這いよれ！ニャル子さん/Haiyore! Nyaruko-san Episode 08
Yoriko takes her charges to go buy souvenirs before they return home, as Mahiro observes Nyarlko with his mother and recalls Nyarlko's confession to him. At one store, they find an old WonderSwan Crystal game console, which Mahiro turns on. He finds himself back home in bed, with his mom waking him up and addressing him as "Mahiro-chan" instead of "Hiro-kun." On the way to school, he literally runs into Nyarlko with toast in her mouth, but when she sees Mahiro noticing her on the ground with toast between her legs, she runs away crying and saying she can never get married. Outside of his renamed high school, Cthuko greets him as "Mahiro-san" instead of "Shounen" and expresses feeling for him. Inside, Hastur is in basketball gear and is also different.
With everyone he knows being different, Luhy shows up as the school nurse and takes him to the infirmary, were she explains that he's in the game along with his companions and mother, and until he chooses to be with either Nyarlko, Cthuko, Hastur, or Tamao, they won't be able to leave. Nyarlko, hiding under the bed, plans to have her flags set by Mahiro, but Cthuko and Hastur have other plans. With the secret out, the three jashin establish various scenarios in this dating sim game, culminating with the three of them battling until Nyarlko wins. After Tamao does the "trapped in the PE storage room" trope, Mahiro finds himself under a large tree, where Nyarlko arrives. Since the only way out is to kiss her, Mahiro reluctantly agrees, but when they emerge, only he appears to have retained any memory of what happened.
Ah, what a fun episode, filled with parodies of popular tropes, popular franchises, and more.
Starting with the parody stuff (and I appreciate you guys pointing out ones I missed or didn't know), my favorite, overhyped franchise, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, scored the most parodies. There was the "Endless Eight" name drop, as well as recreations of at least two scenes from the first series. One being Cthuko's attempt to kill Mahiro and the other being Nyarlko's band moment.
I laughed with joy when Yoriko sent "Mahiro-chan" out with the "Saiyuusen jikou yo!" (This is a top priority!) catchphrase from Onegai Teacher. I haven't watched that in ages, and I know I still have the DVD's after I decided not to sell them way back when.
I also squealed with delight when Hand Maid May (which I happened to marathon this past Sunday) got a nod with Hastur's "Hand Maid Hastur" doll. The moment would have been more awesome for me had Hand Maid Hastur moved, or been dressed like May. That aside, it is enough to know that Hastur's seiyuu, KUGIMIYA Rei, was the voice of CBD Rena-chan in Hand Maid May.
Hastur in the battle ring on the high school grounds (not sure which series that's supposed to parody) first made me think, "Index" from A Certain Magical Index, due to the character of Index being a nun and voiced by Kugimiya-san. However, I figured his character had to be from a fight game, and came upon the fighting game Guilty Gear and the trap character there named Bridget. ^_^; I don't know whom Nyarlko and Cthuko are supposed to be.
Real life things got nods too, such as Denny's (which I've heard is better in Japan than in the U.S.). Here, Denny's is renamed Derleth, after August Derleth, who coined the term Cthulhu Mythos, and who wrote Cthulhu fiction based on notes from H.P. Lovecraft after he died, thus insuring that Mr. Lovecraft's work didn't go into obscurity, and deny us this awesomely funny take on the mythos.
And of course, the real game console SwanCrystal (slightly renamed as WonderSwan Crystal) got a nod to kick everything off. (I didn't know the game Nyarlko held up.)
The whole dating sim stuff was a riot, and I couldn't help but remember my introduction to this type of game on a handheld console in Excel Saga. For me, had the whole episode had Nyarlko and company keep in their game characters without knowledge they were in a game, I think things would have been even funnier. As it was, Nyarlko acting chaste was so 180 as to be awesomely funny. Cthuko being in love with Mahiro without the sexual aggressiveness was funny. Hastur acting different was funny too. However, things went the way they did, and that's fine.
As to the overall story, things really feel like they are setting up Mahiro to truly fall in love with Nyarlko, only to have her taken away at the end with a sad moment. I'm probably being influenced by the end of Haiyoru! Nyaruani: Remember My Love (Craft-sensei). Still, with Nyarlko not being so clingy, and knowing that despite her constant, aggressive push for Mahiro to have sex with her, one can see that she really does mean it when she says she loves Mahiro.
While I'm thinking of it, we again had a bit of creepiness with Yoriko's desire to be lovey-lovey with her son by playing that kind of character in the game (and thus why she addressed him as "Mahiro-chan" instead of "Hiro-kun").
Still, we ended up with really fun, funny episode that had parodies of all sorts in it. I loved it!