Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Wet Dream Quest of Unknown Moe

August Derleth introduced a number of questionable elements to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Posthumous “collaborations”, a paper-rock-scissors system of elemental rivalries between the Great Old Ones, a wholly altered interpretation of the Elder Sign. But above all, he allowed for the creation of fans, an invasion from the common man, the agents of atrophy in a previously closed environment.

Fandom is a slippery slope. If ten years ago you had told me that there would be Cthulhu plushies wearing Hawaiian shirts and bumper stickers showing Dagon eating a Darwin Fish eating a Jesus Fish, I would have laughed.

If a year ago you had told me that there would be a series of tween novels starring Mythos monsters personified as doe-eyed debutantes, I would have told you to go to Hell.

Well, look where we ended up.

Lovecraft approved! (Source)

The Crawling Cuteness! Nyarl-Ko, My Maid is an Amorphous Blob, and The Magickal Girl R'lyeh Lulu are a trio of Light Novels (juvenile fiction with an emphasis on dialogue and humor over description and drama) planted firmly in the world of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, though their roots run deep into caverns shunned by even the most fearless Martense or Delapore. They take tropes established by harem and moe anime and run with them to the outer limits of the imagination, with results varying from groan inducing to genuinely clever.

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Title: The Crawling Cuteness! Nyarl-Ko (這い寄れ!ニャル子さん)
Author: Aisora Manta (
逢空万太)
Art by: Koin (
狐印)
Published by: GX Bunko
Volumes: Five and going strong
Genre: Trouser-shrinking RPG gags

In the world of Nyarl-Ko, the Planetary Protection Organization polices the cosmos and ensures that the Prime Directive—which restricts alien intelligences from meddling in the matters of developing planets—is carried out at all costs. The job is trickier than it sounds, given that Earth's entertainment is the intergalactic gold standard, thus attracting no shortage of smugglers willing to risk life and pseudopod for contraband Dojinshi and porn games.

Our mild-mannered high school protagonist, Mahiro, possesses just the right level of androgynous castrati beauty that drives lonely housewives into fits of thigh-grinding frustration. In a normal world, his looks would land him on the casting couch of some boy band mogul with his pants around his ankles. Instead, they’ve made him the target of a human trafficking organization looking to send his sweet cheeks off to be shuckled in an interspecies homoerotic daytime soap opera. Different means, same end.

Enter Nyarl-Ko, one of a race of Nyarlathoteps, whose demure appearances beguile her world-leveling powers and destructive sexual appetite. The Planetary Protection Organization dispatches her to protect Mahiro from his would-be abductors and break up a smuggling ring operating out of R’lyeh. She fights off Nightgaunts, brutalizes Nodens, and gives the protagonist the biggest case of blue balls he’s ever suffered during his sixteen years. Mahiro resists her molestation attempts and won’t be taken in by her supple appearance—he knows that underneath the mask of Nyarlathotep lurks a horror beyond his comprehension.

Shantanks love carrots! The wackiness never stops when Nyarl-Ko's around.

Despite the blatant disregard for established Mythos protocol, the first volume was enjoyable, providing its fair share of snarky grins. The author clearly knows his pulp horror and isn't afraid to slaughter a sacred cow (or herds) for comedic effect. Sadly, the quality evaporates quickly over future volumes as he introduces an increasingly inbred cast of paper-thin personalities and limp-wrist punch lines. Cthugha is a Loli lesbian! Hastur is a gay Shota! If these sentences are incomprehensible to you, then you’d do yourself well to turn back from whence it came, least you open up a vista of unspeakable madness.

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Title: My Maid is an Amorphous Blob (うちのメイドは不定形)
Author: Shizukawa Tasso (
静川龍宗)
Based on a concept by: Morise Ryo (森瀬繚)
Art by: Ayakura Jyu (
文倉十)
Published by: Smash Bunko
Volumes: One nail was enough to close this coffin.
Genre: Big sister doting romance

Araizawa Toru has daddy issues. You can’t really blame him. His father, a self-proclaimed archeologist, watched idly as his wife and daughter walked out on the family while he ventured the globe. Now, he’s left his 9th grade son to fend for himself in order to make time to chase rumors of ruins in uncharted regions of Antarctica. But good old dad has just the ticket to make up for the years of neglect and fix his son’s abandonment complex—a perky maid, mailed freeze dried directly from the Mountains of Madness!

It doesn’t take long for Tekeli, the emerald-eyed Shoggoth, to get to work in picking up the pieces of Toru’s life, both figuratively and literally. He finally has someone to clean the dusty mansion he calls home, make his lunches, and send him off to school with a smile. He finally has his mother back. But these halcyon days are too soon beset by a storm of black magic.

Asahi Peabody, transfer student from Arkham, Massachusetts and latest in a long line of magicians, knows a cosmic horror when she sees one. And to command as fearsome of an entity as a Shoggoth, Toru must be an accomplished sorcerer in his own right. Against the advice of her cat-shaped familiar, Balor, she declares a wizard war on her unsuspecting classmate.


Shoggoth are a servitor race. Just like French maids.


