Squid Girl draws to a close while keeping to what has made it a fun and charming show overall.
What They Say:
You feeling lucky, squid? / Quite the squidicament we're in. / An even worse squidicament!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Squid Girl had me a bit worried that at the end of its run, it would try to get all serious with some sort of storyline that would take over the whole episode and really change what has made it fun. Thankfully, Squid girl has decided to go out by being itself and that means odd kinds of silly fun involving Squid Girl getting into things that will bring her much gain. That means it kicks off with a beach tournament event where she and Eiko team up so they can win a brand new big screen 3D TV set.
And that has them going up against a lot of other familiar characters, from the kids who are always in the area to Cindy and the scientist assistant trio. Squid Girl herself may never have played before herself, but she has a lot of innate skill and even uses her tentacles to great effect. The challenges they face along the way are really amusing, from the scientist whose hand breaks upon smacking the ball because he's so frail to the robot design made by the South Wind duo who uses projected toothpicks to try and take them down. Of course, it all comes down to a match against the lifeguards who are out there doing their studly best, but there's a lot of fun little distractions and gags along the way as the game goes far longer and more intense than any other one. Things go a bit more over the top than usual, but the comedic effect of it is spot on, right up to Squid Girls interactions with the 3D TV itself.
While the show doesn't go overly serious, it does add an element that isn't a surprise as Squid Girl seemingly loses the power of her tentacles as they're now rather listless. She's been able to use them with ease for awhile as if they were they were just another hand or finger, but once she loses control of them and they just flop there, she's at a serious loss. Even worse, she's lost the ability to create the ink that has made her a key part of the restaurant as something they'd use in the food to spice it up some, which has Eiko being a bit snarky with her which in turn causes Squid Girl to wonder if it's time to leave and move on. She does rightly start thinking that in her mind, she has conquered this place and it may be time, but she's also hoping that everyone asks her to stay there.
The quieter nature of the show after she leaves is interesting to watch, as everyone goes into their normal routines but it's still rather subdued as they lost something that has given them a lot of excitement and life. It's an appropriate kind of quiet reflective piece to show us how they're missing her in their own way, but knowing that she had to go off on her own. And just as you can expect, she does return, different than she was before, but that's the kind of charm that she has in that there's more to her than just her tentacles. But that doesn't sit well with everyone as she becomes a normal girl as they want the exciting, outgoing and wacky Squid Girl that they've come to know. Watching the challenge she and others go through over this as she tries to figure out what it is she needs to do, is nicely heartwarming. It avoids being too serious, too somber, but rather provides for some natural growth and changes to the character while highlighting what it is that's made her special.
Squid Girl has been a very fun show from the start, but it's managed for a lot of it to avoid the truly outlandish hyper-comedy-action that a lot of shows go for. With its three stories per episode format, it gave itslf the chance to run with particular gags without overstaying its welcome or to use it to lead into something else. The small bits gave it the right kind of charm and the cast as it grew, especially with Cindy and the scientists, fit perfectly. It knew when it could be entirely goofy but it also knew how to be incredibly sweet, such as the tiny Squid Girl story that had her outliving her 'owner.' Her conquering ways and lack of actual conquest worked well as she got to be a strong personality but not be all that much of a threat. Squid Girl is plain and simple fun that makes you smile and is utterly charming. These kinds of comedies are few and far between and tend to be quite cherished when they come along. Squid Girl is no exception.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.