Posted on 26 December 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shinryaku! Ika Musume

The big disadvantage of having a successful comedy is that people want to make sequels of it. It sold well, so hey: why not try milking it out some more? What/ You mean to say that the first season already exhausted all of the possible jokes that could have been made? Who cares! People will buy it!

So yeah,Squid Girl 2 is much of the same. And in this case, this is a bad thing, because “much of the same” in a comedy pretty much means that the entire second season is derivative. There is no reason for it to really exist. This season doesn’t really advance the show or characters aside from perhaps a few minor details here and there that you could have made an OVA out of. And for the rest of the time this show spends repeating some of the jokes and scenarios of the first season.

It becomes clear very early on that the creators are struggling to find new material to fill 12 episodes. The creators at least try to squeeze some new jokes out of things, but this series never really introduces new characters, so its only option is to try some variations of some of the jokes we’ve seen so far. The result is that there are a few characters who just keep returning. In particular the crazy scientists are guilty of this: their crazy inventions are really often used to create random wacky situations for Squid girl to be in. Also milked to death are Chizuru, and worst of all: the crazy stalker. The stalker was completely horrible in the way that just REFUSED. TO BLOODY. GIVE UP. She tries to glomp Squid Girl more than five times every single episode, for god’s sake!

Thankfully the creators realized that there was no way for them to remain funny for 12 more episodes, so at least they tried to shift their focus a bit: they at leas try to make sure that the ending of each story comes with an original twist. For this, I can at least say that they’re hit and miss: sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. But at least they’re not as derivative as the rest of the series.

But seriously though: there is no real reason to watch this; over these entire 12 episodes, there was only one sketch that I considered to be genuinely funny. That’s way too little. Ideally if you’re interested in this series: watch till episode 11 of the first season. That’s all you really need, because this series has the really weird tradition of suddenly turning to a serious story for the final episode. And yes, this second season has this too. And yes, it’s baaaaaaad….

Storytelling: 7/10 – Repeated jokes and scenarios from the first season that while mildly funny, are not enough to sustain interest.
Characters: 6/10 – Only a few details are really added to the characters. That’s not good here, and it’s a good thing that the characters still have a bit of their natural charms left.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Still solid, but the animation too has gone downhill.
Setting: 7/10 – This show is completely derivative. Again nothing is added here.

Tentai Senshi Sunred
Demashitaa! Power Puff Z

Posted on 1 October 2011 with categories: Bakuman, Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Some Quick First Impressions


Short Synopsis: Our lead character is about to fight in a holy war for a holy grail.
Okay, so this was completely different from what I expected it to be. When I started watching, I had something along the lines of Fate/Stay Night in my mind, only better, so I expected some sort of teenaged harem-set up with a lot of action. What I got had no action whatsoever, there was no harem present whatsoever and there were no teenagers at all! Instead of action, this entire episode consisted out of people talking to each other. Awesome! The animation budget was surprisingly limited: only the background art was great, though the animation itself made use of a lot of shortcuts, and far-away shots. Yuki Kajiura also delivered a solid soundtrack, although I wouldn’t classify this among her best. Overall though, this seems like an intriguing series where you need to pay it a lot of attention in order to be able to follow it. This episode gave a solid start, introduced some interesting concepts (I also liked the small details like the magic typewriter). It’ll probably take a while for this one to get going, but the script will probably continue to be interesting until that happens.
Potential: 85%

Bakuman II

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a mangaka.
I do want to stress that I’m not guaranteeing that I’m going to blog the series whose prequels I already blogged before. The competition this season is just too strong for that. Instead, these shows also still have to prove themselves. Not particularly by delivering two awesome opening episodes, but by showing that they’ve got enough potential. Having said that, this episode of Bakuman had an effect that I did not experience at all when watching the first season: I can’t believe that it just took up 20 minutes. In my mind, it felt like it was much longer. For this series’ standards, a lot really happened this episode and instead of dragging on, it kept a steady pace and introduced a lot of new and interesting characters. The animation also feels lightly better than what it was before. Can this pacing be kept up for the rest of this season though?
OP: The OP still is pretty dull, though. The kind that sucks the energy right out of me.
ED: Better than the first ED, especially as it goes on.
Potential: 80%

