Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Links to scary movie reviews for your entertainment:

Frankenstein

Boris Karloff as the pitiable Monster in James Whale’s subversively clever take on why mad scientists should get out of the laboratory more often.

The Curse of Frankenstein

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee star in Hammer Films’ much darker update of the story.

Dracula

Bela Legosi and his Hungarian accent star in the movie that made the character famous.

Dracula the Spanish version

The vastly superior version of the movie above.

Horror of Dracula

Cushing and Lee again in ripping good story about the infamous Count filmed in lush Technicolor.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Disney goes dark in the early 1980’s film that will make you think twice about going to any carnival.

The Watcher in the Woods

Disney’s ghost story involving the disappearance of a teenager girl decades before has chills and a twist ending.

Gojira

The Japanese movie that started the giant monster movie craze is actually a very reflective and sad film that never treats the big guy as a joke.

Godzilla

The hacked and spliced together American version of Gojira that most people remember.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidora

Godzilla is the bad guy again in an updated take that becomes a morality fable about Japan’s responsibility in WWII and takes shots at the declining youth culture. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dracula (1931 Spanish Version) Review

Filmed simultaneously as the famous English language version, the Spanish Dracula is now regarded as being technically superior. Using the same shooting script and sets, but with a different director and cast, it offers a fascinating contrast in approaches. While the English version got all the fame, this is the better movie by far.

 Spanish Dracula Title

As the talkies took over the movie industry, demand for native language films grew in Mexico, Central, and South America. This was a sizeable market and filming Spanish language versions alongside the English version was one way to capitalize on the opportunity with dubbing being the other. People wanted to hear their native language and, better yet, see people speaking it on screen.

Universal Pictures decided to film a Spanish version of Dracula at the same time as Tod Browning’s production. Paul Kohner, the former successor to Carl Laemmle who was shoved out of his position running Universal to make room for Junior, was assigned to produce it using the same script and sets. He hired George Melford to direct and the two decided they would one up the other production in every way they could.

During the day, Browning’s version filmed on the sets and by night Melford’s used them. Even the same chalk marks for positions on set were used by the actors. Since the same shooting script was used, I will refer you to my earlier review of Dracula for the plot points. Instead, the focus will be on the differences between the films and why I believe this version to be superior.

Spanish Dracula Glasses GirlSpanish Dracula Renfield and the Villagers

First off, the babe factor is a big reason. Yes, that is sexist, but it is also accurate. Even the girl wearing glasses is very attractive and, more importantly, gets more of a chance to act. All the actors benefit from the better direction and pacing of this version, but the women really got a better deal. Perhaps Browning wasn’t good with handling actresses.

Take the bookworm above. In the English version, she is only briefly seen and heard. But here her role is expanded, first by having her comically fall on Renfield (Pablo Alvarez Rubio) repeatedly in the bouncing coach and then by increasing her dialogue. Note that he is not as effete as Dwight Frye’s interpretation and does not seem to mind this happening. She is also shown taking something of an interest in him and later gets a little scene for herself.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dracula (1931) Review

What better way to celebrate Halloween than with the most famous blood sucker of them all? Supernatural horror films gained acceptance and big box office in America when Bela Legosi donned the cape of Count Dracula. Beset by production problems and an unknown actor in the main part, it was an amazing achievement in its time. Has this horror classic withstood the test of time?

Dracula Title

When Carl Laemmle, Jr. was put in charge of Universal Pictures by his father, one of the first things he did was put into motion his plans to revamp the horror movie genre for talkies. Since Dracula was already a very successful Broadway and touring play, it was the ideal subject for introducing the supernatural into horror movies. Prior to it, horror was consisted of the psychological or deformed humans types, with nothing “spooky” allowed. It was thought that American audiences would reject such silliness.

I think we all know how that theory panned out.

Dracula Director

Hiring the famous director of Lon Chaney’s incredibly popular silent films, Tod Browning, would insure success because it would be easy to get Chaney to play the part. But “The Man of 10oo Faces” died of lung cancer in 1930 and the studio looked at a lot of actors for the part. Oddly, the star of the smash Broadway play, Bela Legosi, was not considered for the part. In fact, he had to make a desperate concession on salary to get the role he was already famous for and this was only after everyone else passed on it.

