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(Shinryaku Shinai ka? / Douhou Janai ka? / Saikyou Janai ka?)
“Aren’t I Invading? / Aren’t You a Fellow Brethren? / Isn’t She the Most Powerful?”
The invasion of the squid girl is here! While I enjoyed the bit of the manga I read in preparation for this adaptation, it’s far better animated than even I was expecting. Diomedea’s animation is crisp and the lush colors have a lot of “pop”. Best of all, Ika Musume herself is absolutely adorable with the way Kanemoto Hisako plays her. The way she replaces “desu” with “de geso” (Japanese for “squid tentacle”) is one of her cuter nuances, but I particularly enjoy seeing how naive she is and how easily she gets caught up in the flow of things. Aizawa Eiko (Fujimura Ayumi) is notoriously good at getting Ika sidetracked about invading the surface world for polluting the ocean, and even better at putting her to work against her will. She also hit Ika with the reality stick on how she’s up against some six billion people and not the mere thousand she thought she was, paving way to some great comedic pauses and some ridiculously cute whining. Though she whines, Ika doesn’t come off as terribly annoying since the Aizawa siblings completely take advantage of her. Forget taking over the world. She can’t even handle them.
One of the cutest aspects is that Ika starts working diligently for short spurts at a time without even realizing how she got herself into that situation. During all that, the fact that no one takes her seriously even after she displays impeccable control of her hair-like tentacles is what had me amused the most. This includes the Aizawa sisters’ little brother Takeru (Ootani Miki), who takes enjoyment in being thrown around by her tentacles and earnestly wants to be her servant. Naivety isn’t the only thing that plagues Ika’s squid brain though. She can’t even recognize Takeru anymore with just with a makeshift, squid-shaped, paper hat and some blue streamers, and honestly believed he was a squid boy — a misunderstanding that led to some hilarious results. If that weren’t funny enough, my absolute favorite part from the earlier parts of the manga came up at the very end. i.e. The squid ink that Ika produces like saliva and can vomit in large volumes to make squid ink spaghetti for Chizuru (Tanaka Rie). Eiko’s reaction to her older sister’s interest in it after being sneezed on was pretty priceless, which was befittingly followed up with her realization of how good it tastes. Leading to to that, Chizuru also showed off her lightning fast hands and fighting ability that I mentioned in the Fall 2010 Preview, which had Ika quickly realizing that there’s no way she’s going to subjugate mankind when she can’t even take over Lemon and make it her base.
Broken up into three mini episodes, the format doesn’t feel the least bit disjointed. If anything, it’s reflective of the short chapters in the manga, much like in the case of Arakawa Under the Bridge. While I had already read about everything that was covered in this premiere episode, I still found myself chuckling at all character interactions. Simply put, it’s so much better animated. I dare say I was almost giddy from enjoyment. This series is definitely worth checking out for some innocent lighthearted laughs. See below for some episode commentary.
Note: All the episode titles purposely end with “-i ka?” as a play on the word “ika”.
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