Twelve-year-old me once said something along the lines of, “Don’t judge a book by its cover, judge it by the description on the back. If it sounds nifty, give it a whirl!” But with a plot synopsis, it is still easy for something to not result in being anything like you expected it. It happened with pretty much every drama review I made, and Oreimo, to a certain extent. Yet, is this a case where the dismissal of the premiss allows it to soar high and smile while boiling in space, or dig a whole to some magma and lose it’s flesh? If you’ve checked out my twitter account during October the 21st-25th, you probably know the answer. For everyone else, here’s a review.
Nyarko-San: Another Crawling Chaos Review
Length: 12 episodes
Available subbed for free at CrunchyRoll
The premise that grabbed me like the last free cake at a weight loss retreat, was something at boils down to Cthulhu Mythos + Anime Girls. Now, I know very little about the Lovecraftian mythos, but that does not mean that I don’t want to learn more. The show actually made me want to read his complete works with an upcoming research paper as the excuse for pursuing the idea. Sure, I liked Cthulhu Saves The World a whole lot, yet that is due to the mechanics and how is derails the base ideas I had about the mythos. Shame this show barely relates to it.
The show centers around a Nyarlathotep, a Cthugha, and a Hastur, yet none of them are very well represented in terms of accuracy, which makes me question why even bother using the character. Instead decided to make everything that was one dark being from the mind of a man whose life was pretty bonkers, into an entire species. And all of these aliens love the planet Earth, due to how it produces the best entertainment in the universe… Okay, so this is a completely original idea, not based on anything, namely H. P. Lovecraft? Very well, let’s go!
Flexing my small ball of knowledge about anime and manga outside of individual series, over 30 years ago, there was a manga called, Urusei Yatsura. The show was the first to popularize the idea of an alien girl living with a guy, which ended up becoming a whole entire subgenre, with the only one I have seen prior to this, being Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan, which is probably my second or third least favorite shows that I ever completed watching. So the tropes might already be old, and I just have not seen them, but let’s get to the plot first. The show centers around the silver haired female alien Nyarko, who has been sent by a group that I think intentionally has the initials of PDO, hardy har, to protect an unassuming and mildly androgenic Japanese boy named Mahiro. However, it is evident from the first time she saves him from the first of a few “We’re too lazy to design this” demon who wants Mahiro to be an intergalactic slave because, well, I’ll get to my theory later.
It turns out that Nyarko is infatuated with Mahiro, even though he is pretty much asexual, due to how he has no view of women as anything other than people, and has never really been attracted to one, or really anything. It is a nice little bit of characterization for him, and gives several chances for Nyarko to act out like this is Yuru Yuri minus the little bits of subtlety. Meaning they have a wall in half the scenes saying, “These girls want to skronk”, and replaced it with, “Aliens just want to get some”, indented on every wall in the world. Like in that show, it is enjoyable because of the reactions and behavior to the sexual situations, never really feeling like they are trying to be arousing, just trying to be humorous in a way that I can’t really manage to pinpoint down.
The joke is not that they are talking about sex, it is just how blatant and nonchalant about the whole thing, and how nobody bring sup how needlessly sexual they are being. It is just silly when you see a little boy straight facedly tell a teenager that he want to be made pregnant by him, which is made all the more entertaining by the one who does not care about knobbing him, wants to break racial ties, and make lesbian babies.
There is just something about this that I really do like, the idea of talking about sexual situations without ever actually having them, manages to be both raunchy and light hearted at the same time, kind of a mix between worlds that might be an acquired taste, or just the accumulations of how to appeal to a person who loves everything about This semi-NSFW AMV minus the panty shots, while thinking the uncensored version is very mean spirited. Also, thank you so much for avoiding every opportunity you could get a panty shot with those hand length skirts. However, I must admit being very bias to my own style, because this show feels like something I could see myself making, with certain restrictions being applied.
