Sunday 8 July 2012

Anime REVIEW: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

An anime that's H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos as you've never seen it before, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san is a 2012 anime series based on the light novels of the same name. Before this full-length 12 episode series, Nyaruko has seen life in animation once before in two short flash series (one an OVA, the other a television series) titled Haiyori! Nyaruani and Haiyori! Nyaruani: Remember my Mr Lovecraft respectively.

One night ordinary high school boy Mahiro Yasaka is attacked by a gruesome black alien, when a silver haired girl comes to his rescue. She identifies herself as Nyaruko, also known as the Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep in Lovecraft's works (which she reveals are actually alien races). Sent to Earth by the Space Defence Agency, Nyaruko has been assigned with protecting Mahiro from being kidnapped from an alien trafficker.

The Crawling Chaos

As Mahiro becomes caught up in a world of aliens obsessed with Earth gaming and otaku culture, he also meets two other Cthulian aliens - the fiery Kuuko (Cthugha) and Hasuta (Hastur), who has power over air. The three become freeloaders at Mahiro's house, and Mahiro has to fend off the romantic advances of both Nyaruko and Hastur, while Nyaruko fends off her own pursuer in the form of Kuuko!

Mahiro, our (unlucky?) protagonist

Mahiro is the sensible one of the bunch, longing for the ordinary life he had become all these aliens came crashing down on him. Nyaruko is like a force of nature - loud, constantly over the top and fanatically devoted to Mahiro in every way imaginable. Kuuko seems like a quieter and more reserved character, but is just as perverted (if not more so) as Nyaruko, taking every situation she can to try and get in her pants. So to round off the obsessive Nyaruko and the raging lesbian Kuuko there's Hasuta - the trap. Yup, despite appearances, Hastur is actually a guy. Equally as infatuated with Mahiro as Nyaruko is, he takes the "cute young boy" approach to winning his affection. Its all a bit bizarre and constantly OTT, but it's never a dull moment around any of them. There are also plenty of side characters, both from the human world and outer space, to flesh out the cast.

Kuuko: fiery lesbian deity

Not content with simply playing on Cthulhu, Nyaruko-san full to the brim with references and homages to other media. From various anime and manga to gaming and tokusatsu (each episode has at least one Kamen Rider reference), chances are you'll recognise something the series is either referencing or parodying. While some are blatent, others are cleverly hidden or blink-and-you'll-miss-it instances, so chances are you probably won't catch them all on a first viewing.

Hasuta, who is actually a guy.

The animation isn't anything out of the ordinary, but is still worth mentioning for its fluidity and character design. No two characters are similar, each one has their own very distinctive look to go with their distinctive personalities. The fact the characters change clothes episode to episode is also a plus. The personalities of the characters are also well conveyed in the voice acting, with special mention to Kana Asumi (Dog Days, Black Rock Shooter)'s performance as Nyaruko.

"Scanning Charge!"

While it's plot may be pretty standard fare for romance/comedy anime, it's unique spin on things and cast of very likeable (if a little too sex-obsessed) characters make Haiyore! Nyaruko-san a show that is both highly enjoyable and recommendable as light-hearted entertainment. If you have little interest in the amount of references that have been put into the show it may only strike you as only slightly above average, but if you enjoy this element than it really adds to the enjoyment of the show and makes it worthy of something it possibly wouldn't be without it - repeated viewings.

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