults, we exercise mercy towards ourselves rather than the other person.
I write the above in order to suggest that fellow-feeling might not be the complete guide to virtue and mercy, even if it is very helpful. I’m curious to see what Kiznaiver‘s final opinion on the matter will be.
So, what shows are you watching and enjoying?