Shinryaku!? Ika Musume continues the squidly adventures of our favorite, delicious squid girl, Ika Musume, in her quest to invade the surface world.  The second season is mostly just more of the first—Ika Musume and the oddball cast approach mundane things in life with fresh eyes and crazy ideas—although there is a slightly less emphasis on invading. The comedy follows a similar vein as well: silly exaggerations, slapstick jokes, and non sequiturs.
Unfortunately, the first season is quite bland, and more of that mediocrity is not very exciting. Sure, season two does offer a bit more variety. In particular, I found the jealousy theme that threads many of the stories refreshing, such as Sanae’s interactions with Ika’s friends, the dog’s attempts to regain Sanae’s attention, and the teacher’s reactions to Ika’s popularity among her students. These sketches bring these new characters into the anime fluidly, as well as give them more depth than the usual nonsense and hyperbole would.
Still, these new characters grow tired quickly. While I am glad the second season gives us a few more dimensions to the sketches, they are not enough to outweigh the boring, used jokes carried over from the first season. This anime just is not that funny.
In fact, I have trouble recalling any memorably funny sketches. To be fair, I probably chuckled here and there, but those were likely out of dry amusement mixed with boredom and a hint of distaste at its immaturity. Compared to the first season, a third of which I heartily enjoyed, the second season leaves me with nothing.
Here is a little anecdote about my experiences with the two seasons.
Ever had that feeling when you enthusiastically invite someone to watch a show that you had thought was just so awesome and so funny when you watched it alone earlier, only to feel super embarrassed once the show started playing? That was how I felt when I asked my brother to watch season one of Shinryaku! Ika Musume with me. The moment the first joke was cracked, I wanted to hide under covers .
My brother did not have to say anything. I could feel his stare and his unasked question: “Are you seriously not embarrassed to show me this?” 
That was first season. Now second season evokes the same exact feelings, except without even having to involve anyone else. The comedy is at times so unfunny that it is not only painful, but inspires shame in the audience—I could once again feel that judging stare, but this time from my inner self.
The majority of the sketches all revolve around the same laughing points, which, after two seasons, have already grown old. The stalker Sanae is predictable, as is the pretty but deadly Chizuru, or the scientist trio, or any of the recurring side characters. There is no more surprise, and no more fun. The series just goes through the motions of putting the same story and the same characters in different situations.
A further consequence of this repetition, besides dampening character development, is that Shinryaku!? Ika Musume loses some of the sentimental values so essential to these types of comedic, slice-of-life anime. This season does not quite have that heartwarming charm. I would not mind even mawkish stories in place of all the staleness. I would have rolled my eyes less then.
With that said, however, the last episodes are great steps toward redeeming the series. It offers that human touch—or in this case, tentacle touch—the series sorely needs. Ika gets into a fight with Eiko, and the two ignore each other out of anger. But when Ika gets lost at a festival, they both display some very believable emotions: worry, guilt, regret, sadness… etc. When they they finally find each other (and their friendship) again, their joy really brings warmth to the audience. This short story is a welcomed break from all the ridiculousness. It gives the anime a bit more meaning, even if it does border on the slightly sappy side. Furthermore, the arc also developed Ika and Eiko into human characters with more depth, finally giving us a cast that is not completely filled with only comic reliefs.
Of course, the success of the last arc—and of the series—lies almost entirely on the squidly back of Ika Musume. In lieu of an interesting cast, we have one super fun, adorable, fascinating squid, who has more human personalities than most other characters, and whose excitement for life rubs off on the audience. (Just look at her bright smile!) Shamelessly confident and naive, Ika is the bratty little sister that we love to spoil.
Once again, she has easily invaded my heart. 
- Review of the first season, Shinryaku! Ika Musume.
- This is not the first time I have felt this way. The last time I watched anime with my brother was a much much more awkward and embarrassing experience:
So I watched Ore no Imouto with my Onii-chan…
- Yes, I know. This has been said before by me, by others, and even by Chizuru.
More anime and manga reviews