Fall 2010 At a Glance: Shinryaku! Ika Musume
Time to clean things up a bit after yesterday’s review and make the big jump over the pure and innocent side of the scale. Today’s Fall 2010 Review will focus on “Shinryaku! Ika Musume (Invasion! Squid Girl), Diomedea‘s new comedy series with some rather goofy “aquatic” themes. At the time of writing we are two episodes into the series so be sure to check out this review and get to watching if it interests you!
Brief Summary: Attempting to retaliate for the reckless pollution of the world’s oceans, Ika Musume (Squid Girl) launches an all out invasion of Japanese coastline, attempting to establish a foothold on her path to world domination. Sadly after one damaged wall and a gaggle of irritated cafe patrons, our heroine’s invasion seems to hit a bit of a lull. Entirely unprepared for what awaits her on the surface world soon finds herself in the care and unintentional employ of the Aizawa siblings, who run the Lemon Cafe on the beach. What follows is a series of hilarious misadventures as Ika Musume begins to explore and experience life of the surface with the help of her new found friends (subjects? enemies?).
descent’s Take: If your looking for this season’s unabashed “feel good” series, you will find it in Ika Musume. Barring some shenanigans played only for laughs, it is fair to say that this series is almost entirely drama-free. Following a hilarious first episode which details her failed “invasion” and the highlighting of her purpose for being here, the story lapses into a series of shorts, each of which aims describes a different misadventure of Squid Girl with hilarity in mind. Much of the humor in this series is derived from Squid Girl’s naivete with regards to the surface world and more specifically some aspects of Japanese culture. Our adorable aquatic heroine often approaches new expeirences with a sense of haughtiness and entitlement (owing to her self-appointed “Invader” title), only to be humbled by misunderstandings and her on illusions. So far the series is entierly ecchi/perversion free, which might be a serious plus to some, while retaining all of the moe we often come to love with our innocent female leads (there is some cosplay in the second episode but it is completely clean!).
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One aspect of this show which I like, but not everyone’s cup of tea, is that Ika Musume often uses some simplistic Japanese wordplay as a source of humor. Mostly playing off Ika’s limited vocabulary, this results in some cute funnies but may leave you relying on the dreaded translator notes to get the joke sometimes. Another neat fact is that the show will actually teach you 2 or 3 Kanji an episode if you want to learn! Each episode is divided into several short stories each with a title in the “Won’t you _____” (i.e. “Won’t you Celebrate” for the Birthday story) format. This is always written in the same style using sentences written as “____ じゃないか？”, with the Kanji for the subject placed in the blank. If you take some notes during the show, you will actually find yourself picking up some new vocabulary to help in your Japanese studies (if you are studying it like me). Ika Musume even has her own characteristic Japanese “sentence ender” (think ~de arimasu, ~uguu, ~desu) and if you love cuteness the way I do, you will be falling in love with her “~de geso” before you know it.
It fair to say that the art for this series is actually pretty good. While not visually impressive, the series manages to be cute while not over-“moefying” every single character and including a decent mix of genders as well. The peaceful beach setting for the series is great and very easy on the eyes. The characters, especially Ika Musume, are often drawn with some funny facial expressions that are a tad different than what you might be used to seeing in other shows. The music in the show is what you would expect in a comedy series but nothing special. The biggest failing I can find is the way Ika Musume falls short in the Opening/Ending categories. The OP for the series borders on outright annoying and while the ED aims to be peaceful and reflective, it really isn’t anything but mediocre. The show itself does a great job with its clean and cute humor but really does not distinguish itself stylistically in any particular way.
descent’s Rating:8/10, looks like there will be plenty of laughs and good times to be had with Ika Musume this fall. This series is not a trendsetter and will definitely be forgettable but it will still warm your heart and bring a smile to your face every time you watch it.
Thanks for reading, feel free to comment below! Good night!