That’s right de geso! I have come to tie you in my tentacles and make you my under squid de geso! Don’t even THINK of trying to escape from my wrath DE GESO! Based on the manga by Anbe Masahiro, Shinryaku! Ika Musume (Invasion! Squid Girl), tells the story of Ika Musume, who has come from the sea to exact revenge on humanity for polluting the waters of Earth, and she plans to do this by conquering the world. Unfortunately her first foray onto land doesn’t go as planned …
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.
On the surface Shinryaku! Ika Musume looks a lot like the common or garden moe based “comedies” that abound these days, but as everyone knows, one should never judge a book by it’s cover. The design principle verges on the generic at times, and this rather simplistic approach to the characters is reflected in the backgrounds and settings as well. The animation is generally decent, with nice movements and some interesting ways to use tentacles (I never thought I would ever use that sentence in an anime review), but the initial perception may be that Diomedea simply didn’t try hard enough to make the series look great.
There is something that should be taken in to account though, and that’s the fact that Ika Musume wasn’t only made to make you smile. The main purpose of the series is to make you laugh, and that it does. The “generic” look of the show allows for a number of well executed visual gags and parodies, as well as some creative moments like the Mini Ika Musume chapter. In addition to that, the style of humor actually works better when the viewer is comfortable with the imagery, which may be the reason why Diomedea opted for a look that many people will already be familiar with.
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 Ika, 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. Ika 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.
The artwork was exceptional. It was able to portray the scenery of a beach perfectly to go along with little Ika’s antics. The characters are well drawn especially in the expressions department. Sound? Who doesn’t like the sound of the beach! Great choice of background music to enhance the surrounding. I especially liked the squeeky sound you get when the tentacle rubbed against each other. (Reminds me of rubbing two pickles with each other.)
Overall, it’s a must watch for all you who adores cute and lovable things! If you don’t? Then the comedy would still entertain you nicely. Personally, my favorite part about this anime is Ika’s assimilation into the human world. It’s nice when an invader understand how not all humans like us are bad. What? You think you’re good too? Heck no… If you’re watching this anime, chances are you’re a sick pervert like me who was expecting tentacle rape.. Nah.. I’m just kidding..