All right, time to take a leap and review Ika Musume. This was the initial fall show that drew me (and many, many others) in. I think 4 episodes is enough to justify a review.
From our perspective, the sea is a huge watery trash can. To the one who calls herself the messenger of the sea, we're polluting her home. Alas, we've pissed off a girl with squid tentacles for hair, Ika Musume, which literally means Squid Girl.
From the minute that I heard the first few "Shinryaku!"s, I thought, "This is gonna be a good show." Thankfully, it's held up for 4 episodes. Shinryaku! Ika Musume! gives off an Azumanga Daioh feel, from the character gags to the splitting the episode up into sections. Each episode is split up into 3 sections, each with a squid pun. While clever, eventually, they'll run out of "janai ka" puns. Though, I may be a bit biased against animal puns.
There were several things I liked. Ika's attempts to conquer even a beach house fall flat, and in some humorous way. Actually, before I get to that, I should explain the backstory. Ika is pissed off at humanity for polluting the sea. Who could blame her? After all, we trashed her home. Anyway, Ika promptly comes ashore, barges into a beach house, and proclaims that it is her base. No one takes her seriously, and the owner of the house, Eiko, pulls Ika out back.
Ika Musume! gives a feel of a classic gag anime: Azumanga Daioh. I really liked Azumanga, so seeing a show that brought me that feel is a welcome relief from a lot of the recent stuff, such as the monotony of K-ON! and similar shows. Ika's inability to adjust to the human world constantly hinders her plans to conquer the beach house.
For everything that was good about this show, there were bad things. A good amount of the humor and comedy in the show revolves around Ika, perhaps a bit too much. Too much emphasis is placed on Ika, effectively leaving the supporting cast as removable parts. Every episode is "Ika has a new plot, Ika tries to execute, Ika fails." The supporting cast has little interaction with Ika, aside for the boke-tsukkomi duo of Ika and Eiko.
There were a few surprises, like seeing that Chizuru, the cute, sweet, peaceful older sister, can knock Ika down to size. Other than that, Ika Musume! needs to develop the supporting cast a bit more, or the gags will wear thin quickly. I like this show, and I want to keep it that way.
Overall, the first 4 episodes impressed me quite a bit. The backstory sets up a cliche plot, but a twist is thrown in. With all the problems the show has ,though, it'll be hard to finish it without fleshing out the cast more. As of episode four, I rate this a 3.75 out of 5. The show is already almost halfway finished, and we have seen little to no development of the supporting cast, instead continuing to focus on Ika.