Written by Michiko Yokote/Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima & Yasutaka Yamamoto/Based on the manga by Masahiro Anbe
One day, a squid rises from the ocean depths, intent on invading the land and punishing mankind for the harm they have done to the oceans through pollution and carelessness. Or at least, that was the plan. It would help if Ika Musume (Squid Girl in English) were the least bit intimidating. Like if she didn’t look like a cute grade schooler with funny blue tentacles and an odd white hat. Or if she weren’t a natural idiot, easily managed and distracted by anything. Or if she had any idea how big the surface is or how to go about an invasion. . . .
Squid Girl (or in Japanese, Shinryaku! Ika Musume) is a super-cute, highly-amusing slice-of-life anime that defies first impressions. While at first glance, it appears to be an adventure story, it is absolutely nothing of the kind. Rather than successfully invading, Ika quickly becomes a member of the family both at the Aizawa home and at their shop, Lemon Beach House. Most of the episodes involve her first encounters with a variety of everyday ideas and items–RC cars, part-time jobs, video games, walking the dog, etc. (Actually, this series really reminds me a lot of Yotsuba&!–which is high praise) Mixed in with such everyday stuff are Ika’s encounters with Sanae (who has a huge crush on her), Nagisa (the only person convinced that she actually is invading), and a team of American researchers (who are convinced she’s an alien and want to study her). The combination is laid-back, sweet, and very funny. Squid Girl is an anime I would highly recommend for just about anybody, even folks who don’t normally watch much anime.
Note: This series consists of two 12-episode seasons. I think there might be a couple OVAs out there too, if you can find them. The first season has been released in the U.S., but I haven’t seen the second yet. I’ve only watched the Japanese version (English sub), and can’t vouch for the dub work–besides, Kanemoto Hisako’s voicing is sooooo cute!