Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! Season 1 Premium Edition
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Price: $51.99 – Available Here
Japan has a habit of taking almost anything and creating a cute anime character out of it. The current insanely popular game in Japan is all about warships that have been morphed into ship girls and there has even been an anime about a little cockroach at one point. Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! is similar to these as it takes H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and makes creatures of nightmare into cute girls. Adapted from a light novel and brought to us by the same studio that made girls out of guns, is Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! Season 1 worth picking up?
Mahiro Yasaka is having a bad day. On his way home the air around him grows dark and the moon turns red as a faceless creature with rubbery black skin chases him through the streets. When Mahiro finds himself trapped in a dead end and his fate appears to be sealed, the creature is suddenly stabbed from behind by a girl with long silver hair and green eyes.
When he returns home he learns that this girl is named Nyaruko and that she is a Nyarlathotep. She explains to him that all of the creatures of the Cthulhu Mythos are actually aliens and Nyaruko is actually employed by the Planetary Defense Agency and she has been sent to Earth in order to protect Mahiro from being captured by other aliens who wish to sell him off into slavery.
However this girl is appears far more interested in everything Japan has to offer and Mahiro himself than protecting him as she chooses to move into his house and the first thing they do is head to a shop full of otaku games, light novels, and manga where Nyaruko ends up drooling over everything she sees since Earth’s entertainment; anime, manga, light novels, video games, etc, are a highly sought after commodity in space and their sale is strictly monitored.
After defeating the group that seeks to capture Mahiro, Nyaruko remains on Earth not only to protect Mahiro, whom she is madly in love with, but also enjoy everything Earth’s entertainment has to offer. By dealing with this foe Nyaruko’s childhood friend but also sworn enemy, a Chtughan named Kuko, also moves into Mahiro’s house to “protect Earth” but mostly to try and get into Nyaruko’s skirt as she is an obsessively in love with her and tries to assault her on a regular basis.
To round out the core cast a girlish boy named Hasuta who is also an alien from Hastur and carries feelings for Mahiro, Mahiro’s mother who has knowledge of the deities and lets them all move into her house anyways, and a talkative female classmate named Tamao Kurei who has been nicknamed the “Walking Speaker.” With Mahiro’s relatively peaceful life now full of obsessive Lovecraftian creatures and trouble popping up everywhere how will he be able to adapt?
Now I’m going to be honest, Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! is going to be a divisive comedy. Whereas I found the barrage of humor throughout the series to be a source of constant laughter, others may be scratching their heads. This depends on how much the viewer enjoys slapstick comedy, Nyaruko’s overflowing personality, and referential based humor since that is largely what makes the series so great for those, such as myself, that enjoy that type of humor. From the first episode alone viewers are given so many references to try and catch that, depending on how many you pick up on, will determine how many references you’ll likely get throughout the rest of the series.
There are references from The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, plenty from Kamen Rider and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Metal Gear Solid, Pokémon, and of course tons from the Cthulhu Mythos. That is only what I was able to pick up on in the first episode, with numerous other references being dropped in later episodes including some from One Piece, Back to the Future, Haruhi Suzumiya, and even knocks at some of Japan’s censorship laws that were being talked about at the time.
This show is one that those who have seen a wide range of anime in their time will probably appreciate the most as they will be more likely to catch the references that are often used for comedy. As mentioned, the other barrel in the series’ comedy comes in the form of slapstick humor and just how eccentric most of the core cast is. We have Nyaruko usually on the receiving end of punishment from Mahiro, usually with forks to the head, Nyaruko taking down Kuko, and Nyaruko using her ‘Space QCQ’ to eviscerate enemies.
Mahiro is rough with Nyaruko but actually comes off as a likable main character whenever he thinks about taking her seriously and Nyaruko herself is a bag of laughs and is easily the best character in the series. Her personality is eccentric to the max with her love of otaku things, persistent love of Mahiro, and sadistic and twisted personality when it comes to killing off her foes. Of the side characters, Kuko is a nice fit compared to Nyaruko’s overflowing enthusiasm for everything as her blunt monotone nature but passionate desire to be with Nyaruko is delightful and a good counterbalance for Nyaruko’s love for Mahiro.
The comedy and the way that the story of Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! unfolds, with a number of short story arcs throughout the series, can only be successful by having likable characters and thankfully that is the case with this series as it shows minimal romantic development and some notable character growth in the final arc. This does hinder the overall story but thankfully the constant humor and likable cast make this show worth watching. Perhaps even a few times as one can never get enough Nyaruko.
The animation studio Xebec has been around for quite some time now and although there are a number of series that step outside of their norm, Xebec tends to have a certain style when it comes to their character designs. Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! still has the Xebec feel to their female characters but it is more restrained. The characters’ eyes and basic designs are nice looking, though their faces tend to look far too angular at times and this becomes an issue during some scenes where many characters are on screen at one time.
The background and scenery throughout the series is relatively simple at times but there are a few key scenes throughout the series which look amazing thanks to the backdrop they take place against. The fan-service is tame and is usually delivered by Nyaruko and Kuko while the action scenes keep a decent level of quality with some rather absurd techniques used at times. There are also numerous costume changes throughout the series to help change things up from the standard school uniform.
Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! has been released as an English subtitled series with only the Japanese voice track available but considering the nature of the show and how many references there are throughout the series to various Japanese anime and tokusatsus. These would not have translated well into English and it would have been hard to find a voice actor that would be able to even meet Kana Asumi’s portrayal of Nyaruko.
There are a number of fairly standard sounding background tracks used throughout the series, some of which are forgettable except for the main theme used whenever something involving a dramatic Lovecraft event occurs. The opening theme for Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! is “The Sun Says, “Burn, Chaos”” by Ushiro kara Haiyori-tai G, consisting of the voice actresses for Nyaruko, Kuko, and Tamao, is catchy and will stick with the viewer for a long time while the ending theme is “Forever With You” by Ramm ni Haiyoru Nyaruko-san is softer paced but a nice closer for the series, although a special ending theme is used in the final episode.
As one would expect from a launch release from NIS America Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! Season 1 has been given the premium edition treatment which means that the release includes not only on-disc bonuses but also a hardcover art book and a chipboard slipcase. The on-disc extras are slim on the release as they only offer the Japanese trailers for the series as well, a clean version of the opening and ending theme, and trailers for other NIS America anime.
Now the slipcase for the release features some nice looking artwork on both sides of the box, with the front side including numerous pictures of Nyaruko and the rest of the cast in various scenes while the back is simpler as it features the core cast. I did notice a couple of spelling errors in the art book which is unfortunate; anyways the hardcover artbook contains episode summaries for each episode as well as storyboard from Xebec accompanying each episode as well as character files that talk about each character and show off their various designs. A nice touch with these character files is an incredibly brief interview with each of the voice actors for that character. Closing out the book there are storyboard from the opening and ending animations, a data list talking about the various tools Nyaruko and Kuko use, a glimpse at some other character art and sketches of the main areas in the anime.
A lot of what makes Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! so enjoyable is Nyaruko herself as her personality is easily the best thing about the show outside of the amount of references throughout the series. While the type of comedy in Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! Season 1 might not be something everyone will enjoy, those that do will be in for one hell of a ride as this show remains hilarious throughout and even has a few pieces of development here and there to make it worthwhile. While it has a few faults Nyaruko: Crawling With Love! does not disappoint as a light hearted comedy with a likable cast and an amazing lead female.
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