Sunday, August 11, 2013

Squid Girl Season One Anime Review

Squid Girl Season One
Shinryaku! Ika Musume
Anime Works-Media Blasters
Complete Collection - 2 discs
300 minutes - 12 episodes
$59.99 (2012) Blu-Ray
$24.99 (2011) Parts 1-2/ea.
ISBN 631595120776
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Tsutomu Mizushima
Studio - Diomedea

Synopsis: From the depths of the ocean comes the disarmingly cute and rambunctious Squid Girl to conquer the surface world!  She is sick and tired of surface dwellers polluting the sea and will teach them all a lesson by subjugating the whole 1,000 of them!  Her first target is a beach restaurant called Lemon and all the humans congregating within!  Squid Girl does everything with an exclamation point!
Squid Girl vows to make the surface dwellers pay for polluting her ocean!
Little does she know how woefully unprepared for a surface invasion she really is.  She has no strategy planned and knows practically nothing about human culture.  She appears at the restaurant and makes a big scene yelling around, but the owners are not having any of it.  Eiko is the store manager of the family-run restaurant and calls Squid Girl out on her invasion plans.
Squid Girl appears at the Lemon restuarant and announces her
conquest of humanity!
Squid Girl is not so easily turned away and demonstrates her impressive squid tentacle powers (her hair is really tentacles).  Too bad she smashes a hole in the shop while trying to swat a fly!  Now Squid Girl is on the hook for repairing the damage, but she doesn't have any money!  She must work at Lemon as a waitress in order to repay her debt.  Her invasion plans put on hiatus until she repays the debt, Squid Girl slowly learns about humans and makes some friends.
Squid Girl accidentally puts a hole in one of the restaurant walls (Eiko
is standing menacingly behind her while she freaks out)
Her tentacles are a huge advantage as a waitress and she's an excellent worker if a bit clueless.  Eiko's sister, Chizaru, is Lemon's cook and she is delighted to have Squid Girl as an addition to the restaurant when it's discovered that she can spit up black squid ink for noodle dishes.  Customers love the squid ink pasta!  Eiko is completely grossed out as she watches people eat what Squid Girl hacked up a few moments ago.
Squid Girl gets put to work in the restaurant to pay back
the damages for the hole she made.  She's a great server!
Squid Girl meets all sorts of humans - Takeru is Eiko's and Chizaru's little brother and he loves hanging out with Squid Girl (he calls her Squid Girlie), Sanae is a local girl who develops an obsessively romantic crush on Squid Girl, Goro is a dumb jock lifeguard with a crush on Chizaru, and Nagisa the part-time waitress at Lemon is the only human who is genuinely scared of Squid Girl.
Squid Girl spews out some squid ink for the restaurant's new
specialty dish - squid ink pasta!
Then there's Cindy the extraterrestrial researcher from America and the three MIT graduates who work for her.  She's convinced Squid Girl is an alien and wants to capture her for study.  Squid Girl becomes a popular attraction at the beach and a rival restaurant owner creates his own knockoff version!  Join the fun as Squid Girl's bungled attempt at taking over the human world actually gets her accepted into it.
From left to right: Eiko, Nagisa (the only one who is actually scared
Squid Girl will invade the surface world), and Chizaru (Eiko's cute older
sister who is actually really scary)
Pros: Lots of comedy and some genuinely funny moments, Squid Girl is a likable protagonist if a bit clueless, good animation, Squid Girl's tentacles are cool, a few great chapters with ghosts and creepy dolls, includes OVA episodes
Orcas are a squid's natural enemy and Squid Girl is deathly afraid
of them (and can't tell the difference from a floaty)!
Cons: Squid Girl's speech is laden with ocean-themed puns (are you squidding me!?) which can get a little old, some of the characters are one-trick ponies and get boring, not much background is offered on Squid Girl's origin which was a disappointment, opening them song is manic, non-ending
An unscrupulous owner of a rival beach restaurant creates a knock-off
Squid Girl, but it's really scary.  Run kids!
Mike Tells It Straight: Squid Girl is a simple show with a simple premise - a girl with blue tentacles on her head comes out of the ocean to subjugate humanity, but doesn't have a clue about human culture.  Hilarity ensues and the plot goes absolutely nowhere.  The show is basically a comedy with lots of slapstick, misunderstandings, and ocean-themed puns (she's come to ink-vade!).  I still have no idea why I liked it so much...
Eiko dreams she has a tiny pet Squid Girl
Each episode is cut into three parts which are usually unrelated and feature a different situation Squid Girl gets herself into - getting caught doorbell ditching, the three MIT underlings trying some new invention, or focusing on a supporting character's feelings.  The story doesn't have a plot progression, but events keep happening in a linear format and will sometimes reference past events.  No real ending to speak of and Squid Girl's outfit is totally ridiculous (why would a squid wear a dress?).
Cindy the alien researcher imagines Squid Girl's invasion of Earth!
It's not all bad and the positives seem to outweigh the negatives.  Squid Girl is very endearing and cute (I blame the tentacles).  There are some genuinely funny moments and my favorites were the creepy stories about ghosts/possessed dolls.  They just came out of nowhere and made me laugh out loud.  Squid Girl is a great straight man (er, squid) for all of the other characters to play off.  The animation is solid (Blu-Ray release helps).  The sub and dub script writers did a great job with the squid and ocean puns in Squid Girl's speech.
Sanae makes Squid Girl pose for cosplay pictures
I found the show to be entertaining and a nice bit of comedy fluff.  No cumbersome story to bother my tired brain cells at the end of the day - just fun and goofiness every time.  It's a cute show, not quite suitable for younger viewers (due to the scary ghost and creepy doll episodes, plus a small bit of fan-service), and great for those starting out with anime.  It's a typical comedy anime, but somehow...better.  If you hate this genre of anime then you'll probably not want to watch Squid Girl, but it's great if you want a short, funny series without a ton of over-the-top fan-service.  A second season was released in Japan, but apparently will not see a US release by Media Blasters anytime soon.  Too bad!  It's available on crunchyroll and I'll be checking it out soon.
This image pretty much sums up the show
TO BUY and Recommendations: