Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First Impressions – Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

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Considering what my expectations were going in, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san was just about as good as I dared hope it might be.

OP: オープニングテーマ「太陽曰く燃えよカオス」
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An anime based on a flash-anime about a moe Chtulhu God, played for laughs?  This was one of those premises that was so bad it had the potential to be pretty good, if the staff played it just right – and they did.  Sure it’s every bit as stupid as you think it will be, but that’s exactly the point.  There’s absolutely nothing in here that’s taken seriously, nor should there be.  Director Nagasawa Tsuyoshi is responsible for the charming Kyou no go no ni, and writer Kimura Noboru did Amagami SS+, so there’s some respectable talent behind the scenes – and it shows.

The story is ludicrous and rather simple – high-schooler Yasaka Mahiro (Kitamura Eri in a rare male role) is saved from a grisly death at the hands of some sort of demon by a lovely girl in a school uniform (Asumi Kana).  Turns out she’s Nyarlathothep – you can call her Nyaruko – one of the Great Gods of Chtulhu.  If you’ve read Lovecraft (and Mahiro has) that name will sound familiar, except in this incarnation the Cthulhu are actually space aliens and she works for a sort of intergalactic police department, sent to Earth to protect Mahiro and stop criminal activity (human trafficking, etc) by other, more nefarious deities.

The fun comes from the total lack of seriousness in the way this is handled and the cleverness of the conceit.  Turns out the Cthulhu are so interested in Earth because they’re hooked on doujins and erogames – and a quick trip to Toranoana in Akihabara shows Nyaruko is, too (“It’s not a crime if nobody knows.”).  Nyaruko breaks the fourth wall frequently, throws in random and fairly good Engrish, and her attacks consist of kicking in the nuts, whacking with a tire iron or calling out hopelessly ineffective parodies of Pokemon.  I find her very cute and very funny – and it doesn’t hurt that she’s almost a dead-ringer for Sena from Haganai, who I found one of the sweetest and sexiest characters of 2011.  In fact, all the character designs here from Xebec and Takeyama Shintetsu very much have the look of low-rent Buriki, which I suppose isn’t a bad thing.

Make no mistake, this is pretty low-brow stuff – besides stocking up on otaku goods the other reason Nyaruko wanted the assignment was to get into Mahiro’s shorts – but as with the best dumb humor, it’s kind of sly and smart, too.  There’s going to be a lot of meta-humor, I suspect, and otaku parody to spare, but the main attraction is going to be Nyaruko making a sexy and adorable spectacle of herself.  As for Mahiro, for now he’s pretty much a stock tight-assed male lead – but in the context of the story he pretty much has to be to make Nyaruko’s character work.  The animation and BGM are nothing special – bright, simple and bouncy – but that suits the material.  As always with comedy, first you have to be funny – then you can worry about other stuff.  And Haiyore! Nyaruko-san seems to have that covered pretty well.

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ED: "Zutto Be with You" by RAMM
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13 comments:

  1. I think many viewers failed their SAN checks (I miss Call of Cthulhu) going into this one. Fun times.

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  2. Not the third, but "Breaking the Fourth Wall".

    Is it possible to love an alien who only looks like a human girl. Transform to monster, yes. Alien, yes. Crazy, yes. Old enough to be your great great .... grandma, check.
    That male dude friend just seems too good.

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    Replies
    1. P.S. I was thinking Buriki too, just that the lack of glossy red lips made me think otherwise. Thanks for confirming my doubts.

      A tire iron? I was having Half Life nostalgia. Freeman Crow Bar X Aliens.

      Delete
    2. I thought it was a Half Life reference too, but alas, no go.

      Delete
  3. I think they dosed Asumin up on speed for this role. Goddamn she talks fast.

    This was very entertaining.

    Can't wait to meet the flaming lesbian next time.

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  4. Cthulhu mythos as harem parody comedy series. I actually had a good time with episode 1. It's not great, but there's a hell of a lot worse things to watch. Many of which I probably will.

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  5. B gata H kei mixed with Dokura chan. That was what I think of this show and I liked it.

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  6. Quite a lot of the Cthulhu monsters are aliens originally or refereed to as space gods, but I don't remember if Nyarlathothep is one of them. Nice nod to Call of Cthulhu as one of the first role-playing games with the Sanity points, although it should be obvious to most with the dice and character sheet shown.

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  7. "An anime based on a flash-anime about a moe Chtulhu God, played for laughs?"

    Not exactly. Both this and the previous flash anime are based on a light novel series. The ninth volume comes out in about a week.

    Anyway, this isn't my favorite show of the season (though it ranks pretty highly) but its first episode was certainly the most fun one. Asumi Kana was clearly having a lot of fun with the role.

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  8. My fav part is when she joyfully beats the monster to death with that rock. Giggling the entire time as she tears it apart.

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  9. I had to watch this episode multiple times to notice all of the visual gags and Nyaruko's exclamation of mobile armors every time she was hit was funny too.

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  10. Un. This anime exceeded my expectation.
    Asumi Kana voiced the moe alien girl Nyarlathetop very well.
    I like how she keeps acting like a villain,
    causing endless confusion and complain from the protagonist.
    :-P

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  11. Best part is that it's fairly consistent with how The Black Pharaoh acts with regards to humanity.

    And yes, HE does act this way, messing with peoples' minds.

    Nyarlathotep, being the herald of the Great Old Ones (and the servant of Azathoth), is generally the most human-like of the Elder Ones. From wikipedia, "Nyarlathotep delights in cruelty, is deceptive and manipulative, and even cultivates followers and uses propaganda to achieve his goals."

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