Shinryaku! Ika Musume 7

Ika was a teensy bit off this week, as it recycled a couple of stories. The first one continues Nagisa’s somewhat unjustified fear of Ika. Sure, Ika talks big, but her actions never suggest anything other than her being a mischievous kid, not an evil invader. I hope Nagisa eventually gets over her squidophobia and gains another dimension.

The second story revisited the CIA investigator. I don’t really like Cindy Campbell, and her ridiculously enormous laboratory and fellow scientists aren’t exactly inspiring. It’s okay to have a few eccentric characters here and there, but all four of the Americans were totally insane. No good could come from Ika being experimented on by people who are convinced she’s an alien, anyway.

The third story was probably the best of the trio this week: Eiko and Chizuru hire the gorgeous but shy girl from the rival cafe. Without her enormous squid head, she doesn’t make eye contact and says very little, but business is booming. Her father, the rival cafe owner, then rents the services of Ika, and she turns out to be as big a hit there as the cute girl is at Lemon. I don’t mind occasionally revisiting ideas, but this show is best when the ideas are fresh…like squid itself. Rating: 3

The World God Only Knows 7

There are three shows this fall whose music has really stood out (in a good way): Yakumo, Star Driver, and this. For me, a good score can effectively carry an otherwise mediocre show. That’s not to say God Only Knows is a mediocre show; it’s been consistently great. The music is just the icing on the cake.

The most annoying part of the show is Elcea, but the show seems to know this, and uses her sparingly. This show’s wheelhouse is Keima’s intricately calculated games of chess with various girls-in-distress. It took a full three episodes to sort out Kanon the idol, but she did have a pretty deep-seeded inferiority complex that he had to snap her out of at just the right time.

Always afraid of being invisible and failing, Kanon is on the path to becoming invisible and failing, even though she has the talent to become a star. After she goes AWOL we cut to a flashback of her in her old girl group. She doesn’t believe she can entertain the 10,000 people in the arena. It’s deeper than stage fright; it’s a mental block that’s preventing her from realizing her potential.

Keima expertly restores her confidence, not by enabling her by pledging to hold her up, but simply by convincing her she can excel on her own, and has to live for herself first. “Snap out of it…you don’t suck”, essentially. Before she heads into the arena, she kisses Keima, and the loose soul pops out and is captured by Elcea. Kanon then proceeds to bring the house down. Conquest complete. Rating: 3.5