Please park your modern day sensibilities and travel back to the more innocent era of the Great Depression to witness a movie that shocked and thrilled the American public.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Health 10-27-2011

I knew helping out on a move on Monday would cost me, but I was hoping it would not be most of a week. But here it is, Thursday, and I am struggling mightily. While the brain is working sporadically and well enough to meet minimal requirements on crossword puzzles, the body is doing its own thing. Or more accurately, not doing a thing. Audiosurf was flat out awful today and I am barely keeping my eyes open.

In fact, I need to lie down.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Harry Potter DVDs and BD’s to Fall Under Cloak of Invisibility

Showing how bad things are in DVD sales, Warner Brothers have decided to milk as much money out of the Harry Potter movies they can in the short term. After December 29th, they will stop producing and shipping all of the movies in the series.

The article mentions Disney has done this with their animated films and I would not be surprised to see this trend expand. Home video sales have cratered and the studios are looking for a way out of the market, in my opinion. It would not be surprising if some in the industry would like things to return to the theater only model, but I cannot see that being viable.

With the death of DVD’s being proclaimed widely and Blu-ray not being very successful, it looks like the digital download format is the only option in the future. Since the studios hate that, it will be a messy transition.

I had thought of getting the last two films to complete my Harry Potter set, but now I do not feel like doing so. This sort of cheap stunt is really irritating, but I suspect it will work. I just do not want to contribute to it succeeding.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Frankenstein (1931) Review

Halloween fun goes Universal with a review of James Whale’s subversive masterpiece that frightened audiences and packed the theaters. Return with me to a more innocent time when gore did not exist in movies, television was a science fiction idea, and scared kids still hid behind movie theater seats. Warning: This will be a monster of a review!

Frankenstein Title

1931 was the year that made horror movies popular and proved they could compete for the pennies of Depression era movie goers. Early in the year, Dracula had come out and caused a sensation with its gothic atmosphere featuring an exotic supernatural villain. Known as a B movie studio, Universal Pictures finally had their chance to move up to the big leagues and they had to strike while the iron was hot.

So another adaptation of a classic horror novel was the logical next step. Having bought the rights to Peggy Webling’s stage play interpretation of Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, the studio moved ahead at full steam.

Frankenstein Edward Van Sloan WarningFrankenstein Eyes in Credits

The movie begins with a quaint rarity: a warning to the audience. Delivered by Edward Van Sloan, the actor portraying Doctor Waldman, it was added after a test screening in California shocked its audience. In this exceptionally jaded era of lost innocence, the concept of people actually have to be warned about content is alien. But this was a more civilized time and not only were children sheltered, many adults were.

So please watch this movie with that in mind.

The opening credits set an uneasy and creepy mood, with strange and unholy eyes being the focus behind the letters presented on screen. To modern eyes, it looks psychedelic, but it would have been nightmarish—even delirious to the eyes of the time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Anonymous Takes on Pedophiles

One of the beautiful things about life is that while you can never find someone you agree on one hundred percent of things, you also cannot find someone you will disagree on everything.

Those rogue hackers called Anonymous have done a great service to the world recently. There is a shadowy covert world on the Internet where all sorts of malignant activities are carried out with the absolute worst being the creation and dissemination of child pornography. So when they hacked and tracked the members of a large ring involved in this kind of evil, I have to salute them.

I may not agree with them on many things, but this is the kind of vigilante justice I can back.

I remember looking at TOR at one point while pondering whether or not there was a necessity for more privacy in communications between friends and talking about sensitive issues. The cons outweighed the pros, but the idea that this kind of software could be used for truly vile stuff always stuck with me.

Privacy is needed on the Net, but there are lines that have been crossed and pedophiles are so far over the line it isn’t worth arguing about.

So well done, Anonymous, well done.

Health 10-22-2011

It has been an interesting week health wise. Starting with the disastrous weekend, things rebounded on Monday. In fact, things went fairly well until Friday, when it fell apart again.

