Friday, September 30, 2011

That Was Yesterday

With another frost warning for tonight, it seems like summer is but a distant memory already. For me it is the second lost summer in a row with hardly anything done outdoors. Yet tomorrow is October and I must move on, even if the sun refuses to shine this week.

I am having too much fun watching The Big Sleep to review it. Today I will be watching the original unreleased cut to compare versions and I am looking forward to it greatly. It is too bad we live in an era where somebody like Bogart could never be a top tier star.

Hot Fish Shop that used to be in Winona is going to reopen. That is the good news. The bad news is that it will be in Rochester. Ah well. Hopefully the recipes will be the same as what I remember. But it would be nice if it were closer.

Facebook is out to prove they are utterly evil, it appears. Narcissism is a bad thing and it looks like a lot of people are going to find out just how bad. What is going to alarm people the most is finding out that Facebook never really gets rid of deleted messages.

Because of all the privacy flaps, I know people moving to Google + and Twitter instead. But I would say they are not going to be much better about data harvesting. What do you expect for a free service?

Hope that this report pans out. Just because we finally got Bin Laden does not mean the mission is over. There are still a lot of bad guys out there and the way Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey are going there will be many more new ones.

And I stalled finishing this long enough for blue sky to appear and actual sunlight to emanate from above. At last the new matchstick blinds will get a test.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Squid Girl Ep. 2, Season 1

More characters join Squid Girl’s expanding cast as the aquatic invader attempts to make sense of the surface world. A lifeguard gets her attention, she gains an admirer, and fireworks ensue -- but not necessarily in that order.

Squid Girl Main Title[2]Squid Girl 02 Life Savers

Aren’t We Squids of a Feather?

Starting off with a spoof of Baywatch makes sense for a comedy set on a beach and it is made all the better after it is revealed to all be in the head of the local life guard. So enters a new character, Goro.

 Squid Girl 02 DrowningSquid Girl 02 Rescued

When the pretty girl he is chatting up notices someone in distress, he springs into action. Wait… Is that Squid Girl out there flailing madly? Apparently she forgot to stretch her tentacles before entering the water and suffered a cramped one.

Yes, I know what you are thinking and it is addressed in a most amusing way. But back to Life Savers… err, Squid Girl.

One quick rescue later, Goro is horrified to find out that he has rescued a monster from the sea. Fortunately, Eiko and Takeru are present to explain things. Well, as much as you can explain someone like Ika Musame. We also find out that Goro has quite a crush on Chizuru.

Squid Girl 02 Goro and Ika MusameSquid Girl 02 Scheming

Oddly enough, the life guard and invader hit it off when they both reveal themselves to be protectors of the sea. But their ideas of how they protect the sea are just a bit different and a falling out is unavoidable. Squid Girl decides there isn’t room enough for two protectors….

Squid Girl 02 Blushing

Hijinks ensue and a serious moral lesson is learned in the end; something not unusual with this show.

Consquidilations?

Squid Girl 02 Birthday DesireSquid Girl 02 Hatchday Delusion

The second segment is about something everyone can relate to: birthdays. Puzzled by the spectacle of a family having a birthday party at the Lemon Beach House, Squid Girl wants to know just what the squid is going on. Once she finds out what a birthday is and that it involves cake, gifts, and attention, she pitches a fit.

Yes, it is time to declare it is her “hatchday” and demand a celebration. Chizuru thinks it is a great idea, much to her younger sister’s dismay. So preparations begin with locking Squid Girl in a back room to keep things a surprise. Ever snoopy, her imagination gets the best of her as she overhears the conversations.

Hey, calamari is tasty, so I can understand her paranoia.

Squid Girl 02 Blowing Out the CandlesSquid Girl 02 Sparklers

What follows is a nice illustration of one of the show’s best strengths, that of portraying those first time experiences from childhood. Amidst all the goofy comedy and slapstick antics are sweet reminders of how things we now take for granted were once magical. Do you remember what it was like the first time you tried to blow out candles on a birthday cake? How about the first time you played with fireworks?

It is all there, the good and the bad, but exaggerated which makes for great fun.

