It's the least flawed Haiyore Nyaruko anime series, although obviously less substantial than the 2012-2013 anime of standard 25-minute episodes. It's another collection of micro-episodes from the team that gave us the Haiyoru! Nyaruani ONAs, but running slightly longer at four whole minutes each (half of which is the closing credits). I quite liked it.
To be precise, there had been nine ONA episodes, all but one approximately 60 or 90 seconds long each, depending on whether you counted the closing credits. The ninth episode was the chunkier one, at about six minutes.
This has twelve episodes, all but one being exactly four minutes long. The finale is again the biggie, although only to the extent that it's 5:34 minutes long instead. In other words, there's twice as much new content per episode (two minutes instead of one). This makes more difference than you'd think. Sixty seconds is a quickie. It's a four-panel Garfield or something. It will be based in character, obviously, because it's comedy, but it doesn't really have time to start exploring anything.
Two minutes, though, is pushing at the limits of the simple comic sketch. It's on the verge of becoming something else. It can't rely in the same way on one-dimensional gags and overreactions. We thus have more interesting and varied situations than the ONAs, not to mention better developed regulars, including two that don't exist in any other anime version of this franchise. There's even a gigantic CGI spaceship approaching the Earth, which we only see at the end of each episode and it gets closer and closer until it crash-lands in part ten. There's just more to these episodes than there had been with the ONAs.
The show also manages to make its set-up more palatable than the later full-length shows. Mahiro's perfectly likeable, for instance! He only stabs anyone with a fork once and that's right at the end of episode twelve, after whinging fans had been complaining about the lack of fork action. The fork-stabbing had apparently been popular in the ONAs. People found it funny. As a survivor of the 2012-2013 TV show, though, I was delighted to have no fork-stabbings and a Mahiro who's not asking for a smack in the mouth.
Similarly, the sex gags are funny rather than tiresome! The two new regulars are both defined by their sexuality, to varying extents, but this could be amusing. We have:
1. ATKO (i.e. Clark Ashton Smith's Atlach-Nacha). She's a softly spoken pervert in dark, formal clothes, who talks such filth that she embarrasses even Cthugha and is liable to get censored. (This show has a fondness for self-censorship for comic effect, either with bleeps or digital mosaics. I think this is clever, since no comedy anime drawing of a Lovecraftian monster could be as interesting as leaving it half-seen and forcing us to imagine it for ourselves.)
2. NYARUE (i.e. another Nyarlathotep). Lovecraft's demigods, abominations and so on aren't individuals in this franchise, but entire alien races. The Mahiro-pestering Nyarlathotep we know isn't the one and only, but instead merely an alien from the planet Nyarlathotep. Nyarue is just another one of them. She has the same silver hair and antenna-sprouting hairstyle as Nyaruko, but she's a gentle, easily confused soul in an orange sweater. She'll start worrying about something (which might include Mahiro) until she drives herself into a frenzy of bewilderment that sees her shapeshift into something abominable, blasphemous, cyclopean, daemoniac, etc.
It's funny. It has a knack for punchlines and I laughed quite a few times. Cthugha's part-time job and Atko's PC are just two gags that amused me. After that, episode eleven is a non-comedic farewell between Mahiro and Nyaruko, as the latter goes off to fight the CGI spaceship. It's a straight dramatic scene. It's aiming at emotion. This surprised me greatly, but I liked it... although fans at the time were even more startled, since they thought this was the season finale, given the break of over a month between this and the twelfth episode. (Despite being a weekly show, episode eleven went out in February and episode twelve went out in April.)
It's not, fortunately. Episode twelve rounds it off with anticlimax comedy and Mahiro's fork.
I quite liked this. It's another Flash-animated series of episodes so short that they're practically sneezes, but there's nothing wrong with that. It has an enjoyable variety of gags (pay attention to what's going past in the background in episode ten) and it manages to avoid being annoying. It does a hot springs episode and turns it into a radio play, showing us nothing as the characters discuss the anime staple of the hot springs episode, although I have a dark suspicion that that red thing might have been Shantak's aroused penis. The regulars are funny, especially Atko. It's a laugh.