Ika and Eiko team up for a beach volleyball contest to try and win a 3D-TV, facing off against iconic characters throughout the series.
The last two parts of the episode are connected; first Ika’s tentacles and ‘fins’ cease to work properly, nor can she spit ink or use any of her other ‘powers’ such as glowing. People guess that it’s because she’s too adapted to life on land, and so doesn’t have a use for them. Ika decides to play the sympathy card by saying she’s returning to sea to recuperate and to make everyone cry for her to stay – however nobody stops her. Eventually, Ika returns in a new form; her ‘useless’ tentacles now cut off; a new speaking pattern, a new personality – far more benign and obedient than before. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder…
Ika also meets a mysterious new girl on the beach, who offers her some encouragement before disappearing again.
The last Ika-Musume episode has a split between humour and a surprisingly deep final two portions. (Okay, Ika Musume is never really that ‘deep’, but I mean ‘surprisingly deep’ as in ‘for this series’.)
The first part is mostly cute fun – far more entertaining than the previous Baseball episode as it was crazier and contained characters we actually know and care somewhat about instead of random unknown girls. In all three of the segments of this episode, they managed to include pretty much every character who appeared in the series, which was a really nice touch. Even though some of their ‘stories’ (if they even have any) weren’t really that touched upon.
The second was mostly just building up to a big daaaaw conclusion where everyone realizes how much they love Ika the way she is. It’s rather corny, and pretty cliche, but it’s also really adorable so I don’t care. It’s a little bit strange, however, that the ‘new’ Ika who appears is so much more polite even though she states her new goal to be to conquer the whole universe rather than just earth’s surface. About the ‘surprisingly deep’ comment; I can’t say I ever expected the squid girl in a comedy show to get so angsty about the nature of her existence. And oddly…it didn’t even feel that out-of-place. The only thing I found silly was the fact that Ika even went back to sea at all with faulty tentacles. We all know she can’t swim that well without them; isn’ t that rather dangerous?
Then there’s the strange new girl who appears – who I think is a jellyfish. Her appearance could definitely indicate an eventual second season because she really doesn’t do much here, nor do we find out who she is exactly.
All up, a nice ending to a mostly charming series. It’s not among the series’ best offerings, but it’s pleasant enough, and the final ending credits are adorable.
I knew Shinryaku!Ika Musume was something I had to watch by the name alone, and I don’t regret it. Not only is the beach setting rather interesting, but Ika Musume herself is one of the most memorable anime characters this year. It’s just a shame that the content of the show itself was often not as interesting as she is, and there were times when I felt like I was only watching it out of my love for this character. Sometimes I feel that this anime would be better in smaller doses – such as if each instalment was a short 7 or so minute episode. (Although then again, it would be more agitating waiting for the good segments after the underwhelming ones this way). The supporting cast weren’t particularly stellar, but Eiko and Chizuru grew on me a lot and they all bounce off Ika’s personality well. The only characters I really hated were Cyndi’s lab assistants because they were painfully unfunny (despite how obvious it seemed that they were meant to be funny) .
I think another season wouldn’t be a bad idea; the show is certainly popular enough and the introduction of the jellyfish-girl (if that’s what she is) seems to indicate a possibility.
At any rate, Ika Musume is not a great anime – it’s a charming and decent anime with flashes of comedy gold(The earlier episodes were much better – but the umbrella episode was my favourite)that happens to have a particularly great lead character. All things considered, I’d rate the whole series out of 5: