Shinryaku Ika Musume – 2

It’s official – after two episodes, Shinryaku Ika Musume is officially the sleeper hit of the season. I barely had this on my radar but it might have been the second ep I was most looking forward to.

There’s not much wrong with this show so far – just about everything has been perfect. The OP and ED are great, all the characters are funny and likable, the format of three short skits per episode fits the material perfectly. And of course Ika is absolutely kawaii – adorable in a good way. Her combination of hyperactivity, cluelessness and hapless lust for glory is irresistible. The last segment this week – where one of our two new characters, Sanae, turns out to be a squid stalker – was my favorite. Ika easily wins the moe-off with Alex the dog in my book. While Eiko fawns over the puppy, his owner fawns over Ika – snapping endless pictures and forcing her to try on a swathe of cute dresses. A little taste for Ika of just how scary humans can be – and in less obvious ways than Chizuru.

The other segments were pure win, too. In the first we met the other new character, a Baywatch-styled lifeguard named Gorou (voiced by Yuuichi Nakamura, who between this and Oreimo is in two of the three best series of the fall). He’s earnest, heroic and smitten with Chizuru. He and Ika have a bit of a faceoff over who’s the real “friend of the ocean”, ending with Ika saving a drowning girl after kneecapping Gorou as he was about to save her. She declares Gorou her eternal rival – but that seems to be forgiven in the second sketch, as Gorou and the siblings throw Ika a birthday party despite the girl having no idea when her birthday is – or how old she is. Yes, I saw the squid ink blowing out the candles coming – but who cares, that was all part of the fun. After a hilarious interlude where Ika imagines the others are plotting to devour her, that bit ends with fireworks, where we learn that Ika has a short attention span (well, we knew that) and is apparently – like other squids – attracted to light.

So far all 6 skits have been winners, and none of the characters are less than entertaining. The jokes are fresh and don’t repeat themselves, we get a Star Wars reference, and surprisingly crisp animation. What’s not to love?

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