That's right de geso! I have come to tie you in my tentacles and make you my undersquid de geso! Don't even THINK of trying to escape from my wrath DE GESO!
Shinryaku! Ika Musume is quite a refreshing retake of the slice-of-life comedy scene. It was really nice to finally get one that didn't cop out and take the way-too-overused (high) school setting. The premise is actually quite creative and leads for some equally creative little stories and jokes as well. (Who knew the idea of a squid girl could be so interesting?)
The series is really the only thing I've heard of to use tentacles so innocently. When most people think of tentacles, they obviously think of hentai, and all the various disturbing images that stirs up to go along with it. Well, this show is definitely PG-safe. Tentacles are used for USEFUL things--like serving half a dozen tables at once, or playing beach volleyball, or swatting your stalker away from you like a fly, or...
...Wait, what? Oh yeah. Slap stick. =D
On the note of PG-safeness, I'm happy to inform you that there is zero fan service, so you pedophiles lurking around looking for pervy loli-fests or mindless moeblobs should GTFO. Right now. Hell, if it weren't for a few instances of light profanity ("damn"), the show probably could garner a G rating. (I don't see what the point of even including any profanity at all was.)
When writers decide to incorporate moe into their works, they always have to be careful to observe the line between moe and moeblob--that is, if you overdo the moe, they lack any other definable traits--physically or character-wise. They become defined strictly as MOE. (Oh gawd K-On!) Well, I'm pleased to report that Ika Musume does not cross that line (although there are a few precarious instances when that line is flirted with far too intimately).
Ika is moe, yes, but moe mostly in terms of her personality. She is laughably curious about everyday things we don't think much of, like umbrellas, birthdays, and fireworks. She's afraid of inflatable killer whales and sharks, but thinks nothing of walking through cemetaries at night, nor is she even scared of ghosts. She came to "invade" the surface world, but her good nature keeps getting the better of her and pushing her goal farther away. She acts menacing, but it's obviously a bluff, as she obviously cares about the well-being of those around her. She even has a couple funny speech naunces to top it all off.
The show really IS all about Ika. She is, by far, the character with the most colorful personality, range of emotion, and variety of facial expression. The supporting cast isn't bad, though; some of them actually have some depth and undergo development, but equally as many are just flat in terms of personality. (This isn't to say they don't add anything or aren't entertaining, though; quite the contrary.)
Animation and art are quite crisp, clean, and clear: the show is quite pleasing to look at. Bright and vibrant colors make up the vast majority of the spectrum utilized, and scenes are mostly sunny and light-hearted. Animation is pretty well-done as well, with no real problems or corner-cutting I could see. Facial expressions--particularly those of Ika--are great. All in all, quite effective and above average.
The OP is alright, sung by Hisako Kanemoto (Ika's seiyuu) although it begins by chanting "Shinryaku!" over and over again, in the most annoying pitch possible, at a volume twice as loud as the rest of the show. (Don't get me wrong; I have no problem with her voice; that part is just really annoying.) And it starts as soon as the episode begins, so you'll have to be really fast to avoid getting your ears blasted. The ED is actually a pretty touching piece that I would call Ika's theme song, since the lyrics fit her so well. The voice acting is pretty great, but Kanemoto definitely steals the show: she acts the squidding INK out of her role. ;)
Shinryaku! Ika Musume is quite the enjoyable break from the hum drum stereotypical school comedy scene. It deserves a chance just for daring to be different and breaking from the mold. It even incorporates some pretty emotionally touching moments in there as well.
Now, I'm off to conquer the rest of this thing you humans call MAL de geso!