Squid Girl 02 Hatchday Celebration

A feeling of family is also beginning to develop nicely. That is good, for dangers await the squidling.

Want to Swim Out and Play?

Squid Girl 02 Alex the PuppySquid Girl 02 Sanae

Sometimes danger comes disguised in the most innocent of packages. That is a hard lesson to learn growing up and a lot of adults never do. Take the two screen caps above, for example. One is of a cute little puppy and the other is of a sweet looking teenage girl. Which is the dangerous one?

Squid Girl 02 Eiko and PuppySquid Girl 02 On a Leash

Eiko’s friend, Sanae, brings her new pup to the restaurant to show him off. He is a big hit and an envious Squid Girl cannot believe that the dog is considered cuter than she. Ika is such a child in so many ways, good and bad.

Her demand for equal treatment leads to hilarious proof that you should be careful of what you wish for. It is an utterly silly scene that would not be out of place in an old Looney Tunes cartoon.

Hmm. I wonder what a meeting between Daffy Duck and Squid Girl would be like?

An invitation to visit Sanae’s place is made and this is where we find out why the series is rated for 13 and older.

Squid Girl 02 Eiko on SanaeSquid Girl 02 Strange Picture Book

Yep, we have just encountered a tired anime trope, that of the raging lesbian teen with a crush on a main character. Sanae’s attentions toward Ika are uncomfortable for the young squid and disturbing to Eiko, who doesn’t verbally pull her punches. Oh if that were only the problem with Sanae. When Eiko takes the puppy for a walk, Squid Girl ponders turning the air conditioned house into her invasion headquarters.

But who is the hunter and who is the prey?

Squid Girl 02 Forced Cosplay PhotosSquid Girl 02 Eiko and Ika Sunset

Sheer lunacy, trauma, and shameless inkjet printing follow with a nice visual moment to wrap up the episode.

Thoughts

As I wrote earlier in the review, the reminders of magical moments of childhood is one of the things that makes Squid Girl such an appealing show to me. Genuine warmth can also be found between the comic bits, which make it more than just a gag show. That is why the middle segment was the one I liked the best out of this episode.

Ika Musame is an interesting character, with it becoming a little clearer that she is a good girl at heart, if obsessed with global domination. The relationship with Eiko is settling into something more like siblings. Specifically, siblings close in age who always fight with each other.

Sanae is very annoying. But beyond that, she is very creepy and while it is treated light heartedly stalkers are not that amusing to me. That is not to say this segment was unamusing, merely of questionable taste. That could be said about the character of Sanae, period.

The quality of the video continues to impress me greatly. For a lowly DVD to scale up as well as this one does on my 1680 x 1050 monitor is very unusual. It matches the quality of 720p videos I have purchased from iTunes, which is mind blowing. Keeping each disc to three episodes and keeping the quality high is probably the reason for this.

What’s On Tap

Finding myself brain dead, but ambulatory today means a serious post is not likely. Instead I will toss up another Squid Girl episode review to make sure I keep typing words.

I plan to alternate reviews of movies between serious and not so serious films to keep me from being bored with it all. Most come from my personal DVD collection and right now the tentative plan looks something like this: The Big Sleep, TRON, Zulu, Gamerz: Dorkness Rising, and The Maltese Falcon. Two of those will have spinoff soundtrack reviews.

Meanwhile, I am watching HBO’s John Adams miniseries and so far it is excellent. But I am disappointed they had unnecessary nudity in the first episode. This whole “we have to have something R rated because we are a pay cable network” thing is extremely annoying. Doubly so for me, since I was thinking there would be no way they would insert any – about two minutes before they did.

Since I do not bother much with television these days, the only thing out of the new season I am looking forward to is actually streaming on the Net. Squid Girl season 2 has begun in Japan and is being streamed in the USA by Crunchyroll. Since they do not have enough of interest to pay for a membership, I will settle on the one week delay and resume the squidvasion on Monday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blind Justice

Besides accidently damaging my air conditioner, I have had a fit of cleaning befall me this month. It is a pernicious and dangerous disease, especially in a messy old farmhouse such as the one I reside in. It all started with noticing dust on the plastic adjustable window blinds.

