One of the hardest things is to find a good entrance anime, to get people interested in the genre, without scaring them off. I mean, you don’t open with “Elfin Lied” or “Baccano!” or “Gantz” and then be surprised when they run screaming into the sunset (or sunrise, depending on the time of day).
“Squid Girl” (or also known as “Invade! Squid Girl”) tells the story of Squid Girl (Whew! What a relief. If she had some other name…..) who is the forward force of an invasion. She is bound and determined to conquer humanity, who have polluted her waters and made life miserable for her and her kind. To this end, she comes ashore in some part of Tokyo, (I assume, no name is ever given, so I have to make a guess it is) and decides to take over the Lemon House, a yakisoba snack bar at the beach, to use as her base of operation.
However, between her small stature (can you find her up there? Look for the tentacles) and rather naïve nature, she is soon co-opted into being a waitress at said dining establishment.And when she damages the site, thoughts of world domination are placed on hold until she can pay for repairs. Let’s look at our cast of beach goers,eh? From left to right:
Nagisa Saitō, who came here to surf and works part-time at the Lemon. She is the only one who sees Squid as a real threat. (Yes, that’s a she)
Gorō Arashiyama, the lifeguard, whose stand is near the Lemon. He has a crush on Chizuru, but can’t confess it.
Chizuru Aizawa, the elder sister and main cook, she comes across all kind and sweet, but is hiding something more.
Eiko Aizawa, the younger sister and manager of the Lemon, she keeps Squid in check.
Takeru Aizawa, youngest brother, he sees Squid as a friend.
Sanae Nagatsuki, a neighborhood friend of Eiko, she develops a huge crush on Squid (Oh, the dog is her pet, Alex)
Cindy Campbell, an American extraterrestrial investigator, she feels Squid is an alien and tries to get her to the lab for experiments (she has three worthless assistants as well).
Kiyomi Sakura, a girl Squid met after a prank went wrong; they both become very good friends.
The show is how Squid lives on land with all these odd people, while she still plans on her dreams of world conquest. The introduction of Cindy and her three intelligent but stupid MIT graduates support team adds a level of Three Stooges mayhem to it all, as their marvelous inventions are sabotaged by their own hubris. Perhaps Squid Girl has some kind of distraction problem, as she can be brought to her knees with an offering of shrimp, which she can gobble down like Pez. Let’s just say that her plans were not thought out too well in regards to world domination. Anyone have a copy of “Conquest for Dummies”?
It is a fun show to watch and with a second season out there, the fun continues, but you really know what’s going to happen, right? Well, it doesn’t detract from the trip along the way as you are left wondering what is really going on here in the land of beaches and yakisoba.
I need to make mention of this: despite being at the beach, the fan service is kept in check. A Victoria’s Secret catalog would be more revealing than what you see here, and that is good, as the series is plot-driven. There is a degree of flirtiness, but nothing over the top.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Good artwork, but they do fall into tropes)
Plot 6 (Pretty standard)
Pacing 7 (Can get unnecessarily frantic)
Effectiveness 7 (Again, pretty standard)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘save point’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 3 (A similar show would be “Wedding Peach”)
Overall 8 (It’s a cute show)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I’m not squidding.