Invasion! Squid Girl – Isn’t it an Adaptation?
About a week or so ago, I watched the OVA for Invasion! Squid Girl. It was a fun little episode, though also somewhat saddening because unlike Seitokai Yakuindomo, we aren’t repeatedly getting new episodes added. It had a similar feel to the second season, and a big part of that is because I was able to read the original manga chapters beforehand. You could argue that doing this takes away from the humour, but I disagree mainly because it’s common for the anime to play things differently and use the medium to its advantage. This is why my favourite parts are usually when the characters start hamming it up (“Games are my life!” was nowhere near as awesome when I first read it). There is still a serious issue when viewing the anime this way, though. While it does like to add funny scenes wherever it can, there are also times when it very clearly takes away from the chapters.
Each of the three segments of this episode show a different way in which the manga can be adapted. The Hide & Seek segment is the simplest, where the chapter is virtually the same in both. This cuts down on complications, though it also means the segment feels very stretched out because it’s an 8 page chapter getting 8 minutes of screentime.
The gaming segment is the one I like to see the most, because half the episode is all new material. The chapter itself wasn’t even that funny, since it was just the unbreakable console segments. I also enjoyed it because I used to play Dragon Quest III a lot, though sticking Eiko into the female warrior costume was a bit much. Well, anything to keep that outfit off of Ika Musume, I guess.
It’s the second segment of the episode that started to bother me. Overall, I wouldn’t call it a bad segment since it still managed to be funny. I understand that some people didn’t like how Chizuru felt out of character, but that seemed to be another part of the anime’s general hamminess. Either that, or the animators just really wanted to see her acting like a moe catgirl. I’ll also say that stretching out her fall worked well because it just played up how ridiculous she was in general.
So what was my problem, you ask? Well here’s the thing: this segment wasn’t adapted from one manga chapter. It was adapted from three. Chizuru wanting to look normal around everyone was the plot of the third chapter. Here’s where the first two were adapted:
That’s it. That’s the first two chapters pushed into thirty seconds of screentime. It’s pretty clear they were trying to rush through that material as quickly as they could to get to what they really wanted to animate. My issue is that the skipped material is actually good, and that reveal of Ayumi is a big part of why. It’s supposed to be unexpected and very bizarre for someone to find it easier around non-humans, not to mention very difficult for the other party.
I understand that this is an OVA, so they didn’t really have time to develop that kind of stuff. My question regarding all this is why they chose to animate that specific chapter in the first place. When you’ve only got one episode and may not have any others, wouldn’t you choose something a little more climactic, or at least something that involves the main character a little more? It felt like this episode was trying desperately to be like those in the middle of the season, and their policy with those episodes appears to be throwing darts at the manga volumes to decide what gets animated. Or at least it looks that way to me.
I think another issue I had, and one that only becomes apparent if you’ve read every chapter, is that this episode is one of the ones which reeks of the studio playing favourites. They animate only what they want to see, and I guess they just really wanted moe Chizuru. Normally I don’t take issue with that, since that attitude led to some of the best parts of the show, but when you play favourites you also tend to leave out anything you don’t want. Did you know that Nagisa was supposed to be the one who started this whole plot by asking Ika to assault Ayumi (long story)? In the final episode she was barely there. Actually, most of Season 2 had that problem, though only one or two parts had her actually lose lines.
Now here’s where things get a little strange. In the episode itself, Nagisa had her role given up to Eiko. Not too surprising, given she’s supposed to be the secondary lead, but I believe there’s another reason she was picked specifically. It goes back to the problem of author favouritism, but in this case it’s not for a single character. As strange as it sounds when it comes to this series, I think the creators of the anime are shipping Eiko and Ayumi.
I remember reading about this on TvTropes a while back, and at first I thought it was just one of those silly theories people over there like to come up with. Ayumi was supposed to be like that around everyone, right? Well when I saw the second season episodes where the two were together, it actually made a lot of sense. And the strange part was that the few scenes they shared were either unique to the anime or tweaked in favour of this portrayal. Remember when Eiko almost broke the arm of that one guy who was flirting with her? Not in the manga.
Looking at the series with two different versions in mind, you start to notice some very strange and interesting things. Now I’m not the type who thinks an adaptation should be 100% faithful to the original, but changes should have some kind of logic and reason to them. Sometimes you have to wonder exactly what the creators were thinking when they change up the story. The evidence does seem to point to the anime team playing favourites, but it’s hard to tell the exact reason for the episode turning out like it did. After all, if the whole point of this part of the OVA was to play up the moe factor of the show, they could have easily picked from dozens of other chapters. Again, I’m not saying I disliked the OVA or anything, but that inquisitive part of my brain just has a hard time shutting off.
Posted on September 13, 2012, in Chapter Discussions, Invasion! Squid Girl, Shonen Comedy and tagged Ayumi, Chizuru Aizawa, comedy, Ika Musume, Invasion Squid Girl, manga, Shinryaku Ika Musume. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.