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The Popularity of Cthulhu in Anime (and Hentai)

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The Popularity of Cthulhu in Anime (and Hentai)

“Who should I pray to? Christ? Buddha? Muhammad? Zoroaster? Mani? Lovecraft?”
— Kyon (The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya)

One subject I write a lot about is memes and the way they are rarely universal in all countries, often being limited to one linguistic sphere of the web. We’re all familiar with “Netflix and chill” or the meme of eating Tide Pods, but these concepts are totally unknown in Japan, just as there are many phrases that become popular in Japan that are unfamiliar to us, like bakkater, which is to do a stupid thing and post it to Twitter. In the past, I’ve compared this tendency for memes to exist in separate spheres to the Uplift books by David Brin, which details a universe teeming with space-faring civilizations, some oxygen-based living on Earth-like planets, others hydrogen-based, living inside gas giants or stars, both with completely separate spheres of existence. A few memes do manage to get traction in both the English and Japanese interwebs — the cult of Bob Ross for example — but by and large it’s hard for memes to travel across linguistic lines, in the same way as oxygen- and hydrogen-based life forms can’t interact.

Another exception has been the works of H.P. Lovecraft, which have always been well represented in Japanese pop culture, and it’s interesting to examine the role of Cthulhu in anime and related popular culture. I remember watching the 80s classic Tatakae!! Iczer-1, which introduced me to the horrific Cthulhu Mythos as well as anime lesbians in one fell swoop. Cthulhu Mythos themes show up directly or indirectly in many anime series, for example, The Big O, A Certain Magical Index, Persona 2, Digimon Tamers, and of course Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, in which the Great Old One Nyarlathotep becomes a high school girl and makes endless sexual jokes. Cthulhu and anime go pretty well together.

The Cthulhu Anime Hentai Connection Iczer 1

Iczer-1 features Cthulhu and anime lesbians, win!

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