The Lost Village – Mid Season Review
The Lost Village:
Original Air Dates: April 1st, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Thirty young men and women, from all walks of life, have come together on a shady bus tour that promises to take them to a hidden village thought to be no more than an urban legend: Nanakimura. It’s said that within Nanakimura one can begin a new life and lead a perfect existence without any interference from the life they’re running from. But is that really what awaits them at the village?
Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: The Lost Village’s biggest issue is easily its most obvious: A bloated cast. The series is bursting at the seams with a sheer wealth of characters that allows for little screen time to expand any of them in new and interesting ways. The show gives us the meager basics for each character, the singular quirk that defines them (gun nut, psycho, lovey dovey couple, etc.), but then never builds on that. The show could’ve defined a core cast, and then whittled away at the other, less interesting characters. Instead it’s chosen to keep its massive, overflowing cast very much alive, even half way through the season’s run. Instead of choosing to focus on a subset, it’s still trying to give everyone a little bit of screen time, which means no one gets the time they need to properly evolve and develop as characters.
Linny: It’s ridiculous that a show can have such a huge cast and not a single character appeals to me in the very least, even when we’re halfway through the series. Thanks to their sheer numbers, and restricted screen time almost every character feels underdeveloped or one note. In fact, the more you know about them, the more likely you are to root for their deaths or disappearance just so you don’t have to hear their annoying voices or watch their irritating behaviour anymore. A lot of them come off as immature or naive and that works, in a sense, since these people are supposed to be a group that abandoned their lives or gave up because life got ‘too hard’. While some have a legitimate cause for doing so, some are ludicrous. It makes sense that these would be the ones who want to bail or lose it the second things aren’t perfect in this new place, but it also makes me wish for their early demise. Though maybe, that’s exactly what the show intended.
Tom: As Linny said, six episodes in and we’re rooting for people to start dropping like flies. Normally series with this large a cast are chopping them down one after another episode to episode. But Lost Village is content to allow its cast to coast along, alive and well. It makes for painful viewing as the more we learn, and it’s not much at that, the more we discover that this cast is exceedingly melodramatic, suffering from poorly conceived backstories with paper-thin reasoning. If the characters aren’t melodramatic then they’re full blown psychopaths. Despite all this, it takes a solid five episodes before anything truly substantial, or memorable, happens and by then you’re struggling to care as the cast finally, slowly, marches toward real jeopardy.
Linny: The huge cast had led me to think we’d having deaths within the first episode itself but halfway through, we’ve only lost 2 out of 30 people, and even then we never get to see exactly how they both die or if they are truly dead. It’s really dragging on, especially for those like me who were going into this expecting a bloodbath. In an attempt to maintain its mysterious and creepy aura, the show never divulges any information for the longest time to the point where we aren’t even shown anything scary. All we get are people whimpering and screaming over things that never manifest onscreen, which led me to feel like I was just watching a group of people growing paranoid and over reacting to everything. Furthermore, if you don’t have a personal favourite you are going to find yourself struggling to remain invested in the non-events happening onscreen.
Tom: The show takes forever to build itself up, using multiple episodes to establish its setting before anything remotely interesting occurs. It’s only by the end of episode four that things start to pick up and even then quite a few of the developments occur off screen, giving the viewer nothing visually impactful to latch on to. It’s like a low budget thriller in that respect. At the end of episode five we’re finally introduced to the more supernatural elements at play and with Episode six we finally deal with them directly. But what we get isn’t scary. Without spoiling too much, we’re introduced to supernaturals elements that reflect some of our characters greatest fears and if it wasn’t for the oppressively dark nature of the flashbacks in this episode, I’d almost think they want us to take this as a comedy. The manifestations of our character’s fear are laughably bad, absurd designs that inspire gut laughter more than heart pounding fear.
Linny: The reveals are so random and haphazard. For example, one girl confesses to being able to see the dead, randomly during a conversation that has nothing at all to do with her confession. It feels like a weak attempt to add supernatural flair, rather than a truly shocking moment. Then we have a very random and early molestation attempt that feels both sleazy and half-assed as it plays out in a vague manner. And of course, when you have one character screaming the word execution for almost every one of her lines, you can’t help but wonder just how she managed to crack the supposedly super difficult and obscure puzzle that was used to select the party, when she seems incapable of rational thought. But the pièce de résistance has to be the monsters. I dare you to be able to figure out what some of them are in a single glance, and dare you not to laugh at the manifested fear of our wannabe soldier guy.
Tom: Three weeks into the season many viewers began to hurl criticisms surrounding the series’ lack of development, that nothing interesting was happening. Things do happen, and the series has begun to, finally, pick up. Unfortunately many of its early developments remained hidden, off camera, away from the audience’s gaze for so long that it’s hard to drum up excitement, especially when what’s revealed cannot be taken seriously. With six episode it’s become clear this show is going to delve into the fears, the reasons many of its characters have chosen to venture away from society, seeking a fresh start. We’re going to confront each character’s fear as it tries to, perhaps literally, consume them. I don’t think it’ll ever become a bloodbath as many viewers might have wished and what supernaturals occurrences Village does offer are so ludicrous I have trouble seeing the show as anything more than a glorious train wreck.
Linny: I’m definitely not a fan of the CGI used in the show. For some reason, maybe due to the sheer wealth of characters, a lot of the women look bland and start to blend together thanks to how generic and undefined they are personality wise. Everyone feels either rather dull or a complete caricature.
Tom: What visual quality we do have remains consistent throughout, never dipping but never rising above what we’re treated to in episode 1. Thankfully it never breaks the viewer away from the immersion of this otherwise plodding, lackluster thriller. As an aside, I do not know why it’s been officially tagged as a drama and I can only assume that they refrained from tagging it with Supernatural as to hide the mid series surprises, although I think it was obvious The Lost Village would ultimately be heading into Supernatural territory.
Linny: The Lost Village is turning into my favourite train wreck this season, the kind you just can’t peel your eyes away from. It’s messy and cringe worthy in places but you keep watching for the unintentional laughs, if nothing else. Now that we finally have our big bad monsters out, the show has become even more of a comedy to me. However, do not bother with this show if you wanted a gory and mentally engaging story as it seems to be lacking both aspects.
Tom: As has been pointed out by some, original anime (not based on preexisting works) are few and far between. There’s a desire to support these works, and even encourage them, but Lost Village is something many viewers will struggle to appreciate or at the very least sit through. If you walked away unimpressed with Lost Village’s season opener there’s little reason to return. For those looking for what could be this season’s most impressive train wreck know that Lost Village is completely on board with its insane cast and absurd developments. But if you’re looking for well written drama and mystery Lost Village just doesn’t have the chops for that.
The Lost Village is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com