Shinryaku! Ika Musume Review

I’m not going to lie, this show is a weird one to talk about. Not solely on the actual premise, although it does add a little to it, but on the way it’s structured. It reminded me of my own childhood shows that had three separate story arcs that had a basic theme to it. With an anime plot involving a cute squid girl trying to invade the entire planet by herself only to be undermined by a bunch of people who own a food court near a beach, you’d think that would speak of random hijinks that will only appeal to prepubescent girls. Fortunately there can be some merits in here that could speak to any age group.

For starters, Squid Girl has a plot that is hardly focused or has any substance to the original goal that the squid character, named Ike, intended on doing. It mostly involves her trying to learn about humanity and the culture of Japan that she is settling in. It’s essentially a show based around culture shock and how foreigners try to adapt to a different country that they have no idea about. With the tone of the series being light-hearted and comedic, they handle it pretty well without hampering on the basic premise being in conflict with the comedy. It’s fairly entertaining to watch and at times funny to see Ike acting very holier than thou upon the people she meets, when in fact she has no power over the others whatsoever.

With a show like Squid Girl, you need to supply with great characters that are both funny and memorable to watch. While there are definitely some that garner a lot of entertainment, others are not fully realized and don’t add much depth with the comedy. The best ones that I ended up liking the most were Ike, Eiko, and Chizuru. They all have so much great chemistry together and make a lot of great gags work perfectly. Chizuru herself provides some of the best scenes involving her having a nice personality but once something bad happens to her or the workplace she turns menacing to the person doing the trouble-making. Ike herself, voiced by the always charming Hisako Kanemoto, gives the show a great sense of passion towards making this Slice of life atmosphere into an entertaining comedy with her constant alluring presence in every scene.

Unfortunately not all of the cast hits the level of greatness along with our three main characters. Sanae, Takeru, and Goro all don’t have the same great chemistry with Ike as she does with Eiko and Chizuru. That’s not to say they’re terrible, or even bad, they do have some funny moments but it’s essentially just them acting very googly eyed over Ike’s presence in the world that quickly doesn’t have much to go for in the grand scheme of things.  For example, Sanae’s only gag for existing in the show is to be all lovey-dovey over Ike and nothing else. Sure it does get a few laughs but after a while the joke just falls flat and gets old quickly. If it wasn’t Kanae Itou’s adorable voice playing Sanae I would probably think lesser of Sanae to be honest.

I also had a problem with how each of the plot arcs end so abruptly. There are times when a plot arc would end and it didn’t feel like that particular scene felt any kind of closure for it. It ends relatively quickly and we’re brought up into a different scene. The problem being that the way they interlude between a different arc is by showing a cut of arrows that are supposed tell us that we’re doing a different arc but it happens so fast that you barely even notice it because of the fact the arc beforehand had barely an ending. In turn, some of the arcs felt like they were rushed or they weren’t finished in the writing process during production.

In short, I thought there wasn’t really anything special to be found in Squid Girl. It might be something that you might show to your younger daughter to have some fun with, but on the other hand there are actually some nice humor for adults as well. It might be a stretch to say that this is Japan’s answer to Spongebob, the only difference is that Spongebob actually had a lot of great memorable characters while Squid Girl only had three that are even worth discussing over. It’s a harmless show for what it is, a decent entertaining show for older kids. Even with some of the adult innuendo thrown in, but hey that’s at least something that most kids shows are hardly about these days.

B-

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