Shinryaku Ika Musume – 5

I’m already here!

Really great stuff from Shinryaku Ika Musume again this week. Three winners, all with a very different feel and style of humor.

This is the fall season’s “Mitsudomoe” for me – and yes, I do admit the type of humor is extremely different. But the similarities are great – most obviously, that it’s by far the funniest true comedy of the season. It’s also a show that relies on episodic comedy, with short sketches comprising the episodes. And in this week’s edition “Shinryaku” showed in the third story that like Mitsudomoe it can create inventive and unorthodox material successfully, even without dialogue.

It was a great mix this week – a straight-up farce in the first episode, a sendup of Americans and alien cliches. Ika-chan certainly is drawing her fare share of attention – between Sanae, the fake-head beach hut guy and the American alien huntress she has an army of admirers who’d like to steal her away from Lemon. In the second we got subtler character comedy as Ika, having seen the siblings home for the first time last week, sees a school for the first time this week. Hilariously, she convinces herself that it’s a military base and takes the mild-mannered principal hostage. Finally, in the crown jewel of the episode, we get a dialogue-free Chaplin-esque (again, see Mitsudomoe) heart-warmer where a tiny Ika Musume is discovered in a jar, Ponyo-style, by Eiko. What follows is a remarkable sequence spanning the lifetime of Eiko and an unchanging Mini-Ika, complete with a tear-jerker ending and a postscript plot twist.

Mini-Ika, Mega-cheeks

We sure covered a lot there. We got to see “Galactic Ika” and Mini-Ika all in the same week, but it’s shrimp that ties all the Ikas together. I wonder – had Ika slept at the siblings house when she saw Eiko getting into her “cosplay” for school, or did she sneak over there in the morning? After last week I thought it might be a permanent thing. As well, we get hints that Ika might be going to school in future eps – Takeru’s school, per Eiko’s opinion. That could open up a rich new vein for comedy – not that the series seems to be running short of ore to be mined from the existing premise. This is really great stuff – smart and hard-edged but with great affection for its characters. Ika Musume is a great creation – one of the best characters to hit our screens in years. Her mix of megalomania, denseness and childish innocence has me completely hooked. She’s about as good as moe gets for me.

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