My Maid is an Amorphous Blob is sometimes heartwarming, but mostly just embarrassingly calculated. Far too much page space is dedicated to selling the chibi-Tekelis, a platoon of mini-maids resulting from the Shoggoth’s unique physiology which allows them to split their cells into any number of independently controlled organisms. Naturally, one of them stows away in Toru’s pocket and the reader has to suffer the accompanying wacky hijinks. Still, it goes on to cover the history of the Elder Things’ war with the Great Old Ones and Mi-Go, keeping it from being a total wash for Mythos fans. Think of it as a way to get your girlfriend interested in Lovecraft, assuming she has the brain mass of an intelligent space vegetable.

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Title: The Magickal Girl R'lyeh Lulu (魔海少女ルルイエ・ルル)
Author: Hazawa Koichi (
羽沢向一)
Art by: Pierre Yoshio (
ピエ〜ル☆よしお)
Published by: Atomic Bunko
Volumes: One, with more waiting in the wings.
Genre: Magical girl rape comedy

R'lyeh needs women! And men, and anyone else available to worship Great Cthulhu. Everyone’s favorite Great Old One has sent its adorable daughter, Lulu, up from under the sea to where the people are in order to drum up cult membership. Her winning smile is as infectious as the latest pop sensation, and if her cute-as-a-button looks let her down, she’s got her daddy’s tentacles to weasel her way into the hearts (and panties) of her classmates.

True to her idol singer fashion, Lulu’s fans end up bruised and broken on the business end of her pseudopods, prostate in worship and begging for more. The thrill of domination and the mindless joy of subservience leap from the pages and electrify your most base desires with a cacophony of whip cracks accompanied by the wet sucking of trembling lips on sugar cubes. The stock protagonist, Naoya, begins as an impotent virgin, but is soon hardened into deflowerer extraordinaire by a gauntlet of forced urethral play. Arisa, the sadistic queen bee of the school, rules with an iron fist until Lulu cleans out her honey pot.

Any Mythos references are mere plot contrivances to grease the action between the sheets. Imagine the damage that a Hound of Tindalos could do with its piercing, proboscis tongue. The Son of Yog- Sothoth is at that age where a young boy’s fancy turns to violent tentacle rape. And the Deep Ones are skilled with their webbed hands, as luck would have it.

The publisher, Atomic Pocket Novels, guarantee to turn your little boy into a fat man or your money back. They titillate the reader with the best that harlequin horror has to offer. “He gazed hotly into her puckered abyss of unspeakable symmetry.” “His passion ignited the flesh which came from beyond the stars.” “Her divine lineage was the only thing keeping her internal organs from spilling across the pavement”. Sex need not be pleasant, or even consensual.

Busty blondes trampling boys, reverse tentacle rape, loli-pops: Lulu in a nutshell.

Lulu may not break new ground by combining eldritch monsters with nubile young co-eds, but it makes up for that by being the most self-conscious piece of pornography ever forged by man. It goes out of its way to cutoff any moral quandaries the reader may have, leaving them to revel in the cosmic orgy guilt free. So what if Lulu is the most corrosive kind of jailbait since Morning Musume? The main character doesn’t have a Lolita complex, so as long as he complains about her flat chest during intercourse, there’s totally nothing weird about it. And besides, she’s the one that started it! A graphic depiction of rape is spun into the villain playing right into the heroine’s hand. The tone swings from deprived and demented to sugar and spice in one coquettish wink.

Such a lobotomized world caters perfectly to the audience’s taste. People will pay good money to avoid having to think for themselves. Everyone is free to be a pervert in their own mind, but if you’re tortured by your repressed desire, at least have the self-respect to take off the training wheels. Lulu makes the rest of us sickos look bad by comparison.

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From a fan perspective, the burning question is: So what do these titles bring to the Mythos? Well, practically nothing.

Apart from clever name-dropping and borrowed settings, none of the stories bare the slightest semblance to Lovecraft’s revered works. Granted, the Light Novel medium isn’t designed to create anything greater than parody or self-serving juvenile fantasy. In that regard, it fulfills its role admirably.

This intellectual vacuum gives birth to a liberating revelation—why linger slavishly to past authorship and ideas? Admiration comes in many forms, with imitation being the greatest form of flattery, and innovation the pinnacle of devotion. A truly worthy adaptation, be it cover song, film, or moe-ization, makes possible what would be impossible for the original author. It adds to the work by detracting from its bad habits.

These books have Lovecraft spinning in his grave and the villagers running for their torches to slay the monster. But consider this—tasteless as they may be, they can only be fully appreciated (and hated) by the most stalwart of followers.

In the end we only have the fans to blame, or thank, depending on which side of the fence you fall onto. Stuffed Cthulhus paved the way for anthropomorphic body pillows of a lithe Nyarlathotep. Lulu rode the soundless wings of Nyaruko out of the void of our paradoxical modern morals to simultaneously repel and tantalize. Once culture has reached its highest point, it can only spiral downwards, and I for one am excited to see what depths of depravity it is willing to descend to.

3 comments:

  1. You know, all these years I've still never read any of Lovecraft's work. I'll have to fix that next time the wife goes to the library.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I suggests starting with some of his shorter classics, like The Dreams in the Witch-House, The Statement of Randolph Carter, The Music or Eric Zann, or The Rats in Walls to get a taste of his world view before moving onto lengthier works such as The Call of Cthulhu or The Shadow Over Innsmouth.

    I don't mean to sound patronizing; Lovecraft is a fascinating author but his stuff can be real hit or miss. I'd hate to see you get turned away by a string of poor stories before he has a chance to sink his claws into you.

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