The mistake was not in noticing they were dustier than a mummy’s tomb. The mistake was in deciding to try to clean them. That brought forth a curse worthy of Tutankhamen's burial site.

The resulting dust cloud drove me from the room and forced me to run the air purifier at full speed for a couple of hours before I could return. Ah, dust mite allergies.

Having condemned the blinds as uncleanable as well as ugly, I started looking for matchstick or bamboo blinds to replace them. Prices on the Net were not wonderful, but not out of the question. But it would be over $20 for each not counting shipping. It would be November before I could swing any. Old cheap plastic ones left over from yesteryear were going to have to suffice for the time being.

So it was with great surprise that I wandered into the local Alco discount store and found matchstick blinds marked radically down with a promise of a further 20% off.  Only one problem – they were all 48” wide when 36” is the largest my windows could handle.

Humphing to myself, I noticed one oddball two-tone set in the plastic ones on clearance. Eureka! They were 36” and would be perfect for the most important window that gets the most sunlight.  $7.00?! Okay, they are mine, I thought.

Digging one last time amongst the plastic blinds turned up another natural colored matchstick blind with a 31” width. Just enough to cover the other window, but no price on it. Eh, with a discount it would be worth it anyway.

So off to the register I marched, blinds slung over one shoulder. Combined and with sales tax, I scored them both for just under $11.00.  Now to get them put up once the cordless drill recharges.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bleach Ep. 9: Unbeatable Enemy

The conclusion to the Memories in the Rain mini-arc finds Ichigo face to face with a nightmare from his past and reveals just a little more of Rukia’s. Can Ichigo save his sisters from the fate that befell their late mother or will his anger lead to yet another tragedy?

Bleach1 Main TitleBleach 09 Title

I’ve always enjoyed the creativity of the individual episode title shots. Blink and you may miss them. Part of the fun of Bleach is the ever changing opening and closing sequences along with the different music themes.

Bleach 09 Grand Fisher RevealedBleach 09 Ichigo Attacks

With the cliffhanger of the previous episode yet to be resolved, things start with Ichigo rescuing Yuzu but unable to do the same for Karin. Back up arrives in the form of Rukia and the Soul Reaper sent to retrieve her.

One of the things about anime that alternately cracks me up and annoys me is the exposition that is shoe horned into fights. Both sides suddenly stop until the dialogue is concluded, then go back to fighting. It is like having Lex Luthor explain everything every other moment in a battle with Superman – but without kryptonite to keep him weakened. Call it the pro-wrestling effect, which is what it reminds me of.

So we get an entire conversation from Rukia, the Soul Reaper, and Ichigo while the Hollow just stands there and watches. Maybe he is enjoying the fact that he is a legend who is notorious amongst the Soul Reapers and has a name, the Grand Fisher. In the end it doesn’t matter as the stunning revelation that this Hollow is the one who killed Ichigo’s mother drives Kurosaki into a berserk rage.

Bleach 09 Rukia Casts a SpellBleach 09 Soul Reaper Sacrifice

The following fight does not go well.

Rukia backs up Ichigo with spell casting, which is delivered in a pretty display only to have little effect. It goes worse for the Soul Reaper who sacrifices himself to save Karin. There is no sense of fun in this particular fight, only well rendered grim desperation.

Oh and it is revealed that Soul Reapers are mortal and can be killed. That is an interesting little tidbit to go along with the fact that the Grand Fisher has killed multiple Soul Reaper’s over the past decades. Ichigo is completely out matched.

Bleach 09 Fighting in the RainBleach 09 Kon and Isshin Wait

So of course the teen decides to take on the Hollow solo. The rain begins to fall, one of the themes associated with Ichigo throughout the series. Meanwhile, Kon finds it difficult to maintain acting like the boy as he and Isshin wait out the rain at a temple.

Bleach 09 YuzuBleach 09 Karin

It isn’t just his own personal grief driving the substitute Soul Reaper. As he is fighting, images and thoughts of how hard it was for his sisters to loose their mother fuel his anger even higher. There is a relentless sense of loss underlying every moment of the episode.

