Mayonnaise is a series that started out very confusing and very questionable. I thought I hated it until I went back through the first episode and realized there was actually some really good stuff going on that is easy to miss yet undeniably well done. The very morose and morbid atmosphere, the kubrick-esque camera shots in the bus, the very strange group of dumb as fuck seeming characters, the simple fact we WERE just on this bus the ENTIRE EPISODE (and most of the second), and of course a really awesome but short scene with the main character having a “dream” as they enter the village’s range – a scene of which nothing else like it really happens in the show again. It already had me wondering just what exactly this show was going to be and already had me attempting to figure that out – it had hooked me yet I wasn’t even totally conscious of that fact.
I had a couple long paragraphs here about retarded shitposting memers that have been going around calling this “comedy of the season” but I took it out because fuck those people and their “I want to fit in with my reddit//a/ friends :^) and “”””anibloggers””””” bullshit. I don’t need to waste time talking about people who not only don’t form their own opinions, but are so busy trying to circlejerk while pretending to be above it that they don’t even know shit about the topic their boards are focused on. Here’s a short response; if you think this was so bad that it was “comedic” you might want to look at what else was airing. For example Haifuri and it’s plot that revolves entirely around evil rats, called RATts in the show, that were shot up out of the ocean by a volcano and took control of military boats with the goal of blowing up Japan and the Philippines by using the power of Totalitarianistic Disease before being stopped by a super prodigy 12 year old girl who holds multiple PhDs. Yeah, Mayoiga is the stupid one. Fuck you.
Anyway, let’s talk about the show starting with it’s problems – the most obvious thing to point out would be the character backstories, some people don’t have ANY and others have pretty fucking stupid ones. This problem has two sides to it though; the first being that there was obviously not enough time to spend building up backstories for 30 characters in 12 episodes, the second being some of it felt on purpose. Throughout the show you realize more and more that all these people are not only fucking idiots but also huge pieces of shit. This isn’t a “mistake” they’re canonically meant to be this way and so in some cases I can believe those really dumb backstories causing them to end up how they are and why they chose to come to Nanaki village. Practically everyone but the lead boy, lead girl, and maybe Speedstar and a couple others have the most retarded possible reasons for being here. Yet, even with those dumb fuck reasons, they seem believable to the character.
The perfect example would be the glasses dude who we find out fucked up a schedule thing at work one time and got reprimanded in a meeting where the other staff chuckled about it. That’s it. Because of that he threw his whole life away and chose to erase himself from real life and hide out in this village the rest of his life. That sounds fucking stupid – and it is – but the series knows that and it’s not a mistake, rather it’s part of this character’s personality. It’s totally believable that this specific person would react that way to that situation, it’s reflective of who he is right in episode 1 but especially by the time we learn this. While at the same time the actual IMPORTANT backstories come out far better and just as fitting, especially the main character Mitsumine’s which is a mixed of really fucked up and very sad while also giving the character a really deep scar that undoubtedly would cause as much trauma as it did. It was clearly a situation where they didn’t have all the time in the world to flesh out the whole cast, so anyone not incredibly relevant gets either no actual explanation of their backstory or if they do it’s just something thrown together hastily like that guy or the fucking obnoxious execution obsessed girl.
Another big issue is the fact that the writing has the cast constantly flip flopping on pretty important (in world stuff rather than in regards to the story itself) shit within a few seconds sometimes, let alone several times per episode and it’s done to a ridiculous extent. There’s multiple times even where all but one person will be actively trying to murder one of the characters and saying they are an evil abomination trying to kill them all and even trying her up on a pole like a witch…and then the moment someone basically kidnaps her they immediately go “we have to save her I hope nothing bad happened to her” within about 10 or so seconds of her being taken away. It’s hilarious and just so stupid, but if you keep in mind how just fucking awful all of these people are and how fucking stupid they are it actually works in a way. It’s a series about people that ARE exactly THOSE type of people and so it works at showing just how ridiculous and hypocritical people can be as long as they benefit even just in telling themselves “I am a good person” from it. They wanted to kill her to protect themselves, they needed a scapegoat and she was an easy target – but once she got kidnapped by an outside force they of course want to protect her because what makes them “good” in their mind has suddenly changed. It does get kind of ridiculous, but I never felt it was out of place or going too far for this cast and the tone of the show.
