Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nyoron Churuya-san (anime), via Crunchyroll

From what I can tell, this was first shown on the Internet, so I'm not applying my "TV series" tag. The show is 13 episodes long, with each episode running maybe 3 minutes long.

Synopsis:

I'm not sure anything I write could possibly be called a synopsis, since there isn't really a plot. This is a parody series based on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Churuya is a dumber, simpler, chibi-fied version of Tsuruya, Mikuru's friend. For some strange reason (perhaps more comprehensible to Japanese viewers or Haruhi fanatics?), she is obsessed with smoked cheese. She even gives it a cute little nickname: smochee.

If you watched The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya or read my post about it, you may remember Achakura/Asakura. Well, in this series she's Ashakura, and now the primary driving force in her life is her crush on Kyon. She is convinced that Churuya is trying to steal him for herself. Every time she tries to tell Kyon how she feels about him, she is rejected (or maybe he just doesn't notice how she feels?). By the way, although Ashakura is chibi-fied, Kyon isn't. It's a bit of a physical mismatch.

Seriously, there's not much more to the show than this - lots of Churuya drooling over smoked cheese, lots of Ashakura quivering with suppressed emotion over Kyon, and the occasional recurring joke about Churuya sucking up some adorable anthropomorphized dust bunnies with a vacuum cleaner.

Review:

When I watched The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya, my first reaction was something along the lines of “what the heck is this?” However, the show grew on me, and I came to enjoy it, although I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wasn't at least a little familiar with the original series. This, on the other hand, I probably wouldn't recommend to anyone, even those who enjoyed the original series.

Nyoron Churuya-san didn't get better as it progressed. I think it was meant to be cute and funny, but, at best, it was only mildly cute and more strange than funny. It's possible that this is one of those instances where the humor didn't translate very well. Even if that's the case, I'm not going to review it based on how funny I might have found it if I knew Japanese. There were a few moments that made me crack a smile, but nothing that made me laugh. I'm at least glad that it was only 13 episodes long.

I had to check this on Anime News Network to be sure, but it looks like the voice actors used in this were the same ones used in the original series. It's incredibly hard to tell, though, since, apart from Churuya and Ashakura, everyone's voice usually sounds either wooden or a little annoyed, and at least some of the voices are pitched deeper than usual (Mikuru is the best example of this). I'm sure this was done on purpose, but I haven't the faintest idea why. More humor that didn't translate well, maybe?

There's really not much more I can say. If you'd like to watch a parody of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, watch The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya instead. It's better than Nyoron Churuya-san in terms of appearance, voice acting, and humor – basically, it's better in every way.

Watch-alikes and Read-alikes:
  • Azumanga Daioh (manga) by Kiyohiko Azuma; Azumanga Daioh (anime TV series) - A humorous slice-of-life series about the lives of a bunch of high school girls. If you'd like something cute and funny, try this.
  • Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos (anime) - I'm not entirely sure whether this show has only aired online or also on TV. It's a weird little parody series, also featuring very short episodes. It recasts H.P. Lovecraft's Nyarlathotep as a cute girl with long silver hair. She lives with her human friend Mahiro, and occasionally some of her friends and comrades come by. They are also based on characters from Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. If you'd like something bizarre, you might want to try this.
  • Chi's Sweet Home (manga) by Kanata Konami; Chi's Sweet Home (anime TV series) - This series is about a kitten who gets separated from her mother. She is taken in by a family that lives in an apartment that doesn't allow cats. Those who'd like something cute and funny might want to try this. If you watch the anime version, this is another one where the episodes are very short. Chi's Sweet Home - Chi's New Address (the second anime series, which is perfectly comprehensible even if you haven't seen the first series) is available to watch, legally and for free, on Crunchyroll. I have written about the first volume of the manga and the Chi's Sweet Home - Chi's New Address anime.
  • Yotsuba&! (manga) by Kiyohiko Azuma - Another cute and funny series. Yotusba is a strange little girl who, despite her strangeness, manages to make everyone she meets smile. Although she lives alone with only her father, their life isn't a lonely one - Yotsuba and her father end up with several friends they visit fairly often.

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