Two factors appear to be involved: overdoing things and tapering off the H2O2 therapy.

For the moment, there seems to be a limit on how many workouts I can get in a week before it negatively affects me. Two can be done and then I degrade in the stamina and upper respiratory areas. Third is simply asking for trouble.

On the hydrogen peroxide end of things, it appears I tapered off too quickly to once a day and will go back to twice a day to see what happens. I do not relish this, as drinking the foul stuff is not fun in the slightest. Hopefully, the innards will go back to being cooperative as they showed signs of rebelling again.

Slept a great deal yesterday and was unable to get very far into a monster review I am writing. The brain simply quit working. I better get that up Monday morning at the latest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gaddafi Is Dead

According to the latest news, it really appears to be him. Warning, graphic pictures at the link. The gold plated .45 seems to be a strong identifier to me and it looks like him despite all the damage.

It has been a long time coming for this certifiable lunatic. I remember when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up and the Berlin disco bombing for that matter too. The world is a better place with him and his son gone, but I have a bad feeling about Libya.

After watching Egypt slide following their revolution, this one looks even messier. Islamic extremists will be looking to take power and one way or the other, they will.

For the moment, at least there is the potential of change for the better for the Libyan people. It is up to them now.

Shape of Things to Come

As the economic conditions continue to deteriorate to the inevitable collapse, governments at all levels will become obsessed with picking the pockets of the citizen completely clean. There has already been discussion of confiscating private retirement accounts, which has been done in other countries. Pumping up inflation is another way savings are wiped out and that is the plan in the United Kingdom.

But here is an idea that blindsided me and is already law in Louisiana. All secondhand goods are to be paid for by check or plastic from now on. Curiously, pawn shops are exempted. But what about Goodwill and Salvation Army stores? This also effectively outlaws rummage sales and any other private sale, since you would have to have enough money to survive checks bouncing or to have a credit card scanner. Those have fees per transaction to use, by the way.

Asinine barely begins to describe this. Supposedly this is to stop materials thefts and theft in general. Most of the buyers there are shady and doing it off the books anyway, so it will not stop crime. But it will destroy a lot of small businesses.

So why pass this law?

I suspect the real answer is that it is all about taxes. It is easier to keep track of what should be taxed because checks, debit cards, and credit cards are all traceable. They want a chunk of unreported “black market” sales that go on all the time between private citizens. The legitimate businesses already keep track of that and pay their taxes, but there is an attitude among some legislators that there is a huge underground economy that can bring in big revenue streams.

To some degree, they are right and that is why a national sales tax replacing the income tax would be very effective. But an individual state doing this will just encourage legitimate buyers to stop buying and criminals will do one of two things: money laundering and shopping out of state.

I feel assaulted by dangerous waves of stupidity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Squid Girl Episode 4, Season 1

The silliness with a heart continues as everyone’s favorite invader from the bottom of the sea learns about money, family life, and suffers from an identity crisis. There will be puns.

Squid Girl Main Title[2]

Want to Buy Sumfin?

Squid Girl 04 Collecting TrashSquid Girl 04 Reward Money

Fulfilling her vow to protect the ocean by picking up litter, Squid Girl is amazed at the volume of trash humans produce. But what is that strange object? A terrified (as always) Nagisa identifies it as a wallet and Ika gets her first lesson in money. As a reward for finding and returning, the owner gifts her with 10,000 yen.

While she knows of money, Squid Girl has no concept of how it all works and quickly is barraged with more advice than she can handle. After all, she is just a fresh squid to the surface world.

Squid Girl 04 Jealous SanaeSquid Girl 04 Piles of Shrimp

Sent to shop with Nagisa, the whole world of consumerism opens before her. But little does she know she is being stalked by Sanae who was able to smell her a block away. Yes, smell her. Sanae has more screws loose than a rusty old Yugo.

Squid Girl 04 Sanae Shrimp CostumeSquid Girl 04 Nagisa

Shrimp addiction, Chizuru’s sadistic streak, and mental illness all get covered in this very amusing story that plays out like a warped after school special. In the end, there is no way to disagree with Nagisa’s quietly horrified take on the whole situation.

