Sunday, November 29, 2015

Anime Review: Nyarko: Another Crawling Chaos

Sorry for the lack of a post last week. It was something I kept putting off for no other reason than I was incredibly lazy, and was more interested in the 4 day weekend that Thanksgiving was going to give me. It was pure laziness nothing more. Anyway, this time I have an anime that I never really expected to review because a few weeks ago I didn't even know it existed. But given Japan's proclivity for taking anything and turning it into a romantic comedy featuring a cast of beautiful high school girls, I really should have expected it. So here is Nyarko: Another Crawling Chaos, a High School romantic comedy featuring Cthulhu monsters.

Sanity destroying Ancient Deities have never been so adorable.
Mahiro Yasada is just a normal high school student until one day he finds himself being hunted by a hideous monster. Mahiro is however saved by a beautiful girl who identifies herself as The Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep from Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. According to Nyarlathotep (or Nyarko for short) each of the deities from Lovecraft's works are actually races of aliens from elsewhere in the galaxy, and that Nyarko is here to protect Mahiro from creatures who wish to kidnap him and to protect the Earth in general from these illegal aliens. Why is Earth so important? Because Earth has the BEST ENTERTAINMENT IN THE UNIVERSE and Nyarko is more on Earth for pleasure than business. Anime, Video Games, Light Novels, Manga, everything geek culture is Nyarko's passion and she is head-over-heels in love with Mahiro, so much so that she is determined to set him down the Nyarlathotep route whether he wants to or not. Mahiro's life just got a little more Chaotic and it gets more complicated when a Cthugha and a Hastur both move in and more aliens try to make off with Earth's precious entertainment for their own schemes. Mahiro must keep an eye on his Sanity Points and his fork supply in order to survive this Call of Cthulhu.

One of this is a Trap.
Nyarko is a comedy first and for most, and it is REALLY funny. It's style is more of the frantic, reference heavy, four-wall breaking style as a lot of the gags revolve around references to other anime or Cthulhu material, or a super serious plot against our protagonists turn out to be something incredibly mundane or petty. It gets really silly after a while when you begin to expect that the ultimate twist is going to be that this entire plan was actually just to get the latest entry in a video game series, but the series still manages to keep it fresh by causing the curveballs to become further curveballs with it's foreshadowing dialogue (something that Mahiro is constantly complaining about). The References themselves also become rather clever with the second season having far more anime and video game references ranging from complete visual and dialog parodies, to just very subtle throw away lines that you can only really catch if you look close enough at it and know what they are referencing.

Of course the series's high reference content also serves as it's greatest weakness. Simply put it is a great and funny series if you get the references. If you DON'T however there will be a lot of jokes and gags that range from kind of funny on it's own to I know it's a reference but I don't know for what. Fortunately, even though SO MUCH of the series is this kind of four-wall breaking parody, there is enough gags that are funny on it's own, or use references that are fairly common in the popular culture, like it's numerous references to Sanity Points from the Call of Cthulhu Pen'n'Paper games. But ultimately, Nyarko does turn into a metric to measure your anime knowledge against.

Nyarko: Another Crawling Chaos is a very VERY fun series with many Laugh Out Loud moments. It's only bar for enjoying the series is that you really REALLY need to watch a lot of anime in order to get half of the jokes in the series. For people who are new to anime or not that into the medium, it's hard to recommend as I'm sure you will find the non-referential gags funny, but the parodies that the series often uses will probably leave you more confused. For those of you who are big into anime Nyarko is HIGHLY Recommended as it is a hilarious ride from start to finish.

Nyarko: Another Crawling Chaos is available on Crunchyroll: (Start with "Another Crawling Chaos." The ONA and "Remember My Mr. Lovecraft" assume you already know the series)

Until Next Time.

-CRES, you thought I was kidding about the Sanity Point system?

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