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Squid Girl Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

7 min read

She Came From Benath the Sea… And Then She Had to Get a Job!

What They Say
Angered by mankind’s pollution of her beloved ocean, Squid Girl rises from the dark and mysterious depths in order to punish the loathsome human race! Unfortunately, that plan immediately hits more snags than a dozen fishing lines in a washing machine. Not only does her small stature not intimidate humans, but instead of unleashing a tsunami of destruction, her attempts only cause minor damage to a pleasant little beachside restaurant. And then, the unexpectedly aggressive Aizawa sisters, who run the Lemon Beach House, force her to work there to pay it off! They even make her provide her own squid ink for a tasty squid ink spaghetti! Thus begins our tale of a poor not-quite fish out of water: SQUID GIRL!

The Review!
Audio:
Despite DVDs not being able to hold as much content and space, and therefore not having as good quality aduio and video wise, the audio for Squid Girl is what I would call fairly decent. Nothing overpowers the voices, which is good because the voices are where this series really shines. Now, I don’t know much about audio, but I can tell you that both the English and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 versions are quite good. The voices are crisp, the music and sound effects are clear, and the only time I felt like turning the volume down was during the OP and ED theme songs.

Video:
While I wish the lineart was a bit more crisp, I don’t really have any complains with the video quality. The video didn’t suffer from any blurriness or strange pixelation, which sometimes happens in anime that aren’t rendered in bluray.

Packaging:
Situated inside a black box, the blue front and back covers present a nice contrast to the case. On the front you have an underwater background with the three main characters. Squid Girl is the main focus, which makes sense as the anime is named after her. Behind her are the Aizawa sisters, Eiko and Chizuuru. The title logo near the bottom corner is really cute. I love how they used Squid Girl’s tentacle shape to create what almost looks like a much rounder version of the recycle symbol. The back uses a lighter blue background with checkmarks and shrimp designs. Squid Girl is another main feature. The title description is sectioned off with yellow versions of her tentacles, while down below that are several screenshots from the series.

Menu:
Each disc comes with 4 episodes that you can selected from, except for the last disc for the OVA, which only has 3. There’s also the ability to select the language between Japanese and English, along with whether or not you want subtitles. There is also the extra features menu.

Extras:
Because there are so many discs for this series, there are a lot of extra features. Aside from the clean opening and closing animations, there are 29 Japanese promotions, two short stories, and five Squid Girl Chat + Commentary stories. The commentary stories are actually selected episodes where the Japanese voice actor for Squid Girl, Kanemoto Hisaki, makes funny comments about what happens during these selected episodes.

Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
In a world filled with squidiculous anime, Squid Girl is probably the most kraken hilarious—and yes, half the reason I love Squid Girl so much is because of the bad puns. They are just so corny! Also, having watched both sub and dub versions of this anime, I can say with all honesty that if you are going to watch this, you should do so dubbed. The puns aren’t half as hilarious in Japanese as they are English… unless you can understand the Japanese language, in which case you wouldn’t need to subtitles.

This story is about Squid Girl, a girl with squid powers who rises from the ocean in order to punish the humans who are polluting her waters. Her plan? To inkvade the world and get back at those nasty humans. Unfortunately, Squid Girl finds herself completely trounced by the Aizawa sisters, who force her into working at their Lemon Beach House to pay off some damage she causes to their little shack.

The first thing that really stands out about Squid Girl is the utterly ridiculous plot. I mean, it’s about a squid who looks like a human with squid-like tentacles for hair trying to invade the world as a means of revenge, but she ends up working for a beach-side restaurant. Disregarding the fact that Squid Girl looks nothing like a squid, the whole premise is ridiculous. However, it is that very premise that really stood out to me. It’s something you can only expect to see in anime. No other media would create such an insane plot and expect it to work, but work it does.

While the premise is about a human-shaped squid girl trying to inkvade Earth, the story is very much slice of life comedy. Each episode features the crazy cast of characters as they experience some of the most ridiculous and unbelievable events life has to offer. Even seemingly mediocre moments like Squid Girl walking a dog can become hilarious scenes of comedy gold. There were very few moments in this anime where I wasn’t laughing, or at least smiling. And yet for all the comedy this series offered, there were also some surprisingly sweet and heartfelt moments.

Of course, the shining star of this series is Squid Girl. I love her. She’s an absolute riot. Her English VA is Chrstine Marie Cabanos, and she does an amazing job. I’ve always said that comedy anime are, not always, but most of the time better in English than Japanese. Japanese puns often work by playing off words and how a single extra line in the kanji can change the word to mean something different. You won’t understand the joke unless you already know the language well enough that you don’t need subtitles. The jokes in the English version are westernized so they make more sense. Christine Marie plays up Squid Girl’s uniquely oceanic speech. Almost every line she delivered brought a smile to my face.

Outside of Squid Girl and her squidiculously punny way of speaking, there are a wide cast of interesting characters. You have the Aizawa sisters, Eiko and Chizuru. One is a tomboy and the other seems normal until she displays her superhuman strength. You have their friend, Sanae, who is completely head over tentacles for Squid Girl… to the point where she actually kind of creeped me out. There’s the American scientist, Cyndi Campbell, and her three creepy scientist associates, who all believe Squid Girl is actually an alien—and are willing to do anything to prove it. There are so many weird characters. In fact, the only normal character in this anime is Takeru, Eiko and Chizuru’s younger brother, and he’s weird because of how normal he is compared to the others.

Since this is a slice of life series, the anime is a mixture of episodic stories that don’t really tie together, but still have a linear plot progression. Unlike American cartoons, which rarely detail the passage of time, you can see how time passes in this series. Not only do the character progress and develop in unique ways over time, but the series also denotes the time by having seasons and certain events and festivals that occur during those seasons. This makes it feel like time and the story are progressing—an issue that crops up during many western cartoons.

In Summary:
While the series is a lot of fun overall, I do have a small complaint about the dub. After season 1, Sentai ended up changing voice actors for several characters, including Chizuru and Eiko. While they fortunately kept Christine Marie Cabanos as Squid Girl (which is very good because I can’t see anyone else being her), Chizuru went from being Shelby Lindley to Christian Luci, and Eiko changed from Heather Pennington to Kira Vincent-Davis. In fact, I think most of the cast aside from Squid Girl was changed. It was very jarring to hear different voices for characters whose voice had already been established. That aside, while I did have an issue with the change in VAs for almost all of the cast, I still adored this anime. It was worth every second I spent watching it.

Content Grade: A+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: A+

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 28, 2017
MSRP: $79.98
Running Time: 675 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i
Aspect Ratio: 16×9 Anamorphic

Review Equipment:
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player

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