Care to Come Aboard?

Squid Girl 04 Broken TVSquid Girl 04 Chained Refridgerator

Ever wondered where Squid Girl ended up living after invading? Here we get the answer when she isn’t allowed to follow Eiko and her family home for the night. So her base, The Lemon Beach House is where she spends her nights.

But a tragic death of an appliance and the binding of another means it will be a very boring night for a young squid. Drastic measures are required and the fallout from them the next morning can only lead to one thing…

Squid Girl 04 Chizuru's AuraSquid Girl 04 Like One of the Family

Yes, Chizuru has decided to let Ika stay over at their house! Crabby Eiko is less than thrilled for good reason, given the damage all those tentacles can do. What follows is very sweet, though. Having her first experiences at normal things families do, Squid Girl has a great time.

Squid Girl 04 Eiko Teaches Video GameSquid Girl 04 Ika Bites Eiko's Head

Video games are played, boredom resurfaces, and what appears to be a shout out to another blue haired anime girl follow.

That’s So Fishy Its Fake

Squid Girl 04 Recon Rival BeachSquid Girl 04 Fake Squid Girl

Sheer insanity.

That’s what this wonderfully loopy segment is and it all starts with an innocuous reconnaissance run on a popular neighboring beach. Eiko and Squid Girl are stunned to find kids recognizing her and pulling on her tentacles. Could she be that infamous?

Not exactly. There is another Squid Girl!

Squid Girl 04 Moment of DoubtSquid Girl 04 Improved Fake

Instant identity crisis time for our tentacled would be terror when she confronts her “twin.” It does not matter that the other Squid Girl is a shapely young thing wearing an obvious and oversized mask. Much like when Takeru made a squid hat in episode one, she cannot tell the difference.

But forget the deep sea existential crisis, the real humor is in the insane creation of the rival restaurant owner. We get to see not one, but two versions of his brilliant work. Let us say that the more he innovates, the less appealing his work becomes – even if it has animatronic tentacles and other special features.

Squid Girl 04 Fake UnmaskedSquid Girl 04 Sad Look Back

An hilarious competition of the Squid Girl’s ensues with the fate of Ika’s future on the line. There will be collateral damage, scares, and a stunning reveal. Just what lurks beneath that expression of the new girl?

Thoughts

Squid Girl 04 End Titles

Episode 4 has all of Squid Girl’s best points on display. Segment one has the foibles of Squid Girl featured, plus a nice moral message to start it. There is an endearing quality to the show and the middle segment captures the warmth the show often exudes. Part of the fun is seeing the title character have new experiences, but the sense of appreciation for everyday things is rewarding as well. But the sheer insanity of the final story is the episode stealer.

Highlights from the three segments for me:

The short exchange between Chizuru and Eiko when the younger sister sent Nagisa to escort Ika shopping. A very nicely written bit.

The reaction to the box’s contents at the end of the first segment.

The warm fuzzies generated by the montage in the second story.

Realizing how none of the main females in the cast have a ridiculously buxom body that is so prevalent in anime. Eiko, Chizuru, Sanae, Nagisa, and Squid Girl have relatively normal body types. The appearance of the new girl brought that home, because she is the stereotypical anime girl in appearance.

I also liked the hint that the stereotypical beauty seems to be on the shy side in this episode. That final look back added an unexpected moment of poignancy to an otherwise gonzo story. We will see her again.

It seems the American voice actors have settled into their roles by this point in recording and I have to say they do a good job. The refreshing normalcy of the voice portrayals of Eiko and Nagisa stood out to me.

Stupidity Is Its Own Reward

There is a reason instructions should be followed and today I became the poster child of why. 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide should only be transferred from containers while wearing protective gloves because it will burn bare skin. So of course I thought I could be careful and skip finding the gloves.

I think the quantity was only one to two drops that got loose, but that spread out fast despite rinsing my hands. In fact, I though I had got off scot free until five minutes later when the pain began.

Casualty count: right thumb, forefinger, middle finger, pinky, palm, left forefinger and pinky. The fingertips looked like reverse fingerprints. Hot needles is how I would describe the pain.