Shinryaku!? Ika-Musume

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is still trying to invade earth.
Creating a good comedy sequel takes effort, especially when its predecessor already was very good: what are you going to do to match it? Will you still have enough ideas to fill a season? Won’t the comedy get stale? With Squid Girl, at least we’re not having one of those comedy sequels that immediately drop down in quality: it was still pretty funny, albeit nowhere near the best episodes of the first season, so we’re just going to have to wait to see whether this show has what it takes to remain funny (also, what the hell was Tomomi Mochizuki doing there?). Nevertheless, the first signs of decay are starting to show. There are various jokes on the verge of being overused, and this episode did not shy away from them. I also felt like the direction in this episode wasn’t as sharp as in the first season. These need to be fixed in the next episodes.
OP: What happened to that excellent first Opening? This was so bland in comparison!
ED: This feels composed at the last minute in a rush-job.
Potential: 65%

Posted on 20 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shinryaku! Ika Musume

This season was actually quit ea good one for comedies. Eight series really made me laugh over and over, in completely different ways: we have a parody, a series that uses cute humour, one that uses sex and violence jokes, two that depend on the chemistry between eccentric characters and a dialogue heavy one. Squid Girl’s style of humour is entirely focused on its characterization.

The set-up is as follows: we have a Squid turned into a girl who thinks that she’s going to take over the world, who ends up working at a beach cafe. Each episode is divided into three segments, all focusing on a different scenario. Throughout the series, Squid Girl runs into a bunch of nutcases, who all react differently to her and her strange powers.

The show has a fairly large cast of characters, and granted, some of them aren’t as good as the others. The scientists in particular are a downright insult, and the obsessive Sanae is used too much throughout the series and therefore gets repetitive. Yet, The good ones however, more than make up for it. In particular, Squid Girl herself is an absolutely adorable character; her characterization is just fantastic, her antics are always fresh and hilarious. Her unconventional way of looking at the world is more than enough material to fill twelve episodes. Eiko also proved to be a wonderful straight man for her antics.

The result is a series that made me laugh many times. Out of all the comedies this season, it didn’t make me laugh the hardest, but it did make me laugh the most. There are a few segments that don’t work, but they are overshadowed by the good parts, unlike for example Mitsudomoe last season, which did get caught up with its own repetition. And yeah, you can say that it’s a very unambitious series: it’s just there to provide laughs, nothing more. But the thing is, that for a show to make me laugh so consistently with such a well characterized main character… it’s really something that deserves to be watched if you’re in for some light-hearted fun.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Builds up its jokes neatly, and knows how to deliver them.
Characters: 9/10 – Squid Girl is adorable beyond words. There are some bad characters, but they’re overshadowed by the good ones. Just don’t expect character development here.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Very good in the first few episodes, but dulls in after that.
Setting: 8/10 – Down to earth setting despite the silliness, and for a squid girl she has many interesting talents.

GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class
Sexy Commando Gaiden

Posted on with categories: Shinryaku! Ika Musume

Aah, and it went so well!

This episode… it contained the “why the heck are you pulling so many twists at the last moment only to make them pointless at the end?”-syndrome, and it’s unfortunately the bad variant of it. Let me explain what I mean by that:

I was actually fairly impressed with this episode for its main part: the final two segments actually were an actual conclusion to the series. It was completely out of left field, but actually worked surprisingly well. Squid Girl actually suddenly loses her powers due to some mysterious reason, which pretty much makes her hopes for world conquest impossible. After returning to the sea for one year she returns and actually seems to have accepted that she’s not special anymore. She’s really about to significantly change as a character.

And then out of nowhere, the scientists launch a giant whirlpool that conveniently swallows Eiko and makes Squid Girl magically regain her powers immediately in order to save Eiko’s life, completely nullifying just about every part of the serious development that was put into Squid Girl. What the heck was that?

This episode was horribly rushed. It’s the kind of ending where the creators first want to give some decent conclusion to the characters, only to hear at the last minute that they’re not allowed to because of the possibilities of a second season that this series doesn’t need. It’s these kinds of endings that I hate, especially when it’s obvious that too little thought has been put in it. I mean, the final two segments weren’t even funny. It would have been better to just pick the funniest chapter of the manga in order to end with a bang.

This final episode is a shame, but it doesn’t ruin this series at all, because it never really was building up to it, so only these final two segments were wasted and nothing else.

I hardly ever blog pure comedy series because you never know which ones turn out to be great based on just their first episode. Squid Girl however was consistently fun to sit through and write about. It’s perhaps not the best comedy this season, but the reason why I picked this series over Panty and Stocking and Tantei Opera Milky Holmes was that it had by far the most solid characters of the three. In the end there is very little character-development, but Squid Girl’s characterization really is something the creators should be proud of.
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 14 December 2010 with categories: Shinryaku! Ika Musume

What…. was the inspiration for that first segment? This show has this tendency to sometimes use really creepy jokes, and this was another one of them. I mean, Squid Girl is one thing, but even I would be disturbed if I had to sleep next to such a creepy doll. Just shows the bizarre things that kids get into at a young age. Oh, and of course Eiko as a child was awesome.