Bleach 09 Ichigo WoundedBleach 09 Mysterious Superior

For the first time, Ichigo takes serious wounds in Bleach. Watching in horror, Rukia wants to intervene in this private battle of vengeance, but flashes back to her life in Soul Society when a mysterious superior lectured her on how some fights are about honor.

Bleach 09 Rukia's PastBleach 09 Rukia Holds Back

Because of what happened then, she decides to hold herself back though it is killing her not to help. All she can do is hope he does not die.

Then things in the fight get worse as Ichigo finds his resolve shaken by an unexpected turn of events.

Thoughts

Memories in the Rain is a sad exploration of what motivates young Ichigo Kurosaki and the visuals of the episode are dark, dreary, and despairing. In some ways, he comes off as almost an anti-hero because of his anger and dour disposition. But here we are shown a  good reason for it and it adds some depth to the character.

The tantalizing snippets of Rukia’s past add to her character too. More mysteries lie with this woman, it is clear.

It strikes me that even the humor is muted in this episode, something unusual for the series so far.

BEWARE HERE BE SPOILERS!

 

 

 

 

Bleach 09 Ichigo's MotherBleach 09 Masaki Kurosaki's Last Thoughts

The use of a copy of Ichigo’s mother by the Grand Fisher had to be one of the creepier moments. That creature is so disgusting in concept that it amplified the wrongness of her being used to counter the boy.

The idea that her last thoughts were absorbed and copied by the Hollow is interesting, because it implies that souls are actually devoured by these creatures. When her last thoughts prove to be more powerful than the Grand Fisher can control, it is a wonderful bit of dramatic irony. He is undone by a previous victim of his.

Masaki Kurosaki’s last thoughts were of her family and especially of her son, Ichigo. It is a touching moment when he hears how she felt about him and a pivotal one for Ichigo. With her love and approval empowering him, the boy manages to wound his opponent badly.

The lack of resolution to the battle and the Grand Fisher’s escape might bother those who tune in for the fights, but it was high drama. Not being able to avenge your own mother’s death is yet another thing to add to Ichigo’s adolescent frustrations.

Bleach 09 Orihime in the RainBleach 09 The Moon

Orihime’s thoughts about reaching Ichigo’s heart are repeated near the end of the episode. Her kind sweetness and growing devotion to the boy are gently handled in poetic fashion.

Notice the attention paid to the full moon in Bleach. This is another theme associated with Ichigo, one that becomes clearer much later on. People may slam Tite Kubo as a hack writer, but he is not as bad as they think. It may not be deep material, but it isn’t shallow. I enjoy the symbolism he slips in from time to time.

Bleach 09 Father and Son TalkBleach 09 Rukia

Well written is how I would describe the father and son scene between Isshin and Ichigo at the end. Unexpected seriousness and good advice from the usually manic parent is well executed, with the impression that this is the real man without his clown mask on. It is also clear that he isn’t over the loss of Masaki.

Rukia’s expression looks like something close to adoration there, doesn’t it? The Soul Reaper left while saying he wouldn’t want to “break up such a serious couple” earlier and the lines were not delivered in a sarcastic tone. Ichigo may be oblivious, but it appears he now has two girls interested in him.

Bleach 09 Ichigo and Rukia

The imagery of the final shot jumped out at me. Here is the full moon out with the rain having stopped. Ichigo and Rukia are looking at each other, with her in a higher position, nearly unattainable.  To what heights will Kurosaki have to ascend to reach her?

Good Thing It Is Cold Outside

One of the “joys” of chronic illness is dealing with the fallout of trying to do something when ill. In this case, a fall out of the window by my air conditioner. It was one of those things I should not have been doing while really sick, but with a cold wind blowing in I could not take it anymore and started preparations to remove it.

I forgot it was not properly installed this year.

As soon as the window sash went up, out the window it went to hit a rock outside and bounce with a mighty crash. I knew it was a goner the moment I saw it hit. My father is an eternal optimist unto self destruction and insisted on running an extension cord to the battered unit. It wouldn’t even turn on.