So far everything is still functioning due to an application of Vaseline and I will see how that goes.

Meanwhile, as of last night and today, everything tastes like bleach. My surmise is that I have hit the saturation point on the H2O2 therapy and should start ramping down to maintenance levels today.

Yesterday, I was able to get a workout in on the home gym and assorted other things done with a nap thrown in. That is a relief after the horrendous weekend and a good indication of how the therapy has helped. The mild chest congestion is gone as of today from what I can tell and given the struggles with bronchitis this year is simply amazing.

I am pleased with H2O2 and displeased with my stupidity. Lesson learned, sigh.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

So Much for That

Instead of being at stake conference, I find myself relegated to sitting at home and typing this post. One of the things about having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is that you often do not get to do what you badly want to. To a certain degree, your agency is curtailed.

The entire weekend was a bust because I overdid things on Friday. Though I will admit that given the unpredictability of the illness, I may have already been in trouble. So I did not go to the birthday party, the two sessions of stake conference, and the special meeting with Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Twelve. The latter is especially disappointing for me.

After knowing I was in no condition to go anywhere Saturday, I concentrated on resting up for today. It was to no avail and I knew I was in trouble from the moment I got up at 6 AM. My father offered to drive me, but it turns out the car would have needed gas anyway and though it was severely tempting, I would not violate the Sabbath. In the end, it would not have mattered because I was in very bad shape and would have been a zombie through the whole thing.

I have done that before and can testify to the fact that you come away with little to no benefit, since you don’t remember what was said. Instead of an uplifting and edifying experience, it becomes a miserable marathon of trying to stay awake. Only around 11:30 AM was I able to begin to function today to illustrate the problem.

Not being able to do things like this gnaws at my very soul and now I need to find my way out of the foul temper I am in. I will listen to my library of scriptures, hymns, and conference talks and hope to find some peace there.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Horror of Dracula (1958) Review

It is Hammer time which means another horror movie review to celebrate Halloween. This time the most famous vampire of them all gets the British treatment in glorious Technicolor! Blood is sucked, victims are seduced, and a battle of wits between good and evil is enjoined.

Horror of Dracula Title

After the monster success of The Curse of Frankenstein, Hammer Films decided they needed follow it up with another horror movie. The obvious choice was to remake Dracula using the same formula of action, serious acting, pretty ingénues, gothic sets, and shooting in color. Bringing back the same director and stars would guarantee success. But did it work out as hoped?

Read on to see why I consider Christopher Lee’s Dracula the best portrayal by any actor and Peter Cushing’s heroic Van Helsing the definitive version.

Horror of Dracula Blood on NameHorror of Dracula Inside the Castle

After a long opening credits sequence, the camera zooms in on a crypt placard with the infamous name of Dracula on it. Bright red paint is spattered on it for shock effect and that particular bit is more amusing than frightening. But to audiences back then, it probably worked, since it was a far less jaded time. For us older folks, this kind of in your face “scary” mood setter brings forth feelings of nostalgia. At least it did for me.

Health 10-15-2011

So far this day has one of staggering about, mentally and physically. Crossword puzzle time was atrocious and Audiosurf was terrible. That is after giving myself extra time to wake up to deal with them.

I think assisting in unloading bags of wood pellets yesterday did me in. That is a beyond maximum output for me and I simply feel unwell. No cold or other bug symptoms, just fried from it.

So much for getting another session on the home gym in today. If I do that, then there is no way to get to a birthday party and stake conference later tonight. This makes me concerned about tomorrow, since I have to get up early to travel to Rochester for a single adults meeting with Elder Quentin L. Cook as part of stake conference.

Hopefully, all will work out. I also want to get the next horror film review finished that I began writing last night. Nausea from H2O2 is not helping. I feel like I can’t think right now. Ah, CFS brain fog is so much fun.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Health 10-14-2011

Typing using a cat as a wrist rest is not advisable, though I am doing so at the moment.

