Smashing Nyarko

Nyarlko. Or Nyaruko. Whatever.

“Gaijin Smash” is a term I jokingly use with other friends to describe what happens to a foreigner visiting Japan. Unfamiliar with local customs and practices, sometimes foreigners get what they want by breaking these unwritten rules. Thus, the “smashing” part.

This is kind of how I feel about Nyaruko-san. First off, the official translation is “Nyarko” where it swallows up the “u.” For some reason I cannot spell it that way for my life, so I will use it interchangeably.

Second, the general character dynamics in Nyaruko-san’s two full-length TV series runs is something like Nyarko bothers Mahiru about getting into his pants, others join in, and while doing all that some kind of lukewarm and pun-infested adventure happens. To Mahiru, Nyarko (and Kuuko and Hausta etc) are monsters. Old Ones. I recently reviewed Natsume Yuujinchou, so in those terms they’re like youkai folks. Except unlike Japanese ghosts and wraiths and fairies that exist and behave under philosophies and rules familiar to Japanese sensibilities, Nyarko’s Space CQC literally smashes any expectation that behooves proper Japanese behavior. You know, basic things like let’s not be a “meiwaku.”

Except, when being told on explicitly, Nyaruko etc., repents. Because we gaijins are nice people at heart and are just oblivious to what subtle but superior and proper upbringing looks like.

Looking at it from the whole meiwaku concept, the fact that Nyarko &c are foreigners, and the show is loaded to the gills with not only Japanese pop culture but also many American/western ones as well, just makes me just think of Nyaruko-san as a metaphor of the story where a bunch of gaijins came to call on a Japanese guy.

I mean, even the setup of the story feels that way–a bunch of aliens lands in Japan to raid its bounty of modern cultural goods. All that Cool Japan ™ junk is the loot in which Nyarko and company came to seek, if we recall season one’s introduction and the raison d’etre of some of these inexplicable plot generators. Although I don’t know, which non-Japanese country got taken over with Kamen Rider? I mean Power Rangers was a huge deal internationally, but that’s not really the same thing.

And in some ways,  Mahiru reflects a kind of, I don’t know, aggressive passive aggressiveness, lacking a better term, that ultimately says that while the foreigners are a bunch of barbaric trouble-makers, they are powerful, sexy, unreserved, energetic, and saves the day. We can even make an except for Hausta, who all of that minus the obnoxiousness, but also sexually liberated? But really, what sex/gender is Hausta anyway? Because while he represents himself as a male human being, god knows what lies beneath? It’s certainly the case for Kuuko. Can’t trust these gaijins, really.

And I guess the complete construction of the banshin (or maybe, how Nyaruko confuses its construction times) is akin to the ever confusing status of people’s visas? And how it’s nigh impossible to become a naturalized citizen of Japan? Am I sufficiently overreaching here?

What I don’t understand is what the forks are suppose to represent. If I had to guess, it’s probably some kind of pun I am not getting.


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