So the money I was hoping to save up for a new pistol, rifle, or HDTV is now needed for an air conditioner. Good thing I have all of autumn and winter for that. Sigh.

The Internet Becomes a Small Town

Having grown up for part of my childhood in a small town, I became aware at a young age of the fact that there are few, if any, secrets that manage to stay secret. Privacy is an illusion as gossip and snooping are a way of life. Of course the facts are secondary to a good story and are among the first casualties.

The Internet is getting to be the same way, but with a goal of selling information rather than running other people down. Or is it?

One of the first things to catch my eye this morning was a report about how the Fed is planning to scour the Net for people opining on their policies. Are they soliciting viewpoints to incorporate into their decision making? No, they are looking to find who is shaping opinion and run a counter espionage style operation to control the public’s perception of them.

The fact that they have put out a request looking for a technology vendor to implement this is disturbing. Unlike a lot of people on the political right, I have no beef with the Federal Reserve. Well, until now. For this act alone, I think they should be disbanded. It smacks of being a government unto themselves and an Orwellian one at that.

Meanwhile, Facebook has been tracking every webpage that their members browse for at least a year. Not even logging out will stop this. As an immediate counter to this I have moved to using Internet Explorer solely for Facebook and will not be using my main browser, Firefox, for it anymore.

Combine that with the new “Timeline” interface and you have the world’s biggest snoop into people’s private lives. This is worse than knowing the old lady across the street is watching your windows, folks. Some websites will automatically update your status with your browsing their page under the new system. Since I was already winding down my Facebook usage to just gaming, I plan to take it all the way to that step pronto.

With those “features” in place, privacy settings are a moot point. It is clear there is no privacy where Facebook is involved and it creeps me out greatly. It is amazing how many people want your information. As much as tailoring advertising is supposed to increase sales, this has become ridiculous!

Time to roll down the shades, close the curtains, and maybe invest in virtual black out tape.

Health 9-26-2011

Well that was a bad weekend. Whatever bug got to me persisted through Sunday into the early hours of today. While the nose went from a spigot to merely swollen, the rest of the system decided to punt. Two days in a row going to bed and getting up eleven to twelve hours later is not how I like things.

At least I am functional today. The crossword puzzle took a whopping seven minutes and four seconds to complete, with a full five seconds wasted staring at the rain outside the window. I do believe that is a new record for me. Audiosurf was good, with the only error caused by me composing a blog post in my head when I was supposed to be playing.

The H2O2 regimen continues at fourteen drops for today’s doses. I had bowel distress in the early AM that may be related to it, but nothing came of it. Keeping a close eye on things with side effects in mind.

Did not like missing church yesterday, but I was in no condition to drive and did not have any ability to really listen until late in the day. At least I can look forward to General Conference next weekend.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Health 9-24-2011

Not at all well today and it started well as far a the crossword puzzle and Audiosurf were concerned. A runny nose that got worse as the day progressed has that tickle in the chest going again. It amazes me how little it takes.

Thankfully, the faucet in the nose has nearly shut off here in the evening hours. I notice that I am being irritable, impatient, and grouchy – so yep, I’ve come down with something again. Does not appear to be allergies since I am unable to get warm.

At least it is a little more convenient being sick tonight. Convenient? Yep, turns out the Saturday evening gaming session was canceled and I did not know it. So it is a good night to be sick.

Yes, I know I am struggling for a silver lining, but please do not rain on my parade! Watched some Squid Girl and anything that can make you laugh when miserable is a good show.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Squid Girl Episode 1 and Season 1 Part 1 DVD Set Review

A ferocious being from the depth of the sea sets forth to invade the surface world and wreak havoc on humanity in retaliation for pollution. Another Japanese giant monster movie? No, it is Squid Girl and she is here to dominate all you minnows! Well, if she could get over her shrimp addiction and pay off the putting a hole in a wall. It is squidtastic fun as we follow Squid Girl’s dealing with life in on the surface.

Squid Girl Main Title

In late 2010, an anime debuted in the wee hours of the morning  (2 AM) in Japan and the world was never the same. A little heralded manga character suddenly became an Internet meme and amassed a cult following world wide. Her name? Ika Musame, or Squid Girl!

