The Lost Village
by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 4 of
The Lost Village ?
This was an exciting episode of Lost Village - probably not as all-around entertaining as the ridiculous first one, but more legitimately successful as a piece of drama. With Yottsun likely having drowned and strange animal cries echoing in the distance, the group came to a breaking point, with most of the party deciding to head back down the mountain. This led to an escalating back-and-forth second half, as the escape party ran into one mishap after another while the village party began to investigate their own most suspicious members.
The Lost Village can be entertaining when it's moving slowly because its characters are so inherently silly, but I was happy to see the show actually get moving this week. When the characters are reacting passively to things, they lean harder into their sillier traits; Lovepon wants to execute everyone, Gozaemon makes everything about his own laziness, the lovey-dovey couple act lovey-dovey, etc. Some of these gimmicks, like Lovepon's, can be pretty great - but on the whole, the show is probably more compelling when it's moving forward and giving the characters constant new things to react to.
And there was certainly plenty to react to this week. Most of the best material dealt with the escape party, which is understandable since all of their threats were related to the mysterious mountain itself. The mountain is likely The Lost Village's best character; the drama generated between the actual cast rarely feels meaningful, because the characters are mostly too absurd to invest in, but I really am interested in seeing how all these spooky mysteries resolve. Tricks like the group marking their path only to find they'd been walking in circles, or Jack mysteriously appearing in a crack of thunder, are old thriller standbys, but they're cliches because they're effective. The escape group's narrative moved quickly, consistently ratcheted up the tension, and offered a good mix of frightening reveals and new mysteries.
The village party's story was a bit less compelling, which partially comes down to the fact that Mitsumune just couldn't be a less interesting lead. Mitsumune is a helpless doormat, who seems almost oblivious to the fact that they're all in a life-threatening situation. His goals all seem to revolve around making Masaki like him, while I'm just waiting for the true Masaki reveal. It's clear that she's one of the most suspicious characters, and while it's fifty-fifty on whether they're setting her up as a red herring or if she's actually involved in the village's curse, it seems somewhat meaningless to take any of her relationships at face value until the show finally reveals the truth.
The non-Mitsumune material was more compelling, both because it tied directly into the village's mysteries, and because Valkana and Koharun are more interesting characters. The show's absurdly huge cast means it really has to play favorites, and while Mitsumune has yet to earn his screentime, characters like those two and Mikage help keep the plot moving forward.
Overall, this episode marked a step in the right direction for Lost Village, even if it offered fewer laugh-out-loud highlights like Lovepon's theatrics. The Lost Village's cast may be very silly, but its plot is classic horror fare, and Mizushima is very good at giving his shows a sense of momentum. Focusing on the rising tension even helps to alleviate the issues in the character writing, since being forced to react to tangible real-life events gives the characters things to do outside of playing out their gimmick. I'm hopeful that things will only get more intense from here.
The Lost Village is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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