Shinryaku!? Ika Musume S2 – 6

I love those Mini Ika Musume skits.  No, it’s not just because they’re always so freaking adorable that I feel all warm and cozy inside each time.  That certainly helps but it is not the main reason why I get excited every time our tiny heroine gets caught up in a new adventure.  What I like most about the Mini Ika Musume skits are the entirely different feel it has from the rest of series while still being effective in its laughs and appeal.

Mini Ika Musume (or Mini Ika for short) skits are always exceptional compared to the conventional Ika Musume skits.  Not only is our star now a fraction of her original size but so is the lens from which we see her world.  Of course, with a size change in our character there will also be a size change in our setting.  And even though the anime takes place in largely the same area, the worlds are completely different thanks to this new perspective.  We are going from an ordinary world view to a microscopic one where empty tins become lifeboats, doll houses appear as mansions, and stray cats look like gigantic monsters.  This new perspective is an innovative take on the world for Ika Musume, especially since every skit has taken place away from the beach or ocean where virtually every skit centers around.  It’s always nice to see the world through a new viewpoint and Mini Ika skits always deliver.

Another aspect of the Mini Ika skits that I enjoy are that our chatty heroine becomes a silent protagonist but in a good way.  Mini Ika doesn’t have anyone else to talk to being a teeny squid, so most of the skits are done without noise besides various screams, squeals and gesos.  As a result of being dialogue-free, the music plays an enormous role establishing atmosphere and amplifying Mini Ika’s actions.  While a vast majority of every anime relies on dialogue for storytelling and other purposes, Mini Ika uses music to tell its story.  And it’s super effective.  Go back and rewatch that skit and focus on the music to see hear what an amazing job it does throughout, conveying all sorts of emotions while also assisting with the laughs.  And the heightened influence of music is all thanks to our silent protagonist (and the director and composer, too, I guess) which is unique to Mini Ika skits.

A major appeal to the Mini Ika skits are the sheer amount of cuteness in each second and, well, there’s no denying that plays a big part on why I love these skits.  It’s not only the fact that Mini Ika is diminutive that make her cute but it’s also her actions and expressions.  Seeing our little squid girl do things like be scared of erasers, falling through the sky, or putting on a pink flower dress are all characteristics that make Mini Ika so delightful.  And there’s no denying that the size isn’t a factor for her appeal either.  She’s in that size range that’s neither too big nor too small.  If she were too large or too tiny, then some of the cuteness would be lost.  The attractiveness factor is a major feature of these skits, so having Mini Ika be the right size and perform the proper actions and expressing the cutest exprerssions is vital to the enjoyment behind these scenes.  The visual factor of Mini Ika really helps out with these skits for me although it’s not as much as some.

The final point of reasons why I love these Mini Ika skits, and this may seem strange, is that they always have a depressing theme attached to them.  I’m not sure why but they always seem to have them.  And it’s a theme that’s never really explored in other Ika Musume skits (and if it is, it’s always used for a joke), so I’m happy to see it utilized here.  If you recall to the first season, the first Mini Ika skit showed our lovable miniature mollusk spending all her time playing with Eiko.  They stayed together and played for years and years until Eiko, now an elderly lady, passed away leaving Mini Ika crying in her wake.  Yeah, that’s right, Eiko dies in that skit.  And Mini Ika is left there crying all alone.  Isn’t that horribly depressing?  We’ve had two Mini Ika skits this season with the first one being the boat ride on the river and the adventure in this episode.  The boat ride was cute and calm until a violent wave capsized the vessel Ika Musume was pretending she was on.  When she found what remained among the waves, Ika Musume was tearful and saddened by the catastrophe that had occurred.  Her pretend body was lost at sea and her boat, the Black Tiger Ticonderoga, was a mere miserable wreck paled from its original glory.  Another depressing theme.  And in this episode, our beloved heroine was swept up on an adventure and lost among a forest of wild grasses.  After exploring the environment on a playful excursion, Mini Ika became worried about never seeing her owner again and began crying.  She cried during a sudden flashflood when she was stranded in a tin boat and again when reminiscing of happy times with Eiko.  Of course, the two skits this season concluded with heartwarming moments, with Ika Musume realizing the river and ocean are connected and that her pretend self would be alright and in this one with Mini Ika being reunited with Eiko.  But still, there are sad moments in all these Mini Ika skits, a theme never really covered in the normal Ika Musume skits.  I enjoy seeing the anime trying new approaches and different styles, especially with constrasting themes like this one, so I do like seeing the depressing side of these skits.  And while people might not agree with me there, there are sure to be many who enjoy the heartwarming moments and the simple laughs from these scenes (which I, too, enjoy but to a lesser extent).  It just shows how versatile this anime and how everything they do is excellent, even when every aspect of the skit is different than the standard.

Every time we see Sanae she’s always obsessing about Ika Musume, often in an enthusiastic and eccentric fashion, too.  But I can’t help but wonder what she’s like when she’s away from her unhealthy addiction.  We’ve seen her act serious a few times this season, this episode included when she acted like a bodyguard, but we never get to see her away from Ika Musume and with other friends or doing something else in the city.  I’d like to see a skit where the characters all get together away from Ika Musume to see what their dynamic is like without the anime’s central figure around.  Maybe planning a surprise party or something would allow the various characters to get together to see what they’re like away from Ika Musume.  The skits are more diverse this season which has resulted in some fairly creative episodes, so maybe if I wait long enough, I’ll get a skit like that where we see the characters live an Ika-free day.  But only for one day because they need Ika Musume just like we do.

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