It wasn’t that the season premiere was bad, but it was a bit…sedate. Well, not to worry – there were some big laughs this week, with all three skits being stronger than any of the ones last week. The material had some of the edge that was missing last week, when it felt as if the writing pulled its punches a little bit. I would judge “Shall We Swim to an Elementary School” to be the weakest of the three this week, but it was still more than enjoyable to see Ika-chan interact with a bunch of humans about on her intellectual level. It was where Eiko said she belonged, after all, and I was glad to see that referenced here. Ika’s not so good at soccer as she is at baseball – though we did get our first of several near-misses for an Ika panty-shot.
I loved the cosplay sketch from the very beginning, when Ika said “Oogy oogy oogy!” as she was torturing Nagisa – it was one of those subtle little moments that peppered the first season and delivered a huge laugh. It’s always fun to see Ika torture Nagisa, who found courage inadvertently due to Chizuru’s hare-brained scheme to have her pretend (not very convincingly) to be a man. The high points arrived along with Ayumi, the daughter of the South Wind owner who showed up in the giant Ika head last season. She looked great in maid cosplay, but the best part was the iron fist that Chizuru have her. My question – why in the world would Chizuru of all people need to buy something like that for protection? Ika, upset at being left out of the fun, comes up with her own cosplay – Queen Equizabeth, complete with Takeru and his pal as beefeaters.
Finally, we get a hilarious bit about weight. For starters I love watching Ika abuse Sanae, who shows up dressed in sweats on a hot day because she’s trying to lose weight. Again we see a different side to Chizuru here, who’s obviously quite upset at a recent weight gain and uses her frightening Chizuru powers to take it out on the scale in a way most uncomfortable for Eiko. Not helping matters is the fact that Ika can (totally illogically) adjust her weight at will by using her bracelets. A handy ability for a squid, but one which Chizuru covets for herself. The pratfalls of both the ultralight (more near panty-shots and seabird attacks) and the 2000 KG Squid Girl are seen, but what really makes this skit work is the facial reactions and background humor – it reflects a way this series has of presenting things in a hilariously off-center way that’s really effective.
No sign of Octopus Girl yet, or any significant character development – but I’m sure that’s coming in small doses late in the season, as it did last year. This is definitely a full-on episodic comedy, but I do appreciate the continuity of events – things that happen (like Eiko’s “elementary school” comment, or the hole in the wall) aren’t simply forgotten about, but play a real role in future episodes. It’s awfully nice to have the Ika Musume I love back in its full glory, ~degeso.