Life sucks. It really does, at least sometimes. Maybe you get cut off in line at the DMV, perhaps a friendship completely dissipates when a significant other comes into the picture, and sometimes you forget your favorite cream cheese in the back of the fridge and it expires before you can taste its creamy goodness. You can’t always have what you want, but is it too much to ask for your life to be somewhat consistent? At least, that’s what we seem to want. But life seems to have other plans at times, and it’s not always quite as straightforward as we’d life. That’s what the characters in The Lost Village, and it definitely resonates with Lovepon, one of the most…interesting…characters in the series.
The Lost Village is one of the more eccentric-feeling anime this season. It feels like it could be a reality show, but it has a lot of elements of classic horror and even psychological horror as well. So far it’s the only show that I haven’t fallen behind on (Twitter reminds me each week of the series I need to catch up on), and I’d attribute it to the fact that I’ve never seen an anime with such a large cast of characters that are all fairly unique, and their interactions are what really make the show shine.
A quick recap of the series is that the cast is composed of people who are all trying to escape society for varying reasons: lost love, hateful friends, financial loss, and they met up via the Internet to join a bus tour that would take them to a lost village (see what I did there?) called Nanakimura Village, a place they could live and thrive together without the fear of social pressures. Outside of the fact that it sounds incredibly dangerous to sign up for a trip to a village that isn’t on any map with a bunch of people you don’t know with a guide who isn’t entirely sure where the village even is, the idea of being able to restart one’s life away from earlier pressures sounds like an amazing escape, and I can see why people would be interested.
The thing is though, this entire social experiment that people used to try to escape their baggage really only serves to show that they’d brought it with them, and it was amplified by the fear of the unknown in both the village and in the people around them. Without spoiling anything, life in the village got progressively harder as a series of unfortunate, mysterious events begin to occur, and no one had any idea why the events were happening. Thanks to human nature, the members of the village began to point fingers at each other, and everyone was looking for some explanation as to why their experience was so poor.
Except for one character, who had a very simple solution to pretty much every problem that came her way.
Enter Lovepon, everyone’s favorite execution-loving yandere-wannabe. When things go wrong, when people are being suspected, Lovepon offers a very straightforward answer: kill it. If it’s dead, it can’t be a problem anymore, right? This leads to Lovepon coming across more than a little psycho, as she advocates for the death of anyone who seems even the slightest bit suspicious. And yet…no one ever seems to suspect her? Why is this? I mean, everyone is scared of being hurt by something or someone in the village, but the girl who constant yells for death is somehow seen as normal?
I think that the main struggle of everyone in the village is that they’re trying to understand what is going on, and in their struggle to find a good explanation for the mysterious, horrible things that are happening to them, they’re willing to latch on to any thread of information that might lead to a definite conclusion. This leads to a large amount of conclusion-jumping and general craziness, and it explains why no one has kicked Lovepon out of the group yet: her drastic approach to their problems resonates with the fear-fueled haze that everyone is trying to work through.
And that’s the crux of the matter. Everyone in the village is scared of the unknown, and they use that fear to justify their actions towards one another, whether it be the threat of expulsion from the group or Lovepon’s more decisive suggestions. As crazy as the entire situation is, it reminds me a lot of the way we as Christians sometimes act towards unfavorable situations. Maybe the people in our lives don’t treat us the way they should, maybe we lose a job opportunity or we fall into depression. It’s scary when you aren’t sure why your life is changing, and it’s tempting to lash out or to pull into ourselves. God promises to be there for us when we’re hurt or scared or lonely, but where is He when stuff like this happens?
Where is God when I’m scared? He promises that He will never “leave [us] or forsake [us]” (Deut 31:6) and that He has not given us “a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7). As scary as life is, God’s comfort is greater. For every monster that threatens to engulf us, there’s a promise ready to heal us. When darkness closes in around us, the light He gives is greater still. For every loss, His blessings give us greater gain. The fears that drive us from the world push us towards God, who is our true “refuge and strength” (Psa 46:1).
Life won’t always get easier to bear. Sometimes you just can’t escape bad situations or the fears that keep you from feeling at peace. But strength doesn’t mean that the load gets lighter, only that you are better equipped to handle that load. And as we seek God through the fear and the pain, His power will give us what we need to survive the nights ahead.