The other two segments mainly stood out because of some hilarious standalone jokes. The American researchers have always been a bit corny, but I have to admit that I laughed really hard when that black guy put on that invisibility suit and started toying with Squid Girl and Eiko. In the same way, I loved it when Squid Girl got attacked by all kinds of animals in the third segment. My favourite was the bear.

Oh, and that first segment was also good in the way that we finally saw an entire segment of Sanae without these obsessive tendencies of her. That was really needed to balance out her character, and remind us that she used to be just a normal girl and childhood friend of Eiko.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 7 December 2010 with categories: Shinryaku! Ika Musume

The first segment of this episode probably was the funniest segment of Squid Girl so far. It’s just brilliant!

At first it seemed pretty boring, as everyone was inside due to heavy rain and they started to make Teruterubouzus (those things that Japanese people hang up next to their windows to try and make it stop raining), but then Squid Girl suddenly revealed her amazing drawing skills, and then proceeded to draw everyone in the way that they appeared to her. Some of these drawings were utterly priceless, like the one of herself, the one of Takeru and the one of Shizuru. It was a bizarre glimpse in what goes on in the mind of Squid Girl.

And there’s much more in this episode than just that, since it also spent quite a bit of time on Takeru making a Teruterubouzu, which eventually led to some of Squid Girl’s interpretations of it, including dressing herself up as one (very cute, by the way), a giant one, and some rejected ones with the most hilarious faces. I also loved that scene in which Squid Girl threw her Teruterubouzu dress on top of Eiko: we only saw the aftermath of it and she didn’t say anything, but her reaction was just awesome.

The second and third segment in comparison were rather mellow, although I do have to give the second credit for its creepiness factor. It’s a bit lame that it ended with a reset ending, though: Sanae is again exactly the same at the end, which is a bit of a pity. The third segment though… was just too predictable. Squid Girl enters a baseball match and blows everyone away, it wasn’t that special except for the end in which the opponent team suddenly begged Squid Girl to join them.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 30 November 2010 with categories: Shinryaku! Ika Musume

Another hilarious episode, especially the first two parts rocked and were able to get the best out of Squid Girl. The first part was awesome because of all of the things that go on inside Squid Girl’s head, the second part was awesome because of her antics, while the third part was more focused on the side-characters, and was probably the first story in which Squid Girl did not take up one of the lead roles.

The first part was really good at Squid Girl’s usual habits of making an elephant out of a mosquito when it escalates a simple game of Knock Knock Ginger to the point of Squid Girl getting a new best friend. (On a side-note: that game really has different names in all kinds of different countries: the Japanese call it “Pin-Pon Dash”, while in the Netherlands we call it “Belletje Trekken”, which roughly translates to a childish version of “Pull the Bell”). I especially liked how her antics in this cased managed to surprise even Shizuru, who usually is in control of everything.

The second part was all about makeup. It started all innocently with some lipstick, but I especially loved the scene in which Squid Girl went to get some tips from those trendy girls and ended up looking absolutely ridiculous. This episode also had a lot of fun putting makeup on the rest of the cast, which worked surprisingly well.

The creators did miss a chance to include some neat continuity when Squid Girl ended up painting her face with some coloured marker. The segment ends quickly after that with Squid Girl looking perfectly fine in the next one. In the third segment, they could have had her complain about how long it took to get that off, to introduce some interesting continuity between the different episodes. Also, at the end of this episode the entire restaurant gets destroyed. I really fear that the next episode will just skip to the rebuilt restaurant, though it will be awesome if the next episode focused on rebuilding the entire thing.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 23 November 2010 with categories: Shinryaku! Ika Musume

Okay, we don’t have to worry about this series running out of material. With this episode the creators showed that they can make something as simple as an umbrella awesome. The third part of this episode was definitely my favourite sketch of the past three episodes. Generally, for me the best episodes of Squid Girl have been not the ones who focused on some gimmicky character, but instead left Squid Girl and her imagination alone for a while, only to observe the carnage. Squid Girl was just too adorable as she discovered the magic wonders of the umbrella.

The other two parts of this episode also rocked. In the first part we see Squid Girl as she catches a truly bizarre disease that makes her hungry for shrimps in a way not too dissimilar from a person drinking sea water: eating them would only make her more and more hungry until she’d eat as much until she dies. How do they think of it? The episode also built up to a great punch-line at the end with the shrimp costume making its return.

