Sunday, October 1, 2017

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san (2012)

Haiyore!  Nyaruko-san is a 12 episode anime based upon the light novels of the same name, and translated as Nyrako-san:  Another Crawling Chaos.  The story starts off with Yasaka Mahiro, your average human boy who goes to school, being chased and almost killed by a demon-like creature until he is saved by Nyarlathotep.  Nyarlathotep takes on the form of a silver haired girl.  Referring herself as Nyaruko for short, she explains that all the creatures from H.P. Lovecraft's works are in actuality, races of aliens, who find Earth attractive for all its media entertainment (i.e. manga, anime, films) and resources (e.g. slavery).

The inspiration from Lovecraft's works only really goes as far as the naming of the characters and their basic backgrounds.  From there on, it's your typical anime personalities and style, and doesn't really dive deep into the lore or does anything with the rich source material.  For some reason, Mahiro is being targeted by alien slave traffickers and Nyaruko ends up staying to protect him.  Nyaruko is in love with Mahiro, moving into his house, and as expected, ends up "transferring" into the same school and class as him.

Nyaruko herself is hyperactive, always overclocking and never slowing down for a bit.  She is aggressive in her love for Mahiro but also extremely capable in fighting prowess, using wacky over the top techniques.  She can come off as sadistic in her battles against the alien creatures.  The anime itself focuses on humor, whether it be from references to other anime or through you typical visual gags.  The humor is the anime's biggest strength since a lot of it works.  Still, with all the references to other anime, games and even classic novels, a lot of the enjoyment depends on the viewer being familiar with those referenced works.

There are heavy doses of fan service in every episode, and it's not subtle about it.  The excessive over the top scenes makes the anime not take itself too seriously.  It feels like it is throwing things at you constantly all the time and not letting up.  You can never predict what is going to happen next.  The episodes rapidly introduce new characters who join in the fun and stay at Mahiro's house.  There's Kuko, who is in love with Nyaruko, and has the ability to wield fire.  She becomes very clingy to Nyaruko similar to how Nyaruko is clingy to Mahiro, which gets funny and ironic at times.

The other main character is Hasuda, who is a feminine boy and also attracted to Mahiro.  He's a bit against the stereotype but he is shy and isn't as in your face as Nyaruko or Kuko.  The funny thing is that all the characters, when transferring to Mahiro's school, says that they are related to him and share the same surname.  As we wait for the reaction of Mahiro's mother finding out about the two additional girls and a young boy living with her son, we don't get what we expected and Mahiro's mother is promptly dragged into the mess.  Events are exaggerated, and threats turn out to be duds or empty, or there's a simple/stupid reason behind it.  You know that the protagonists are going to get out of whatever sticky situation they're in easily since Nyaruko is so overpowered.

Surprisingly, more than a few of the characters are heavy gamers and thus a few episodes focus on the gaming element.  This in turn causes the plot to focus on Mahiro's day to day life, and how he copes with all these extra aliens in his life.  Fromg oing to a hot spring resort to being transported to a game world, to even body swapping.  However, it reverses some of the tropes at times, since Nyaruko is the forward and perverted one, with Mahiro rejecting her advances.  The intense longing/love each character has can feel superficial since we don't see how they developed it.  Basically all characters turn up and we're to accept that they already have these deep feelings at first sight.

While the plot lacks direction, this anime has a solid ending with a neat team up and of course, Mahiro realizing that the life he is having now, is actually a good one and better than the "quiet" one he thought he prefers.  Overall, Haiyore!  Nyaruko-san is a funny anime that's brimming with over the top humor.  The animation and aesthetics are great, there's catchy music an strong voice acting to boot.  It's not for everyone since it's quite wacky at times, but is a great anime to watch to calm down and not think too hard at the end of a long day.


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