Anime Review · DVD Review

Squid Girl

Headline: An Inkvasion? Take a look and Sea Water you Ink.

3/5 Stars

Originally posted September 8, 2014

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

Judging from the title, you might think that Squid Girl about a girl who looks like a squid and has an all-round squid-like personality. And well…you’re right. That’s all there really is to it. But whilst the premise is quite straight-forward, the series as a whole is very enjoyable – as long as you’re susceptible to various genres.
I first noticed this DVD in an HMV store and decided it was worth buying – after watching a few clips online. I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest anime I’ve ever seen, but it’s good for what it is. And I definitely felt I’d gotten my money’s worth. (It’s almost a shame that the second season isn’t available in Europe.)
Here’s a rundown of the series and some of its characters.
The main character is a humanoid squid – literally named Squid Girl – who’s come to the surface with the intention of…conquering humanity? Basically, she’s angry at the human race for polluting the sea and wants to make them pay.
You can easily tell this anime is trying to give an environmental message. And, admittedly, it’s presented in a way that feels the same but different. However, Squid Girl usually focuses more on world-conquest than protecting the ocean, so the message overall feels weak.
Initially, you might think Squid Girl sounds evil with her plans to destroy the human race. But the truth is, she’s not very threatening at all. In fact, she’s a loveable character. She talks a big game and has supernatural powers, but it’s clear she’s come to the surface unprepared. Moments after arriving she breaks a hole in the wall of the Lemon Beach House (a seaside cafe), and is bullied by the manager and head chef (Eiko and Chizuru Aizawa) into working for them until she pays off the damage (episode 1). It’s impossible to take Squid Girl seriously as a threat to humanity if she can’t even handle two teenagers. If I had to sum her up, she’s almost like an annoying little sister, who says she’ll be Prime Minister one day, but you just can’t believe her no matter how intently she speaks.
Some of the other characters are enjoyable too. Even though they’re mostly one-dimensional.
Eiko is the stronger of the Aizawa sisters, who enjoys video games and hates studying; Chizuru is the kinder sister, who has a fearsome personality if provoked; Takeru is the younger brother, who always wants to play with Squid Girl (or Squid Girly as he calls her); Sanae is Eiko’s female friend who has a perverted crush on Squid Girl; Nagisa is a part-time Lemon Beach House employee and the only one who takes Squid Girl’s humanity threats seriously; and Cindy Campbell, along with her Three Stooges, is an over-the-top scientist, who’s intent on proving Squid Girl is an alien.
A couple of other things I want to mention about this series is its layout and extra features.
Each episode of Squid Girl is broken into three separate mini-stories, which all last under 10 minutes. Most of them have little or no connection with each other – except the last two in episode 12. The stories themselves focus on Squid Girl either coming up with schemes to concur humanity or learning something about the surface world.
The series’ main genre appears to be comedy/slice of life, though occasionally it slips into other areas like sport, horror and science fiction. It’s almost like the writers weren’t exactly sure who they wanted the series to appeal to. But perhaps that’s a good thing, because it makes things more enjoyable for everyone.
There’s also a couple of extra OVAs on the DVD which follow the adventures of a miniature version of Squid Girl called…well, Mini Squid Girl.
One final thing I’d like to mention about this series is the humour. A lot of the jokes are just squid, water and ink puns, which can be funny at times, but also get a bit repetitive. There are some other humorous moments, too, like Nagisa’s fear of Squid Girl, Sanae’s eccentric behaviour and Squid Girl’s actions often coming back to bite her. I’d say the series is funny, but not hilarious.
It’s hard for me to recommend this series to a specific audience, because I honestly don’t know who it’s meant for. There’s an environmental message, but it’s not very strong, and, there are funny moments, but they’re not all hilarious. Just give the series a try yourself and see what you think. I certainly thought it was Squidtastic.

When I first wrote this review I thought I’d done a really good job. The premise was explained without any spoilers; each of the main characters were clearly summarised; and I brought up everything that made the anime unique. However, looking back on it, I can see my writing skills weren’t quite up to scratch yet. (I’ve even made a few edits to this re-post.)
I think my biggest problem was structuring. Because some of my previous reviews were a bit too long, I tried making this one shorter, by including as much information as I could in the sentences. Unfortunately, this just made the sentences longer and more confusing. Plus, it paired very different subjects together: one minute I’m talking about Squid Girl’s character, then I’m discussing the series’ environmental message, before going back to Squid Girl again. I know now there are some things that need their own sentences (or paragraphs) to be explained properly.
I decided not to break down the episodes individually, since they contained three stories each and it would’ve taken too long to discuss them all. Instead, I wanted to focus more on the characters. Unfortunately, because of my structuring, I only managed to give short summaries. There were even some characters I omitted, like Goro, Kiyomi and Ayumi.
When I think back to writing this review, I remember it being a time when I was still trying to find my own style. I used fancy words like susceptible – without really knowing what they meant – and lines such as “literally named Squid Girl” were influenced directly from other reviewers.
This may’ve been the first time I attempted to create my own style, when I wrote about a personal experience; I briefly explained how I discovered the DVD and why I decided to buy it – something I’d continue doing in many of my later reviews.
If anything, this review shows I still had much to learn, but I was starting to make a change.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this set of reviews (from Moon Phase Volume 3 to Squid Girl). I’m sorry they’re so late, my life has been getting a lot busier recently. So busy, in fact, I’m going to have to change my scheduling plans. From now on, I’ll only release new reviews when I’m able to – rather than once a fortnight. This will allow me time to write things to the best of my ability, without stressing over deadlines. I will continue releasing them in sets of five, however.

If you have the time, please see my other blog (https://georgeharvey2015.wordpress.com/) And, as always, stay tuned.

(Image courtesy of http://stuffpoint.com/squid-girl/image/7081/squid-girl-wallpaper/)

 

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