It is hard to describe, yet I felt like I was on the same wavelength as the show, small group of characters, with a few supporters for when we need to call back to the normal world. While at the same time being rushed, awkwardly paced, and impatient with ideas that are not always good, but do have a lot of fun with them. I mean, there is finally a show that said, “Let’s have Yaoi, Yuri, and Straight-i all in one show.” There is this weird love quadrilateral revolving around Nyarko’s desire to make babies with Mahiro, with a fire demon with the the same dual ponytails as Eri from The World God Only Knows, Kuko being a member of her rival race, while still wanting to make babies due to alienism. Yep, all species in space and chose who they want to get it on with, with race and gender meaning squat, and I freaking love it. There is also a wind alien named Hatsua, a textbook example or an Androgynous male, if the selected color was yellow, the age was about 8, and sectuality was passively homosexual for the only other main male character.
I know this is going over my whole rule of explaining your reasons within most cases, but if the point is to laugh, I really could care less about why they want him. Although, I think the short answer is that Mahiro is just magic. Not to give much away, the boy is seeked by a deity hunter so they can heal their invisible wounds, and is able to teleport from danger in one scene. So, yeah. Magic is probably the reason, or space pheromone parasites, same difference either way. The show also takes a very childish grab at foreshadowing, making it all be blunt a lot fo the time, and even pointing it out, although in a way that still made me smile. And by using a variant of Chekhov’s Law, I can only assume that the joke about him being magic is actually the case. It’s not like it would not fit, this show’s interpretation of R’lyeh, Cthulhu’s palace of sorts, is something more akin to Las Vegas if mixed with an international smuggling ring. I would have not seen anything wrong with some child monsters roaming the streets, winning some games for their Xoths, because why not mix Lovecraft lore with video games?
However, as much as I love, and I do mean love, these plotlines, sometimes they do fall flat. After establishing the school nessecity for an anime with teenages, and introducing the quartet of three horny aliens, and one asexual Earthling. The show decides that we need to talk about them Vidja Garmes! Wha? They seriously bring in either the Halcyon or the Pioneer LaserActive, two consoles that I never heard of before I looked up ones that would use Laserdiscs. The midway point of the series has critique about how the game industry is becoming so overbudgetted that it would be plausible for a Sony stand in, in this case it is just Cthulhu, to abandon the industry. The fire powered Kuko is a seasoned retro-gamer, and there is one episode that has the characters get sucked into a dating sim.
Granted, these are probably the worst episodes, but I still have to find them to be kind of awesome, even if they are immediately followed by my favorite trope in media, a body swap. Which is one of the better ideas this show could have pursued, due to how everyone’s sexual angle is now skewered between body and mind, even though only Nyarko and Mahiro get swapped. Also, alien body snatchers from the future! This show is so my style of insane humor that is it is hard to even criticize it much beyond here.
For crying out loud, the show has a super sentai super from with a permanently tattered scarf, and Pokeballs with the classic high leg throwing pose! It is rare when I come across a show where my negatives feel so undermined. The show is just the simplest form of fun. Sure it is stupid, but who cares when the show has a tentacle monster that does not fondle anyone? The disregard of many tropes and embracement of several others make this a very, Love it or hate it kind of deal, and I certainly do love this balls to the wall insanity from people who who are fans of anime, and know what some people want.
Now, I can’t prove this and I have nothing but my own intuition here, yet I feel as if this show had a minimal budget, with a below average level of animation, although more freedom as a result. The show is hard to market due to the fact that I highly doubt people in Japan know a ton about Lovecraft mythology, most Americans sure don’t. That, and before the show got a 12 episode series, it had 2 seasons worth of flash animated shorts with the same voice actors. Yet it looked like each of the two minute shorts were made in half a day, while the five minute ones were made by one guy during a full day. Not getting much into them, I found them to be lackluster and confusing due to the fact that they established squat in the 7/20 shorts I watched.
This has probably been the hardest thing I’ve had to review that was not Pokemon. Most of my reasons for enjoying that is just that I personally find them to be fun, and that is what the show is trying to do, be what I keep on forcing home to be simple fun, the kind you get from smashing fruit, or consuming entertainment that is solely action or comedy. It is not some great work of art, and doesn’t even look that great, with character designs only nearly passing my standard from good. It is yet another show that I am happy to see in existence, and if entertainment can make me feel an emotion that I like, I think it has done its job pretty damn well. Oh, and remember, it’s free! Go and watch it unless you dislike things that are nutters! Or are someone who says, “Subtitles? I’d just read a book, so this story is invalid!”