What’s the best way to end a perfect day? Or really, any day for that matter? With Shinryaku!? Ika Musume of course! The loveable and addictive anime restarts with its second season and that familiar trademark of bizarre comedy returns with another one-two-three punch-out for an easy and enjoyable comedy anime. You can already tell how I feel about this anime, can’t you?
The first episode of the second season of Ika Musume features the same three skit format that we grew accustomed to in the first season. The three skits selected for this episode were ideal, with the first two definite bridges to the first season. The third skit provided an opportunity to bring all the characters together for a fun event which ended the episode on a high note. Overall, the series recreated the same feel and excitement as the first one which is a promising sign for the season to come.
The first skit revolved around Ika Musume resurrecting her conquest over mankind. A movie about Predator-type aliens invading Earth sparked her enthusiasm and reminded her that she was here to invade, not to be Eiko’s slave pet friend. She spends her time on the beach with her overactive imagination seeing every object as an obstacle or barrier to her offensive against humanity. After overcoming all these hindrances, like a small rubber ball and a free shrimp meal, our delightful hero decides to restage her siege on the Lemon. Stealing some delicious shrimp and intimidating the customers is about as far as Ika Musume gets before Chizuru restored order in her usual, fearsome manner. In the end though, Ika Musume sees these developments as some sort of progress.
Next, Kiyomi and company pay a visit to the Lemon to see Ika Musume. Unfortunately, for everyone, Sanae is there, too. Sanae sees Ika Musume chat with all these never-before-seen friends and, going into her delusions, realizes that her cherished Ika Musume has made friends with everyone but her. This leads her to be fairly irrational through the entire skit, although by now that should be considered normal for Sanae. She fails at stealthy eavesdropping, nothing new for her, and hastily confesses her love for our squid heroine. Kiyomi and her friends take this opportunity to befriend Sanae, who returns to her normal in her typical hyper fashion rather than being left out of these friendships and slightly less creepy.
The final skit centered on the abundance of jellyfish at the beach and the problems they brought. Causing numerous stings on swimmers and ocean-goers alike, Ika Musume sees this as a chance to join her aquatic comrades and stage an invasion of Earth. Too bad these unintelligent cnidarians cannot distinguish friend or foe and end up getting on the wrong side of Ika Musume. So, Ika Musume seeks her revenge by scooping up all the jellyfish and making the waters safe and inviting again. Belitting Gorou and his insignificant number of jellyfish bagged, Chizuru arrives at the idea to hold a contest to see who can bag the most jellyfish for prizes. The entire beach community (or so it seems) participates but Ika Musume, with her dexterous and flexible tentacles, fills her bags the fullest. It’s a shame she doesn’t finish first, although it does allow for a hilarious joke regarding the winners and their method. I suppose they would be considered the winners but I think they missed the point of the whole competition.
Taken as a whole, the episode was excellent. The first skit set the tone for the series again, providing a refresher for us on Ika Musume’s true purpose, while also making tribute to some famous scenes from the very first episode. The new perspective on those events was an entertaining move that was done in a clever way. A great way to reintroduce the series. The middle skit did a fine job of connecting the two groups of Ika Musume’s admirers (not named Cindy). We never really say Kiyomi interact with any of the regular members of the anime, so this was an opportunity to link her in with the standard cast. It’s also a sign that we’ll see more of Kiyomi, which makes me happy since she is one of my favorites from the first season. Her thoughtful and endearing personality, combined with that harmonious voice and cheery character design, work together to create a young girl who makes for an excellent friend and equal for Ika Musume. She’s the only one in the series who’s on the same level as Ika Musume, which is why I think they work so well together. And the final skit did a fine job of bringing everyone together for some traditional amusement. The humor and absurdity in the final skit were nothing special considering the history of this series but it performed well and was appropriate for a closing skit for the first episode back. In all, each part of the first episode played an important role in rejuvenating the series. Had the anime jumped right into random skits in this first episode, it would’ve felt a little strange with no smooth transition from the heartwarming conclusion of the first season to this one. The final episode had spent some time building up the emotion and memories of the first season and forgetting it, or at least ignoring it, in this episode would have felt awkward, like the series tripped over itself in transitioning from one season to the other. But with that initial step done, the series can return to its high-level of comedy once again. And we can return to loving this series once again, too.
Blue and white are two of my favorite colors. When you look at Ika Musume, what two colors dominate her palette? And the setting for this anime? A sun-soaked, sandy beach blending seamlessly into a cerulean ocean supporting a never-ending cobalt sky dotted or lined with peaceful and cottony clouds. Those two colors, the various shades of blue and white, are everywhere in the anime. I’m beginning to think there’s some subliminal work at play here. Probably not the true reason why I watch this anime, the comedy alone wears the crown and robe in this category, but the color choice of the anime certainly is pleasing. And while the artwork does not compare to most of the top anime each season, I do find the colors used in Ika Musume to be the most attractive within a season. But do these colors have another effect?
Color psychology looks at how colors make us feel and how they affect our subconscious. Many scenes in Ika Musume have a tranquil and calming effect going on. Obviously there are some exciting and action sequences in the anime but most downtime in the anime is relaxing and peaceful. Both of these effects are related to the color blue. And the calm effect does compliment the comedy by resetting our tastes before the next big joke. The attributes of white are usually associated with being simple and pure. The comedy in Ika Musume certainly fits that description, never being overly complex or inappropriate. And the stories in each episode are always simple events that seem to grow into something more. Really, the two colors of blue and white may only be used to provide realistic scenery to the anime but they have a subconscious effect on the anime. Each color supports one of the more favorable and positive aspects of this anime, be it the comedy or the serenity of this anime.