|Decent Flash Animation, Decent voice acting||No coherent plot, Obnoxious/abrasive characters, insanity inducing|
When we first read the summary for Haiyoru! Nyaru-ani, we initially thought it’d be a fun, quirky show. Having the main male lead (supposedly) saved by a formless Cthulhu named Nyaruko from a pack of aliens seemed interesting enough. And then we watched the first episode and all prior impressions were whisked out the window along with our sanity.
First of all, the animation was definitely not what we were expecting. While all of the promotional images and a good chunk of the promotional videos were in your traditional animation style (shiny, somewhat generic anime styling) the animation for the show itself was done in Adobe Flash. We have to give props to the animation studio; Flash is one hell of a program to use and can be quite tricky if you don’t know how to use it properly. Considering this and the fact that the animation was pretty smooth in terms of character movements, the animators get major brownie points. Unfortunately, the backgrounds were fairly bland, usually consisting of Mahiro’s living room, hallway and occasionally a building in town. The characters themselves were able to show a range of emotion, although they didn’t move much other than their faces. Occasionally we’d see a hand or see them flail about in a fit of rage or embarrassment, but other than that, nothing. Nada. Zip. Keeping the fact that they’re using Flash to animate it, I can understand why, but it does get a bit boring after awhile. But then, just when you start thinking that it’s a bland, boring show, you see the ending credits.
A full minute and a half of glorious, shiny animation that looks identical to the promotional posters! At first, we thought that maybe the animators were just pulling our leg and the first episode was supposed to be a joke. But as the weeks passed, we realized that we were sadly mistaken. Overall, the art direction and the animation were less than favorable (excluding the ending credits, which weren’t too bad.)
Overall, the soundtrack was fairly bland. The animators recycled the same track over and over for a multitude of scenarios, ranging from Mahiro discovering that Atoko was surfing over 100 porn sites a minute to Nyarlko spontaneously combusting into some sort of tentacled creature. However, the show itself didn’t warrant a huge amount of soundtrack change since many of the episodes centered about something completely absurd so we can understand why they had such a limited variety. However, it still left something to be desired.
After being dumbstruck by the animation quality, you’re completely turned off by the characterization. While we’re sure they were merely following the way the light novel showed the characters, sometimes they were fine and others they were completely obnoxious and abrasive. Nyaruko seemed to think that she was entitled to Mahiro’s love while Mahiro merely wanted to know what the hell was going on in his house. Nyarlko had an odd habit of turning into a blubbering, flailing mess around Mahiro, resulting in a rather high pitched, annoying rambling (think of a gerbil on helium). Cthuko was bearable; she was rather quiet, not saying much and merely staying in the background for the most part. Atoko was one of the few characters (the other being Mahiro) that we actually didn’t mind. She was fairly quiet, yet deceivingly sneaky in plotting things (mainly on how to get someone in bed with her.) Mahiro, being the only human in the house, was normal and like us, was just baffled by the things going on in his house.
Once you’re able to get past the characterization flaws, you get to the plot. Or rather, the lack thereof. Each episode is a two minute skit of something random, ranging from Cthuko feeding Mahiro’s goldfish something to make it grow human legs (a rather hairy pair of legs, we might add) to Nyaruko trying to drug Mahiro into being willing to sleep with her. With each episode, we felt our sanity slowly slipping away along with the hopes of a coherent plot. The only thing tying the episodes together was at the end when we saw a rather large brick heading towards Earth with a countdown until the day humankind will become extinct. We never did get to see if humans were eradicated or not; the show ended with a rather heartfelt moment between Nyaruko and Mahiro in which she asks Mahiro to wait for her to return. Basically, it was a rather lack-luster ending.
Overall, this is by far one of the weirdest, non-cohesive shows we’ve seen. The characterizations were either so abundantly annoying or non-existent that we couldn’t feel any sort of connection with them. The plot wasn’t there and while having to give credit for using Flash for the animation, it still left so much more to be desired. At the risk of losing your sanity, for the love of God, just pass up this series. Your brain will thank you later.
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