Each episode adapts three of the original short manga chapters, with each segment having an equally punny title. Be warned, Squid Girl is all about the puns, but interleaved with often witty observations about modern life. On to the review and Squid Girl’s weird and silly world, degeso!

How About an Inkvasion?

Squid Girl 01 Approaching Ivader

The show opens with a female voice ranting about the pollution in the sea and threatens an “inkvasion” of the human world. Ominous tentacles and a Jaws like camera point of view set a dark horror movie mood.

Which is promptly demolished by the aural assault on the ears that is the main theme. It is quite horrible the first time you hear it, but then it grows on you and I’ve become quite fond of it -- especially after reading the lyrics. The opening montage has quit a few spoilers for the series and makes it clear there will be no scares.

Squid Girl 01 The BeachSquid Girl 01 Lemon Beach House

The creature approaches the beach, which is rather picturesque and home to a seaside restaurant, Lemon Beach House. Like Amity Island, the tourist spot has no clue what is about to hit it.

Squid Girl 01 InvasionSquid Girl 01 Squid Girl Meets Eiko

The creature leaps upon a table and makes a declaration of war.

The customers are stunned.

You would be too, if a blue haired girl in her early teens espousing world domination laced with fish puns interrupted your lunch. Alas, the waitress is not impressed and hauls the invader out back for a few choice words.

Squid Girl 01 Human PollutionSquid Girl 01 Squid Girl Waitress

In back of the restaurant, Squid Girl explains who she is and why she is there. Thinking that she is just a cosplayer, Eiko listens to her demands and nicely tells her to go home. Showing the temperament of a Humboldt, Ika dashes in to tell her off only to be told by the gal running the place to take a couple of orders to a table.

Which she does without question.

The azure haired would be conqueror finds herself bussing the tables and quickly overwhelmed by the requests from the customers. A crisis follows causing her to remembers why she is there and it is time for another talking to out back.

Squid Girl 01 Shocking Revelation about HumanitySquid Girl 01 Angry Squid Girl

It seems our little aquatic invader had miscalculated the number of humans in the world and can’t even handle 30 customers. The shock of finding out there are billions of humans is almost too much for her, but a mosquito turns into another challenge to her competence at warfare. Consequently, Squid Girl loses her temper and shows that she isn’t human after all in a hilarious battle to the death with the insect.

Squid Girl 01 Unhappy Waitress

But there is collateral damage from the fight and her fate is not what she had expected. Now she is a waitress slaving to pay off the damage to the building.

What the squid?! This isn’t how inkvasions are supposed to go!

Aren’t We Brothers in Arms?

Squid Girl 01 Being StalkedSquid Girl 01 Invasion Resumed

Settling in to her new job, Squid Girl finds herself being followed and one panicked encounter later has a willing soldier under her command. Sadly, he turns out to be Eiko’s little brother, Takeru. So much for relying on humans!

Squid Girl Takeru's Squid HatSquid Girl 01 Takeru the Fake Squid

Spurned by the speciesist Squid Girl, Takeru comes up with a cunning plan. It involves paper and scissors, mistaken identity, and the gillibility of certain squid.

Squid Girl 01 Ika Musame and Her Soldier

With a willing comrade in arms, what could go wrong? Well, err… lots?

Who’s the Mightiest Squid of All?

Squid Girl 01 Sneezing InkSquid Girl 01 Finds Out Humans Eat Squid

In the final segment, Squid Girl’s many faces are shown to great comic effect when things move to a horror movie like setting of an isolated Lemon Beach House. How can it be isolated on a busy beach, you ask. Rain. That foe of fun in the sun has driven all the customers away.

But it does give Squid Girl a chance to ask who the gal with the gill long hair is. She knows that the woman runs the place but is clueless otherwise. It turns out it is Eiko’s older sister, Chizuru.

