I was surprised to see all the controversy surrounding this series over on the boards – a lot of folks hot and bothered by the way Ika is being treated by the humans. I think she gives as good as she gets, personally, and as smart as it is this is still a series that doesn’t want you to take it too seriously. Well, People for the Ethical Treatment of Ika should be happy – looks like she’s an official member of the Aizawa household now. No more lonely nights with only soy sauce bottles for company.
Ika’s ability with computers seems a little less surprising after this week’s episode, since she’s also revealed to be a math genius. There’s no explanation, but that’s part of the charm – there never is an explanation with this show, ~degeso. That revelation comes after a subtly hilarious bit where Takeru and Ika watch a hero show on the beach – the “hero” being Noh Mask Rider. Yes, a hero with a Noh Mask – and of course, the villain turns out to be “Squi-devil” and ika promptly turns the crowd to his side and severely messes up the plans of the poor saps putting on the show. Only a masked Chizuru’s intervention can save the day and bring the kids back around to the side of all that is good and Noh.
The real star of the week was Eiko. Her consternation at the revelation that Ika pwned her at math was priceless – though her pride wasn’t so great as to prevent her from begging on hands and knees and serving Ika for a day to get some math tutoring. Naturally the American alien researcher is interested in Ika’s ability, but the squid-girl is just happy to get off on all the adoration for her mad skills. Which, unfortunately for Eiko, turn out to be totally unteachable. She demands that Ika “Give back my day and my pride!” but all she gets is a faceful of ink. Eiko shines in the final act, too, as the wry observer of the odd “love triangle” developing between Nagisa, Gorou and Ika. Gorou saves Nagisa from drowning, Ika still considers Gorou her nemesis, Nagisa is terrified of Ika and thinks she’s brainwashed everyone, and Gorou just want to taste Chizuru’s sweet fried rice. And then there’s Sanae – “Don’t go making things more complicated!” The other great moment of the episode belonged to Eiko, too – her mockery of Ika’s speech patterns:
“Won’t you stop trying to make Nagisa scared for no reason?”
“Are you trying to sound like me?”
“Won’t a little bit be OK?”
I was in a bit of a sour mood this evening, but Ika-chan brought me around as she always does. No other series this season makes me laugh as consistently, and I have a smile planted on my face from the beginning of the OP (my favorite of the season) to the end credits. I think the genius of the show is that it doesn’t try too hard to make things make sense – if it’s funny and it fits the characters, it’s in there. It’s absurd from start to finish and proud of it.