Yesterday went well, the optometrist was surprised how well I am doing with the bifocal contacts. 20/15 for the wall projection and able to barely read the smallest line on the hand held card. It looks like his saying I was an ideal candidate for the lenses was dead on.

Also picked up the cheapest plastic lensed prescription glasses I could at Wal-Mart. They are not bifocals, but are for working on models so I can peer over them for detail work. Being nearsighted is an attribute rather than a defect for working on miniatures. Weird getting dizzy from new glasses, but the old ones were fifteen years old. I can’t say I like the frames, but they are for home use only so I should not complain.

Got another session in on the home gym. Years of catching up to do, sadly. One of the rollers popped one end of its cover and I need to see if the lifetime warranty covers replacing it. Mostly a cosmetic issue, fortunately.

I am hoping the workouts will help with the bad lower back problems that intensified this year. Hopefully there will be synergy from the H2O2 therapy and the weight training. There should be plenty of oxygen getting to the muscle tissue now.

This week I started doing meditation daily again rather than sporadically. It simply was not enough doing it once in awhile and once again I hope for some synergy with everything else I am doing. After an aborted attempt to put together a music playlist to continue the mood after meditating, I finally have gotten an initial one functional. But I still need to comb through my music library for more.

Some of Pink Floyd’s tunes work, as do songs from The Alan Parsons Project, but most are instrumentals from classical, electronic, and game genres. The music from the old Sierra game RAMA is particularly suited to the purpose.

I seem to be adjusting to the downturn in temperatures better than usual and reactions to the soybean fields being harvested was less than expected. While the sinuses still objected, it was not nearly like before.

It may be the H2O2 therapy helping there. I despise drinking the vile stuff, but it is having positive effects. It is also nice to be consuming yogurt on a daily basis again without any bowel distress. So far, so good.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Adding Insult to Injury

That story about the trojan keylogger infection of the drone control system somehow managed to get worse. It turns out the base’s officers did not notify their superiors about it and they found out from the media. CYA at its best, folks. This really instills confidence about the competency of those in charge at Creech.

It also raises the possibility that this is a garden variety infection, rather than a deliberate hack. The stupidity on display is embarrassing and I hope some careers get black marks for this. Looking for a silver lining here is difficult, but maybe the military will finally do something about the security in place and harden the systems against hacking.

Oh yeah, this whole going mainly to drones is going to work out well…

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) Review

To celebrate Halloween season, Hammer Time begins with a review of the horror film that made the movie studio famous world wide. Plagued by last minute changes to the story and makeup, Hammer’s interpretation of Mary Shelley’s famous novel still chills and thrills over fifty years later. But do not think it a shallow experience, for there is a real story in there too.

The Curse of Frankenstein Title

In the late 1950’s, British film studio Hammer Films decided to revive the old Universal monsters for another go around. Known mostly for their Quatermass adaptations, the studio focused on remaking Frankenstein. But Universal got wind of the plan and that forced rewrites to the script to avoid a lawsuit. The planned makeup had to change too. Sounds a bit messy, doesn’t it?

Thankfully, a good director, a competent script, and standout acting by Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee combined to produce a true classic in the horror genre. Not to mention the movie was a killer at the box office, partially due to it being in color – a change made due to Universal’s threats.

The Curse of Frankenstein PrisonThe Curse of Frankenstein Victor and Priest

That ability to use color is pressed into service right away with a nice matte composition featuring a lone rider on his horse. Right away the appropriate gothic mood is set and further expanded upon, for it is a dank and dreary prison that the rider has arrived at. The priest (Alex Gallier) has come to the prison at the behest of Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing), a possibly insane inmate with a curious story to tell before he is executed.

Health 10-12-1011

Yesterday was qualifies as a good day since I got some things done. Best of all, I was able to get in a workout on my home gym. Sore today, but given that I have a touch of chest congestion to go with mild sinusitis, this is a victory.

The new bifocal contact lenses are behaving so far, but I will give it until the end of the month before I render final judgment. Hopefully the body will not decide to react to them, since they are a big improvement.

