Shinryaku! Ika Musume 8

Week eight brings us three fresh scenarios in which Ika Musume has to deal with something new. First, she contracts a mysterious illness akin to shrimp withdrawal, handily cured thanks to Sanae’s giant shrimp costume. Nice continuity, but also never expected them to find another use for that! The shrimp’s entrance is very well-orchestrated…and quite surreal.

In the middle story, Ika discovers that she can wiggle the fins on her head, which can be used for anything from swatting mosquitoes to slapping people, to providing a cool breeze. We already knew that removing her cap would be fatal, but didn’t know until now how dexterous those fins were. They weren’t necessarily useful in winning a serious sand castle duel with some kid’s dad; that was thanks to her tentacles. Always good to see Ika discovering powers she never knew she had.

The third story takes place on a rare rainy day, and Ika discovers umbrellas, which are the coolest thing in the world. She lets her imagination run wild with one while waiting for Eiko outside the store; and even has a pretty dramatic and hilarious mini-arc, which is all wrapped up by the time Eiko emerges. Without even asking how Ika’s umbrella got so beaten up, Eiko shares hers on the walk home. Now that’s a friend. Rating: 3.5

Otome Youkai Zakuro 8

This week the characters are shuffled around such that Zakuro and Riken have to rescue Agemaki and Susukihotaru, who it turns out have been kidnapped by the mysterious monk girls, who turn out to be half-spirits themselves (wearing kick-ass outfits), named Byakuroku and Daidai, who are working for the Black Widow, or Rangui.

When Zakuro takes the bait, Byakuroku immediately comes at her, much to Zakuro’s shock. It would seem that the happy, love-filled life Zakuro has lived thus far pisses Byakuroku off to no end. She and Daidai have never tasted the freedom Zakuro enjoys everyday. But Zakuro isn’t a pushover, and when Byakuroku presses her attack, Zakuro strikes her down. Rangui apparates, gathers the sisters, and vanishes just as fast. It was a test.

But of what? Well, clearly Zakuro is hella strong, and it’s clearly intimated that if she loses control of her power, she’d likely lose herself. That’s what Rangui wants, and she’s clearly fine with tossing Byakuroku and Daidai the minute she no longer finds them useful. I’m glad these two sisters got vital fleshing-out, and wonder if they’ll ever be free of Rangui’s influence. In the meantime, the whole kidnapping experience showed Zakuro beyond any doubt that she definitely cares about Agemaki a great deal. Rating: 3.5

Psychic Detective Yakumo 8

The revelations and twists come fast and furiously this week, as Haruka’s friends and non-evil family team up to try to ascertain what the hell happened to him and Gotou. I like how despite trying to distance himself from everyone (because he thinks he causes everyone unhappiness due to his ability), the number of people who care about him has only increased.

Not only that, Haruka in particular springs into full Detective Girl Mode, swapping character roles with Yakumo. She also snaps Ishii out of his funk, and he has his best and most serious episode. We delve ever deeper into Yakumo’s past and reveals even more about him, as well as a strange and intricate connection between Haruka and Yakumo: their mothers exchanged letters with one another.

Haruka becomes a target for Miyuki Nanase, but Takeda of all people, the one suspected of murdering her family (but likely didn’t) and on the run from the cops, is waiting there to block her. Whatever happens next, it’s clear that Haruka needs to find Yakumo and Gotou soon, before Miyuki manages to capture her too. Her plans for Haurka vis-à-vis Yakumo aren’t exactly savory. Rating: 3.5