The final issue is the ending. It’s not bad, but it’s incredibly simple and bland feeling. It’s a boring ending to a crazy ride with multiple intense mysteries throughout, and that in itself is pretty disappointing. It concluded most of the story and tied up most of the loose ends, I was satisfied. But that’s all I was, just satisfied. It was “fine” as a conclusion and served it’s purpose, but it came off as clearly rushed and like they just shoved in a bunch of answers haphazardly because they hadn’t realized it was the final episode until too late. Content wise – fine ending; presentation wise – very lame ending.
However, on the opposite side of things it has some really fantastic elements. The mystery in this is something I’d say is one of the most well executed I’ve ever seen in an anime or even literature, true mystery is incredibly difficult to pull off yet this show does it with ease much like Rokka recently managed as well (though being a totally different style of mystery). It’s one of the only ones out there that doesn’t rely on ass pulls like hiding information from you and making it impossible for the viewer or reader to figure out, that doesn’t end up giving itself away by giving you that information instead. Here, by the penultimate episode you’ll still have no answers or any assumptions you feel certain of by any means, and even by the final episode you’ll have reveals you hadn’t theorized as a possibility at all, yet looking back all the information was there and it makes total sense. Okada managed to work in all the information and clues yet did so in an incredibly mundane and natural way, a way you’d never notice, and so you just pass by without putting it together. Or, even if you do notice, you have no clue what to do with that information until it explains it for you. Even by that second to last episode you’ll be speculating but then all your theories will end up wrong – not just wrong, but pointed out as wrong because Okada knew you’d go that direction and think that thing. Another surprising and welcome element is that the show really, counter to what I just said, doesn’t bother with red herrings to trick you, it’s just that new information constantly contradicts your theories or simply says “no, that’s wrong” because a character may bring up what you thought you were so clever for thinking episodes ago.
Mari Okada is someone who typically either writes straight up masterpieces or complete fucking trash – yet Mayoiga is a very out of place confusing muddled middle ground in her portfolio. The quality of the mystery and atmosphere is actually really great and it’s one of the more genuine “mysteries” out there and the overall feeling of restlessness and confusion is very well done. If that was all that mattered it’d be fantastic, but then you have the clearly phoned-in or never even explained backstories for the vast majority of the cast, an ending that doesn’t really pay off well but does a totally acceptable job of concluding the story elements, and overall a show that’s alright but often times serviceable at best with some real seemingly not on purpose silly shit in it.
While Mayonnaise has many flaws, it makes up for it with an abundance of genuine real mystery and a greatly done tense and horror-esque atmosphere throughout. Even at it’s silliest and dumbest moments the show manages to maintain an enigmatic and uneasy feeling as well as leaving you completely baffled as to what is going on without making you feel stupid or like you’re in a godawful Kojima story. There’s nothing about this series that deserves the vast amount of hate from an anime fandom solely circlejerking at every turn – they love what they’re told to, hate what they see being hated, and don’t form their own opinions because that might “out” them from the dick rubbing with their pretend anonymous friends and reddit upvotes. I don’t even like this show that much so it’s not like I’m a defensive fanboy, but seeing nonstop “comedy of the year” and 3/10s is just retarded meme shitposting and it’s obnoxious, especially when these same people are licking each other’s dicks over a literal pedo show featuring pseudo-implied rape every goddamn episode like KumaMiko and who probably think Madoka Magica was a deconstruction or an original idea while praising KLK for it’s wonderful feminist message and somehow defend the meaningless fanservice as being “okay because it knows it’s fanservice” as if all fanservice shows don’t know that fact about themselves. It’s a show that people will always hate because they’re “supposed” to, which isn’t a new concept but it’s really laughable when these “communities” have run out of any ability to make sense about their shitposting or the shows they choose to praise.
Anyway, do you want a really good MYSTERY and can handle the fact that it’s wrapped in a flawed blanket of some stupid shit and purposefully obnoxious-at-times characters? Then it’s worth it. I’d definitely recommend Rokka (which took 4th in my top 5 anime of 2015) well before this because everything about that show was spot on. However, Rokka is a locked room mystery the entire time, this deals with a much broader main question as well as multiple smaller ones over time and so it feels completely different and scratches a different type of itch. What I mean is this isn’t something BAD by any means and shouldn’t be avoided, if you’re in the mood for a mystery this is totally alright to spend your time with – just know that while the mystery itself is executed very well throughout the stuff surrounding it and interacting with can be middling pretty frequently. Mayoiga could have been fantastic – instead it ended up just “alright” but still managed to keep me engaged throughout.
I still don’t know what Mayoiga means.