This is the one series of the fall that I simply love unreservedly. It may not be as ambitious or edgy as Oreimo or as complex as Kuragehime, but it does what it does just about perfectly every week.
It seems clear now that Ika Musume is pretty much officially an Aizawa family member – Eiko treats her like an imouto and Takeru treats her like an onee-san. And not only does she sleep in Eiko’s bedroom, but wakes up in the middle of the night to play video games with headphones so as not to wake Eiko up! That’s one of the most winning qualities of the series for me – like “Mitusdomoe”, although it’s a rather absurd comedy it still has full continuity. The characters do grow and change, as do the ways they interact with each other.
Nagisa got top billing in the first episode this week, and her complex relationship with Ika-chan is rather hilarious. Ika, of course, relishes that at least one human fears her – and is thus horrified when Nagisa pretends to be over her fear so as to throw Ika off her guard. But just when Eiko convinces Ika that it’s better to be friends, Nagisa bails, leaving poor Ika-chan more confused than ever about human behavior. If nothing else I would have loved this sketch for the “Geso” snoring – seriously, how kawaii can Ika get? Next up was the return of Cindy Campbell, in an episode that rather mercilessly pokes fun at Americans right to it’s eyecatch at the end. Preying on Ika’s megalomania by offering to be her slave in return, she convinces Ika to accompany her to her alien research lab. Cindy’s comrades at her secret base – three scientists stubbornly refusing to believe that their careers chasing aliens to research are being wastes – are mostly there for comic effect. They do manage to use their MIT educations to pull one over on Ika, though. Finally, it’s the return of the hot girl with the big fake Ika head – this time sans the bikini and the fake head. She ends up working at Lemon, an arrangement her Dad only agrees to by getting Ika-chan to work at Southern Winds in exchange. This leads to Ika proving a dismal failure as a signpost, but a great success as a stage performer – especially a Godlike drummer – and her epic last line, “Why am I good at everything but invading?”
A word or two, I think, about Juri Aikawa. She’s Ika’s seiyuu, and her performance is a marvel of comic timing and emotional range. She manages to convey all of Ika-chan’s violent mood swings effortlessly, and does a great job with the OP, too.
Not content with producing a brilliant episode, the staff at Diomedea give us a great sight gag in the ED as well. Don’t skip through it.