“Screamingly sentient, dumbly delirious, only the gods that were can tell. A sickened, sensitive shadow writhing in hands that are not hands, and whirled blindly past ghastly midnights of rotting creation, corpses of dead worlds with sores that were cities, charnel winds that brush the pallid stars and make them flicker low. Beyond the worlds vague ghosts of monstrous things; half-seen columns of unsanctified temples that rest on nameless rocks beneath space and reach up to dizzy vacua above the spheres of light and darkness. And through this revolting graveyard of the universe the muffled, maddening beating of drums, and thin, monotonous whine of blasphemous flutes from inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond Time; the detestable pounding and piping whereunto dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic, tenebrous ultimate gods—the blind, voiceless mindless gargoyles whose soul is Nyarlathotep.”
What mental images cropped up while reading that excerpt from H.P. Lovecraft’s short story Nyarlathotep? I bet neither Lovecraft nor the reader envisioned Nyarlathotep, the harbinger of madness, loyal servant of Azathoth, to prefer the guise of a silver-haired teenage girl in order to further her own selfish desire of… procuring anime-related goods, I guess. Huh, I guess even the Cthulhu Mythos had to come around to the power of the Japanese animation industry eventually.
Taking the above into consideration, it’s clear that Lovecraft fans will find this to be a rather liberal interpretation; the worst that anybody suffers is Nyarlathotep herself at the hands of our generic male lead and his all powerful fork of off-screen stabbing. As opposed to Lovecraft’s predisposition toward bleak and cynical depictions of humanity often present in his stories, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san is basically a sitcom where creatures of interstellar origin room with a regular teenage boy. You could replace them with personified insects or windowsills or planets, and the result would be similar enough that the lack of Nyarlathotep wouldn’t be too jolting. Even with that said though, it’s certainly a fun little show that has its own enjoyable quirks setting it apart from the slew of similar moe-fests.
It may not be the most original thing when everything is taken into consideration, but it’s much more fun to watch than I thought it’d be. Again, though the appropriation of the Cthulhu Mythos is a bit arbitrary, it is used to decent effect to create moe hijinks that are just a cut above the usual sludge that follows a similar presence. Helping this in part are intelligently placed sight gags and snappy dialogue, as well as a generally lighthearted mood accompanied by a surprisingly excellent soundtrack of ominous chanting reminiscent of The Omen and a slightly above average OP. Even during the more intense fight scenes, as few as they are, it never feels like it gets bogged down with angst or grittiness. Should the show continue like this, I’ll be looking forward to more in the future.
Though it may not be what Lovecraft had in mind when he crafted his stories of blatant racism and evil deities from beyond the stars, it pays enough respect to the source material without becoming entirely dependent on it to weave its own narrative. For something as silly as this, that’s more than I would’ve ever expected. It may not be the best of the season, but its start is better than the sum of its parts and deserves at least a glance.