This wasn’t an especially good episode of KtB, at least by the standard the show has displayed lately. I’m sure to manga readers who have more context with them Azuma and Akira are interesting characters, but to me they’re just fairly boring side characters who show up every once in a while and slow everything to a crawl (and it doesn’t help that Akira is Kaji Yuuki at his most ingratiating). The most interesting thing about them is musing on the nature of their relationship, which certainly feels like a couple whether it is one or not.
The ep had much more of the feel of the first half of season one, where things were so laid-back and wistful as to be borderline dull. None of the humor did much for me – it’s always amusing to see grade-schoolers mistake Shun for a girl, but we’ve had that joke a couple of times already and the grounds are producing a pretty weak brew by now. Considering that it’s been a while since I’ve had an ep leave me this apathetic, I’m hoping the safer bet is that this is an aberration and not a trend.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san – 02
I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a comedy more different that the other series in this post, or one that covered more comedic bases in two episodes. I have a feeling someone (with more time and knowledge of otaku esoterica than me) is going to compile a weekly tally of all the cultural references this show throws out every week. This episode brought us Kamen Rider, One Piece, Ideon and many I’m sure I missed, not the mention the non-stop barrage of Lovecraft bastardiazations. There can be a quantity over quality feel to some of the comedy here, but for the most part it’s working for me so far.
Mahiro tends to be at the butt end of some of the best Nyaruko lines (“I have a feeling you’re going to be a man who neglects his family for work”, “If I don’t get back soon they’ll take Mahiro’s virginity before me!”) but as a character he’s still pretty much a cipher – and the odd casting of Kitamura Eri isn’t helping there. But let’s be honest, he’s an accessory at best – and that was never more clear than when most of the ep was devoted to Nyaruko’s battle with her rival Kuko (Matsuki Miyu) another Cthulhu God, Cthugha, whose flames are outstripped only by the fire of her yuri passion for Nyaruko. Then there’s Nodens (the stalwart Shimada Bin), the Neptune look-alike who’s running an auction of forbidden goods (one of whom turns out to be Mahiro, as the lead of a new BL bondage drama) in the drowned realm of R’lyeh (complete with R’lyeh Land theme park) that Nyaruko is pledged to stop.
I’m still whether this Thompson Gunner style of comedy will hold up for the long term, but when you fire that many bullets some of them will certainly hit, and there are quite a few more wacky characters still to be introduced (including a Rie Kugimiya entity who may be a trap, or possibly a reverse trap, but definitely one or the other). I wouldn’t hold out for a Peabody, but there’s an opening at the moment for this sort of otaku-centric, ecchi meta-humor and Haiyore! Nyaruko-san is ably filling it so far.