Crossword puzzle was barely acceptable with some mitigation due to running into words I had never encountered before. Audiosurf was much better.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Squid Girl Episode 3, Season 1

Another trio of stories explores Squid Girl’s adjustment to the surface world and introduces another regular character. Surprisingly, there is a common theme running through all of them – fear. Don’t be afraid, come on in, the water is fine...

Squid Girl Main Title[2]

Aren’t You a Scaredisquid?

Squid Girl 03 Watching Scary TV ShowSquid Girl 03 Sanae's Delusions

The first story gets going with a satiric shot taken at ghost hunting “reality” shows, which Takeru loves to get scared by. I had to love Squid Girl’s reaction to the show and we find out she is a skeptic on anything that can’t be seen. That leads to a moment of evil inspiration for Eiko, who decides she will find a way to scare the ink out of Ika.

Squid Girl 03 Goro FrightenedSquid Girl 03 Lights Up

In Japan, there is a tradition amongst the school age kids of having tests of courage involving things such as going to graveyards at night. Used to be that kind of thing was done here, but it seems to have fallen by the wayside.  Anyway,  Eiko’s plan goes awry, despite bringing in other friends Goro and Sanae. Or perhaps, because of it…

The madness of Sanae is on full display here, which is expected. Goro’s behavior – not so much. Way to go, Mr. Lifeguard! Of course Squid Girl is not afraid of the inky darkness and soon gets separated from the others. Not happy to have gotten lost, the ever confident squid takes unique measures to find them.

Squid Girl 03 Frightened in the GraveyardSquid Girl 03 Finding the Sea

The horrors of the graveyard are fully revealed and the big question is whether or not Squid Girl will be able to find her way home. Fear, surprise, and an almost fanatical devotion to sea life puns follow.

Isn’t That a Squid’s Natural Enemy?

Squid Girl 03 Working Off the DebtSquid Girl 03 Afraid

The miserable revelation that it will take years to pay off her debt demoralizes our young inkvader. But that is not her biggest problem. Acutely conscious of her place in the food chain, the sudden appearance of killer whales off the beach has Squid Girl paranoid.

Squid Girl 03 Squid VisionSquid Girl 03 Chizuru

We also find out Ika see’s the world differently from everyone else. Very differently, as her fears get the best of her. This is bad, because it nearly leads to Takeru drowning. Time for Chizuru to turn on the charm and sucker Goro into teaching her brother to swim.

Squid Girl 03 Squid PowerSquid Girl 03 Learning to Swim

The pride of squid everywhere is at stake and Squid Girl will not allow some puny human to teach the boy! But what about the killer whales? Sheer silliness, fear, loathing, and tentacles are the highlight of this segment.

Who’s the New Fish?

Squid Girl 03 NagisaSquid Girl 03 Nagisa Observes

A new waitress surfs onto the scene at Lemon Beach House as we meet Nagisa, a tomboyish surfer girl. Things go swimmingly until she sees Ika Musame and panics. Finally, a natural reaction to a tentacled monster from the sea! However, Nagisa is the only normal one amongst a bunch of weirdo’s as she soon surmises.

Squid Girl 03 MotivatedSquid Girl 03 Giant Ika Musame

Nagisa’s terror is the sweetest sound to Squid Girl’s ears for she finally has scared someone. But Chizuru and Eiko are determined to show how harmless she is to the new girl. That must be countered if Ika’s dreams of world domination are to pass!

Squid Girl 03 FishingSquid Girl 03 Angel Nagisa

Extreme cuteness, fearful determination to save the world, and squid fishing make this the most amusing of the segments.

 Squid Girl 03 End Title

Thoughts

The gentle yet often sharp humor that makes this fluffy series so much fun is on good display across all three vignettes in the third episode. Already the series is hitting its stride, which is a good sign. Welcome social satire shows up from time to time to add an edge to the slice of life stories but it never undermines the sweetness at its heart.

Using fear as a common theme through the three stories was clever as we got to see different kinds on display. As always, it is Squid Girl’s reactions that get the biggest laughs. Fortunately, the supporting cast all get their moments too.

As always, I come away in a better mood after having watched Squid Girl. With season two’s new episodes streaming at Crunchyroll, I find myself smiling a lot lately.