The second part also was hilarious as it introduced another part of Squid Girl’s bizarre powers: her hat, as it suddenly starts moving. It’s a pretty useless power, although it seems quite powerful (I loved the part where she tried to squat a mosquito with it). A large part of the episode was also spent om some bickering between Squid Girl and Takeru and a friend of his, which also was just priceless.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 15 November 2010 with categories: Shinryaku! Ika Musume

This episode was about the scared girl, the scientist woman and the owner of that other beach restaurant. It both revisited old premises, but brought enough new stuff to the table.

The first part looked like it was going to develop the scared girl a bit, only for it to reset itself at the end. It’s her story that’s currently in the most danger of being milked out, although it was very funny to see her discover Squid Girl playing video games at night.

The second part of the episode was mostly fun because it introduced a bunch of goofball scientists who clearly have been working too long on their jobs at finding alien life. Squid Girl herself also had a lot of neat antics in her quest to gather subordinates: the banter between the different characters was really great in this part, even though it was completely stupid at times.

The third segment: I really liked that scene in which Squid Girl was put in that room with a drum-set: you could just bet your hat that she’d eventually use her hair on it (which was awesome, by the way). I also have to praise the creators for not dragging out the hot shy girl joke. At all, especially when any regular moe show would have overstated/ the jokes around her and her boobs way too much. Apart from that, this was a typical part which just let Squid Girl alone, and instead of relying on banter it just relied on her own random antics. Worked well.

But still, this episode again wasn’t as good as some of the other Squid Girl episodes: it had its funny moments, but it wasn’t as funny as the first five episodes, and neither was it as creative. Now, the interesting thing is going to be whether this show will pick itself up again, or whether it really ran out of steam. Everything is still possible at this point, especially since this episode looked like it was building up quite a few things for future episodes.

As for the animation… that one also took a bit of a nose dive, unfortunately. Again, it’s nowhere near bad, but it’s not as god as it used to be. In the previous episodes Squid Girl was really well animated, with a ton of frames spent on her movement, but unfortunately this episode didn’t have that. Again, the question remains whether or not the creators are saving their budget, or they blew it all on the first five episodes…
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 8 November 2010 with categories: Shinryaku! Ika Musume

A consistently funny episode, though unlike the previous episode there wasn’t really one thing that stood out. This episode wasn’t really anything special for this series’ standards, but it still packed some great jokes. The biggest problem with this episode was that half of its jokes weren’t fresh.

What I mean by that mostly lies in the first and third segment: the first segment featured super sentai parodies: that has been done plenty of times before. The third meanwhile came with no new material and instead was more of a set-up, developing a bizarre love polygon that is probably going to be used by future episodes. It has the potential to spiral out of control to be hilarious, but at the moment it still revolved around the scared girl being scared of Squid Girl, which was already featured in this series.

Nevertheless though, all of the segments had something fun. In the first segment, I love how down to earth the people organizing the sentai show were: they were perfect straight men for the antics of Squid Girl and the way in which she took over their performance. The second segment rocked because of how we suddenly discovered that Squid Girl was really good at math. It was obviously meant as something silly at which Squid Girl would completely outclass Eiko at, but to think that the creators went with math of all things.

As for the third segment, I can see what the creators did there. At first I was fearing another forced love triangle or something, but the twist here that everything exists in Eiko’s head definitely made for a bunch of laughs here. At the same time I’m quite surprised at how the creators have restrained themselves from devoting a segment on Goro’s crush on Chizuru: especially this early in the series it probably would have come off horribly forced with predictable romantic jokes you see everywhere. When it surfaces here and there though, it has its charms.
Rating: * (Good)


Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 09:02 PM)
    One-Punch Man’s pilot was almost adapted flawlessly. It straight up uses the manga panels as it’s main storyboard, but added just enough new touches to improve the action instead of ruining it. Now let’s see how they animate the mosquitos and all the lasers for the next episode.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:57 PM)
    And that’s why Madhouse is one of the few respectable studios left. I thought that they will be seriously diminished after Masao Maruyama took some of its key members and funded MAPPA, but One-Punch Man showed that they are still one of the best in the business.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:51 PM)
    @Kaiser The anime industry isn’t advanced enough in CG to make it look good, is all it is.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:49 PM)
    I thought R&M had a pretty good finale. The episode achieved what was missing from most of season 2, and that was a balance of randomness and meaningful bits. What made Rick Potion #9 and the previous season’s finale and general tone great was a sense of humor that was combined with more sincere drama and character developments; a sort of sweet melancholy.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 09:51 PM)
    @K-off, not having too much trouble with the interface but I still cannot create categories.

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