Friday, September 30, 2011

Squid Girl: Impressions

I recently got Media Blaster's dubbed version of Squid Girl (Shinryaku! Ika Musume) in the mail and thought I could spend an entry talking about my thoughts on the show and the dub.

The cutest world invader if there ever was one.
Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when purchasing this show.  I watched one episode subbed when it first came out and thought "You know, there is NO way this will be licensed over here.  Too much Japanese wordplay in action."  I enjoyed the episode, but forgot about the series because I did not want to get my hopes up.  Lo and behold, a few months ago Media Blasters of all licensors decide to not only release Squid Girl stateside, but also give it a dub proper.

Now as for the release itself.  Media Blasters decided to go the "split" route with the release and break off the series into two six-episode installments.  I would have preferred a complete series release, but for some odd reason I am OK with this, perhaps because of another R1 licensor whose releases I feel....well, they've been well documented.  Oddly enough, they decided to put it into two discs instead of one.  One disc holds four episodes, the other holds two.  Curious choice if you ask me.  Squid girl isn't exactly a visual masterpiece and doesn't require hi-definition to enjoy.  Everything could have been crammed into one disc, but it takes up the same space so I guess a complaint would be moot.

Squids ralph ink.  This isn't Panty and Stocking, you know.
Visually, the series is bright, vibrant, and simple.  I know most people see this as a bad point, but I actually enjoy this type of animation the most.  Sometimes I think anime is trying to move more towards animation that just doesn't feel very anime-like.  Anime, in my opinion, needs to be a simple affair, without all the full-motion, 1000 frames per second that it seems to be going towards.  There is a beauty in simplicity.

The dub cast comprises mostly of new talents.  While it would have been nice to see a cast with more familiar voices, the job does get done.  There are some rough patches and it takes a couple episodes to get used to the voices, but my ears weren't offended like they have in the past.  The dub isn't great, but it works and does get better as the series progresses.

As for the's the thing.  As I mentioned earlier, the original Japanese script depends some on wordplay, and most jokes just don't translate well.  Funimation responds to these challenges by making up their own jokes, ala Sgt. Frog and Oh! Edo Rocket, sometimes out and out saying "You know those jokes don't translate over here".  With Squid Girl they try to do their own English puns which sometimes work and sometimes don't.  Ink-vasion isn't bad, but "Con-squid-ilations" is more than a stretch.  Also, it NEVER LETS UP.  I don't think Squid Girl had more than a handful of lines that didn't involve some kind of attempt at wordplay.  So in all honesty, this series is best taken in small doses.  Its not bad, but it does get repetitive.

All that being said, I am looking forward to part two coming out soon.  I wouldn't say I'm waiting for it with baited breath like I am for other series, like Hetalia and Sgt. Frog, but I can say I wasn't completely repulsed by it.  It isn't the funniest (Or should I say 'fin'iest?) series out there, but it is cute and full of charm, so I would say at least check it out!

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