Home > Mayoi Neko Overrun > Mayoi Neko Overrun! Episode 9 – We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore

Mayoi Neko Overrun! Episode 9 – We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve stopped writing about Mayoi Neko Overrun! That’s because I kind of hate it. Really hate it. I just can’t stand to write about something so consistently bad when I could be writing about two of the best shows I’ve seen in years.

But the series has ended, so I wanted to write one last post to sum up my thoughts on the show. And I wanted to go out on one of the show’s better episodes.

Apologies for the crummy images. After doing Durarara!! and Tatami Galaxy for so long, I forgot how to screenshot visually boring shows

You wouldn’t think it was going to be good from the first ten minutes. “Oh great,” I thought, “a beach episode.” Like every other beach episode in terrible shows like Mayoi, it’s going to be a complete waste of 30 minutes if I’m not unusually excited by the thought of animated teenage girls doing stupid things while wearing swimsuits.

However, the second act does what the seems to be the best formula for a good Mayoi episode: get Takumi and Fumino away from the idiotic second stringers. It’s the same premise as the hot springs episode, except with a cabin on an isolated island in the rain instead of a cabin in the jungle in the rain, and Fumino instead of the other rich girl who’s so inconsequential and forgettable I can’t be bothered to look up her name even though I have the show’s cast list open on my computer in the window behind the one I’m typing this on.

Like every other strong female lead in anime, Fumino is deathly afraid of lightning. Why lightning? I have no idea

That makes all the difference. Takumi and Fumino’s relationship is too interesting to be wasted on the cliche-ridden hackfest that is the rest of the series. Childhood friends with a secret, unspoken attraction for each other is anything but original in anime, but for some reason it works here.

If it does, it’s probably because of Fumino. Takumi is the typical pathetic doormat (it’s even in his name, which is a corruption of tatami, a traditional Japanese floor), so Fumino has to be the one carrying the relationship.

In anime, I tend to like relationships between fatally broken people, probably as a reaction to all the sugary sweet anime romances of the early 2000s. Fumino definitely fits the bill. Her main flaw: not being able to say what she really thinks (unless it’s something bad about Takumi) means that she can’t ever tell him what she feels, even as he attracts the inexplicable attention of other girls. All she can do is hint at it, put out suggestions to which Takumi, being a teenage boy, is completely oblivious.

This is a well-drawn and conceptually interesting if unoriginal shot. What is it doing in this show?

Again, this is hardly a novel thing for anime, but the two good directors this show has had play her with such desperation that her frustration becomes palpable. She’s struggling against her very nature to say something, and failing every time. She may be a tsundere, one of the most overplayed character conventions in the medium, but she’s like that because it fits her backstory and her situation.

Since most anime writers, as I’ve mentioned before, are no-talent hacks, they’re incapable of writing characters who aren’t like them: 20- or 30-something social outcasts. This is kind of a problem, because 90% of anime star high schoolers in high school acting like teenagers. (It’s even worse when they have to write characters even younger. Maybe someday I’ll write about Noein, which is a pretty good show if you assume its characters are in high school about to go to college … rather than in elementary school.)

Fumino and Takumi's familiarity and childishness make this episode worth watching. The second half, anyway

This episode of Mayoi, though, does a pretty good job of portraying just how childish people in high school are—especially early high school, like the Mayoi crowd is. My favorite example is a conversation Fumino and Takumi have after getting in a fight, where they end every sentence explaining how they were talking to themselves, and certainly not the other person laying next to them. It’s a little detail, but its those kind of details that build characters.

Another thing is how much they fumble about whenever their feelings for each other are involved. They grew up together, but now their relationship has changed, and they don’t know how to explain it. They’ve never felt or done anything like this before, so of course they don’t know.

Just when things start to get interesting, they get rescued and the episode ends. Classic Mayoi

Adolescence is a terrible time: where everything is strange and confusing because you’re doing a lot of things for the first time and don’t know any better. But at the same time, it’s a first step towards defining yourself and becoming the person you’ll be as an adult. It’s big and terrifying and everything seems important because you can’t know what the consequences of anything will be.

In its rush to white-wash high school to appeal to otaku in their 20s, dissatisfied with life and yearning for the simplistic days of their youth, most anime producers do adolescence a disservice. They ignore the reality, which could provide some kind of catharsis or even understanding. They ignore that most otaku probably hated being in high school when they were there, because no one is more cruel to people who are different than kids.

Most of the fan service in this episode comes from Otome being unable to control her ridiculously oversized breasts

Instead, we just get pandering to a nostalgia that never was. That’s all Mayoi is: mindless escapism. Not even in a creative way: just a rehash of nearly every kind of unreality anime deals in: improbably beautiful girls who are frequently naked for no reason, yet all have the hots for the main character. A ridiculously rich friend whose unimaginable caprice and boundless wealth gives you the capacity to have unrealistic adventures. And finally, a sad yearning for a past that was not, is not and never can be.

It’s a boring premise further ruined by mostly forgettable characters and an interesting backstory completely ignored. Nothing ever comes of Takumi and Fumino’s fumbling gropes towards a relationship, and we get a piece of Nozomi’s past in the final episode, but it doesn’t answer any questions that don’t concern her improbable baking skills.

The guys spend most of their time doing the only thing anime guys at the beach ever do: leer at the girls

By having a different director for every episode, any continuity is broken, leading instead to aggravating, badly-written hijinks and self-indulgence. There is continuity in the end, between the final two episodes, but it’s in service of a plot so idiotic that I can’t believe two separate people were forced to work on it.

Those are all things that make Mayoi a bad show. An awful show, even. The sad thing is, in the right hands, it shows signs of being something better than that. It’s a waste of the few small things that could have made it interesting, and a waste of the talent that deserves better than to work on this kind of disaster.

There's an air hockey game in this episode, but instead of replicating the masterpiece of surreal non sequitur that was the table tennis match, it's just an excuse for more of Otome's breasts

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