Shinryaku! Ika Musume 4

Squid Girl’s charming squid-out-of-water escapades continue as she’s rewarded 10,000 yen for returning a lost wallet. She spends it all on shrimp – possibly a squid’s favorite thing in the world. When her somewhat creepy admirer gets wind of it, she mails herself to Squid Girl dressed as a giant shrimp. Very bizarre, but true to character.

She also is finally let inside her employers’ residence, something Eiko was opposed to, but when the TV at the food stand broke, Chizuru let her in (I guess that makes sense…). She comes to grips with humans needing more sleep than her, and learns about all the other myriad things they do at home of an evening. Eiko wakes up on the floor ensnared in tentacles, her bed stolen from her by Squid Girl.

Finally, in what is possibly the most surreal segment of the series, Squid Girl and Eiko learn of a rival food stand owner building off of her popularity by constructing a giant squid girl head for his bikini-clad colleague. Actually, two oversized heads, one more grotesque than the last. Squid Girl’s momentary existential crises upon sight of her ‘doppelganger’ are quite amusing. Shinryaku! Ika Musume is always creative, never boring, and sticks to comedy, without even a tinge of sappy melodrama thus far. Rating: 3.5

Nurarihyon no Mago 17

Another head of the 88 kiyakou is defeated (Hou-ou, the annoying fire-breathing rooster), as this episode delivers more action and less sitting around. Rikuo’s friends even “escape” his house and indirectly help him discover the Shikoku youkais’ plan.

They’re busting up all of the shrines in Ukioye town in order to rile up all the local deities. While visiting one, Rikuo and Yuki-onna are spotted alone by Yura, hiding in the bushes. She misunderstands their intentions, believing Rikuo to be two-timing Kana. But forgive me, but Rikuo and Kana haven’t done anything to warrant anyone believing they’re dating. It would be nice if that were the case, but obviously Rikuo has his hands full at the moment.

Meanwhile, his gramps, the Supreme Commander, has trekked to Shikoku to meet with a giant Tanuki he’s known for three centuries, likely to hear direct from the boss’s mouth what the deal is regarding hostilities with the Nura clan. Overall, a well-paced episode that involved just about everyone in some way. But as the enemy youkai from Shikoku keep falling so easily, there’s a danger of them losing their worthiness as foes. Rating: 3

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 5

The first arc of Index II ends with a very valuable lesson: it is indeed okay to punch a petite nun in the face under certain circumstances. In Touma’s case, she’s trying to kill him and all his friends. Agnese’s damage-teleporting staff is pretty cool, but at the end of the day she’s just a little girl, and Touma is able to knock her out.

Another nugget of advice: if you’re going to order your army to deafen themselves, make sure they win the battle. When things went sour, Agnese couldn’t send them any more orders; not verbally, anyway. When she goes down, they lay down their arms. However, I like how the episode hinted that Agnese isn’t pure evil; she believes in her cause, and doesn’t want to return to the life she had as a child, which didn’t look fun. Touma even mentions that had she asked him, he would have saved Agnese herself. But again, the trying-to-kill thing…

Anyway, Touma wakes up in the hospital, this time with a contrite (and blushing) Kanzaki by his bedside. He shrugs it off; he’s on her side (and the side of Steyr and Amakusa) because they’re on Index’s side. He helped Orsula because he thought it was the right thing to do, and he had the power to do it. That’s all for the Agnese’s army arc; next week we’ll be back in Academy City with Misaka Mikoto & Co. Rating: 3

Nurarihyon no Mago 16

The pace picks up as Kejourou fights one of the seven heads of the 88 kiyakou, Hari-onna. It’s a battle of hair, actually, until Night Rikuo shows up with the crows and scares her off. Hari-onna was targeting Yura, who is still badly hurt and can’t fight, so Rikuo had Kejourou keep an eye on her. It’s pretty amazing that Yura still isn’t aware that she’s been helping youkai and they’ve been helping her, but she’s going to learn sooner or later.

Meanwhile, Rikuo keeps all his human friends holed up in the main house, and amazingly, they don’t seem to mind being confined there (mostly because they don’t think they’re confined). Most of them have sensed strange presences, which is to be expected in a house teeming with youkai. Kana even spots Night Rikuo in the cherry tree, but he promptly vanishes before she can speak to him.

Rikuo is being über-pragmatic with the 88 kiyakou; and with six more heads to defeat and nine episodes to do it, I’m ready for more action and ass-kicking and less sitting in rooms discussing strategies. Rating: 3