Saturday 31 December 2011

Anime REVIEW: Shinryaku!? Ika Musume

Squid girl is back, with a whole new season of adventures! Broadcast at the tail end of 2011, this 12 episode second season continues the story of Ika Musume (aka Squid Girl in English), a tentacle haired girl who vows to conquer the surface world as revenge for human polluting the ocean. Only her invasion hasn't gone quite according to plan, and she's found herself working in a beach restaurant in order to pay for damaging a wall upon her arrival. With her friends Eiko, Chizuru, Takeru, Kiyomi and more, Squid Girl continues to fend off the advances of the oh-so-slightly-obsessed Sanae, learns new things about the world she's come to conquer and forms her own 'Invasion club'.

While I did enjoy the first season, all in all it was a pretty average show at best. So going into the second season I was happy to discover that the show had really upped its game, and the stories were a lot more enjoyable. The format remains the same (2 or 3 short stories in one 22 minute episode) but since the characters are already well established, it meant it could dive straight into the action. The new opening might not be as catchy as the original, but the actual episode content is much more infectious.

Episode highlights include bikini-clad scientist Cindy Campbell holding an English teaching class (which is played a lot better than most Engrish anime jokes), Eizo and Chizuru's discovery that Squid Girl has the ability to change her weight at will, Squid Girl losing her memory and the aforementioned formation of the Invasion Club. The jokes were a lot funnier (but still the same style of humour) and the only real flaws the show had was the overuse of Sanae and the 'serious' final episode (which wasn't half as good nor as effective as the first season finale). But once again, as usual, the mini-Ika short manages to completely steal the show.

So for anyone who enjoyed the first season of Ika Musume, I highly recommend the second season as it only builds upon what was great about the original. Those looking for a light hearted anime but haven't watched the original - it might take a while to work out the who's who of the show but I wouldn't say its impossible to jump in with season two. But at only 12 episodes each, its not much of a chore to enjoy a whole 24 episodes of ink-vading shenanigans.

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