The cold temps trigger a sneeze from Ika and that sprays ink all over Chizuru. She takes it calmly and goes off to shower, leaving the place in the care of Eiko, Takeru, and Squid Girl. Ah yes, the old divide and conquer opportunity arises. But first, the young invader (or is it inkvader?) is horrified to find out that squid ink is used as a sauce for spaghetti. Even worse, squid meat is consumed with it!

Squid Girl 01 Plotting No GoodSquid Girl 01 Eat or Be Eaten

It is eat or be eaten time!

Easily besting the two kids, Squid Girl gloats when Chizuru of the ever closed eyes returns. One final boss to beat and it will be INVASION TIME!

Squid Girl 01 Chizuru the Final Boss Squid Girl 01 Dehydrated SquidSquid Girl 01 Squid Ink SpaghettiSquid Girl 01 Chizuru Being ScarySquid Girl 01 CaptivesSquid Girl 01 Frightened for Her Life

So begins the tales of Squid Girl and her attempted invasion of humanity. Loopy, silly, filled with puns and more than a little sweetness, Squid Girl has to be one of the most improbable hits in anime history. Episode 1 does a good job of setting up the main characters for this slice of life comedy, degeso.

Thoughts

Squid Girl is great fun and always leaves me with a smile, which is something I have come to value more as I have grown older and the world darker. A lot of comedies could learn from this adaptation as it shows impeccable comic timing in direction and line delivery. That made it something of a worry when I read it was going to come out with an English dub on the DVD alongside the original Japanese.

While I still give much higher marks to the voice actors of the original, the American cast does a good job, especially the voice of Squid Girl. Though she doesn’t have quite the bombast when Ika is in scheming mode, the voice actress has caught her character well. The puns are slightly different than in the subtitles, but all are witty and convey the charm of the original.

The decision to dub should broaden the audience and that is a good thing. Everyone could use a little Squid Girl in their entertainment diet. Or at least squid ink spaghetti.

The show is aimed at teenagers and older, not little kids. In fact the case says “13 AND OLDER” on the back. But there will be things that will amuse younger ones, so I leave it to the discretion of parents to judge for themselves whether their kids should see it.

Squid Girl 01 Versus the Mosquito 1

Technical

The 1:78 anamorphic widescreen transfer is gorgeous and I hope the screen captures show that well. Since there are no plans for a Bluray release in the States, this is as good as it gets.

 Squid Girl 01 Versus the Mosquito 2

Sound is good, with Dolby Digital surround actually using the rear speakers at times. That kind of surprised me, since this was a relatively low budget anime.

Language options include English, English with subtitles, Japanese, and Japanese with subtitles.

Squid Girl 01 Versus the Mosquito 3

On Disc Two, extras are found which include:

Textless Opening

Textless Closings for all six episodes (subtle visual changes in each), but you can’t choose to watch them individually.

Squid Girl 01 End Title

Interview with Hisako Kanemoto, the Japanese voice actress who plays Squid Girl.

Hat Folding video which is a continuation from the interview. Fans on the Internet figured out how to make Ika’s hat like Takeru did.

Trailers for other titles put out by Media Blasters. WARNING: the first preview is of a smutty series and is out of place on this set.

The DVD Case:

Oddly enough, this is the second time this month I feel that the presentation of the DVD case merits mentioning.

Squid Girl Season 1-1 DVD Box Front CoverSquid Girl Season 1-1 DVD Box Back Cover

First off, the layout is rotated ninety degrees, which is very unorthodox. But given how off kilter Ika Musame’s world is, it seem appropriate. It also allows the whole cast to be shown and the art conveys the lively energy of the series.

Squid Girl DVD Holder Tentacles

The second thing to note is something I noticed when I found Disc 2 rattling loose from shipping. Take a look at the center plastic holder for the DVD. The prongs are Squid Girl’s tentacles! Very clever.

The case itself has a chemical smell to it, but I imagine that will pass in time.

Media Blasters and Anime Works deserve a lot of credit for putting this out in the first place and even more for the quality of the DVD’s. Nobody expected this to be a hit, not even the producers of the show. I for one, would like to thank them for helping us submit to our new squid overlord.

And so in tribute I will leave you with 8 bit Squid Girl from the opening to admire:

Squid Girl 8 Bit